Lanzarote's bilingual magazine

Podencos, Canarian soul

A lean, light and sturdy dog that’s noble, docile and nervous in nature with extraordinary aptitudes for hunting but needs training from a very young age

The Podenco Canario is a breed with Mediterranean origins that date back more than seven thousand years. It has evolved over the years, adapting to the Canarian climate and terrain and remains common throughout the Islands. Its extraordinary sense of smell, hearing and sight has meant it is closely linked to hunting.

Their large prick ears and long muzzle give them a distinctive appearance. They are medium-sized, on average fifty to sixty-five centimetres tall, and weigh between twenty and twenty-five kilos. Females are slightly smaller. They have a smooth, fine coat that’s usually tan-coloured, or mixed with some white. They have small, almond-shaped eyes that are amber in colour, similar to their coat.

Podenco Canarios are shy, sensitive and extremely affectionate dogs that develop close bonds with their family. They are intelligent and obedient, but early socialization is essential as their temperament doesn’t only depend on their genetics but also on their early learning experiences. Given their strong prey drive, they need to be taught how to coexist with cats and other small family pets. Training should always be done from a place of love, patience and consistency. They make excellent companions but are highly active, so do not suit being cooped up in a flat all day long.

In terms of food and care, they can eat commercial feed and homemade food (but not leftovers) or follow the Barf diet (based on raw meat). They should be brushed a couple of times a week with a rubber glove and bathed at least once a month. Regular attention should also be given to cleaning their ears, tear ducts and nail trimming, depending on the age and activity of the animal.

Sadly, despite their aptitude and adorable appearance, 80% of the more than 250 complaints of mistreatment received by Ademal (Association for the Defence and Against Animal Mistreatment) are related to Podenco Canarios. Reports denounce horrendous living conditions, lack of food, and dogs being abandoned or even killed once hunting season is over. Of course, not all hunters behave in this way, but the numbers are stark. Based on the fact that 1,300 hunting licences are issued in Lanzarote and each hunter can have a maximum of six dogs, the island does not have the capacity to take on, train and rehome these animals.


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