Did Native Americans Domesticate Wolves?

Native American domesticated dire wolves as these extinct wolves were found buried next to their human owner. But what’s the truth?

wolves, love, animal

According to paleontologist jeff saunders, a dire wolf lived with humans in history as gray wolves kept.

Additionally, around 13,500 to 11,000 years ago, a Clovis culture which was a prehistoric paleo-Indian culture, used to live in North and South America.

It was proved when in 2014, a young Clovis boy’s fossils were discovered, which were nearly 12,600 years old, and the antique Clovis site was about 13,345 years old. 

These dates indicate the connection of Clovis culture with the presence of extinct wild animals like dire wolves, mammoths, and sabor- toothed cats. 

Let’s discover in this blog which animals were domesticated by the native american indian and the relationship of dire wolves and other animals that the Native Americans domesticated.

What animal did the Native American Indian domesticate?

History and research showed that humans domesticated the gray wolf first, then carried the dog breeds with them to North America. With this, genetically, the European gray wolves are similar to the gray wolf species.

Before the white population, the wolf-like dogs of the eastern and great plains tribes were popular. 

But destroyed due to European dog diseases, and even the owners were wiped out due to the huge number of European diseases and plagues.

The breed was also mixed by interbreeding with European breeds. But later on, the eastern colonies marked the dogs’ breed as illegal and murdered them in huge numbers.

In the 1980s, efforts were made to recreate the Native American Indian dogs ( also called NAID) through crossbreeding with Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian huskies, and root wolf stock.

After the crossbreeding, a new breed named Regal was found. It was one of the domestic dogs and was highly intelligent and loyal. Eventually gained decent fame, specifically amongst native americans.

Additionally, there are other types of Native American dogs that are renowned in far northwestern regions. The most popular is the Eskimo dog, or malamute, which resembles wolves. 

eskimo, dog, pet

Moreover, this is the only Indian dog breed alive today and surviving. This dog breed is also used as a sled dog, as they are powerful enough to pull the sled anywhere. 

Additionally, the malamutes crowned themselves for breaking the world records in pulling heavy weight. For making this record, a malamute of 150lb pulled 5,400 pounds which is equal to a heavy and large vehicle.

The other type of Indian dog was small and crossbred in british columbia.  The tahl tan bear dog was estimated to be 10 to 18 pounds, with black brownish and white fur. They helped in tracking the bear as they had the ability to climb the top of the crusty snow. But unfortunately, they were extinct in the 1970s.

The third one was the little wolly dog which was extinct nearly in the 1900s, and this dog breed was part of the Salish tribes and somewhat larger than pomeranian dogs. People shorn their heavy fur and used it in blankets and clothing wool.

Did Native North Americans domesticate animals?

Native North Americans were known for their close relationship with animals. They actively sought to domesticate some of them, including wolves and elk.

But wolves were among the first species domesticated by Native North Americans, later bred and trained for hunting, herding, guarding, and companionship.

These wolves eventually developed into today’s dog breeds that include huskies, chows, and malamutes.

The Native North Americans also domesticated elk to use for food and making clothes. Plus, they used elks for their antlers and hide.


According to some historical evidence, and research, native Americans domesticated the dire wolf. During the domestication process, they lived with humans, like gray wolves. When humans domesticated the gray wolves, they were kept with humans. 

Plus, some fossils indicated and proved that the ancestors of the 80% population of all the Native Americans residing in North and South America are Clovis people.

Moreover, the Native american domesticated the gray wolf and introduced a wolf-like dog breed in North America. And only Eskimo dogs, the crossbreed, is surviving today that bred in the late 90s.

Not even wolves, Native Americans domesticated elk and used them in making clothes and for food. For more details, you can check the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What animal did the Native American Indian domesticate?

The Native Americans domesticated wolves and elks.

What breed of dog is native to America?

Inuit Sled Dog, the Eskimo Dog, the Greenland Dog, and the Carolina Dog are native to America.

Did Native North Americans domesticate animals?

North American Indians had no domesticated animals until they contacted the Europeans.

What does the coyote represent in Native American culture?

The coyotes represent good and evil, humans and gods, and animals.

Olivia Kepner