What is a Potcake? (I'm so glad you asked!)
"Potcake" is the Bahamian term for the thick, leftover food that remains in the bottom of a pot of peas 'n rice after several reheatings. Traditionally, Bahamians fed potcake to the outdoor, indigenous dogs that freely populated the Bahamas. Hence the dogs have come to be known as Potcakes. They are also referred to as the "Island Dogs."
Although officially considered mixed breed dogs, the Royal Bahamian Potcake is now a recognized breed in The Bahamas. They have distinct characteristics of size and temperament. This is because, until very recently, all island dogs shared the same isolated gene pool. This makes the Potcake an extremely unique species of canine.
Depending on what genes are available on any Bahamian island, Potcakes strongly resemble each other. Some islands’ Potcakes look more like the typical "pariah dog" found in locales such as India and North Africa. Elsewhere, their lines hint at hound, mastiff, spaniel, terrier or retriever ancestors.
Some believe the original Potcakes came to the Bahamas with the Arawak Indians from Central or South America. If so, Potcakes are as close to nature's perfect genotype dog as possible. More recently, in the days of Tall Ships, The Bahamas played a major role in maritime commerce. Early terrier breeds, carried aboard ship to keep provisions safe from rats and mice, probably ended up as shore dogs in places such as Eleuthera, New Providence and Abaco. Add to this genetic soup the distinctive (and still existent) Carolina dog, who came -- primarily to Abaco -- with Loyalist Tories who settled during the Revolutionary War, and you have the basic ingredients of a modern-day Potcake.
As a general rule of thumb, Potcakes have smooth, short fur with little or no undercoat, cocked ears, a hound-like rib cage and long terrier-shaped faces. More rare are shaggy or rough coat Potcakes but they do occur naturally. While the "typical" Potcake is brown, colors range from parti to black, white, cream, yellow and red. Adults stand about 24 inches high at the shoulder. Normal adult weight in the bush is about 35 pounds. Healthy, homed Potcakes can weigh anywhere from 45-55 pounds, depending on bone structure.
Potcakes are very smart and best suited to people who not only understand but also conscientiously practice positive reinforcement training techniques. House training can begin as young as 8 weeks old; paper training and the desire not to soil their nest seems almost instinctual in Potcakes. Caloric intake should be monitored; not only is obesity generally considered unhealthy, it also places undue strain on a Potcake's natural skeletal structure. Socialization – with other companion animals as well as a wide variety of people and situations – should be initiated immediately and continued at least until the dog has reached maturity at about 10 to 12 months.
Potcakes are an excellent choice for someone who wants to share their life with an extremely intelligent, quick witted and bonded companion. They are beautifully graceful runners, intuitively empathetic, and the right match for someone desiring a long-term, interactive relationship with another intelligent species.
Are they perfect dogs? No. Are they for everyone? No, again. They expect you to show leadership qualities and are unhappy and confused by people who presume a puppy will raise itself. Potcakes, ultimately, will always agree with someone they love and trust. But the smartest ones insist on knowing "why" first.
You can adopt your own “Potcake” or simply make a donation to help them by going to www.hs-gb.org.
The Humane Society of Grand Bahama was founded in 1968 to provide safe harbour for the island’s homeless and abused animals. They are the only animal welfare organization on the island, which encompasses 530 square miles and has the Bahamas’ second largest urban area (Freeport). The island’s human population is over 50,000.
They are a private, non-profit charitable organization governed by an active and energetic Board of Directors. They receive no financial support from Government.
Please take a few minutes to browse through their website and learn more about them and their beloved potcakes and potcats!
The Kohn Foundation
566 Meadow Vista Drive
Evergreen, CO 80439
Wild Potcakes litter the beaches of the Bahamian Islands
Two wild Potcakes take a refreshing swim.
Two rescued Potcakes get lucky and are eventually adopted.
Lynda, Faye, Pepper, Casey & Caya, all rescued Potcakes.