Dogo Cubano
Other names
  • Cuban Dog
  • Cuban Bloodhound
  • Cuban Bullmastiff
Breed statusExtinct
NotesRhodesian Ridgeback is the only standardized descendant
Dog (domestic dog)

The Dogo Cubano, also called the Cuban Bloodhound or Cuban Bullmastiff, is an extinct Cuban breed of domestic dog. It was of the dogo sub-type of the bullmastiff dog type, which as a general class was used for bull-baiting[1]: 369  and dog fighting. The variety was introduced in Cuba to capture runaway slaves (cimarrones). After the abolition of slavery, they ceased to exist as a distinct population over time.


They were between a bulldog and a mastiff in size. The muzzle was short, broad, and abruptly truncated. The head was broad and flat, and the lips were deeply pendulous. The medium-sized ears were also partly pendulous, the tail rather short, cylindrical, and turned upwards and forwards towards the tip. They were described as a "rusty wolf-colour", with black face, lips, and legs. They were notable for chasing slaves.[2] It is not known when the dog was considered a specific breed, but by 1803 it is described thus by Robert Dallas: "The animal is the size of a very large hound, with ears erect, which are usually cropped at the points; the nose more pointed, but widening very much towards the after-part of the jaw. His coat, or skin, is much harder than that of most dogs, and so must be the whole structure of the body, as the severe beatings he undergoes in training would kill any other species of dog."[3]


Richard Ansdell, The Hunted Slaves, oil painting, 1861

The Cuban mastiff developed from several breeds of bulldogs, mastiffs and cattle dogs, becoming an ideal fighter and property guardian. It is possible that some specimens of this breed were brought to America, where they were employed as watchdogs. They were also used as slave retrievers by the British during the Second Maroon War, by the French during the Saint-Domingue expedition, as well as the Americans in the Southern States.[3] The British Governor of Jamaica, Alexander Lindsay, 6th Earl of Balcarres, sent emissaries to Havana in early 1795, to purchase 100 animals, after hearing of their successful use by the Spanish in chasing slaves and indigenous people in Cuba.[3] Hundreds of hounds were supplied by Cuban breeders to the French during the Haitian Revolution in 1803.[3]


  1. ^ Desmond Morris (2008). Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. North Pomfret, Vermont: Trafalgar Square. ISBN 9781570764103, pages 369-370.
  2. ^ Jardine, William, Sir, 1800-1874; Smith, Charles Hamilton, 1776-1859 (1840), The natural history of dogs : Canidae or genus Canis of authors ; including also the genera Hyaena and Proteles, Edinburgh: W.H. Lizars, doi:10.5962/BHL.TITLE.39557, OCLC 860931, Wikidata Q51508295((citation)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b c d Tyler D Parry; Charlton W Yingling (1 February 2020). "Slave Hounds and Abolition in the Americas*". Past & Present. 246 (1): 69–108. doi:10.1093/PASTJ/GTZ020. ISSN 0031-2746. Wikidata Q104033551.