Roof Dogs

In Mexico, there’s little worry about snow removal, so  many houses have flat roofs.The flat roof provides a place to put the water tank, and sometimes a propane tank.

Tanks on the roof

Tanks on the roof

Sometimes the flat roofs provide a patio to sit on, sometimes a place to hang the laundry, and sometimes a place to store old stoves and washing machines.

Washing machines, ranges, all sorts of appliances

Appliance storage

Two young girls dance to disco music playing in the town square below their house. I worried about the maze of electric wires attached near the corner of the rooftop.

Watch out for the wires!

Watch out for the wires!

Naturally there must be access to the roof  and this makes the house vulnerable to break-ins from above. The obvious place for a guard dog, then, is on the roof.


The dogs certainly do their job, barking at every passer-by and possible intruder. Often they don’t have much human contact and are left on the roof for long periods of time. It’s easily possible that they are forgotten and not fed or given water regularly.


Often, one will bark and set off another dog some distance away. Then another barks and another and another until the whole dog-neighbourhood is barking and howling.

When the constant barking gets too annoying, it’s not unusual to hear a human voice shouting  in the middle of the night for the dogs to shut up.


It’s sad that many of these roof dogs (perros de techo, as they’re called) learn to become aggressive and belligerent. The chow and his buddies pictured above were quite intimidating every time I walked by their house on my way into town.

On the other side of town, a completely different kind of dog had the run of the roof. It looked to me to be a kind of schnauzer and was more inquisitive than aggressive.

Who goes there?

I can’t see you very well, but I know you’re there.

Down below at street level the shop owner had another dog that might have been a real biter. He had him tied up with a chain and although he was skinny, he looked very tough.



Andy was fast asleep.

Andy was fast asleep.

And then there was Andy. He was fast asleep on his mat on the countertop at a small hotel lobby. The lady who owned him said to my husband, “This is Andy. Go ahead. You can pet him if you want.”  He wasn’t moving except that we could see his chest slowly rising and falling. Finally my husband reached over to pet Andy and the woman couldn’t contain her laughter anymore. Andy was a stuffed cloth dog with a battery inside to make his chest go up and down.

The whole town seemed to be going to the dogs.

36 thoughts on “Roof Dogs

  1. I love the dogs.. but worry about their feeding, although none really look as bad as some we have running around in search of food in this Country…
    As for the door guard.. now that took some imagination when a branch was collected.. I love it… specially chained, “beware” he seems to be saying…


  2. Never heard of roof-dogs before, but I see what you mean. And feel sorry for the many guard dogs around the world. Lack of human contact is abuse for dogs, who should live with their pack. Even if guarding should be necessary.


    • I felt really sorry for those roof dogs, but then I felt sorry for most dogs in Mexico. I think it’s not only Mexico though. Animals are mistreated in so many parts of the world. It’s heartbreaking to think about.


  3. Love this! It reminds me of Agatha Christie’s “They came to Baghdad”…Our heroine has to escape from a small town in the night…and all of the dogs bark as she slinks down the little streets and out to the desert….love all over the images of the dogs, I think that Chow would scare me a lot…I’d be afraid it would jump right off the roof and onto my head!


  4. I thought Andy looked like a stuffed dog until you said he was breathing. Turns out, he was stuffed after all. Looks like Andy also got treated better than those rooftop dogs. It breaks my heart, but I know that dogs are not treated well in many other countries. At least those dogs on the roof, looked like they were getting fed, because they didn’t look skinny. Thanks for sharing.


  5. That’s exactly what I thought when I first saw him. It was the breathing that got me wondering. I agree about the treatment of the dogs, but there’s a movement beginning to try to change the way animals are treated in Mexico and many other countries.


  6. At least the rooftop dogs aren’t chained. They would have a bit of space for exercise, and a view appealing to a dog. When I first read of the Pariah dogs on the streets of Mexico I didn’t know they were a specific breed. It seemed like a title applied by some sympathetic person to both announce the plight of outcast dogs and to bind them together for some sort of comfort by classification.


    • I didn’t know there was a breed called pariah dogs. I looked it up in Wikipedia after reading your comment and found out that all pariah dogs are feral, but not all feral dogs are pariahs in the genetic sense. I saw pictures of them and they look a bit like the two short-haired ones in the first photo – the ones with the chow. Apparently there is concern that the breed could die out from interbreeding with domestic dogs. I think this is a VERY gray area.
      Anyway, thanks for making that point and enlightening me about this breed.


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