The origins of the Galgo Espanol are very ancient; this greyhound has been known since Roman times and was probably known even earlier on the Iberian Peninsula. It is thought to be descended from the ancient Asian greyhounds brought by the Moors. This ancient greyhound was the sloughi, which soon mated with local females, giving rise to the current Spanish greyhound, which is also called galgo de la Mancha y Alicante. From the 16th century onwards it was exported in large quantities to other countries such as Ireland and England.
It was immediately used for hunting, given its physical characteristics and speed, especially in hare hunting. In fact, it is able to pick up the trail of the wild animal, chase it, shoot it down and bring it back to the hunter.
Its elegant and aristocratic bearing was much appreciated at the royal court in Spain, where it was bred and kept in moult. It was and still is much used for dog racing.
Searching on the Internet one finds horrible stories about the end they are given, when they are no longer able to run or hunt or that they just did not live up to their master’s expectations. Stories that are hard to digest, as the Spanish also love their pets. But this breed is unfortunately only seen as something to be exploited and when it no longer pays off it is thrown away, like an old and broken object. Their fate is already decided at birth and most of them will never know the warmth of a home, the affection of a person, the comfort of a sofa.
Fortunately, many associations in different countries of the world try to save a few specimens. In fact, there has been a very active international adoption network for several years now, which has made them known and loved outside Spain.
Character of the Galgo Espanol dog breed
The Galgo Espanol has a calm character, not at all aggressive, but very affectionate with his family, while with strangers he is not particularly sociable, however he is always polite. With children he is an excellent playmate, being also very docile and submissive.
He needs to run and go outdoors a lot, and although he is adapted to living in a flat, his ideal place is a large garden where he can spend as much time outdoors as possible. At home, however, especially after a good run, it usually likes to lie down and perhaps sleep on a rug or on the sofa, even for several hours.
It socialises easily with other dogs and also with cats. It is however a dog that needs independence and autonomy, which are appreciable qualities, but it needs good training as its very strong instinct to chase prey leads it not to listen to its owner’s commands. It is therefore important to train him in areas where there is no wildlife and to be sure of this when leaving him off-leash.
Appearance of the Galgo Espanol dog breed
The Galgo Espanol is a medium to large dog; the height for a male is between 62 and 70 centimetres and the weight around 30 kilograms. Females usually a little less. It is classified morphologically as a greyhound type.
Its appearance is longilinear; it has a compact bone structure, a large thoracic capacity, with a very retracted and raised belly and is generally very thin. Its legs are long, very strong and tonic with evident and well-defined muscles; it has runner’s paws, in fact it is capable of very high speeds. Its length is slightly longer than its height.
The tail is very long and supple, broad at the base and attached at the bottom, almost touching the ground.
The head is small and elongated, especially at the nose end, which often has a small hump towards the tip, very sympathetic. The eyes are oblique, small and almond-shaped and generally brown in colour. The ears are attached at the top; they are triangular and thin with a rounded tip and are only worn semi-erect when the dog is alert.
The coat is thick and fine, short and smooth; slightly longer at the back of the thighs. There are many colours, the most common being fawn and brindle, black, cinnamon, red, white, with spots on a white background or with tiger spots on a white background.
There is also a hard-haired variety: in this case it is semi-long and beards and whiskers often appear on the muzzle, eyebrows and a tuft on the head.
Care and health of the Galgo Espanol dog breed
The Galgo Espanol , despite its physique appearing frail, does not suffer from any particular diseases typical of the breed and has a life expectancy of around 12-13 years.
Outside Spain, many of these dogs are found from physically and mentally distressed situations, and should therefore be monitored to avoid pathologies brought on by infections and parasite infestations, sprains or untreated wounds.
Due to its low fat mass and short coat, it suffers greatly from the cold. Therefore he should be kept indoors in winter and go out with a small coat. Heat, on the other hand, is not a problem for him.
He needs to run every day, in which case he certainly does not gain weight; a balanced and controlled diet is sufficient. As for looking after his coat, a brush once a week is enough to keep it nice and shiny. It does not lose much hair even during the moulting period.