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Imagine if there were no humans left on earth; a type of theoretical sci-fi scenario in which the human population all disappears or dies out and our pets are left to take care of themselves. Would your own dog survive, or are they the type that can’t even cope with going for a walk if the sun isn’t shining?
This article will take a light-hearted look at five dog breeds that would totally survive in the wild in the UK if it came down to it. Read on to learn more.
The Jack Russell might be small, but as the joke goes among their owners, nobody told them that! While there are advantages to large size in a survival situation, there are exceptions to this and certain traits can give smaller dogs that possess a number of them a distinct advantage all of their own.
The Jack Russell really ticks all of the boxes for survival in the wild; they’re very hardy dogs that are both confident and intelligent, and their physical build and coat alike are both versatile and well balanced to handle different terrains and seasons. They’re also excellent hunters of small prey, and they would not be afraid to stand up for themselves against other dogs when it came to defending something they caught.
They’re clever enough to know when to back off though, and generally streetwise enough to keep themselves safe in most situations.
The German shepherd is one of the world’s most intelligent breeds, which is an essential trait for dogs that have to take care of themselves in any situation. They’re also large, which as mentioned above in terms of the Jack Russell being an “exception that proves the rule” tends to increase the dog’s chances of survival.
German shepherds today are sometimes bred with overly sloping hindquarters that greatly increase the risk of hip dysplasia, and so dogs at the extreme end of this spectrum would not survive in the wild; but aside from this, the breed has a balanced conformation, and they have both speed and stamina going for them.
It is perhaps the German shepherd’s versatility that is their greatest advantage, and they can hunt, scavenge, guard, and problem-solve. Even their coats are a good fit for life in the wild in the UK; they grow a heavy, thick coat in cold weather and shed most of it for summer.
The lurcher is not strictly a breed but a cross-breed, but they’re so ubiquitous in the UK and well known that we tend to recognise them as a dog type in their own right. This is actually a point in their favour, in terms of the hybrid vigour that is achieved from crossing two unrelated breeds, but that’s not the end of the story for lurchers in the survival stakes.
Lurchers, like all sighthounds, are excellent hunters and they would have absolutely no problems catching enough prey to keep themselves and quite possibly a few canine pals fed. This would ensure they secured a place in a pack situation, and a cooperative of this type would help to make up for the areas in which the lurcher is less well equipped to survive in the wild; like needing a pack to cuddle up with for warmth in winter due to their fine coats.
The Akita is a large, confident, and watchful dog and once they’ve caught or scavenged prey or food of some form, there is virtually zero chance of another dog taking it from them! They also have a very strong prey drive and are large and confident enough to be able to hunt slightly larger prey than the Jack Russell or the lurcher, and as a very territorial breed, they’re unlikely to have much competition from other dogs not in their pack as they would define and guard a fixed area from intruders.
Their coats too are designed for climates far colder than the average UK winter, meaning they would have no problems with the cold, however bad it gets.
The Siberian husky is another breed that was developed in a very cold climate and they are also highly versatile with bags of stamina and endurance. In terms of their size and energy expenditure versus the amount of food they need to maintain condition, they’re actually quite economical in this respect, and so would tend to do well even when food was hard to get or in short supply.
They are also very social dogs that work well in packs and that form cooperatives, and these are vital to enabling dogs to survive and thrive without human intervention in the wild.
They’re smart, good problem solvers, and they have the kind of inquisitiveness that can potentially get them into hot water but can also allow them to work things out that other dogs might not stand a chance at.
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