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Podenco Canario

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

The Podenco Canario is a medium sized dog breed from the Canary Islands, Spanish islands near Africa. It is also known as the Canary Islands Hound, Canarian Warren Hound and the Canarian Hound. It is an ancient dog that while its origins are Spanish, there are some traces that go back to Ancient Egypt. Canario refers to where it comes from and Pedenco means hound. It has a life span of 11 to 13 years and was used mainly to hunt rabbit but was also used in pack hunting. Today it is both a good hunting dog and a good family companion.

The Podenco Canario at a Glance
Name Podenco Canario
Other names Canary Islands Warren Hound, Canarian Warren Hound, Canary Islands Hound, Canarian Hound
Nicknames PC
Origin Spain
Average size Medium
Average weight 44 to 55 pounds
Average height 21 to 25 inches
Life span 11 to 13 years
Coat type Short, dense, shiny
Hypoallergenic No
Color Brown may have white markings or not
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence High
Tolerance to heat Very good to excellent
Tolerance to cold Good
Shedding Average – will be some hair around the home
Drooling Low to moderate – not especially prone to it
Obesity Moderate – not especially prone but measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Moderate to average – brush once or twice a week
Barking Rare – considered a quiet dog
Exercise needs High – needs active owners
Trainability Moderate – experience helps
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Moderate – requires experienced owner
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Moderate with socialization, has a high prey drive
Good with strangers Good but wary – requires training and socialization
Good apartment dog No – needs space and a yard
Handles alone time well Moderate – short periods perhaps but nothing long
Health issues Fairly healthy but some issues include Testicular/ovotesticular disorder, hip dysplasia and ear infections
Medical expenses $460 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $140 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $220 a year for toys, basic training, miscellaneous items and license
Average annual expenses $820 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,000
Rescue organizations None breed specific, check local rescues and shelters
Biting Statistics None reported

The Podenco Canario’s Beginnings

The Podenco Canario is an ancient breed and while it only seemed to be around in the Canary Islands about 500 years ago, it may have been around for several thousands of years, possibly from Egypt. Ancestors of the breed were spread along the coastal areas on the Iberian Peninsula and were likely brought over by merchants to the Canary Islands and that is where it developed. It was used to hunt game, especially small prey like rabbit and was also often used in packs. It was especially established on the larger Canary Island, Tenerife.

Rabbit were seen as pests on the islands so rabbit hunting with this dog was a form of pest control and also a popular sport enjoyed by the islanders. In reality the hunting did not actually affect the rabbit population that much! Hunting seasons came to be organized so that less damage was done to the farm land but this had an unfortunate effect of leasing to a lot of people seeing the dog as something to get for hunting season and then abandon when that was done. Dogs were mistreated, kept in poor conditions, starved and abandoned.

New Lease on Life

The problem of mistreatment is still one that happens today. It was recognized by the Spanish Kennel Club (RSCE) and has also been recognized by the FCI as a primitive type hunting dog. The UKC in America has also given it recognition in the group of sighthound and pariah but the AKC has yet to do so. Apart from in the Canary Islands it is a rare breed.

The Dog You See Today

The Podenco Canario is a medium sized dog weighing 44 to 55 pounds and standing 21 to 25 inches tall. It is a lean, slender but sturdy and muscular dog, you can see the rib cage because there are very few fat layers if any. Females tend to be smaller than males. It has a long neck and long tail. The tail is set low and when it moves is usually not held too high. It has a head that is less wide and more elongated and ears that held up and are large. The coat is dense and short in fact there is very little fur on them. Common colors are red, white or a combination of the two and brown. There should not be any other coloration on the dog.

The Inner Podenco Canario


This dog is a calm and quiet breed that with the right care is gentle, affectionate but also very energetic and playful. It does not often bark but will do so to alert you to a stranger or intruder so makes a good watchdog. It can form close attachments to its family and it is a smart dog so needs lots of activity and mental challenge or it can become destructive, hyper active and sometimes boredom can also lead to increased aggression. Around strangers it is more reserved but should not be aggressive with the right training and socialization.

Without stability, socialization and training some of these dogs can be nervous and that can make them act in an agitated manner. It likes to have a role to play or a job and is best kept by owners who will hunt with it as that is what it was bred to do. It is a friendly dog with socialization but is best with experienced owners not new ones. It also prefers not to be alone for long periods of time.

Living with a Podenco Canario

What will training look like?

It is a trainable dog despite the tendency towards being high strung, it just needs the right approach. It is moderately difficult so experience is needed and the owner needs to be a strong, confident and clear but also gentle and positive in the approach. It needs to know you are the leader and you need to be consistent with it but also kind. It can be stubborn as it does have an independent side so keep sessions interesting, short and frequent! Make sure you also start socialization early and it is done well. Let it learn how to deal with various places, sounds, people, animals and so on.

