Sponsored by Lane Powell

Oregon dog breeder creating Game of Thrones-style dire wolves

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BY JENNIFER MARGULIS | ASHLAND CORRESPONDENT

07.31.13 Blog AmericanAlsatian1We know that an unintended and unfortunate consequence of J. K. Rowling’s fertile imagination has been a robust illegal owl trade in Asia, as young Harry Potter fans long for a Hedwig (Harry’s faithful feathered companion) of their own.

Now a not-so-new book and HBO television series are sparking interest in an unusual dog-breeding project in White City, Oregon.

On another world in an unspecified medieval time in George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones, hunters from House Stark find a dying dire wolf who’s just given birth to the same number of pups as they have children. Given to the Stark children, the whelps grow into giant loyal creatures with names like Lady, Grey Wind, and Summer. They terrify enemies, kill bad guys, get themselves slaughtered at sword point and even develop psychic bonds with their owners.

Though HBO is using Northern Inuits as their dogs of choice to star as the “dire wolves” on TV, Lois Schwarz, a dog breeder in White City, has another idea.

Working with the American Alsatian Breeders Association, Schwarz is heading up the Dire Wolf Project in a fanciful attempt to bring back the look — if not the temperament — of the dire wolf. American Alsatians are a popular breed. Large, intelligent, shaggy, they’re known for their calm disposition and loyalty.

Since we know very little about the coat and coloring of actual Ice Age dire wolves (that’s right, they’re real), this dire wolf project is not what you’d call a scientific endeavor.

But geologists at the University of Nevada hit the jackpot last year when they unearthed a fossilized foot belonging to a dire wolf that lived between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago.

A larger relative of the gray wolves, the real dire wolves are thought to have existed for about a million years. Competition from gray wolves and food scarcity probably led to their extinction. 

Dire wolves bore little resemblance to the behemoths of Martin’s imagination. In keeping them medium-sized, Schwarz is remaining true to what we know from the fossil record. She’s not breeding her newfangled dire dogs to grow too large because, to paraphrase what she told a reporter from Wired UK, no American family wants to scoop that much poop.

Schwarz also told Wired her waiting list is long. Her popular dogs cost $3,000 a piece. We suggest you pick up your next pup at the pound instead, and use the money you save to buy a used copy of The Game of Thrones ($2.00) and pay for gas for a road trip to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where the dire wolf foot bone is on display.

 

 

More Articles

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Male tech workers speak out on the industry's gender troubles.


Read more...

10 Oregon companies positioning themselves for growth

The Latest
Friday, March 13, 2015
vcthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Ten startups have secured venture capital, angel or seed funding in 2015.


Read more...

Downtime with the director of Barley's Angels

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play with Christine Jump.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

5 questions for Flywheel CEO Rakesh Mathur

The Latest
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
FW splashBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland is awash in rideshare options. We ask the head of Flywheel what sets his app apart.


Read more...

Car Talk

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Everyone knows cell phones and driving are a lethal combination. The risk is especially high for teenage drivers, whose delusions of immortality pose such a threat to us all. Enforcement alas, remains feeble; more promising are pedagogical approaches aimed at getting people to focus on the road, not their devices.


Read more...

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS