*This is part 1 of a 3 part series about how I discovered the rarest dog breed in America, which later led to my first novel, “Hope In Every Raindrop.”
It was February 2007 and I was finishing my last semester at the University of Florida. I was just a few months from graduating with a Master’s in Engineering, still living in a three bedroom apartment with four guys.
My room was the second door on the left, just past the kitchen. My computer sat on a cheap plastic desk from Wal-mart, one of those kind that you put together and end up with about 17 extra pieces that seem to go absolutely nowhere.
Across my lap was a giant green book with the title, “Dog Bible,” in white block letters. There were five yellow sticky tabs attached to the following dog breed pages:
- Border Collie
- Carolina Dog
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
- Karelian Bear Dog
- New Guinea Singing Dog
I had narrowed my choice down to these five based on two characteristics: athleticism and intelligence (and obviously because they looked cool). However, I still needed to narrow it down more.
I love border collies and to this day I still want one with the black and white eye patches, but I immediately pulled the sticky tab off this page for the sole reason that it was the only dog on the list I had heard of. Down to four.
More than anything I would have preferred a wolf. Hence the sticky tab on the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog page. But I needed to be somewhat realistic. Was owning a wolf (or wolfdog) the best thing at this point in my life? Not to mention state laws on wolf dogs. Reluctantly, I pulled the sticky tab off this page. Down to three.
With three breeds left I figured I’d probably start doing some serious research. So, I did what any other college student would do. I Google’d it.
I found three Carolina Dog (CD) breeders:
- Lynches River Kennel
- California Carolina Dogs (an affiliate of Lynches River Kennel)
- Banbury Cross Farms
Two of the breeders were in South Carolina. I was off to a good start. And as I looked into the dogs at Lynches River Kennel it turns out they can be found in more than just a ginger coat. CDs are also piebald (white, with black spots and brown markings), and black and white. Remember my mention of wanting a black and white patched border collie? I was excited.
Karelian Bear Dog
These dogs lived up to their name. They were originally bred in Finland to ward off bears. The initial problem was the location. They were available in Washington, Alaska, and New Jersey. Washington and Alaska was pretty much out of the question. I didn’t like the idea of having a dog shipped to me, and it just wasn’t going to be possible to drive across the country at this point.
I wish I had a better reason, but I pulled the sticky tab from this page. Down to two.
New Guinea Singing Dog
I pretty much hit a dead end with the NGSD. At the time the only thing close to a breeder was the NGSD Conservation Society. But the more I read, the more I wanted one.
They were extremely intelligent. They can open doors and drawers. Climb trees. And more. They just looked like cool dogs.
In the end, I contacted the NGSD Conservation Society and realized I only had two options. Essentially I had to wait for a “rescue” dog or get on a waiting list for a future litter. Even then there was a qualification process to determine if you were a good fit for owning one of these dogs. It all started to seem like a huge hassle.
Down to one. The Carolina Dog.
Stay tuned for Part 2, when I reveal my first visit to see a Carolina Dog.
If you enjoyed this be sure to read the full series: