Kurī is the Māori name for the Polynesian dog. It was introduced to New Zealand by the Polynesian ancestors of the Māori during their migration from East Polynesia in the 13th century AD. According to Māori tradition, the demigod Māui transformed his brother-in-law Irawaru into the first dog.
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
Kurī were bushy-tailed, with short legs and powerful shoulders. Their coat colour ranged from yellowish brown to black, white, or spotted. Like other Polynesian dog breeds, they howled instead of barking – the Māori word for the howl was auau.
Kurī were seen widely across New Zealand during Cook's first voyage in 1769. The kurī became extinct in New Zealand in the 1860s, following the arrival of European settlers; the breed was unable to survive interbreeding with European dogs. The remains of the last known specimens, a female and her pup, are now in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
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