5 Things to Know About Bahamian Potcakes

Bahamian Potcakes are street dogs located in the Caribbean Islands. These dogs make great pets, and here’s what to know about them.

Jan 1, 2024bySara Payne
things to know about bahamian potcakes

The Bahamian potcake is a unique mixed-breed dog that roams the streets of the Caribbean Islands. These feral dogs can be great pets, and many agencies rescue them.

Bahamian potcakes have lived in the Caribbean Islands for centuries. They are not an official breed, but many of these dogs share similar ancestry and traits. Check out these five facts about Bahamian potcakes to learn about this loving and fun mixed-breed dog.

1. Bahamian Potcakes Get Their Names from Scraps

two dogs stray beach
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In the Caribbean Islands, people call stray, feral dogs potcakes. This strange-sounding name originates from how locals used to feed these strays. After fixing a meal of rice and peas, a traditional favorite, the bottom of their pots would often have caked-on, thick, congealed remnants. People left these coated pots outside to feed the strays. These “potcakes” made up much of what these street dogs ate.

These dogs have lived for generations on the streets. This has allowed these strays to evolve into a breed of feral dog that is resilient and intelligent. They are generally medium-sized, usually clocking in at around 40 to 65 pounds. Yet, some can be smaller or larger dog breeds, depending on their ancestry.

2. Potcakes Live on Islands

stray dog on beach
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The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are the home of Bahamian potcakes. These islands are in the Caribbean Sea, which is south of Florida. For years, potcakes have been a common sight in these areas. You may spot them walking along the beach or exploring local sites.

However, these dogs are not endemic to these islands. Pre-Columbian Lucayan people had barkless hunting dogs that they kept on these islands. Then, as sailors and settlers arrived, they introduced many terrier-like breeds for pest control.

Potcakes have roamed the Bahamas for centuries, interbreeding until they are something completely new. The isolation of the island means that these dogs may interbreed, leading to many potcakes having similar characteristics. Potcakes often have smooth, short coats. They are also known for being great family pets when properly socialized.

3. Bahamian Potcakes Are Mixed Breed Dogs

white stray dog on beach
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Although they are not recognized by organizations like the American Kennel Club, Bahamian potcakes are listed by the Bahamas Kennel Club as a Group 9: non-registered mixed-breed dog. People believe that Bahamian potcakes are a mixture of Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and fox terriers.

Much like modern designer breeds, this mixed-breed dog combines the best of their parent breeds. They have a shepherd-mix look, but since they are a mixed breed, their characteristics can be unpredictable. They often have long faces, smooth coats, and pointed, cocked ears.

These dogs are incredibly hardy. They don’t have sensitive stomachs, and they often dodge some of the common health problems found in dogs. They learn quickly, making training easy. These dogs also get along well with other dogs and children, so they are excellent family pets. However, some deal with separation anxiety—especially if they’ve suffered animal abuse. So, they do best with stimulation, persistent training, and lots of love.

4. Some Locals Consider Potcakes a Nuisance

sickly stray dog
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Unfortunately, there are around 15,000 strays across the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. These dogs often carry parasites such as worms and fleas. Those in bad shape might bark late into the night and dig through garbage, looking for scraps.

Locals consider potcakes a nuisance because they can be loud, get into mischief, and pass along parasites to other pets. Some people mistreat Bahamian potcakes and resort to extreme measures to keep them away from their homes and gardens.

Many local shelters are overrun with these dogs. Their life on the streets can be harsh and starving is a reality. However, owning a stray dog like the Bahamian potcake can be a very enriching experience. Since they are the product of years and years of mixed breeding, often only the best qualities remain.

5. Potcakes Often Travel in Packs

stray puppies
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Oftentimes, Bahamian potcakes travel in packs with other dogs from their litter. They aren’t typically aggressive, but they may scrap with other dogs over territory and resources. Sometimes mismanaged guard dogs, such as rottweilers and pit bulls will mate with potcakes, and their offspring can be prone to aggression.

Potcakes are homeless, so they are not fixed. That means they continue to have multiple litters of puppies throughout their sexually mature life. Females can have around two liters per year with an average of five to six puppies per litter. This means that these hardy dogs become overpopulated quickly. Tourists and locals often see these dogs exploring. They often turn up in people’s backyards or on construction sites searching for shelter and food.

Although the plight of these feral dogs may seem sad, many organizations offer opportunities for people to foster and adopt these loveable and resilient dogs. These organizations also work to socialize these feral dogs with tourists.

Special Considerations With Bahamian Potcakes

1280px Royal_Bahamian_Potcake_dog
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you want to bring one of these island street dogs into your home, you’re in for a treat. As noted, these dogs can be loyal, affectionate companions that forge strong bonds. Yet, there are some special considerations when expanding your furry family. Some things to know about adopting one of these dogs include:

  • They may need help being housebroken (since they are used to relieving themselves outside).
  • They generally do well with other dogs, but supervision is always a good idea when making first-time introductions.
  • Like all dog breeds, Bahamian potcakes need a healthy diet that’s rich in protein and free of fillers, like corn and wheat.

Bahamian Potcakes Make Good Pets

stray dog profile
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As noted, Bahamian potcakes are the feral, street dogs in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. They are resilient, loving, and intelligent dogs with medium builds. Although some traits may vary, these adorable mixed-breed dogs deserve loving homes.

Organizations both in the Caribbean and in the U.S. and other countries work to socialize these dogs and find them their forever homes. Having a street dog in your home can have many benefits, and if you are looking for a pet to join your family, the Bahamian potcake may be just what you are looking for.

Sara Payne
bySara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.