The dogs of the aboriginal Canary Islanders

Apparently, in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro, no canine remains from before the conquest have been found, nor is it said that there were dogs on those islands when Jean de Bethencourt and Gadifer de La Salle arrived on their coasts (1402) with a whole troop. In the book Le Canarien (The Canary Islander), 1980 edition, translated and commented by Alexandre Cioranescu, p. 64, version G (Gadifer), referring to Gran Canaria, we read: “They are well provided with animals, namely: pigs, goats and sheep, and some wild dogs that look like wolves, but are smaller”. In the same book, version B (Bethencourt), pp. 165-166, we read: “They are well provided with animals, namely: pigs, goats and sheep, and some wild dogs that look like wolves, but they are small”.

In the first text we read that they are smaller, in the second that they are small, i.e., they were neither large nor medium-sized. And in both cases they say wild dogs, and it does not seem possible to me that the aborigines of Gran Canaria could allow themselves the luxury of letting any dog roam their island attacking livestock. Moreover, it is impossible that, on that island, as on Tenerife, there were wild dogs, in any case feral dogs, and even so the reality does not change. Moreover, the dog, a domestic animal, lives apart from man only in very special circumstances.

Fray Alonso de Espinosa, in his book Historia de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria, p. 114. 114, referring to the dogs that ate the human corpses that had been left on the battlefield after the slaughter of Acentejo, writes: “These dogs were some small zatos or gozques that they called cancha, which the natives bred, and because of the disease they neglected to feed them -the author refers to the plague that was declared as a consequence of the many human corpses that were left scattered around the countryside after the clashes between Guanches and Spaniards-, finding the flesh of dead bodies, they became so enraged by them that they attacked the living and killed them, and thus the natives had the remedy for their misfortune of sleeping on the trees when they walked for fear of the dogs”. And we know of no other references to dogs in the hands of the aboriginal Canary Islanders.

Manuel Curtó Gracia

Manuel Curtó Gracia

Propietario del criadero de Presas Canarios "Irema Curtó" desde 1975. Además de ser el criador de esta raza más antiguo del mundo, y de que sus perros sean la base de gran parte de las líneas de Presa Canario, también es autor del libro "El perro de Presa Canario ,su verdadero origen", del libro "El Presa", colaborador en periódicos, revistas especializadas, documentales, debates, programas de radio, televisión, etc.

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Manuel Curtó Gracia

Manuel Curtó Gracia

Propietario del criadero de Presas Canarios "Irema Curtó" desde 1975. Además de ser el criador de esta raza más antiguo del mundo, y de que sus perros sean la base de gran parte de las líneas de Presa Canario, también es autor del libro "El perro de Presa Canario ,su verdadero origen", del libro "El Presa", colaborador en periódicos, revistas especializadas, documentales, debates, programas de radio, televisión, etc.

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