Humans and Dogs of Mountainous Inner Asia: Sensory Collaboration and Personhood

Alexander Oehler* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


I provide ethnographic, ethnohistorical, and archaeological data on human–dog relations in Inner Asia, specifically from a forested mountain environment of southern Siberia where I conducted observations with Soiot and Tofa herding and hunting communities. The work contextualizes three aspects of Soiot dog–human relations: sensory collaboration (interspecies perspectival sharing), autonomous social interaction (communal dog sharing), and cosmological relatedness (expressed through funerary rites). Emphasizing dogs as subjects, the article identifies canine-related practices of potentially deep historical and archaeological significance across Inner Asia. Discussing ethnographic dog–human relations as an aid to zooarchaeological interpretation, I seek to contribute south Siberian insights on canine domestication and co-evolution to ongoing debates on mobile and semi-mobile hunter-gatherer and pastoralist societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-778
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number6
Early online date8 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Fieldwork was funded by the European Research Council (ERC advanced Grant 295458), the Angus Pelham Burn Award for Northern Research, and the Northern Colonialism program at the University of Aberdeen.


  • Canines
  • Sensory collaboration
  • Personhood
  • Soiot and Tofa herding and hunting communities
  • Southern Siberia
  • Inner Asia


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