Podenco Canario – General Description
Podenco Canario (Canary Islands Hound, Canarian Warren Hound, Canarian Pharaoh 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 word “podenco” is Spanish for “hound”.
Classification and Standards
- FCI Group 5, Section 7, #329
- AKC AKC (FSS) The AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) is an optional recording service for purebred dogs that are not yet eligible for AKC registration.
- UKC Sighthound & Pariah
Character & Temperament
The breed standard states that the typical behavior 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.
The Podenco Canario is found on all of the Canary Islands and descends from a very ancient type brought to the islands in antiquity, and, isolated there, remains an example of the very oldest breeds. It is thought to have originated in Egypt and North Africa, and brought to the Canaries by the very earliest human settlers on the islands. Linguistic and genetic analyses of the descendants of the earliest known human inhabitants of the Canary Islands seem to indicate a common origin with the Berbers of northern Africa, who may have brought the dogs there as a food source. Diverse recent genetics studies have concluded podenco is a type of dog very related to the rest of European hunting dogs and they are not more primitive than most of them.
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 recognized by La Real Sociedad Canina de España (R.S.C.E., the Spanish Kennel Club) as an indigenous breed and is recognized 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.
Size & Appearance
The Podenco Canario is a slender and lightly built but sturdy dog, of medium size, with height at the withers approximately 21.7 to 25.2 inches (55 to 64 cm) 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.
Health & Maintenance
A very rare genetic disorder of sexual development has been observed in this breed. Known as testicular/ovotesticular disorder, it results in dogs that are genetically female (XX) developing testes or ovotestes instead of ovaries. This disorder was formerly referred to as SRY-negative XX sex reversal, and is more commonly documented in American and English Cocker Spaniels.
- Breed Standard in English – http://www.fci.be/uploaded_files/329gb99_en.doc
- Podencio Canario, from the Spanish Kennel Club (in Spanish) – http://www.rsce.es/razas/razas_podenco_canario_1.htm
- “Old World Contacts/Colonists/Canary Islands”. – http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/oldwrld/colonists/canary.html
- The Origins and Development of African Livestock, by R. Blench, pg 139, Routledge 1999, ISBN 1-84142-018-2
- See dog genoma studies. – http://research.nhgri.nih.gov/dog_genome/
- Seasonal Abundance and Management Implications for Wild Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, by F. Cabrera-Rodriguez, Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Política Territorial; Wildl. Biol. Pract., December 2008 4(2): 39-47 doi:10.2461/wbp.2008.4.4 – http://socpvs.org/journals/index.php/wbp/article/viewDownloadInterstitial/10.2461-wbp.2008.4.4/124
- Razas Espanolas – http://www.rsce.es/razas/razas.htm
- Marianne Perdomo [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Used under [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Jan Eduard (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Podencoclub (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Pedro released the photo into [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
FCI-Standard N° 329 / 03. 11. 1999 / GB
TRANSLATION : Mrs. Peggy Davis.
ORIGIN : Spain.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : 24.06.1987.
Is used for rabbit hunting, and to that end, adapts perfectly to the many irregularities of the terrain by using his prodigious nose, his sight and hearing. He endures easily high temperatures and is capable of hunting from dawn to nightfall. Thanks to his nose and his hearing, he can also detect the presence of rabbits at the bottom of natural crevices of the terrain, in cracks in walls, in the heaps of stones at the edges of plowed fields, in the volcanic tubes and in the thorny bushes. His extraordinary survival is no doubt due to his gifts as a hunter which have made him irreplaceable during the centuries. He is mainly a tracker dog who must neither bark nor catch the game during his scenting work. Is also used in hunting, combined with the ferret, method of hunting authorized on the islands. He usually takes the rabbits in his mouth.
F.C.I. CLASSIFICATION :
- Group 5 Spitz and primitive types.
- Section 7 Primitive type-Hunting Dogs.
Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY :
On the Canary Islands, from where he originates, he is known under the name of Podenco Canario. We meet him frequently on all the islands, especially on the biggest, on the Gran Canary Island and the Isle of Teneriffe. The Podenco Canario is a dog of Egyptian origin which was probably imported to the Canary Islands by the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Carthaginians and the Egyptians themselves. It is one of the most ancient breeds in existence, because we find numerous vestiges (engravings, statues, bas-reliefs) in the tombs of the Pharaohs and in the museums of the Louvre or the British Museum. This breed dates back about seven thousand years.
GENERAL APPEARANCE :
It is a dog of medium size, built on longish lines, slender, light and extremely resistant. The skeleton is well developed. The absence of layers of fat make it possible to see the rib cage as well as the spinal column and the hip bones. The musculature is developed to the highest degree, lean, the contractions of the muscles are visible through the skin.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :
Slightly longer than high. Chest well developed without coming down to the elbow. Muzzle slightly longer than the skull.
BEHAVIOR / TEMPERAMENT :
Courageous, nervy, agitated, and of an enthusiastic dynamism. Imposing but not at all aggressive. Attached with abnegation to his master, he stoically puts up with the most rigorous days without the least sign of fatigue.
Elongated, truncated cone shape, well in proportion with the body, of medium length of 21 to 22 cm. The cranial-facial axes are parallel.
CRANIAL REGION :
Skull : Longer than wide, flat, with the occipital crest prominent.
Stop : Barely marked.
FACIAL REGION :
Nose : Large, flesh-colored in harmony with the color of the coat. Nostrils moderately open.
Muzzle : Large and prominent, in shape of a blunt cone, more or less dark flesh color in harmony with the coat.
Lips : Fine and tight, of a color in harmony with the nose.
Jaws/Teeth : Scissor bite, teeth adapting perfectly, well developed.
Eyes : Oblique, small, almond-shaped. More or less dark amber in color; the intensity depends on the color of the coat. The expression is intelligent and full of nobleness.
Ears : Quite big, they rise up when the dog is in a state of excitation and are pricked in a slightly divergent position. At rest, they tip backwards. They are broad at their set on, ending in a point.
Well muscled, straight, with smooth skin and without dewlap, flexible and rounded.
Back : Strong, musculature well developed, fit for the racing and the demands of the hunt.
Loin : A little elongated.
Croup : Bones of the rump quite solid, more visible in the thin subjects or in full hunting season.
Chest : The sternum is not protruding. Chest well developed, yet does not come down to the elbow. Ribs oval. The thoracic perimeter exceeds the height at the withers by 5 to 8 cm.
Belly : Drawn up, without being as whippety as the Galgo. Flanks well marked.
Rather low set, appears as an extension of the rump. Round, reaches only a little lower than the hock. Hanging, or raised in sickle shape. A little tapered at the tip, which is usually white. Is never rolled up. It is not desirable it be carried too high when moving.
Perfectly vertical, straight and parallel; bone structure fine but solid; feet in shape of cat-feet, generally slightly turned outwards. Pads firm, slightly oval.
Scapula-humeral angle : about 110°.
Humeral-radial angle : about 140°.
Well vertical, straight, robust; musculature well developed; hock quite high (about 18 cm from the ground); cat-feet really straight, pads firm and oval shaped. No dewclaws.
Coxal-femoral angle : about 110°.
Femoral-tibial angle : about 120°.
Angle of the hock : about 130°.
The trot must be agile, extended and very light.
Firm, adheres without folds to the body.
Smooth, short and dense.
Preferably red and white, the red may be more or less intense, going from orange to dark red (mahogany). All combinations of these colors.
Height at withers :
Males : from 55 to 64 cm,
Females : from 53 to 60 cm.
Because of the differences of configuration of the terrains where the dog lives and hunts, these average sizes may vary; so one may accept deviations of 2 cm above the maximum size and 2 cm below the minimal size, as long as the subjects in question correspond to the archetype of the breed.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
IMPORTANT FAULTS :
- Head excessively broad.
- Stop too marked.
- Pendulous lips.
- Absence of premolars.
- Ears too divergent.
- Flattened chest.
- Sternum protruding.
- Rolled up tail.
- Hocks too low; cow-hocked.
- Crossing of the fore and hind-legs at the walk.
- Aggressive behavior.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
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