Arubian Cunucu

25-40 lbs
16-20"
Aruba

The Arubian Cunucu is a pariah dog that calls the Caribbean island of Aruba home; while not officially recognized as a breed by any association or kennel club, they are well-known to the locals. They are athletic and energetic sighthounds that were said to have hunted alongside the Arawak people who were indigenous to the area. Those who have chosen to share their home with a Cunucu find them to be tolerant, easy to train, and loyal if a little needy on occasion; this is typically true both of canines that were brought into the home as puppies and of adult dogs brought in off of the streets. 

Purpose
Companion
Date of Origin
Unknown
Ancestry
Unknown, possibly Iberian Hound or Portuguese Podengo

Arubian Cunucu Health

Average Size
Male Arubian Cunucu size stats
Height: 16-20 inches Weight: 25-40 lbs
Female Arubian Cunucu size stats
Height: 16-20 inches Weight: 25-40 lbs
Major Concerns
  • None Known
Minor Concerns
  • None Known
Occasional Diagnoses
  • None Known
Occasional Tests
  • Regular Full Physical Examination By Veterinarian

Arubian Cunucu Breed History

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.

Arubian Cunucu Breed Appearance

Due to the unrestricted breeding of the Arubian Cunucu, there can be quite a bit of diversity within the group itself, but the dogs that are referred to as Cunucu dogs are medium-sized dogs, between twenty-five and forty pounds and around a foot and a half tall, and all have a fairly distinct look. They tend to be thin dogs with delicate heads and long muzzles, much like the Iberian Hound and Portuguese Podengo that they are believed to be descended from, and their medium length triangular ears are typically folded down and to the sides. Their eyes are almond shaped and can come in any color, including particolored eyes. These dogs also have long legs and muscular bodies which give them an edge in jumping ability as well as superior maneuverability for hunting lizards among the rocks. They have very short, straight coats suitable for the hot climate of the area which come in many different colors and shades.  

Eye Color Possibilities
blue Arubian Cunucu eyes
Blue
hazel Arubian Cunucu eyes
Hazel
brown Arubian Cunucu eyes
Brown
amber Arubian Cunucu eyes
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
black Arubian Cunucu nose
Black
brown Arubian Cunucu nose
Brown
Coat Color Possibilities
black Arubian Cunucu coat
Black
brown Arubian Cunucu coat
Brown
red Arubian Cunucu coat
Red
blue Arubian Cunucu coat
Blue
pied Arubian Cunucu coat
Pied
fawn Arubian Cunucu coat
Fawn
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Arubian Cunucu straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Arubian Cunucu Breed Maintenance

The short, smooth coat of the Arubian Cunucu typically requires very little maintenance, but weekly brushing with a slicker brush or a grooming glove will help to control shedding and dirt as well as keeping the coat shiny and supple. Dogs who have ears that fold over or hang are more likely than other dogs to get dirt and moisture trapped in their ears, and are therefore more susceptible to ear infections. Checking your dog’s ears regularly and ensuring that they are clean and dry can help to prevent any infections from taking hold. This breed also developed to be well-suited to the tropical climate found in their native land and may not handle the cold as well as other breeds. 

Brushes for Arubian Cunucu
Slicker Brush
Hemostat
Brushing Frequency
Arubian Cunucu requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Arubian Cunucu Temperament

As a rule, the Arubian Cunucu is reported to be a very friendly canine towards people, including children and strangers, and feral dogs of this type that live on the streets of Aruba are known to greet and sometimes even occupy a few days just spending time with accommodating tourists. While these dogs are generally sociable with other dogs, their high prey drive may make them dangerous housemates for cats and small critters, particularly lizards. They are also known as highly intelligent canines, and those who have rescued a Cunucu indicate that they are very easy to train, both as puppies and as adult dogs. They are more emotionally needy than many other pariah dog breeds, and they can get bored or depressed if left home alone for too long, but are also extremely adaptable and can live quite peaceably even in a small apartment as long as they receive enough exercise and attention throughout the day. 

