Sint Maarten / Saint Martin - Our Island Dog: The Coconut Retriever

Information Pages


. Dear citizens, guests, old and new residents:

dog with coconut
My name is Jordi and I am a Coconut Retriever. You will see many of us over the islands, so please let me introduce my kind to you. The Coconut Retriever (Latin: "Canis Cocotus Ferendus" ) is a pure Caribbean breed, classified as a sportive type, hence his categorization as a retriever. Often known for choosing a coconut tree to give birth, the Coconut Retriever was already known by the Arawaks - the first inhabitants of the Caribbean - for his ability at retrieving and opening coconuts.
The Caribs later took those dogs on their canoes and fishing boats, because they would jump into the water whenever they saw a  coconut floating, probably believing it was a fish. Furthermore, their talent for smelling coconuts at a large distance would give the fishers the certainty to be near to shore. Like the Arawaks in their canoes, the Coconut Retriever is thought to have come to the islands by swimming from the South-American coast, using coconuts as flotation devices. Also pirates and freedom fighters used him to fetch coconuts in enemy territory, and occasionally to dig holes in order to hide the pirate's treasure.
dog with coconut
g  on pillow
The Coconut Retriever is a robust and resistant dog, a survivor under the most difficult circumstances.He can survive for a long time drinking coconut milk. This qualities make him an excellent dog for keeping you company during hurricanes. His ability at smelling out local wrongdoers and his great sense of orientation explain the increasing demand for Coconut Retrievers as police dogs. (My friend Jackson walked the whole way from Orient Bay to Oyster Pond just to come back to me!) When still a puppy, his love for destroying everything laying on the floor - including shoes - makes him an excellent assistant for the cleaning up of house, yard and garden.
The Coconut Retriever has a very  playful, loving and attaching personality, as well as a strong character, what makes him sometimes hard to educate. He will want to use the sofa, bed or chair of his choice. Give in, if you want to watch your TV - program in peace! He also is an excellent guard dog, chasing every other dog he doesn't like from your surroundings. He would only get aggressive towards humans if they throw stones at him. (After all, he is a Coconut, not a stone Retriever!) 
dog in bed
swimming dog with coconut
The Coconut Retriever feels comfortable in every type of surroundings, on top of your bed as well as on the beach, in the car, in town, with a special love for beach bars, since everybody would pet him and give him ribs and pizza. He also loves beer and wine, perfectly blending into the mass of tourists and beach bums.Available in all possible colors and shades, with short, hard or long fur, he usually weights between 20 and 60 pounds. He doesn't need much more than a daily walk, the same food than his owner - no extra cooking! - and the usual care and love you would give to any other dog.
You can find the most loving Coconut Retriever in animal shelters - when there are some - at professional breeders - ask a vet -, or simply under a coconut tree. Adopt one, and maybe your Coconut Retriever will one day win the first prize at the "International Inter-Caribbean Coconut Retriever Exhibition".
dogs on sofa with owner
dog sunbathing
I publish this information, because lots of us are roaming the island in search for a human family, willing to give us love, shelter, decent food and health care. In return, the Coconut Retriever will be your best and trustful friend during his lifetime and never abandon you. I know that many of our guests - tourists, business people, long time or temporary residents - have adopted lots of us and even brought them back to their countries. There are such loving people visiting our islands!  If you don't find that  cute Coconut Retriever on the road or the beach and would like to adopt one, please contactone of the following places, where you will get all necessary help and information:


  • Association"I love my Island Dog":                                                               tel: + 590 690 503 407 (Ursula)
  • Animals R. Friends Foundation:                                                                tel: + 599 556 1191 / 520 7365 / 526 0113
  • Association "Les Quatre Pattes/PAW" or Pawsitive SXM:                                                        
  •                                                               tel.: +590 690 229200 / +599 552 04 07

  • St.Maarten Animal Welfare Foundation Tel: +599 520 88 87
  • ... and a special thanks to Elisabeth Reitz, the doggies guardian angel on the Dutch side. Elisabeth, born in Germany lived in St. Martin since 1975, and died in March 2014 after a long fight against cancer. She dedicated her life on the island to care for stray animals, feeding them daily around the Megaplex movie theater and other places. She had about 70 dogs to whom she gave a home on her property. She was very active in providing necessary services for the unwanted animal population on the island, like spaying and neutering, vaccination and finding a home for them. Every animal lover knew her for her tireless dedication to the unwanted and abandoned "men's best friends". She was honored with the Order of Oranje-Naussau by the Queen of the Netherlands and received many more distinctions for her work. Elisabeth didn't want a funeral service. Instead, her last request was the welfare of the Megaplex dogs and the hope that all groups helping animals on the island will continue her efforts. A donation to any organization on the island that supports animal welfare would honor Elisabeth's memory. Il you can, please contact the above mentioned organizations or contact lifestyle-caribbean and we will help you to do something for our beloved four legged friends, making sure that the animals she helped will not be abandoned again. There are plans now for opening a refuge on the Dutch side of the island.


Important information: The Association "I love my Island Dog" runs a refuge for dogs in Chévrise near the furniture shop "La Péninsule" next to Grand Case on the French side. This was done thanks to the efforts of Ursula Oppikofer, the president, her team, and with the support of the French side government, as well as businesses and private people. At the shelter, homeless dogs are spayed/neutered and given away for adoption.Very often, Ursula saves dogs from the dogpound, where they would otherwise be euthanized. The Association is grateful for any help you can provide, like for instance food and equipment.They also sell books for very cheap in order to buy what they need for the doggies. Many of us wait there in the hope of finding a loving home. Visit us, every afternoon between 4.00 and 6.00 P.M., except on Sundays. You can see our photos and description on the association's website. The refuge is always full and sometimes Ursula doesn't know where to put us. Many of us who ended up at the shelter are now living a happy life in the United States. So, come and visit, we all need a loving home!

dogs in the sea

Dog painting


"Local Dog on Simpson Bay" #2 and #3, painted by Norma Trimborn

Island dog painting

Dogs in front of Cartier shop


Waiting to buy a diamond collar! Actually, with some food, water, shelter and some love, we would be happy too!



Banner cat and dog grooming

dogs and cats










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