Sunday, December 13, 2009

Coast Salish Wool Dog - What did it look like?

As promised, I am adding answers, or at least more information, about the Salish wool dog as I find it. So what did it look like? In Paul Kane's painting "A Woman Weaving a Blanket" now at the Royal Ontario Museum, he paints a small white dog, almost poodle like. However, the painting is based on some sketches and his sketches of dogs look different.

Susan Crockford, an expert in archaeological analysis of bones, has done extensive research on the indigenous dogs of the Pacific Northwest Coast, has a sketch on that accompanies her monograph on 'Osteometry of Makah and Coast Salish Dogs' that, knowing her expertise, is probably a good likeness (the dogs on the right).

On a side note, on the Snuneymuwx First Nations web site, the Salish Spindle is discussed, and they mention that Cameron Island was one of the islands used to keep the Salish Wool dog breed separated from other dogs. This makes sense as Cameron Island (which is no longer an island) is very close to where the Solexwel village was, allowing easy access to care and feed for the dogs. There is also on that page, a close up of a diorama that shows two dogs, that may be more accurate than the Paul Kane painting. These dogs also look like the sketch on the right.

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