Painting of the Coast Salish people using dog fur to weave. (Paul Cane, courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum via X.)

Have you ever heard of the Salish woolly dog? These small, fluffy dogs were bred by Coast Salish communities living on the coast of southwest B.C.

The breed became extinct more than a century ago. Woolly dogs were largely forgotten – by everyone but the Salish.

A recent study looked at where the breed came from, the role it played, and why it disappeared.

Finding Mutton

It all started in 2021, when biologist Audrey Lin read an article about woolly dogs. Then she learned that the only known pelt was stored right where she worked.