|Black potcake puppy with white markings and curled ears|
|Other names||Turks & Caicos Potcake|
|Country of origin||The Bahamas
Turks and Caicos Islands
|Notes||The Bahamas Kennel Club: listed separately from the mixed-breed dog under Group 9 – Non-Registered|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The potcake dog is a mixed-breed dog type from the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. Its name comes from the congealed rice and pea mixture that local residents traditionally fed stray dogs. Although appearance varies, potcake dogs generally have smooth coats, cocked ears, and long faces.
The ancestry of the potcake dog is shared among dogs from both sets of islands, since many residents of Turks and Caicos were originally from nearby islands and took their dogs with them. Three types may have contributed to development: dogs the Arawak brought with them to the Bahamas; terriers protecting supplies from rodents on ships that arrived in Eleuthera, New Providence, and the Abaco Islands; and dogs from North Carolina that arrived with Loyalists during the American Revolutionary War period. In addition, many breeds were imported in the 20th century which interbred with the local dogs, so making the mix of breeds in the potcake dynamic.
The type's name is derived from the term "potcake", which refers to the congealed rice and pea mixture at the bottom of a cooking pot that Bahamians have traditionally fed to stray dogs. In Nassau alone, there are an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 stray potcakes. In the late 1970s, the Bahamas named the type the "Royal Bahamian Potcake". As of February 2011, the Bahamas Kennel Club lists it separately from the mixed-breed dog within Group 9 – Non-Registered.
Although described as having a "shepherd-mix" look, the potcake dog's appearance varies by island. It may resemble a typical pariah dog or have hound, mastiff, spaniel, terrier, or retriever characteristics. The type typically has cocked ears, a long face, and a smooth coat without undercoat, or less commonly, a "shaggy" or rough coat. The most usual body colour is brown, though others occur, including black, white, red, cream, yellow, and particolour.
Overpopulation and rescue efforts
The amount of stray potcake dogs on the Turks and Caicos Islands has increased, despite spay-and-neuter programmes designed to minimise their numbers. Because the territory is dependent on tourism, officials consider the dogs nuisances, and police have shot and poisoned them. Most strays have a lifespan of three years or less. In the Bahamas, misconceptions about spaying and neutering dissuade residents from altering their pets. According to The Bahamas Advocates for Animal Rights group, there are 11,000 unowned dogs in New Providence. Pedestrians have been attacked by stray potcakes, and one percent of tourists said they found the dogs' condition frightening or were "turned off" by it.
Local organisations adopt out stray potcake dogs to alleviate the overpopulation problem. In 2005, Turks and Caicos-based rescue organisation Potcake Place became a registered charity. After running out of families to adopt to on Providenciales, volunteers connected with potential adopters through the rescue's website www.potcakeplace.com and Facebook page. Puppies are vaccinated and sent on airlifts free of charge to adopters. Additionally, several large, no-kill United States shelters accept potcake puppies. The Humane Society of Grand Bahama, located in Freeport, ships them to Florida on ferries.
A potcake dog named Amigo is the mascot of the Humane Society of Grand Bahama and the BEKIND Campaign, a collaboration with the HSUS to bring greater attention to animal welfare issues. He was also an Ambassador of Hope for homeless animals until his death due to cancer in 2007. Amigo has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN, and received the Ambassador of Goodwill and Hollywood Life Breakthrough of the Year 2007 awards. In 2009, he was one of four potcake dogs honoured in a series of commemorative stamps.
Potcake dogs Daisy and Dusty, born in Providenciales and owned by Andy LoCascio, are trained to locate fish through scent on the water and distant cries of feeding sea birds. They have been featured on television and in magazines, including Northeast Boating Magazine.
- Fielding, Mather & Isaacs (2005).
- "What is a Potcake?". Turks and Caicos Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- (Fielding. Mather & Isaacs, 2005)
- Quasha, Jennifer (4 April 2011). "Who Knew: A 'Royal Bahamian Potcake' is a Dog, Not a Baked Good". Animal Planet. Discovery Communications, LLC. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- "Breedlist 2011 Feb". Bahamas Kennel Club. February 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- McClure, Rosemary (11 June 2008). "Island bliss—and potcake pups—in the Caribbean". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- Coffey, Laura T. (28 July 2010). "Aww! Your next pet could be a 'potcake pup'". TODAY Pets & Animals (msnbc.com). Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- Fielding, William J.; Jane Mather, Maurice Isaacs (2005). Potcakes: Dog Ownership in New Providence, The Bahamas. Purdue University Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-55753-334-0. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- "On potcake patrol". The Nassau Guardian. 10 December 2003. Retrieved 17 April 2011.[dead link]
- "All About "Amigo"". The Humane Society of Grand Bahama. 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- [dead link]
- "About Amigo". Amigo's Fund. 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Schlichter, Tom (1 October 2009). "A Nose for Fish". Northeast Boating. Retrieved 11 July 2011.