Podenco Canario

Podenco Canario (Canary Islands Hound, Canarian Warren Hound) is a breed of dog originally from the Canary Islands. The Podenco Canario is still used in the Canary Islands today in packs as a hunting dog, primarily used for rabbit hunting.

The Podenco Canario is a slender and lightly built but sturdy dog, of medium size, with height at the withers approximately 55 to 64 cm (21.7 to 25.2 ins) for males, females slightly smaller. Sizes vary with the terrain on which the dog hunts. The short, dense coat is usually a combination of white and some shade of red, depending on the island and, in some cases, the specific area on some of the islands. The neck is long, the head is longer than it is wide, and the large ears are held up when the dog is excited. The long tail is usually seen low set but can be raised. The tail is not carried too high when moving. The dog should move in an extended and agile trot. Faults, which indicate that a particular dog should not be bred, include aspects of appearance as well as structural faults that would impede the dog's ability to move and hunt, such as cow hocks and crossing of the fore and hindlegs at a trot.

Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are a serious pest in the islands, where they were introduced (first on La Palma) in the 16th century. Rabbit hunting with the Podenco Canario is a hugely popular sport, yet can in no way significantly alter the rabbit populations. The Canary Islanders who hunt with podencos often treat their dogs terribly, keeping as many as fifteen in a small cage and feeding them irregularly and infrequently. At the end of hunting season many hunters abandon their animals; some kill them outright. Females are not spayed and unwanted pups are usually killed via drowning, gunshots or abandonment. Hunters are often selfish and careless, often damaging agricultural areas.

The Podenco Canario is recognised by La Real Sociedad Canina de España (R.S.C.E., the Spanish Kennel Club) as an indigenous breed and is recognised internationally by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale as breed number 329 in Group 5 Spitz and primitive types, Section 7 : Primitive type - Hunting Dogs, Spain. In North America the breed is listed with the United Kennel Club as a hunting dog in the Sighthound & Pariah Group. The breed is also recognized by a number of minor registries, hunting clubs, and internet-based dog registry businesses. Exported from its homeland, it is promoted as a rare breed for those seeking a unique pet.

No diseases or claims of extraordinary health have been documented for this dog breed. The breed standard states that the typical behaviour is "nervy, agitated, and of an enthusiastic dymanism" a typical high-key hunting dog. Dogs of this breed that are aggressive should obviously not be bred, but there are many others that make wonderful pets, as they are notably loyal and gentle in a way that is similar to the greyhound.

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