Did Native Americans have dogs? Predator prequel Prey leaves fans gushing over Carolina dog companion

Naru and Sarii in Prey (Image via Hulu/20th Century Studios)
Naru and Sarii in Prey (Image via Hulu/20th Century Studios)
Abhirup Sengupta

On Friday, August 5, Hulu released the Predator prequel film, Prey. Set in 1719 in the Northern Great Plains, the film pits the Comanche Tribes' hunters against the Yautja. While the story focused on Amber Midthunder's Naru, the character received much assistance from her dog, Sarii.

The canine companion served as a crucial tool at the hunters' disposal and even attacked the Predator multiple times throughout the course of the film. Sarii further helps the Native American hunters track a missing child, which ultimately leads them to the presence of the Yautja.

Prey has the Best Dog of the Year Award

In the film, the loyal companion assists Naru in all her attempted hunts and later helps her track the mysterious hunter, i.e., the Predator.

Native Americans dogs' history: Connection explored with Sarii in Prey (2022)


While Sarii became one of the most endearing parts of the film Prey, the canine character also served as an interesting historical connection that tied Native Americans and their usage of indigenous dogs for hunting.

According to a 2009 LiveScience article by Meredith F. Small about human migration to the Americas, dogs were first brought to the continent by Asian travelers who came across the Bering Strait. Meanwhile, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln scholar named Ruth Callahan gave more theoretical information in a research paper titled: Domestication of Dogs and Their Use on the Great Plains.

The aforementioned research stated that the dogs, which reportedly evolved from wolves, were used by the tribes to guard camps, hunt, draft, or carry loads, and, interestingly, guide children when the tribes migrated to different campgrounds. According to Ruth, the children could be tied to trusted dogs to ensure their safety during migration.

"The partnership between humans and dogs, which was established more than 14,000 years ago, proved to be a powerful combination."

Meanwhile, a 2013 study published in The Royal Society claimed that:

"Dogs were used for a large number of different purposes, for example, for hunting, sledging, freighting, protection and company, for religious and medicinal purposes and as a food resource. The earliest archaeological evidence for the presence of dogs in the Americas has been dated to 10 000–8500 years ago, the dog thus being the sole domesticate in America during several thousand years."

Similar studies over the years have mostly hypothesized that the early examples of the American Dingo (aka Carolina dog) resulted from the evolution of the canines brought by Asian immigrants.

Netizens go gaga over Sarii, the dog in 2022's Predator prequel, Prey

Following the appearance of Coco the dog as Sarii in Prey, numerous tweets expressed their love for the American Dingo. While it is unknown how old Coco was at the time of the shoot, it has been reported that the canine star made his debut in Prey (2022).

All this talk about PREY and its narrative change of venue and very welcome representational aspects and not enough discussion of the best movie dog in years.
Learning all I can about the dog from Prey, who was a feral breed, acting wild the entire time, I love her very much
urgent Prey notice: there is an extremely good dog in this film
PREY features an incredible dog performance. Honestly some of the best dog acting I've ever seen. This is the Meryl of Dogs.
Just saw Prey.Hot dang.Watch Prey.Don't worry about the dog.
PREY is so damn good. The characters & action are excellent, the Predator design rules so hard, & it only makes minor reference to the original film rather than constantly reminding you of it.I think it might be my favorite Predator sequel already.Also, it has a very good dog
Started Prey. If the dog gets it we riot. #Prey #Predator
Important spoiler for Prey: The dog doesn't get hurt.
uhhhhh “Prey,” the new Predator movie on Hulu, is extremely my shit. Inject this into my veins. 18th century comanche girl and dog and otherworldly beautiful brother vs the predator and a bunch of french colonialists YES PLEASE
watching prey the dog better not die or im calling the xenomorphs
Prey was awesome. Naru was a badass & so was her dog 🐕


In Prey (2022), Sarii was portrayed by an American Dingo named Coco. As an American Dingo, Sarii's appearance in the film was historically accurate as the sub-species's possible ancestors were indigenous to American lands. While speaking to Dexerto, director Dan Trachtenberg talked about the filmmaking experiences with Coco on the set. He disclosed:

"Super rambunctious. Very energetic. Always a nail-biting moment for us on set, 'Is Coco gonna like, make her mark and do what she needs to do?' It was sometimes a journey to get there, but eventually she always did. It was very exciting, lots of cheers would happen when we finally got a great take with Coco."

The director further revealed that Sarii's inspiration stemmed from George Miller's 1981 classic Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, where the titular character was accompanied by an Australian cattle-dog (aka a blue heeler).

Edited by Babylona Bora


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