As you would assume from her to-do list and self-appointed title, Bethenny Frankel’s relief work in Puerto Rico does not end with humans — she's also out to help dogs, too. In April, Frankel announced that she rescued two puppies (whom she named Tree and Blanco) along with their parents. Earlier this week, she was thrilled to share that the puppies are disease free, and almost ready to find their forever homes.
What she hasn’t revealed about the pups is what breed (or breeds) they are. Looking at their long faces and smooth coats, plus knowing that they come from Puerto Rico, we can assume that they are potcake dogs, the predominant breed throughout the islands. In Puerto Rico, these potcake dogs are also often called “satos” (another word for mutt).
Here are eight things to know about this ridiculously cute — and very loyal — breed.
1. Their name comes from a dish.
And no, the dish is not laced with marijuana. Instead, potcake is the congealed rice and pea mixture found at the bottom of a pot that the locals traditionally feed to dogs.
2. The breed’s appearance varies, but potcake dogs share common traits.
Most potcake dogs have smooth coats, cocked ears, and long faces.
3. Potcake dogs have a fascinating history.
Although potcake dogs are a mishmash of breeds, it is believed that they originated from three different types of populations. The first are the dogs that the Arawaks, a group of indigenous peoples native to South America and the Caribbean, kept in their villages. The second are the terriers that arrived on colonial trading ships — their job was to protect cargo from rodents. And the third are the dogs that arrived with Loyalists to the King who fled from North Carolina to the Caribbean during the American Revolutionary War. What a history!
4. Potcakes are real sweethearts!
According to Jane Parker-Rauw, the founder of Potcake Place in the Turks and Caicos, potcake dogs are intelligent, calm, loyal and resilient.
5. They have hardy stomachs.
Because many potcakes are strays, they have hardier stomachs than most other breeds. Generally, they are able to eat foods that would be upsetting to most other breeds.
6. Their looks vary widely.
As a result of a mixed heritage, potcake dogs come in a wide variety of colors. Generally, they weigh between 45 and 50 pounds, although strays may weigh as little as 25 pounds.
7. Many potcakes are strays.
Because local residents have superstitions against spaying or neutering dogs, many potcake dogs breed freely, leading to overpopulation of the species. Tourists often notice them wandering in packs — but don’t worry, they’re not dangerous! The registered charity Potcake Place tries to find homes so that the poor animals don’t die on the streets — the average age of a stray potcake is three years. To learn more, visit Potcake Place’s website.
8. The most famous potcake was named Amigo.
Amigo was the mascot of the Humane Society of Grand Bahama and the BEKIND Campaign, and appeared on networks including MSNBC and CNN. He passed away from cancer in 2007.
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