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What are the Different Types of Endangered Dogs?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
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  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2016
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When people talk about endangered dogs, they are typically referring to endangered dog breeds, but this concept is itself problematic because dog breeds are often human constructions. The endangerment of dogs of a specific appearance does not imply a loss of the potential for dogs that look that way to exist in the way that the extinction of pandas would effectively preclude any future existence of pandas. Sometimes when people refer to endangered dogs, they mean non-domesticated dogs, which might include certain dogs that still live in the wild, although people generally do not think of other canines like wolves and coyotes as dogs, even though these species may be endangered. One other common way people use the term endangered dogs is to refer to dogs that have been beaten or otherwise require human intervention for safety. Each of these different usages of the term includes several different types of dogs.

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Endangered dog breeds are usually thought of as dog breeds that produce less than a certain number of puppies every year. Some examples of endangered dogs of this type include the Tibetan mastiff, azawakh, and mudi breeds. It might be more appropriate to think of these dogs as rare rather than endangered. Dog breeds are arbitrary human constructions that usually develop out of human-directed breeding programs, but the genetic material required to produce any of these dog breeds still exists in the population of dogs in the world. Since there is no true extinction for dog breeds, it is illogical to think of particular breeds as endangered.

It is possible to think of animals such as Australian dingoes and African wild dogs, which are not domestic dogs, as endangered dogs. These unique species have the potential to die out in a way that cannot be reversed, much like other species. Other endangered dogs in this group include the New Guinea singing dog, which is variably classified as a domestic dog or a separate species. Bush dogs look very little like dogs to most people, but they are extremely rare as well.

Among endangered dogs, perhaps the most tragic are those that are endangered individually and face death or lives of torment at the hands of humans. Many endangered dogs are beaten by humans, but just as many are simply kept in terrible conditions, ill fed, or bred inhumanely. When a dog is spoken of as endangered in this sense, the term means that the dog needs a home where a human with patience can undo the damage done by others. It is possible to get involved with helping this type of endangered dog by contacting a local rescue or humane society.

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irontoenail
Post 4

@umbra21 - I think people are starting to become more aware of ecosystems as a whole and also the concept of preservation of genetics and diversity. If we lose endangered wild dogs completely then we will have lost quite a lot of vital genetic information about one of our most beloved domesticated animals, which is not a good idea.

That's one of the reasons it's a good thing that people do what they can to conserve the gene pools of various endangered breeds of domestic dogs as well. Genetic variety is a good thing for its own sake, because it is much more difficult to cultivate from scratch than to obtain from gene pools that are already deep and thriving.

umbra21
Post 3

@Ana1234 - Unfortunately, people who live on their herd animals aren't going to care about how cute a predator is. And wild dogs and other predators need a huge amount of land in order to hunt naturally, so loss of habitat is a big concern for them.

Plus, they are just not as charismatic as larger predators like lions and tigers. The wild dog relies on team work rather than size to bring down its prey, so it doesn't look all that impressive on its own. And people tend to put more effort towards saving animals they think look impressive.

Ana1234
Post 2

I will be so disappointed with the world if the African wild dogs die out. The African wild dog shouldn't be endangered in the first place. They are gorgeous creatures and one of the most successful predators ever known, far surpassing lions. In fact, one of the reasons people demonized them was because they were too good as hunters, which is just not fair.

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