The Arubian Cunucu is a type of dog known as a pariah dog; this means that they are not exactly wild dogs, in that they are descended from domestic animals, but most of the dog breeds that are categorized as pariah dogs are free-ranging animals that live on the outskirts of towns and villages. These dogs are essentially feral, and their breeding is unrestricted, but certain groups have developed enough similarities to be called a breed in their own right. The pariah dogs in Aruba were given the name Cunucu, meaning countryside, because that is where they make their homes, and they are believed to be the descendants of Iberian Hounds or Portuguese Podengos that were brought to the islands by the Portuguese as early as the sixteenth century, hounds who later bred with local dogs in the area. The Arawak people were said to have employed Cunucu dogs to help them hunt in the rocky interior terrain of the area, most frequently for hunting large iguana lizards that live there, and may have bred them specifically for their hunting skills. While the status of the Arubian Cunucu as a distinct breed has not yet been made official by an association or kennel club, they are well known on the island of Aruba area of by native islanders and tourists alike, and they have developed a distinct physical appearance and temperament. The first dog in space, Laika, was picked up as a stray in Russia, so there is no way to know her heritage for certain, but many people familiar with the Arubian Cunucu believe she was related to this group of dogs.