Arubian Cunucu

25-40 lbs

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. 

Date of Origin
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
hazel Arubian Cunucu eyes
brown Arubian Cunucu eyes
amber Arubian Cunucu eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Arubian Cunucu nose
brown Arubian Cunucu nose
Coat Color Possibilities
fawn Arubian Cunucu coat
pied Arubian Cunucu coat
blue Arubian Cunucu coat
red Arubian Cunucu coat
brown Arubian Cunucu coat
black Arubian Cunucu coat
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
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 inches Weight: 24 lbs
Female Arubian Cunucu size stats at six months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 24 lbs
12 Months
Male Arubian Cunucu size stats at 12 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 32 lbs
Female Arubian Cunucu size stats at 12 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 32 lbs
18 Months
Male Arubian Cunucu size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 32 lbs
Female Arubian Cunucu size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 32 lbs

Arubian Cunucu Owner Experiences

4 Months
2 People
House & Yard
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!
1 month, 3 weeks ago
3 Years
4 People
2 months ago
Mikey & Chess
7 Years
2 People
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
3 months, 3 weeks ago
Book me a walkiee?
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