Arubian Cunucu Activity Requirements

These dogs are both energetic and intelligent, requiring both physical activity and mental stimulation on a daily basis to prevent boredom that can lead to distressing and destructive behaviors. Fortunately, these traits combined with their innate agility, speed, and exceptional jumping ability, also make them excellent candidates for a number of different dog sports, including agility training, lure coursing, and flyball. Training sessions should be kept short and encouraging in order to avoid tedium and get the best results. While Arubian Cunucu dogs do quite well in apartments if they are given plenty of affection and exercise throughout the day, they are generally too friendly to make a particularly good guard or watchdogs. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Arubian Cunucu Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Arubian Cunucu Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Arubian Cunucu size stats at six months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 24.5 lbs
Female Arubian Cunucu size stats at six months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 24.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Arubian Cunucu size stats at 12 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs
Female Arubian Cunucu size stats at 12 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Arubian Cunucu size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs
Female Arubian Cunucu size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 32.5 lbs

Arubian Cunucu Owner Experiences

Zeus
8 Months
4 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Zeus was adopted in Aruba February, 2021. He’s always been food aggressive and will begin training in August. He was neutered at 6 months, but he’s still quite aggressive and continues growling and biting, not sure if it’s because he is extremely anxious 😬. He doesn’t do well with other dogs or people, and tries to chase cars. Wish us luck!!
1 week, 1 day ago
Xander
3 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
petting
snuggling
Tug-of-war
He’s the sweetest, cutest thing! Loves to have a quick run outside then come in to snuggle up with someone under the covers!
1 year, 9 months ago
Mikey & Chess
7 Years
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking,
training
Hiking
Cuddling
taking naps
Cunucu dogs are truly amazing! We have adopted 2 of them from Aruba and they are highly affectionate, very good with people, good with most other dogs, smart, funny and looove to cuddle. Also they sleep as long as we do so we can enjoy sleeping through the morning in the weekends! They do like to hunt, so if they pick up a sound or a smell they might follow it and momentarily forget about you, but eventually they always come back! They can be a bit shy at first when just picked up from the streets but learn to trust you in no time and have so much love to give! These are our first dogs and the experience is amazing. They became our best friends
2 years, 5 months ago
LUNA
3 Years
4 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I LOVE THESE DOGS THEY ARE THE BEST FAMILY DOG
2 years, 3 months ago
Fuego
4 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We adopted Fuego from a wonderful organization in Aruba called sgtpeppersfriends. He is so loving, smart, attentive, cuddly and an overall wonderful dog that gets better every day!
2 years, 3 months ago
Valentine
7 Months
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We love her, she joined our family on Valentine's day hence the name. Great with kids great with our two cats we would live to have another one. Very easy to train
2 years ago
Reese
5 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Running
Our cunucu is amazing, she loves all people but timid around other dogs besides her siblings. Super easy to train, one of the smartest dogs we have had.
1 year, 10 months ago
Zoey
6 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
She was very friendly to strangers and other animals first few years then she became a guard dog and we have no idea why. We try to train her not to bark wildly and chase but she just won’t listen she goes into a zone. I am asking vet about anxiety meds. Other than that she is the perfect dog.
1 month, 2 weeks ago
Fenway
4 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fenway is the first dog I have ever had. I can’t imagine a more loving dog. This puppy makes us laugh all day long and is the perfect family pet and we are enjoying him so much ❤️❤️
1 year, 6 months ago
Kaia
5 Years
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch, cliff climbing, chasing
Cunucus are hands down the easiest and best dogs I've ever owned. Kaia basically trained herself- shes extremely intelligent. She is quite friendly, though wary of strangers. Because of the wonderful experience we had rescuing Kaia, we decided to get another Cunucu puppy and she is just as sweet and smart and athletic as her sister. These dogs are also very pretty. Kaia looks regal and has a natural winged eye-liner look. All red-brown with caramel eyes. Grace is more brindle with an obvious GSD or Malinois in her recent lineage. They both retained their coconut floppy ears, webbed toes, and curved tails.
1 year, 6 months ago
Madi
