The Spanish sighthound Galgo Espanol is one of the best-known representatives of the hunting dog group. It’s fast enough to reel in the healthy game at full speed. In Spain, it is still used today for dog races – unfortunately to the detriment of the animals because they are mercilessly “sorted out” when their athletic performance decreases. We show how you can help dogs of the breed and find a puppy for your home.
The Sleek Hare Hunter
All greyhounds appear quite long and have a long head, the skull just merging into the muzzle. The torso is narrow, with a pronounced chest and a strongly tucked-up abdominal line. Compared to other sighthounds such as the greyhound, the galgo is a bit more delicate and therefore slower to sprint, but it is very enduring and agile in the field.
Height and weight
- Males reach a height at the withers of 62 to 70 cm.
- Bitches reach a height at the withers of 60 to 68 cm.
- A specific weight is not specified. Most dogs weigh between 20 and 29 kilograms.
The Spanish Greyhound from head to tail
- The galgo’s skull is very long and narrow, with a slightly longer muzzle. The eyebrow area is rather flat and the stop is only slightly pronounced. A pronounced furrow is visible from the forehead to the muzzle.
- The nose is small and should always be pigmented black, as should the lips, which are very dry and tight.
- The eyes are small and almond-shaped. Other sighthound breeds have a more piercing gaze, while the galgo has a more shy expression.
- The folded rose ears are slightly higher than the eyes and slightly stand up when alert and lie back when resting.
- The neck is long and strong, widening from the nape of the neck to the base. It merges into the slender body described as “rectangular”. The upper profile line is concave and merges into a convex loin section. The croup is sloping and the ribs are visible in the shorthair.
- The tail is a distinctive feature of the galgo: it reaches beyond the hock joint, is strong at the base, and sharply tapers. At rest, the tail is carried in a crescent shape with a hook running to the side at the tip. It hangs almost to the ground between the hind legs.
- They have bunny feet with long toes. The front and hind legs are long, straight, and very muscular. The Achilles tendons are clearly visible on the hind legs.
Two coat variants of the galgo
The rigid fur of the rough-haired cat grows up to 10 cm long. Length and structure are different for each dog. However, almost all rough-haired people develop distinctive eyebrows, a bushy beard, and a longer mop of hair.
The fur of the shorthair is very dense and soft. This variety has no undercoat and freezes easily in sub-zero temperatures.
The Story of the Long-Legged Spaniard
The Galgo Español has been kept for thousands of years on the Iberian Peninsula for hunting and as a racing dog. Even before the Romans, it conquered what is now Spain and adapted perfectly to the weather conditions there. It is thought to be originally descended from the North African Sloughi, whose ancestors are also depicted on ancient Egyptian tombs. The English greyhound is a descendant of the galgo and is therefore similarly quick and agile.
The sad fate of greyhounds in Spain
In Spain, the Galgo Español is often kept in the country and is still used today for hunting rabbits. So-called Salguero’s practice is a cruel popular sport there, about which animal welfare organizations such as SOS Galgo report in detail. In Spain, the animals are trained for annual hunts and “disposed of” by the thousands after each season, sometimes with the cruelest means. German organizations mediate some of these mistreated galgos in need and thus save them from an early death.
The Gentle Nature of the Galgo Español
The breed’s hunting instinct remains active even with good socialization – the sight of a fleeing rabbit is too tempting for them. The four-legged friends are rather reserved compared to other greyhound breeds. In the house, they behave calmly, but in action, they are very lively and persistent. If you adopt a galgo from an animal rescue service, you should first find out exactly how to deal with so-called fear dogs.
Characteristics of the breed at a glance
- Intelligent and easy to train.
- Sensitive to harsh behavior.
- Reserved towards strangers (human and animal).
- Affectionate loves cuddles.
- Active outside, calm inside.
- Meets other dogs in a reserved to the indifferent manner, but gets along well with other dogs.