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West Asian Village Dog

West Asian Village Dog

West Asian village dogs were instrumental in dog evolution. From this region, dogs spread across Africa and Europe, where eventually they were bred to become most of the hundreds of dog breeds we know today.

Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club

About this Breed

Village dogs are the free-breeding, “outside” dogs found around the world living in and around human settlements big and small. They’re also known as island dogs, pariah dogs, or free-ranging dogs. Many village dog populations precede the formation of modern breed dogs. They make up about 3/4s of the billion or so dogs living on Earth today. They serve as trash cleaners, sentinels, and even sometimes companions while still retaining much of their freedom.

Because village dogs are found all over the world and pre-date modern breeds, they don’t have a breed standard— they come in many colors, a variety of sizes, and can have short or medium length fur.

Dogs were originally domesticated in Central Asia (in fact, Central Asian village dogs are suspected to be the closest living relative to the earliest ancestors of domestic dogs) and followed humans into Europe where they found a living eating scraps and trash everywhere they went. Over time, some of them adapted to roles helping humans hunt, tend and guard livestock, and guard homes. They also changed humans wherever they went, making dog lovers of many people.

Prospective owners are unlikely to find a breeder of village dogs because they have developed in rural areas and are often strays. Village dogs should be appreciated for their historical and genetic significance. Without their contribution to the doggie gene pool, it is possible we wouldn’t have the myriad of breeds that we love and appreciate today.

West Asian Village Dogs on Embark

Explore some Embark dogs that share West Asian Village Dog ancestry.

  • Lütfiye

    Lütfiye

    Mr Fluffy Russian Dog

    Mr Fluffy Russian Dog

    Moose

    Moose

    Charlie

    Charlie

  • Mavi

    Mavi

    Max

    Max

    Mika

    Mika

    Sofia

    Sofia

  • Rufus

    Rufus

    Oscar

    Oscar

    Mischka

    Mischka

    Liisi

    Liisi

Favorite Names

For Male

  1. Leo
  2. Bear
  3. Charlie
  4. Max
  5. Milo
  6. Otis
  7. Buddy
  8. George
  9. Loki
  10. Rocky

For Female

  1. Luna
  2. Bella
  3. Lucy
  4. Lily
  5. Lola
  6. Molly
  7. Penny
  8. Sadie
  9. Willow
  10. Zoey
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