Here you will find some information about Galgos and Podencos; their temperaments, history and needs. We hope this helps you to make an informed decision on whether these hounds would make a suitable member of you family.
The Galgo Español (Spanish Galgo) or Spanish Greyhound is an ancient breed of dog, specifically a member of the sighthound family. One theory is that the Galgo was named for the Gauls, who inhabited the Iberian Peninsula 400–600 B.C.E. The Galgo breed was probably a result of the dogs brought by the Gauls on their migration through the peninsula mixed with dogs brought by traders who did business with the Gauls. Other theories believe they likely originated from ancient Egypt as they, or hounds very similar to them, are depicted in the sculptures and paintings of the ancient Egyptians. Certainly they are a much older breed than the northern European sighthounds such as Greyhounds, Wolfhounds and Deerhounds.
For more details on the appearance and characteristics of Galgos please go here.
Despite being called a “Spanish Greyhound”, the Galgo is not truly a Greyhound. The lineages of the two breeds are different. However, in the last century or so, some breeders have cross-bred Galgos and Greyhounds in order to produce faster Galgos.
Galgos are unfortunately bred in large numbers by unscrupulous breeders, who then kill them in the most barbaric ways possible- hanging, burning, battering, shooting, or throwing them from a moving car. It is estimated that about 50,000 are killed each year, although some sources say 100,000 is the more likely number. (sourceWikipedia)
Temperament and needs
Galgos have a very similar nature to Greyhounds. They are calm, gentle and laid back; happy to sleep their day away on their backs on a sofa. Unlike most Greyhounds, more than 90% of Galgos can be considered cat-friendly and are therefore an ideal choice for the hound lover who also owns cats. Almost all Galgos are also friendly towards other dogs and small dogs.
Galgos are also very good with children, being calm in the house there is less risk of a child being knocked over or jumped on than a more excitable breed. They are very gentle and tolerate the often over-enthusiastic attentions of children with no risk of retaliation from the dog.
Thats not to say that they never get excited mind you 🙂 Galgos, like all hounds; love to run and so they need a safe space to run free, off-lead. Like their Greyhound cousins, they are sprinters and so two short walks of around 30 minutes per day is sufficient for their exercise needs; they don’t need hours and miles of walking like many popular breeds.
Galgos, like some of the other sighthound breeds are one of the longest lived of all large breeds of dog. You can expect your Galgo to live around 14 years. Galgos also suffer from few congenital or “breed specific” diseases which often occur in pedigree dogs due to in-breeding over time. You can therefore expect your Galgo to live a long and healthy life. This is one fact that makes it even more sad to know that most Galgos in Spain only reach the age of 2-4 😦
The needs of your particular Galgo will vary depending on the quality of life it had in Spain, and of course on how cruelly it was treated. The shelters which care for the Galgos before they are homed do their best to evaluate the character and fears of each dog so that their new families are as well informed as possible as to how best to settle in their new family member. Remember the physical scars of their abuse may heal quickly, but their emotional and mental scars will take much longer to heal. Anyone wanting to adopt a Galgo must appreciate this and work with kindness and patience on the continued rehabilitation of their hound.
The Podenco is an elegant and agile breed with an athletic and attractive outline. Though graceful in appearance is a rugged and hardy breed. Its large upright ears – a hallmark of the breed – are broad at the base and frame a long and elegant head and long neck.
The Ibizan Hound is an elegant and agile breed with an athletic and attractive outline. Though graceful in appearance is a rugged and hardy breed. Its large upright ears – a hallmark of the breed – are broad at the base and frame a long and elegant head. The neck is long and lean.
Podencos come in both smooth and wire coated varieties and there are also several smaller breeds such as the Podenco Andaluz; a small and more robust breed; and the Canarian Podenco. All of the varieties are either red or white, or a combination of red and white. The eyes of a Podenco are a striking amber color and have an alert and intelligent expression.
Temperament and needs
All Podencos are very intelligent, active, and engaging by nature. They are true “clowns” of the dog world, delighting in entertaining people with their antics 🙂 Though somewhat independent and stubborn at times, they do take well to training if positive methods are used. They are generally quiet, but will alarm bark if necessary, so they make good watch dogs.
They are sensitive hounds, and very good around children and other dogs large and small alike. Many are also cat friendly. They make calm and quiet house dogs, like most sighthounds; but are active and athletic and may require more exercise than Galgos or Greyhounds.
Podencos, especially the larger breeds, are renowned jumpers. They are able to jump incredible heights from a stand still and as such need a secure garden. Podencos love to run and are generally obedient when off-lead, allowing them free exercise and lots of fun.
As with Galgos, most Podencos that come into the care of animal shelters in Spain have been badly treated and so the same guidelines given for Galgos for their rehabilitation and expectations of their emotional well-being should be considered. Podencos also have a long life expectancy of around 12-14 years, but unfortunately rarely reach 4 years old in Spain 😦
Podencos are very loving dogs with wonderful natures, expect your Podenco to be a real character in your family.