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Fuegian dog ACEO by DiardiWolf Fuegian dog ACEO by DiardiWolf
An ACEO I started and finished today.
It's for my Canidae ACEO series I'm creating for fun and practice when I have time to draw.

It had been almost a year since I've worked in color, and the coloration almost went horribly wrong here.
The anatomy is also kinda wonky, and I'm not all satisfied with the background but I suppose it'll do.
My camera also butchered the image; it still looks slightly better than my scanner which messed it up even more.

I referenced from both the taxidermy specimen and several photos I found while looking for info about this animal.

Now, for some info on this critter:

Fuegian "dog" aka "perro yagán" - extinct
The Fuegian dog wasn't really a domesticated dog, but a domesticated form of the culpeo fox which was kept by the native people who inhabited Tierra del Fiego.
It is now long extinct, although it wasn't a separate subspecies but just a domesticated form of the very common culpeo fox.

The descriptions vary depending on who's writing them. The Fuegan dog has been described as "ferret like", "lion like" to simply "ugly".
They weighed about 35 kg, which is over twice the weight of wild culpeo.
Description of Julius Popper: "They are odd, sharp-nosed, bushy tailed animals with large, pointed, erect ears, and usually with dark rough hair, though a few among them have the fur nearly white.

Other description:
They resemble terriers, or rather a mixture of fox, shepherd's dog, and terrier. All that I examined had black roofs to their mouths, but there was much variety in their colors and degrees of coarsness of their coats.... Many Fuegan dogs are spotted and not a few have fine short hair, but all resemble a fox about the head, although there are among them many varieties of size and colour, as well as of form and of hairy coat. One brought from Tierra del Fuego was white, with one black spot, and very handsome; his size was about that of a terrier, his coat short but fine, and his ears extremely delicate and long although erect; this is with all the other breeds likewise; their muzzle is long and they have the tail rough and drooping.

Third description: In the eastern portions of Tierra del Fuego, where the natives have neither horses nor canoes, no temptation would induce some Indians, seen near the strait of le Maire, to part with a fine dog the size of a large setter, which had, except about the head, an appearance like that of a lion; behind the shoulders it was quite smooth and short-haired, but from the shoulders forward it had had thick rough hair of a dark grey color, lighter beneath and white on the belly and breasts; the ears were short but pointed, the tail smooth and tapering, the fore quarters were very strong, but the hinder appeared weaker. It had a wolfish appearence about the head and looked quite savage.

use of the dogs
The main use of the dogs was helping catch fish. They often accompanied people in their canoes, and were trained to swim and dive.
They were thrown overboard and drove shoals of fish into people's nets or shallow areas by swimming and splashing wildly, or diving to the bottom and following the fish underwater.
They also caught sleeping or wounded birds by sneaking up to them, pouncing them and bringing them to their masters, all done so silently that the other birds didn't wake up.
They also hunted otters.
Julius Poppers also claims the dogs were used for warmth.
the dogs placed themselves in a group around the small Onas, taking the shape of a kind of wrapping […] my opinion is that the fuegian dogs are only useful to complete the defective garment of the Indian, or better, as the Ona’s heating furniture.

Aside from that they were of course used as guard dogs to a certain extent, although they have also been described as being unloyal to their masters when it came to protecting them.
As Julius Popper described: "I never saw them, no matter how large their number, take an aggressive attitude or defend their masters when these were in danger”.

The dogs weren't particularly taken care of, and weren't often fed either. They always got the leftover bones of the fish they helped catch, but further hunted on their own.
They caught fish on their own accord, but also ate shellfish, birds, and certain kinds of seaweed.

Although they took care of themselves, they were still good guarding dogs and were prized for their fishing/hunting skills.
They barked and yelped like normal dogs, and often ferociously protected their home. (depending on who's describing things, I've found a few contradicting accounts when it comes to that.)

occurrence outside of Tierra del Fuego
Several specimens have been brought to London, where they were described as not being able to stop attacking chickens, pigs, etc.
One dog dubbed "Bob" has apparently accompanied a few settlers as well.

The dogs had never been great in numbers, but got exterminated when they were seen as a threat to livestock.
There have been several reports of the dogs attacking goats.

taxidermy specimens
There's one stuffed specimen in Museo Mayorino Borgatello, Punta Arenas, Chile.
No idea if there are any others in existence.

Info and text are all (c) to their rightful owners.
Blog: guide to Pagagonia's monsters and mysterious beings [link]
Retrieverman's blog: [link]
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Submitted on
September 16, 2011
Image Size
103 KB


5 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/100 second
Focal Length
6 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Aug 17, 2011, 2:27:26 AM