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Dogs of Easter Island?

Denver, Colorado
posts: 117
reviews: 46
Dogs of Easter Island?

Hello! I have a strange question, but it is something that piqued my interest after coming home from a wonderful visit to Easter Island. I noticed that the vast majority of the stray dogs all seem to be a similar breed (German shepherd or something like it) and I vaguely recall asking a local about it, and being told a story about the dogs (like the ancestors were owned by a family and then populated the island). Does anyone who is familiar with the island know about such a story or if there is any speculated origin of the dogs?

I'm asking because I'm considering writing an article about the dogs (don't worry, I became very fond of the dogs and how docile, intelligent and friendly they were, so it would be about that, not anything negative), but don't know where else I can find people who are knowledgeable about Easter Island and who speak English! This may also be something that would interest other visitors (past and present) as well, since the dogs are so prevalent there. If there is anything of interest, I would greatly appreciate some information. Thank you!

6 replies to this topic
Maumelle, Arkansas
posts: 1
1. Re: Dogs of Easter Island?


I recently travelled to the island and fell in love with the dogs.

I don't have an answer to your question, just a couple of cute stories about some local dogs befriending me and the person with whom I was travelling.

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile
posts: 8,370
reviews: 20
2. Re: Dogs of Easter Island?

Most of the stray dogs in Chile, both mainland Chile and Easter Island, actually have owners. But despite regulations, they let them roam free. I don't know anything specifically about the dogs on the island but it is not uncommon for the dogs in different areas to have a similar look. I suppose the strongest genes survive and dogs which share them are the ones which are still around.

Easter Island, Chile
Destination Expert
for Easter Island
posts: 170
3. Re: Dogs of Easter Island?

I briefly discussed with locals and dogs really have an actual history... There was a time when the island was practically governed by a sheep farming company (even now almost non-existing, you might see plenty of sheep running around in document about Thor Heyerdahl's expedition). Thus, dogs were brought here to work (all the way from Britain, it appears).

Later, quite obviously when you think about it, dog breeding was profitable on the island.

However, I had no time to take a deeper look into the subject so I'm not certain if this is all correct.

Stray dogs do not have collars but, apart from that, you cannot really tell the difference (if in good shape) since mostly dogs can come and go freely.

Sometimes there's discussion about the topic on local radio but most people do not consider dogs as a problem since they're not aggressive. Thus, municipality does not take any actions to restrict dog population.

Denver, Colorado
posts: 117
reviews: 46
4. Re: Dogs of Easter Island?

Jarkko, thanks so much for passing along the information! That sounds similar to what one of the locals told me when I was there, though I couldn't remember the details, but what you said sounds correct. It's really an interesting history.

Adelaide, Australia
posts: 25
reviews: 52
5. Re: Dogs of Easter Island?

Easter Island has a serious dog problem which needs to be acknowledged and addressed. Many stray dogs roam the streets and they can also be found in shops and other buildings. There are no laws to prevent the roaming dogs which tend to be thrown out on the streets by owners as they get older or become pregnant. While I was doing a fitness run in preparation for the Easter Island Marathon I was chased by two young twin dogs which snapped at my legs. When I stopped running the dogs stayed and attracted more dogs so I was surrounded by a small pack of dogs. When I finally managed to return to my hotel both legs were bleeding from dog bites. An island which is so isolated from the rest of the world should be able to better manage stray dog problems which would seem likely to become worse over time.

los angeles
posts: 4
reviews: 10
6. Re: Dogs of Easter Island?

I just got back from Easter Island. I was there for about a week. Being a dog lover, I just hope that people who read this post will bring with them treats and foods for some of the stray dogs to eat. I saw many very hungry dogs begging for food. Its NOT their faults. So, PLEASE PLEASE take some foods with you when you are out and about. Every morning I would take some left over food from the hotel and give them to the homeless dogs, particularly the malnourished ones. Yes, Chile should do something about this by neutering the dogs. Still, as a foreigner, I don't really like to judge other countries on how they should do things.

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