By Dr. Watuwa JamesDr. James Watuwa Last updated: 27th November 2023

Sato Dog

The Sato refers to a variety of small to medium-sized stray dogs found in Puerto Rican streets. Satos are similar in appearance to small Pointers or Terriers, characterized by a long muzzle, large ears, short legs, and a curved tail. Claimed by many animal rights groups to have been neglected and sometimes abused, these free-ranging dogs are also known to make excellent family pets. Unlike other feral dogs, the Satos have a small territory, and some individuals are always in contact with humans.

Sato Dog Pictures

Quick Information

CoatThick, short, coarse
ColorAll colors are possible, brown, white, black and tan
Breed TypeMixed Breed
CategoryFeral Dog, Street Dog
Lifespan10-12 years
Weight10-40 lb
Height9-18 in
TemperamentAffectionate, loyal, intelligent
Good with ChildrenRequires supervision
Country Originated inPuerto Rico
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationNot recognized by major registries or kennel clubs

Puerto Rican Sato Dog Video


Although its origin is unknown, it is thought to have evolved from hunting and working dogs imported to Puerto Rico. Over the years, the local people neglected them as they could not afford to keep the breeds, often dumping them at a spot called the “Dead Dog Beach” or the Sato Beach. Also, the lack of spaying or neutering resulted in uncontrolled breeding, increasing their numbers in Puerto Rico.

Today, many rescue projects including the SATO project work in Puerto Rico that help the dogs by taking them to shelters. There they receive medical checkups and are given food, medicines, and vaccines. Once they are spayed or neutered, the animals are taken to the adoption team for helping them find a home.

Temperament and Behavior

The personality of your Sato dog will depend on its ancestry or background. Since a Sato is a free-ranging dog that usually spends time in a shelter before adoption, it will take time to get used to living in an apartment.

If your Sato was severely abused, it will probably be shy and nervous in the beginning and will move away or hide at the sight of an approaching stranger. A rehomed Sato may suffer from separation anxiety, which will cause distress every time you are away.

Food aggression is also developed in dogs that were starved or fed irregularly. Some dogs may become stubborn and dominant while others might have a passive and docile disposition.



It needs a moderate amount of regular activities, including walking and jogging on a leash or playing a game of fetch with a ball or Frisbee.


The Sato dog requires little grooming with an occasional brushing of its coat using a stiff bristled brush. You may bathe your dog with a vet recommended shampoo when its coat is smelly, or it has signs of skin infections like redness and swelling.

Health Problems

It may suffer from common dog health issues like parasitic infections, diarrhea, rabies, dermatitis, and vomiting.


You should be consistently firm and gentle when it comes to training your Sato dog.

After you bring your Sato home, slowly add people to its life. When your family members and friends meet your dog, tell them to speak in a low, encouraging voice and have them offer your dog a treat. Take your dog out on a leash and visit a dog park where it will have the chance to interact and play with other dogs. If your Sato reacts aggressively, move further away and do not go in the park until it is quiet.

Crate Training
Since it is prone to separation anxiety, you need to teach your dog to stay in its crate when left alone. Place a crate in one of the busiest rooms in your home so that it can accept all the normal daily happenings, movements, and noises in the house. Have your dog get used to living in the crate. Feed it in the crate and let it have its favorite bone, which can be used for relieving stress. You may keep some toys filled with treats, as it will help in stimulating and relaxing its mind. When you leave your Sato, do so quietly without providing any cues.


You may feed your Sato a quality dry food rich in essential nutrients. On the other hand, if you want to keep your dog on a raw food diet, provide it with muscle meat, bones, eggs, organ meats like livers and kidneys, fruits like apple, and vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.

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