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Native American Indian Dogs

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy Bonnie Thompson

Togga (left) and Artemis (right) enjoy a casual winter day of play.

The Native American Indian Dog (NAID) is a breed which, at a quick glance, one may mistake for a wolf based on its size; long, fluffy ears; bushy tail; pointed muzzle and powerful stare. However, the NAID is usually a combination of German shepherd and husky mix, selectively bred to recreate the appearance and versatility of the original dogs of Native Americans.

Dogs have played a vital role in the lives and cultures of the first Americans. Native Americans depended on their dogs to aid them in any need they had. Using historical documents left by missionaries, trappers and explorers, the NAID was founded and trademarked by Karen Markel during the mid-1990s. The Michigan kennel owner looked to achieve through selective breeding the most valuable traits of the original NAIDs – intelligence, versatility, longevity and a hypoallergenic coat. These dogs are prized not only for their hunting ability, but they are also used as therapy dogs, competition dogs and they make great family pets.

Bonded by blood and glued at the hip Artie gives Gage a big welcome home with a loving hug.

Artemis or “Artie” is a mix of Malamute, German shepherd and husky with a soft wolf-like appearance. Typical of the NAID, Artie is very happy, has formed a deep bond and is dedicated to her human pack. Owner Bonnie Thompson feels Artie is an essential member of their “pack” and has made a sweet addition to their family. Artie’s personality matches that of the Thompson family. She is goofy, fun, and very motherly and loving to the Thompson children – Kole (13), Gage (11) and Lane (9).

Thompson was first introduced to NAID 17 years ago while walking her Malamute at a local dog park. A stunning dog that looked very similar to her Malamute stopped Thompson in her tracks. Intrigued by what the dog owner shared about NAIDs and the fact there were only six NAID breeders at that time, Thompson made a visit to Markel’s Michigan kennel and returned with Marley – their first of her four NAIDs. The Thompsons soon adopted Marley’s dad, Petaga, followed by Petaga’s great, great-grandson, Togga. A year ago, and also from the extended bloodline, the Thompsons welcomed Artemis at 14 weeks old into their home and hearts.

NAIDs make wonderful family pets but do require moderate exercise. They need to be taken on a daily walk or even a jog. Artie loves to run off leash in the backyard and play with her human and canine family, as well as walk with the Thompsons through the neighborhoods of Castle Pines. When not running or out on a walk, Artie requires constant attention – which the kids do not mind giving. Kole loves Artie for her fluffy, big ears as well as her ability to be happy one moment then ornery the next. Gage loves how he can flip her big ears inside out, and Lane loves Artie because she is a silly dog that loves her turkey jerky treats and squeaky toys.

Artie is a motherly nurturer and friend to the Thompson family.



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