AfriCanis Dog - the aboriginal dog of sub-equatorial Africa

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AfriCanis dog is the umbrella name for ALL southern African native dogs. Over the centuries they have been shaped by Africa for Africa. They are part of the biodiversity and the cultural heritage of humankind. He is the traditional indigenous rural African dog of Sub-equatorial Africa.. The AfriCanis, could also be termed ‘Nguni dog’ knowing that they migrated with the Early Iron Age Bantu-speaking people into Southern Africa, comparable to the Nguni cattle.

AfriCanis are only found in the tribal rural areas all over the southern African subcontinent. In South Africa, “only” to be found in isolated ancestral tribal lands, such as interior of Zululand, and Transkei Pondoland, Lebowa, Sekhukhune, Gazankulu and Venda.

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Is it a mongrel or a dog of no definable type or breed?

Contrary to all modern breeds, the AfriCanis dog is NOT an artificially selected breed, but is a LANDRACE. It is the result of natural selection and physical and mental adaptation to various African ecological and cultural contexts. It has not been "selected" or "bred" for appearance, but it has adapted to and been shaped by its environment. In southern African rural societies, the most important requirement for a dog is for it to be "wise". After centuries of adaptation, the AfriCanis dog survives as one of the rare remaining aboriginal dog populations in the world.

They should not be confused with the multitude of stray dogs roaming free in informal settlements, townships or suburban areas.

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What does it look like?

The beauty of this dog is embodied in the simplicity and functionality of its build. The AfriCanis dog is medium sized, slender built and well-muscled. It is agile and supple, and moves in a very natural and easy manner. It has the stamina to trot for long distances on rough terrain, and can gallop at great speed when required. When in good condition, the ribs are just visible.

The head is cone shaped with expressive oval eyes. Eye rims, lips and nose should be black. The ears may be erect, half erect or drooping. The carriage of ears and tail is linked to the dog's awareness of its environment. These variable physical features are of no direct influence on the Physical and mental well-being of the dog. 

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The dog has a short double coat, is found in a wide range of colours, with or without markings.

A ridge of varying form can ‘exceptionally’ be seen on the back; this mutation can be associated with a dermoid sinus.  Dogs with a ridge, naked dogs, dogs with lack of pigmentation or with diluted colours  should not be bred from. 

Characteristics

As a domesticated species, for centuries the AfriCanis dog has existed in and around human settlements, living close to people, their livestock and other domestic animals without being confined. Because of its natural tendency to guard and protect livestock, the AfriCanis has long been an integral part of rural societies, taking its place as a flock guard dog, herder and protector of the homestead, and also assisting its owner on the hunt.

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The AfriCanis dog is well disposed without being obtrusive: a friendly dog, showing watchful territorial behaviour. It displays unspoiled social canine behaviour with a high level of facial expressions and body language. Its nervous constitution is steady and it displays a high level of natural survival instinct.

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Where does the AfriCanis dog hail from?

Its African heritage goes back 7000 years, to the dogs which first came with Neolithic herders from the Middle East into the continent of Africa. Even before the time of the Egyptian dynasties, domestic dogs spread quickly along the Nile river. At the same time seasonal migrations and trade took them deep into the Sahara and the Sahel. Iron-using, Bantu-speak-ing people brought their domestic dogs along when, from about 200 AD, they left the grasslands of Cameroon in a massive migration which eventually led to their settlement in southern Africa.

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The earliest record of a domestic dog in South Africa is dated 570 AD, on the farm Diamant in the Ellisras district, near the Botswana border. By 650 AD the dog occurred in the lower Tugela valley, and by 800 AD in a Khoisan settlement at Cape St Francis.

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The future of the AfriCanis dog

The AfriCanis dog is a primitive hound and is guided by natural survival instincts that lead it to be non-confrontational and docile in relation to people; these are the very characteristics that made its distant ancestors prime candidates for domestication. It is instinctively bound to its human partners and its territory. It will follow its owner for hours without being on a lead.

From the moment we take the AfriCanis away from its rural context we are interfering with its future. On the other hand, rural societies are shrinking at an alarming rate, and the traditional homesteads into which the AfriCanis has long been integrated are rapidly changing.To conserve the AfriCanis outside of its traditional context, it can be utilized as a real working dog, for example, working as flock guard dogs, search and rescue dog, Anti-poaching dog

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They make a good family dog, but needs consequent upbringing. It should be included in the family activities, such as long walks, or running alongside those who run or cycle, or in leisure training, such as obedience, tracking dog trials or in agility competition.

The AfriCanis is consistently healthy and has, over the years, developed a natural resistance against internal and external parasites. From a healthcare point of view, the routine vaccinations are needed, The AfriCanis dog is a cost-effective dog. is a dog that needs neither pampering nor special food. AfriCanis are omnivours . For 1000 of years they have survived a low protein diet.

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The AfriCanis Society of Southern Africa

The society was founded in 1998 by Johan Gallant (writer and dog behaviourist) and archaeologist Dr Udo Küsel (former Director of the National Cultural History Museum, South Africa).

The purpose of the Society is to protect the AfriCanis dog as an aboriginal landrace, and to uphold the principles of natural selection which have shaped this landrace for thousands of years.

To promote the AfriCanis as utility dogs, suitable for modern uses such as: Livestock Guard Dogs, Tracker dogs, Search and rescue dogs.

The Society is not intent on and does not support any moves towards transforming this aboriginal dog population into a standardized dog breed. The AfriCanis dog Society accepts the many physical variations and maintains that these are shaped by their immediate environment.

Johan and Edith Gallant

 

Books:
SOS Dog. The Purebred Dog Hobby Re-examined - Authors: Johan & Edith Gallant.
The Story of the African Dog. - Author Johan Gallant.

Available at: www.amazon.com  (Kindle)

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DNA research has proven that there is a specific African dog genome; research is ongoing to isolate this genome.