Animal Protection Group
Rescue station and placement of
former racing greyhound and Spanish galgo
(and other dogs, who are in desperate need of our help)
Q like Quality
last update: 21.05.2013
© 2013 New Graceland - Rescue station and placement of former racing greyhounds and Spanish galgos
recognized and registered as a non-profit organization, tax-exempt in all Swiss Cantons, Commercial Registry Number CH-160.6.004.574-0
A Spanish Galgo/Galga
Galgos are similar in appearance to Greyhounds, but are distinctly different in their conformation. Galgos are higher in the rear than in the front, and have flatter muscling than a Greyhound, which is characteristic of endurance runners. They also tend to be smaller, lighter in build, have longer tails and have a very long, streamlined head that gives the impression of larger ears. Their chests are not as deep as a Greyhound's and should not reach the point of the elbow. Unlike Greyhounds, Galgos come in two coat types: smooth and rough. The rough coat can provide extra protection from skin injuries while running in the field. They come in a variety of colors and coat patterns. Main colors are "barcino" or "atigrado" (brindle), "negro" (black), "barquillo"(golden), "tostado"(toasted), "canela" (cinnamon), "amarillo"(yellow), "rojo"(red), "blanco" (white), "berrendo" (white with patches) or "pío" (any colour with white muzzle and forehead).
Galgos have a very similar nature to Greyhounds. They are calm, quiet, gentle and laid back; happy to sleep their day away on their backs on a sofa. 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 so there is less risk of a child being knocked over or jumped on than with a more excitable breed. They are very gentle and tolerate the often over-enthusiastic attentions of children with little risk of retaliation from the dog. Galgos have a very reserved personality and they have a tendency towards shyness, so it is very important that they be socialized early in life so that they grow up to be comfortable around strange people, dogs and locations.
Like many other sighthounds, Galgos are a fairly healthy breed although they are sensitive to anaesthesia. As such, proper care should be taken by the owner to ensure that the attending veterinarian is aware of this issue. Although Galgos are big dogs, their history of selection as a working sighthound, their light weight and anatomy, keep them safe from hip dysplasia. These dogs must run regularly to keep in perfect health, combined with their characteristic tendence to sleep all the rest of the day.
The Galgo is not only "the Spanish greyhound" but also "the Spanish dog". Its name is probably derived from the Latin "Canis Gallicus" or "Dog from Gaul". The Spanish word for all kinds of Greyhounds - including the Galgo - is "lebrel", which means "harrier" or "dog for chasing hares", since "liebre" is Spanish for hare. We can see the same derivative in the Italian "levriero" and the French "lévrier". The first written references to an ancient Celtic sighthound, the "vertragus", in the "Cynegeticus" of Flavius Arrianus (Arrian), Roman proconsul of Baetica in the second century, may refer to the Galgo, or more likely to its antecedant. The fact that this dog was a significant part of a noble will demonstrate the great value that it was given at the time.
Due to their role as hunting dogs in the Spanish countryside, the Galgos are sometimes used as simple "hunting instruments" by some owners, who breed them but just seek the best ones in each litter. And of top of that, this kind of dogs is considered to be too old for hunting when they are more than two years old. Because of this, many dogs are abandoned or killed, sometimes with cruelty, which has triggered the creation of many associations in defense of the Galgo. These associations are dedicated to find abandoned Galgoes in the countryside and provide them adoptive homes, usually in the cities. Because they tend to be quiet and docile, Galgos make very nice house pets. In Spain they have a well earned reputation as gentle dogs, with sweet temperament and solid health. They tend to get along well with people and other dogs, and they can be well-behaved around cats if properly socialized.