Carolina Dog – Everything You Need To Know

Carolina Dog is a medium-sized, rare, primitive sighthound, relatively new to domesticity. They are generally suspicious and shy, but once they accept a human into their pack, those demeanors disappear toward that human. These dogs are the North American version of the Dingo; hence, they are named Dixie Dingos or American Dingos. Being a recently discovered breed in the wild, they still need to be a fully domesticated dog breed. Nevertheless, their “wild dog” qualities merge into a cooperative, devoted, and protective companion. Also, they are adaptable, intelligent, self-sufficient, and “pack” oriented. Though not often extremely friendly with outsiders, these hounds form tight bonds with their humans and love to be included in everyday routines. These breeds are also known for being very clean hounds and are sometimes called the Yellow Dog and the Yaller.

The Carolina Dog can be easily recognized by their fox-like face, pointed ears, and curved fishhook tail with the distinctive appearance of a small jackal or coyote. Because of their wild origins, they have an extreme pack mentality, which is necessary for survival. These breeds have a high prey drive, so you must observe them closely around small animals. However, they adore big families and houses with yards to run around. The Carolina Dogs are highly loyal to their humans and adorable and playful with kids.

Carolina Dog Overview

The Carolina Dog is a well-proportioned, elegant, natural, medium-sized pack dog with an impression of elegant robustness. Their expression and elegance indicate great character strength, making them a proud representative of wild dogs. They are more suited for professional pet owners. Also, they will need a parent who can handle them with discipline. Carolina Dogs combine agility, endurance, speed, and capability to perform various jobs. Proper training and early socialization from a very young age can help them warm up to other dogs and pets.

The Carolina Dogs are suspicious when confronted with unfamiliar faces, making them excellent guard dogs. Despite this reality, these hounds are not known to bark often. They are protective but not aggressive, which counts toward their appeal as a family pets.

Carolina Dog Pros and Cons

Easy to groomHigh prey drive
Loyal attachment to kids and adults alikeNot a lap dog
Excellent watchdogHeavy shedders

Carolina Dog Basic Information

  • Name: Carolina Dog
  • Origin: United States 
  • Group: Hound
  • Size: Medium to large
  • Height: 17 – 24 inches
  • Weight: 30 – 65 pounds
  • Coat: Short, dense 
  • Color: Yellow, Tan, Orange, Red Sable, Red Ginger, Beige
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Walking, hiking, fetch, agility, companion dogs, guard dogs, watchdog, conformation, obedience, herding.
  • Barking Level: Occasional
  • Shedding Level: Occasional
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 1-8 puppies
  • Other Names: Indian’s Dog, Dixie Dingo, American Dingo, North American Native Dog, Yeller Dog, Yellow Dog
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years

History of Carolina Dog

The Carolina Dog descended from a pack of primitive hounds that migrated with the first primitive humans across the Bering land bridge from Asia into North America. The canines’ remains were discovered near other relics from the Southwest Indians. From there, they drove into South America and the eastern U.S. Research of free-ranging hounds from the Southeast revealed these primitive hounds’ continued existence. Their build, not to mention their demeanor, further implies a close ancestry with or descent from these primitive dogs. Called the Carolina Dog and also commonly called the American Dingo, the United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1995.

The Carolina Dog is also recognized by:

  • ACA – American Canine Association Inc.
  • ACR – American Canine Registry
  • APRI – American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • ARBA -American Rare Breed Association
  • CDA – Carolina Dog Association
  • CKC – Continental Kennel Club
  • DRA – Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • NKC – National Kennel Club
  • UKC – United Kennel Club

Carolina Dog Highlights

  • Carolina’s coat usually comes in a combination of cream, tan, black, brown, and red. They’re generally a blend of two or more of these colors.
  • They should get at least one hour of exercise daily to help keep them fit.
  • They usually have short, dense coats, and while they’re not an excellent choice for allergy sufferers, they are very clean and groom themselves, incredibly like cats.
  • Recent analyses have shown that these breeds may be susceptible to Ivermectin, an element in mite and heartworm medication. Check with your vet before using these medications.
  • They are pack dogs and should not be left alone for long periods. Isolation would not suit this hound at all.

