Chiribaya Shepherd

The Chiribaya Shepherd, or Peruvian Shepherd Dog, was an ancient dog breed from Peru that was used to herd llamas. It’s so ancient that the Chiribaya is thought to have been a pre-Columbian dog that was first identified by Peruvian anthropologist, Sonia Guillén Oneglio, who found forty-three mummies in 2006. These dogs were clearly honored by the Chiribaya people because not only were pet cemeteries built for them, but the dogs were buried with blankets and treats to enjoy in the afterlife. As far as we can tell, a total of eight-two dog tombs have been found by researchers in these cemeteries.
The president of the Kennel Club of Peru, Ermanno Maniero, and a veterinarian, Viviana Fernández of the National University of San Marcos, also examined the mummies and determined that the dogs were short-legged, longer than tall, and had colors that  varied between yellow and red. The BBC later reported that the dogs resembled small Golden Retrievers.
Researchers at the Mallqui Center of Biological Archeology have teamed up with the country’s Kennel Club to study the traits of these ancient dogs. Their goal is to convince the Belgium-based World Canine Organization that the dogs buried in Peru’s Ilo valley represent a new and distinct breed indigenous to South America. What we find really exciting is that some researchers believe there are specimens of the Chiribaya Shepherd alive in the Ilo valley right now, dogs that share the same traits as their ancient predecessors. Other researchers are less sure, but all agree that even if Chiribaya Sheperds don’t still exist, their descendents most certainly do, and can be found around Ilo, Moquequa. Guillen’s team is currently trying to prove this, along with the fact that these dogs constitute(d) a unique breed.
Here’s hoping that future generations won’t find the remains of breeds we love today, but that vanished during our lifetime.
Image of Chiribaya Shepherd mummy

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