Caribbean Critters: Potcake Dogs of Turks and Caicos
In early 2016, I launched the Margaritaville Blog and newsletter, Postcards from Margaritaville, for Margaritaville.com. As is my style, I wrote many of the early posts as examples of what their content approach and voice should be: light, fun and worthy of being shared from a barstool while sipping a margarita. This is the inaugural post for the Caribbean Critters franchise.
When we first heard about Potcake dogs, our first thought was puppies! Potcake puppies. And that led to an inevitable discussion of where we could find these adorable critters. Local toy store? Amazon exclusive? You get the drift.
But we were wrong. These canines are indigenous to Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas. They get their amazing name from the Bahamian term for the congealed rice and peas mixture from the bottom of cooking pots that locals fed the island dogs. Hence Potcake dogs.
The history of this unique breed stems from the blend of dogs introduced to the islands. Start with the pups of the Arawak (who brought us the hammock — the Arawak, not the pups), throw in some tall-ship terriers, and a pinch of Loyalist Tory dogs (the dogs, not the Tories) from the American Revolution, and you get a sense of their heritage. With more breeds arriving since then, you’ll understand why some folks toss around the phrase “potcake dynamic.”
Despite the mixed breed, Potcake dogs are recognized as a dog breed in both Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas, though the Bahamians prefer the term Royal Bahamian Potcake. If you ask us, Potcake dog is good enough for us.
Although their appearances vary, Potcake dogs generally have smooth coats, cocked ears, and long faces. And long faces won’t work on us. Even if they are adorable.
Sadly, overpopulation of these dogs has led to some heartbreaking conditions. Homeless Potcakes and, well, things we won’t talk about because they’ve already tugged on our heartstrings.
But there is good news on that front. In 2005, Turks and Caicos-based rescue organization Potcake Place became a registered charity. And after running out of families to adopt to on the local islands, volunteers started connecting with potential adopters through the Potcake Place website (www.potcakeplace.com) and Facebook page. Puppies are vaccinated and sent on airlifts free of charge to adopters.
There is no charge for the pups, but they do ask for and appreciate a donation that will help cover vaccines and allow them to bring more pups into care. Additionally, the airlines charge anywhere between $60 and $200 USD for the pup to travel in the cabin once a volunteer courier has been found to bring your Potcake pup to your local airport.
How cool is that? Looks like someone around here might be getting a Potcake puppy as an office dog. And those long faces have nothing to do with it.
Now to see if there’s anything to that Potcake cat rumor…