Carolina Dog Personality

Carolinas are recognized for their unique companionship, enchanting personalities, and a blend of noble royalty and wild hunters. In addition, they make exceptional family pets and are patient with children and the elderly. They are not extreme barkers but will be alert to the presence of strangers. Regal in appearance, Carolinas have lithe bodies and muscular limbs built mainly for their favorite activity: running. However, these breeds can be alpha with solid personalities and require a firm and consistent owner with experience who can put themselves as pack leader.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh
Stranger-friendlyLow to medium

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingLow to medium
Good for new ownersLow to medium
Sensitivity levelLow to medium
Tolerates being aloneLow 
Cold toleranceMedium to high
Heat toleranceMedium to high

Carolina Dog Physical Features

Head: Refined and consistent skull with that of a sighthound. The muzzle length is approximately equal to the length of the cranial portion of the skull. It is long, pointed, well-developed, and free from throatiness. The jaws are clean, powerful, and profound. They have almond-shaped eyes, full black noses, and expressive erect ears.

Neck, Topline, and Body: The neck is elegant, strongly crested, and unique in strength and development. The top line is horizontal, leveled, or may rise narrowly at the top of the loin, as in some sighthounds. Their rectangular body is medium length, elegant, and consistent. Their back is strong, straight, and horizontal. 

Tail: The tail is set horizontally to continue the spine but may lift slightly at the tail base. Also, toward the end, the tail is shaped like a fishhook, indicating that approximately the last third of the tail bends back over itself toward the direction of the hound’s head. 

Forequarters: The forelegs are straight and closer with a good length, a long upper arm, longer than the shoulder blade, and relatively straight. Shoulders are extended and laid back with a standard prosternum. 

Hindquarters: The hindquarters are powerful, well-conditioned, and muscular. Hind legs are set squarely or directly with the hock joint almost vertical to the hip joint. 

Coat: The coat should be short, smooth, and straight, with a dense undercoat. 

Color: The perfect coat color is any of the various shades of ginger. 

Gait: Gait is smooth, low, free moving, and effortless. There is a hint of flexibility in the back, as expected for a medium-sized sighthound qualified for a double-suspension gallop. 

Carolina Dog Temperament

Carolinas are bold, devoted, even-tempered, energetic hounds that are also perceived as outgoing and friendly. They are perfect for a family who wants an active dog for hiking and other outdoor exercises. They can make exceptional watchdogs. These breeds adapt to new situations but might need time to warm up to strangers, often making them ideal home alarm systems that bark when something is wrong. Proper training and early socialization will make them more comfortable around new people as they evolve. Carolinas needs a considerable amount of interaction with people. Yet, they tolerate other canines well if adequately socialized. 

Carolina Dog Training

Early, intense, ongoing socialization and obedience training is essential for Carolina dogs. They will not respond to the harsh or heavy-handed ways of training. Hence, training must be done with respect, firmness, reward, patience, fairness, and consistency. Early socialization is also necessary for their shy, suspicious character. Introducing them to different people and surroundings at a very initial age will help your puppy develop into a well-mannered adult dog. Here are some of the training activities that you need to do with your Carolina Dog: 

Trainability Overview

Easy to trainMedium
Prey driveHigh
Mouthiness tendenciesMedium
Barking and Howling tendenciesLow 
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium 

Carolina Dog Exercise Needs

Carolina Dogs are not hyperactive but require daily exercise for their mind and body. Despite their athletic appearance, these breeds are not known for having excessively high energy. However, they require regular exercise and are best suited for a home with a yard to play in and room to run. Daily walks are a must to keep your Carolina dog healthy and happy. Keep aside about an hour a day to exercise your Carolina puppy.

