Spanish Greyhound (Galgo Español)

Country of origin:
Spain
Height (cm):
60-70
Weight (kg):
25-30
Life span (years):
10-12
Colour:
following colours are considered as the most typical - fawn and more or less dark brindles, black, flecked with black, dark and light, burned chestnut, cinnamon, yellow, red, white
Size:
large
Hair length:
short
Recognized by:
FCI, UKC
FCI code:
285
Intelligence:
Good with kids:
Trainability:
Shedding:
Watchdog:
Adaptability:
Allergy:
No
Pros Cons
  • excellent hunter
  • wonderful companion                    
  • calm
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • doesn't suit for living in a small apartment

Overview
The Spanish Greyhound is an elegant medium-sized dog, which was specifically designed for coursing rabbits and hares. Nowadays it performs at the highest level in lure coursing and racing contests but it’s also highly valued as a companion dog in its native Spain. In spite of the fact that this dog is astoundingly beautiful and equally biddable it hasn’t gained much popularity outside its homeland.

History
The origin of the Spanish Greyhound dates back to IV to VI B.C. when the Iberian Peninsula was inhabited by the Celtic folk. Actually in its homeland it’s called the Galgo Espanol, which is translated as Celtic Dog. Celts had brought to this region their dogs and they consequently and frequently interbred them with their local dogs as well as with the dogs of merchants who traded with the Celtic tribe. However there is another theory as far as the appearance and the age of the breed concerns. It’s speculated that it has been invented long before the Roman era and its progenitors were various types of ancient Asian Greyhounds. In any case, the Spanish Greyhound quickly adjusted for challenging and diverse Spanish terrains.

The Galgo Espanol always had many fanciers among Spanish hunters who appreciated its unparalleled hunting drive. It was also greatly favoured by Spanish aristocracy so packs of Spanish Greyhounds were a fairly common scene for wealthy mansions. The breed specialised in hunting hares and rabbits and was second to none in this occupation. Sadly enough, but many of these dogs were doomed to terrible fate. In the wake of the hunting season a great number of dogs were lost and some were killed for poor performance. It was a very cruel procedure when animals were hanged on trees in such a way that their feet scarcely touched the ground. Trying to escape, they violently scratched the solid surface and eventually perished in torments. This breed deserved the reputation of a sonorous guard dog and took part incredibly successfully in agility competitions, coursing and racing.

From the XVI to the XVIII centuries Spanish Greyhounds were massively brought to other countries. The breed gained special popularity in England and it was used by English breeders in the development of the English Greyhound. However it remains virtually unknown in the United States and wasn’t approved by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the breed in 2006. The Galgo Espanol is eligible to take part in lure coursing competitions through the American Sight hound Field Association. In its native Spain the dog mostly serves as a family dog, good-natured and graceful.

Temperament
One may think that the Spanish Greyhound possesses tumultuous and restless demeanour but nothing could be further from the truth. This dog’s major characteristic is its calm and well-balanced disposition since it usually displays its vigour during a hunt. It’s a highly family-oriented dog, which is prone to form close attachment to its family. This breed is generally all right with children if it got used to their presence since the early age. At the same time too small children are an unsuitable company for this dog because it has very sensitive skin, which can be easily injured by an awkward toddler.

The Spanish Greyhound manifests its natural suspiciousness towards strange people but majority of specimen is rather quick to make friends. The most common communicative problems of the breed are shyness and nervousness but they can be fully eliminated with timely socialisation. Some breed members will make reasonable watchdogs though on the whole the breed lacks essential watchfulness for this work. Also the dog is too sociable and kind to become a good guardian of the house.

Generally speaking the Spanish Greyhound tolerates other canine animals and will appreciate the permanent companionship of one or more dogs. It’s advisable that the dogs get to know each other since an early age especially the recommendation concerns toy-type breeds. The point is that this kind of dogs can be easily mistaken for a prey by the Galgo Espanol. Actually it’s an outstanding hunter with developed hunting drive and as such it poses great threat to other species of animals. Thus it’s possible to keep this dog alongside with a home cat if they have been reared together.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• osteosarcoma;
• toe injuries;
• sensitivity to anaesthesia;
• obesity.

Grooming
The Spanish Greyhound needs insignificant amount of care because of its smooth and short coat. Weekly brushing will be sufficient to keep it in neat and healthy condition. The skin of this dog is very sensitive so be mindful to brush its coat thoroughly but carefully.

The Spanish Greyhound is deprived of specific dog odour, which makes it a rather good choice for allergy suffers. Its owner also shouldn’t neglect such basic procedures as teeth brushing, ears cleaning and nails clipping.

Training
The Galgo Espanol is a remarkably clever dog whose training can be a really easy task provided a proper approach. However, it possesses short memory span so frequent and consistent lessons are a must in a work with this dog. Training sessions should be interesting and short in order to compel its attention.

Some specimens are prone to manifest stubbornness so they will require a patient and committed handler. The Spanish Greyhound responds best to positive reinforcement and food reward. The rude critiques will only induce in this breed wilfulness or resentment.

Exercise
Daily vigorous exercise is essential for the well-being and happiness of the Spanish Greyhound. It should be provided with regular opportunities to run and play in a securely enclosed area. Actually the breed absolutely loves running and it’s notable for supreme endurance in this respect. It will become a grateful companion for a jogger or a cyclist.

At the same the Galgo Espanol behaves laid-back and calm at home and will be happy to laze around on your sofa for long hours. Nonetheless it hates to be caged in a small apartment so optimal environment for this breed will be a home with a spacious and safely fenced yard.
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