How active is the Podenco Canario?

As already mentioned this is absolutely an active dog and needs to be kept by active owners. If it does not get out to hunt then it needs two long good walks, it can also join you for a jog, hike or such with some training. It should be on a leash as it will run after what it sees as prey and it does not usually respond to being called back. It is not an apartment dog and it needs space and a large yard. It also needs plenty of mental stimulation to keep its mind active and fend of boredom. If it does not get it from the usual way make sure it gets safe off leash time where it can run free. Be ready though as it is fast and it has a lot of stamina!

Caring for the Podenco Canario

Grooming needs

The Podenco Canario is quite easy to look after, it does shed an average amount but remember it does not have a lot of fur so there will likely be a small amount of hair to deal with. Brush it once or twice a week with and give it regular rub down especially after a lot of physical exercise. A rub with a chamois keeps the coat looking shiny. Avoid giving too many baths too often and close together as that can damage the natural oils and the skin will dry out. Proper baths with a dog shampoo should just be done when needed.

Its ears need to be examined for infection and cleaned weekly. Use a damp cloth or dog ear cleanser, and do not insert anything into them. Cut the nails when they get too long being careful not to cut too far down. That would likely nick blood vessels and nerves that will lead to pain for the dog and a surprising amount of bleeding. Check its feet after it has been hunting for injuries or burs. Then its teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week. You can get proper canine toothbrushes and toothpaste from most pet stores.

Feeding Time

The Podenco Canario needs to eat a good or better quality dry dog food and the daily amount needed is likely to range between 2½ to 3½ cups. The amount can vary because of things like age, activity level, size, health and metabolism. Make sure it has water and that it is kept as fresh as you can.

How is the Podenco Canario with children and other animals?

The Podenco Canario when it gets good socialization is good with children especially when raised with them too. Both have lots og energy and playfulness and that can make a great match, giving each other a buddy to run and play with. It is affectionate too with them. However it does not like rough play and may snap or retreat depending on its socialization and training if a child goes too far. Make sure you teach children how to touch, approach and play nicely with dogs and supervise young children. It has a high prey drive so is not the best dog to have in homes with small prey like animals! This is also not a dog aggressive breed and should get on well with other dogs with socialization.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Podenco Canario is fairly healthy but a few issues can include testicular/ovotesticular disorder, hip dysplasia, ear infections and eye problems. Its life span is 11 to 13 years.

Biting Statistics

Reports of dogs that have attacked people and done bodily harm over the last 3 to 4 decades in the US and Canada, do not mention the Podenco Canario. This is not surprising though since their numbers in that area are so low. Make sure you socialize it very well, train it to at least basic obedience level, look after and give enough attention and especially exercise and give it mental stimulation. This can lessen the chances of an incident though never completely eradicate them.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Podenco Canario puppy can cost a couple thousand dollars from a top breeder if you are wanting to have your dog compete in sporting events or dog shows. For a puppy from an experienced pet quality breeder that price is a little lower at around $1000. Be prepared to spend some time looking for a breeder you are happy with, and anywhere other than where it comes from, that can be tricky as there are far fewer breeders there. This is not a good reason though to turn to unsavory people and breeders from places like Always use a trusted source when you are looking for a new pet, avoid places like pet stores, back yard breeders or puppy mills. Another option if you are more flexible on whether it is a purebred and its breed is to check out rescues and shelters. Adoption costs about $50 to $400.

The price of your puppy is of course your main initial cost but there are some other things to pay for once the dog is coming home. Some things it needs like food bowls, bedding, a crate, collar and leash and carrier for around $210. Then also some medical and health needs like a physical check up, shots, deworming, micro chipping, spaying or neutering and blood tests will come to about $270.

Annual costs are another aspect of the cost of pet ownership. $220 a year will cover basic training, license, miscellaneous items and toys. $140 or so will be for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats. Then another $460 will cover basic health care like flea and tick prevention, shots and check ups and then canine health insurance. This gives a total annual estimated at $820.


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The Podenco Canario has had some difficulties in its homeland with its mistreatment and neglect when it is not hunting season. It can be skittish so socialization and training are important. It needs an owner who will either hunt with it, or be active with it and give it mental challenge too. It can get along with kids so can be a family companion when not out hunting, but that high prey drive means its best in a home without other non-canine pets. It can be very committed and dedicated to its owner and family, it has a playful side and it can also be very affectionate.

Featured Image Credit: Marcelino Pozo Ruiz, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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