American village dogs inhabit most areas of Central and South America and the Caribbean, living in both rural village and urban areas where they are called “street dogs”. Whether they are “satos” living in Puerto Rico, “potcakes” living in the Bahamas, or the common street dogs on the mainland, these dogs are almost completely descended from European dogs imported during the Colonial Era. Native American dogs once numbered in the millions, but only one in a hundred or so American village dogs today have maternal or paternal lineages that trace back to pre-Colombian times. Because they are mostly recent immigrants to the Americas, there is very little genetic differentiation between the village dogs in different areas, but still lots of genetic diversity.
The Andean Tiger Hound, a rare breed derived from Bolivian village dogs, has an unusual “split nose”. This rare feature almost certainly came from Spanish explorers bringing Pachón Navarro dogs that carried the same trait. Geneticists are still working on finding the gene that causes this unusual look.
Explore some Embark dogs that share American Village Dog ancestry.