11 Months
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Dog Parks
Play keep away
Walk
Run
Playing in the snow
I am amazed at how quickly she learns and that she seems to understand when I ask her to do something in conversational fashion (vs. a 'command') & she does it?!!
1 year, 4 months ago
Millie
2 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
“Aware” is the first word that comes to mind. I’ve never met a more intelligent, conscious, emotional dog in my life. I almost feel like I have a daughter. She gets me. When I cry, she licks my tears, when I don’t want her going somewhere, she stops and comes back. She knows when I’m doing certain things or saying certain things, exactly what they mean. It’s incredible and definitely unusual to have a companion who just gets you like this. On top of that, she could be in dog races for catching balls and keeps me on my feet most of the day. She is full of emotional support and comfort but also brings so much joy to whoever she meets. The perfect breed for anyone really. Oh, and she doesn’t stop cuddling - she sleeps by my side, quite literally, and needs to rest her head on me any chance she gets. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
1 year, 2 months ago
Jive
6 Months
4 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We also adopted Jive from Sergeant peppers in aruba. He is just the right size and has been so much fun for our family. We love him!
1 year, 1 month ago
Tukka
8 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking
Tukka is super cute!! Fell in love with him from the start!!
1 year, 1 month ago
Nikki
1 Year
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Dog Parks
Catch treats
Walk
Eating Snacks
Fetch
Most lovable pups ever!
11 months, 1 week ago
Nala
4 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Awesome. She loves to snuggle at night, but has a lot of energy during the day.
8 months ago
Bruin
4 Months
4 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Tug-of-war
Running
Bruin is still a puppy but he is so smart. He is learning commands very quickly and is learning to follow directions. He does have a lot of energy but also when tired loves to cuddle.
7 months, 3 weeks ago
Rocko
2 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
when we adopted him we thought he was a German Shepard lab mix but he had a curly tail like no other we've ever seen, until we went to the dog park and found a dog just like him and asked the owner everything he knew about them. We did some research ourselves and were set on his breed, we love him so much and hope we have him long enough to fulfill our enjoyment
6 months, 1 week ago
Quill
5 Months
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Tug of war
We recently adopted our puppy and were quite curious of his breed. As soon as we found images for the Arubian Cunucu, our search was over! He's almost too playful at times with our children but he's come a long way in the few weeks we've had him home. He doesn't walk well on a leash yet and pulls constantly to the point of strain and he doesn't like any member of our household to leave and will whine. However, he has stopped jumping and biting our shirts to the point of putting holes in our items so I know he's coming along nicely. We've taught him three commands and he's doing great in that regard.
5 months, 3 weeks ago
SILVIO
5 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Chase
Hunt
sleep
My Dad used to live in Aruba and one day while I was visiting a stray dog came up to me. He was so sweet and friendly. I gave him some water and expected him to leave but he didn't. We ended up getting him to the vet as a neuter and release but we just couldn't release. He is the sweetest dog ever! Fast forward >5 years later and now he's back in the US. He loves chasing squirrels and wild turkeys, he's always on the hunt! He's smart, just very stubborn, very strong too for a little guy- all muscle haha. Loves everyone he meets, the Cunucu is really such a great dog.
3 months, 3 weeks ago
Bini
1 Year
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Wonderful. Best dog ever
2 months, 3 weeks ago
Kolt
12 Weeks
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Fetch
Tug of war
Kolt is an amazing boy who is very playful and kind with other dogs and very gentle with my family. He doesn’t like being alone and follows me around everywhere I go.
2 months, 1 week ago
Hazel
2 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We found Hazel in VT. She had been rescued froma high kill shelter in SC. She is so pretty, smart, protective, and sweet!
2 months ago
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Question - My pet
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We adopted Lila from Aruba three months ago. She is a love. Over the past few days her eyes have been very red. Now she is secreting yellowish green discharge. It appears like conjunctivitis. Thoughts? Is this common in cununco dogs?

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Question - Behavior
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Aruban Cunucu dogs - do they generally bark a lot?

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What size sweater should I get for my conocu puppy?

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