Discover the Mute Dogs of South America

Have you ever met a dog that doesn't bark? Though it might seem strange, there are some mute dogs that don't bark. We'll tell you all about them.
Discover the Mute Dogs of South America

Last update: 27 June, 2019

Have you ever met a dog that doesn’t bark? No? Well, believe it or not, they do exist! Though it might seem strange, there are some mute dogs that don’t bark. We’ll tell you all about them in this article.

Like most people, you’ve probably never even thought about whether there’s such a thing as a mute dog, and you almost certainly never imagined the answer would be “yes”. So, today, let’s take a look at what’s known about them.

The discovery of the mute dog

A dog on a sofa.

According to scientists, mute dogs aren’t some exception that proves the rule. In fact, they’re more common than you might think. Studies have revealed that the majority can be found in South America.

According to researchers, indigenous South American dogs didn’t know how to bark, only growl. As a result, they came to be known as mute. There are records of these dogs dating back to the 7th Century, placing them in countries such as Venezuela and Cuba.

They later spread to countries farther afield. In fact, there have been cases of mute dogs in places such as Alaska, and southern parts of the US.

These South American dogs were an elegant, short-haired breed with a proud head carriage. We only know all this thanks to chroniclers who wrote about the dogs in their notes. You can also find statues of them in certain countries in Latin America, such as Cuba.

Why do mute dogs exist?

This muteness wasn’t the result of illness or some genetic issue, as you might think. It was simply a peculiarity of this particular breed that meant it was unable to vocalize in the same way that other dogs do.

Despite only being able to emit small growls rather than barks, these dogs were the ideal companions. They were popular guard dogs, hunting dogs and family pets.

It seems that these dogs never had vocal ancestors to teach them to bark. Remember, puppies are like babies; they learn everything they know from their parents and their surroundings.

Remember the movie Tarzan? Tarzan didn’t know how to talk because he was raised by gorillas, and could only communicate by making the same sounds they did.

Well, the same goes for mute dogs; they don’t know how to bark because they never had anyone to teach them.

When were mute dogs first discovered?

A dog lying in grass.

As we’ve already mentioned, mute dogs were discovered in parts of Latin America. But no one was entirely aware of their existence until remains were found in Chile. According to researchers, these remains were over 8000 years old.

It’s possible that Antillean explorers were the first to introduce the breed to South America. They later traveled to Cuba and Puerto Rico, countries where mute dogs can still be found today.

The first Spaniards to live in Cuba brought dogs with them, so that they could compare the differences between Spanish breeds and native dogs. However, this has led many people to question whether mute dogs existed in the country before the arrival of Spanish settlers.

However, researchers have established that there are at least 3 distinct breeds of mute dog. In fact, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus even wrote about them in one of his diaries.

So, there you have it. While they might be far less common today than they might once have been, there really are dogs that don’t bark. Nature never ceases to amaze us.

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