Spanish Hound (Sabueso Español)
The Spanish Hound (Sabueso Español) is a sturdy, talented and courageous hunting dog, which was bred in Spain in the late Middle Ages. Thanks to its unsurpassed hunting skills it earned loyal following among hunters in its native land but it remains barely known in the rest of the world. Deep and careful socialisation bears the outmost importance for this breed if you want to keep it as a family pet.
The first descriptions of the Spanish Hound were made in hunting-related literature in the XIV century. For example, Alfonso IX, King of Castile gave high praise to this supreme scent hound in his book «Libro de la Monteria» (Book of Hunt). It was considered that the dog was initially bred in France and ancient tribes, which dwelled in its central part, granted it with the name Chien Courant Espagnol (Spanish Running Dog).
Due to the breeds’ ancient origin its ancestries is impossible to determine with any amount of certainty. It’s highly likely that the Spanish Hound sprang directly from the Canis Segusius that the Gauls imported to the Iberian Peninsula. Nonetheless this dog has all attributes of a true mastiff, including solid physique, bulky head, dewlaps and big floppy ears. So it’s also marginally possible that the St. Hubert type of hound played the major role in its development.
The Spanish Hound has inborn predisposition to hunt. It was treasured by Spanish hunters for its ability to quarry both small and big game although it was especially proficient in hunting hare. It could perform its duties in a pack as well as individually. Its acute scent made the dog also useful in tracking wounded prey. This breed could effectively inform its hunter about its current trailing situation with different modulations of its voice. Nowadays it became a popular police dog that is used in drugs and bombs detection.
For several centuries the breeding practises of Spanish Hound were flawless but in later years it was uncontrollably crossed with various French breeds as well as other types of hunting dogs. After the Spanish Civil War the breed faced the threat of complete demise. British and German hunting dogs became highly fashionable and the breed’s number fell drastically. The credit of its rescue belongs to Antonio Lopez Milan who restored the dog to its initial appearance while preserving its innate hunting talents. Presently the position of the Spanish Hound is secured although it has never returned its former popularity.
The Spanish Hound is first of all a working dog, which thrives in its original role of a hunter. However its loving and devoted nature makes it a rather decent companion dog provided it has been socialised early enough. This high spirited dog will be happy to spend time with younger members of its family but it won’t tolerate disrespectful or rough treatment from their part. This breed is too energetic for small kids and can accidently hurt them in the heat of the game.
The Spanish Hound is usually cold and reserved with strange people. Well-mannered specimen will never attack a stranger without serious reason and will eventually make friend with every person who acknowledges its right for private space. This breed is endowed with sufficient vigilance to become an excellent watcher although some individual dogs tend to demonstrate week interest to this job. It’s an average guard dog since this breed sometimes lacks the willingness to use physical force when needed.
The Spanish Hound has good reputation with other dogs as it was widely used as a pack hunter in its past. Canine-aggressiveness is fairly uncommon for the Spanish Hound although some conflicts between unneutered males can happen from time to time. It’s not safe to leave it alone with other domestic animals because of its well-developed hunting drive. However, this dog usually treats amicably an individual cat with which it has been reared since an early age.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· ear problems;
· canine hip dysplasia
The Spanish Hound’s grooming will need minimal investment of your time and efforts. Its dirt-repelling coat should be brushed on a weekly basis to maintain its naturally healthy and neat look.
It’s a must to examine its hair and hanging ears for ticks and other external parasites after each hunting experience. Wet and dirty ears would create a favourable environment for bacteria and infections to develop so the dogs’ master should regularly check and clean them.
Other grooming includes such mandatory procedures as weekly teeth brushing and periodic nail trimming.
The Spanish Hound is an averagely trainable breed. It’s well-known for its quick-wittedness and inquisitiveness, which allow it to learn impressively advanced commands and even the sequences of commands. However its training is complicated by its stubborn and even wilful character. This dog will respect and therefore oblige only to that handler who constantly holds the control over the situation.
Moreover the Spanish Hound tends to have short attention span and can be easily distracted by any appealing scent. Forceful methods don’t work with this dog since it’s responsive only to positive reinforcement in the forms of its favourite food and kind words.
The Spanish Hound is a robust and athletic dog with heightened exercise needs. Without sufficient physical stimulation it’s prone to quickly gain excessive weight, which is very dangerous for its overall health. This dog should be taken on a long and vigorous walk every single day but it actually craves for an opportunity to frisk and run in a safely fenced area.
It will be extremely hard to meet the breeds’ exercise requirements living in a big city so this dog suits best to a country dweller. It’s worth to emphasise that this breed will become very destructive, disobedient and vocal if it’s deprived of chances to burn its excessive reserves of energy.