Log in

10 August 2007 @ 02:43 pm
Wonders Never Cease: The Double Nosed Andean Tiger Hound  
It's safe to say I'm a dog lover. As an adult, I've had two dogs myself, one who died of old age after a very comfortable life and another who is young and healthy and here with me now. They're both over 100 pounds. What's more, throughout my life, I've been interested in dogs, reading about them, watching them in dog shows and documentaries, all that kind of thing. So, if you'd asked me whether there was any breed of dog known to regularly produce viable two-nosed offspring, I would have said no.

Most physically anamolous creatures born live die early, like that adorable cyclopsian kitten that hit the internet not too long ago. The external defect tends to indicate internal defects as well. However, in some cases, evolution has wonked its chemistry kit double-plus good to make something...newish, like Hemingway's six-toed cats. Here, then, the Double-Nosed Andean Tiger Hound:

Some of the dogs in this breeding line do die from complications, but enough live to give the breed the double nose as a viable characteristic. The dogs have been examined for cleft palate, but have none. Here is a "two nosed" dog that does have a cleft, from a sad story out of England (The Sun) about a stray Staffordshire bull terrier who had trouble getting adopted because of it:

Apparently, the confirmation of the existence of these Andean dogs was news to the West. The BBC reports that "Colonel Blashford-Snell first encountered a Double-Nosed Andean tiger hound called Bella in 2005 when he was carrying out reconnaissance for this year's expedition in the area near Ojaki" -- the dog pictured above is her offrspring. Blashford-Snell remarked that "legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett came back with in 1913 of seeing such strange dogs in the Amazon jungle, but 'Nobody believed him, they laughed him out of court.'"

Most striking to me in the article is that the Bolivian army has extracted DNA from these dogs, in order to breed them for what? Drug and bomb sniffing missions? Evidence from onsite observers suggests that, yes, the double-nosed hounds have a superior sense of smell (the claim has yet to be clinically tested).

Blashford-Snell (who BTW was in the Amazon to confirm a theory that a meteorite hit there 30,000 years ago, and did) hypothesizes that the dogs are descended from the curiously schnozled Pachon Navarro of Spain, which the Conquistadors may have brought with them for hunting in the Americas."

Too bad more of them didn't end up in the Midwestern U.S. The article keeps emphasizing how ugly these dogs are, but come on. I think not. Two noses are cuter than one.

(Deleted comment)