A little-known dog lineage with fur so thick it was spun into blankets was selectively bred for millennia by Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest until its rapid demise following European colonization, a study in Science showed Thursday.

The new research was based on a genetic analysis of “Mutton,” one of the last surviving Coast Salish woolly dogs whose pelt was sent to the nascent Smithsonian Institution in 1859, only to be largely forgotten until the early 2000s.

Interviews contributed by Coast Salish tribal co-authors, meanwhile, revealed the dogs occupied a previously underappreciated high-status in Indigenous societies, which revered the animals as members of the family and adorned their most treasured items with their emblem.