5 Semi-Wild Dogs From Around the World

Nathan Rupert, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Nathan Rupert, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Many dogs are the products of decades of selective breeding at the hands of humans. Others have been free to adapt to their environment, whether it's the streets of Dubai or the jungles of New Guinea. Feral or semi-wild dogs aren’t just mutts: Many are distinct breeds with unique features and abilities. From America’s Carolina dogs to the tree-climbing dogs of New Guinea, here are the five types of free-ranging dogs you should know.

1. Potcakes

Potcake puppy.
bookfinch, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In between snorkeling and lounging on the beach, tourists to Turks and Caicos should find time to interact with the local dogs. Potcakes are the islands’ own feral (and adorable) dog breed. Weighing 40 to 55 pounds, the medium-sized dogs are likely a hybrid of the pets brought by the indigenous Arawak people, rat terriers left behind by supply ships, and the dogs of the British loyalists who moved to the Bahamas during the Revolutionary War. The dogs became a fixture of the region in the 20th century, earning the name potcakes because locals fed them the caked-on food from the bottom of their cooking pots. Today, potcakes can be found wandering Turks and Caicos begging for scraps like their ancestors. They’re also available to adopt—or take for a no-strings-attached walk on the beach—from the dog rescue charity the Potcake Place. The Bahamas have their own breed of potcake, too, which is officially known as the Royal Bahamian Potcake.

2. Carolina dogs

Carolina dog with ball.
Steve McDonald, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

You don’t need to leave the U.S. to find wild dog breeds. Visit certain corners of the American South and you might find roving packs of Carolina dogs, also known as American dingos. As their nickname suggests, the feral canines closely resemble their cousins in Australia. They have pointed ears, long snouts, and muscular bodies that help them survive in the wild. Carolina dogs are the oldest dog breed in America—with their earliest ancestors arriving on the continent 9000 years ago after crossing the Bering land bridge with the first Native Americans—but they weren’t recognized as a distinct breed until the 1970s. That’s when a University of Georgia ecologist named Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin noticed a pack of them near the Savannah River. The dogs are thought to be the only wild dog breed native to the country, and though they are instinctive hunters, they also make great pets.

3. New Guinea singing dogs

The New Guinea singing dog is an ancient dog breed that arrived on the island of New Guinea more than 4000 years ago. They stand about 17 inches tall at the shoulder and look like a cross between a dingo and Shiba Inu. But this wild dog is unlike any other on Earth: It has a flexible spine like a cat that allows it to scurry up trees after prey. Its high-pitched howl has been compared to the vocalizations of a humpback whale, which is how it got the name “singing” dog. (You can hear it in the video above.) The canines are also incredibly rare. Before a population was recently discovered in New Guinea, scientists feared that they had gone extinct in the wild.

4. Indian pariah dogs

Two Indian pariah dogs.
traumschoen/iStock via Getty Images

Indian pariah dogs have been present on the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. They arrived in India by way of China, the country thought to be the home of the world's first domesticated canines. The lanky pariah dogs have adapted to living among people, often populating urban areas, but they generally fend for themselves. Unlike other so-called “village dogs,” the Indian pariah dog is a distinct breed and not just a general term for stray mongrels. They’re remarkably friendly for a semi-wild dog breed, and many people adopt them into their homes.

5. Sato dogs

Two sato dogs.
Geoff Gallice, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Sato is slang for “street dog” in Puerto Rico. Though they tend to vary in size and appearance, they’re typically small dogs with folded ears and short coats. Experts believe they descended from the first hunting and working dogs brought to Puerto Rico in the 1500s. The dogs have been abused and neglected for centuries, with so many people abandoning their unwanted pets on one part of the island that it earned the nickname “dead dog beach.” The strays are still stigmatized, but rescue groups are working to rehabilitate their image. The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing, sterilizing, and finding forever homes for Sato dogs, with many of them ending up in the U.S.

Turn Your LEGO Bricks Into a Drone With the Flybrix Drone Kit

Flyxbrix/FatBrain
Flyxbrix/FatBrain

Now more than ever, it’s important to have a good hobby. Of course, a lot of people—maybe even you—have been obsessed with learning TikTok dances and baking sourdough bread for the last few months, but those hobbies can wear out their welcome pretty fast. So if you or someone you love is looking for something that’s a little more intellectually stimulating, you need to check out the Flybrix LEGO drone kit from Fat Brain Toys.

What is a Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit?

The Flybrix drone kit lets you build your own drones out of LEGO bricks and fly them around your house using your smartphone as a remote control (via Bluetooth). The kit itself comes with absolutely everything you need to start flying almost immediately, including a bag of 56-plus LEGO bricks, a LEGO figure pilot, eight quick-connect motors, eight propellers, a propeller wrench, a pre-programmed Flybrix flight board PCB, a USB data cord, a LiPo battery, and a USB LiPo battery charger. All you’ll have to do is download the Flybrix Configuration Software, the Bluetooth Flight Control App, and access online instructions and tutorials.

Experiment with your own designs.

The Flybrix LEGO drone kit is specifically designed to promote exploration and experimentation. All the components are tough and can totally withstand a few crash landings, so you can build and rebuild your own drones until you come up with the perfect design. Then you can do it all again. Try different motor arrangements, add your own LEGO bricks, experiment with different shapes—this kit is a wannabe engineer’s dream.

For the more advanced STEM learners out there, Flybrix lets you experiment with coding and block-based coding. It uses an arduino-based hackable circuit board, and the Flybrix app has advanced features that let you try your hand at software design.

Who is the Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit for?

Flybrix is a really fun way to introduce a number of core STEM concepts, which makes it ideal for kids—and technically, that’s who it was designed for. But because engineering and coding can get a little complicated, the recommended age for independent experimentation is 13 and up. However, kids younger than 13 can certainly work on Flybrix drones with the help of their parents. In fact, it actually makes a fantastic family hobby.

Ready to start building your own LEGO drones? Click here to order your Flybrix kit today for $198.

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A Prehistoric Great White Shark Nursery Has Been Discovered in Chile

Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
Great white sharks used prehistoric nurseries to protect their young.
solarseven/iStock via Getty Images

Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) may be one of the most formidable and frightening apex predators on the planet today, but life for them isn’t as easy as horror movies would suggest. Due to a slow growth rate and the fact that they produce few offspring, the species is listed as vulnerable to extinction.

There is a way these sharks ensure survival, and that is by creating nurseries—a designated place where great white shark babies (called pups) are protected from other predators. Now, researchers at the University of Vienna and colleagues have discovered these nurseries occurred in prehistoric times.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Jamie A. Villafaña from the university’s Institute of Palaeontology describes a fossilized nursery found in Coquimbo, Chile. Researchers were examining a collection of fossilized great white shark teeth between 5 and 2 million years old along the Pacific coast of Chile and Peru when they noticed a disproportionate number of young shark teeth in Coquimbo. There was also a total lack of sexually mature animals' teeth, which suggests the site was used primarily by pups and juveniles as a nursery.

Though modern great whites are known to guard their young in designated areas, the researchers say this is the first example of a paleo-nursery. Because the climate was much warmer when the paleo-nursery was in use, the researchers think these protective environments can deepen our understanding of how great white sharks can survive global warming trends.