Exercising Carolina Dog is crucial mainly for three reasons:

  • To keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • To avoid any other destructive behavior. A bored Carolina will climb, bark, chew, dig, and jump to keep himself engaged.
  • To keep them away from obesity.

You can meet your Carolina’s daily exercise requirements by:

  • Teaching new tricks
  • Walking
  • Fetching
  • Chasing
  • Playing with puzzle toys
  • Frisbee
  • Herding trials
  • Flyball
  • Hiking

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelMedium to high
Exercise needsMedium to high

Carolina Dog Grooming

Occasional brushing will maintain Carolina’s coat free of loose fur and make it look its best. During winter, frequent brushing may be needed when their coat is thickest. Frequent nail trims should also be part of their grooming practice. However, they tend to keep themselves clean, much like a cat; occasional bathing may be necessary. Brush their teeth once a week to control their dental difficulties. In addition, ears accumulate dirt and must be cleaned weekly to avoid bacteria and other ear-related issues.

Grooming Overview

Easy to groomHigh
Drooling tendenciesLow to medium
Amount of sheddingMedium to high

Carolina Dog Health

Carolinas are healthy dogs and are not prone to having any particular disorders or health problems. These breeds do not have the congenital disorders that many overbred dog breeds have today. It has been found that some dogs are sensitive to Ivermectin (a medicine used for treating mites and intestinal parasites). However, check with your vet before giving them this type of medication.

Health Overview

General HealthMedium to high
Weight gain tendenciesMedium to high

Hip dysplasia: When Carolina’s thigh bones fail to fit into the pelvic socket, resulting in hip dysplasia. 


  • Wrong exercises  
  • Excessive weight gain  
  • Injuries  


  • Reluctance to rise, jump, run, or climb  
  • Enlarging shoulders  
  • Pain  
  • Stiffness  
  • Reduced activity and movements  
  • Reducing thigh muscle mass  
  • Grating in the joint during movement  
  • Lameness in the hind limbs  

Elbow dysplasia: A condition occurring due to the elbow joint’s malalignment, resulting in chronic rubbing. This causes irregular pressure at the joint, resulting in severe osteoarthritis. 


  • Mild to moderate pain  
  • Lameness in the forelimbs  

Carolina Dog Diet and Nutrition

Carolinas are high-energy dogs that require 2 to 3 cups of high-quality food. Several commercial kibbles are protein riched, but always consider supplementing them with high-quality canned food and lean meat. According to the vet’s guidance, you can split their meal time into two or three. Each breed is unique, and the correct quality and quantity of food depend on age, weight, activity level, health, and more.

Carolina Dog Living Condition

Though descended from wild dogs, Carolinas should live indoors and not be left outside. They require the following living requirements to lead a healthy and happy life:

  • A fenced yard and enough space to run around.
  • A routine exercise regime.
  • They exhibit digging and chewing characteristics. So, ensure to equip them with toys to keep them engaged.
  • If you live in an apartment, ensure enough time for their physical and mental exertion.

Did You Know?

  • Carolinas go by numerous nicknames, including Carolina wild dog, yellow dog, American Dingo, Swamp dog, Old Yeller dog, Dixie dingo, and Native dog.
  • Ginger, the Carolina Dog, models her stunning yellow coat for Hill’s Science Diet food packaging.
  • Carolinas has been assigned the Hound group designation.
  • Carolinas often have extra heat cycles in the first two years.
  • The 2022 film Prey stars Coco, a rambunctious Carolina Dog.

Carolina Dog Rescue Groups

Carolina Dogs Rescue and Adoption

Adding a Carolina Dog to Your Family

Getting a Carolina dog from a reputable breeder is best to prevent inevitable occurrences like health disorders. In addition, it is best to check with the puppy’s parents to ensure their health and happiness.

On average, a Carolina puppy may cost around $600 to $1500, not including miscellaneous expenses.

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