ABOUT THE PODENCO & GALGO BREEDS
Personality: The podenco personality tends to be intelligent, loyal, bubbly, cuddly, silly, loving, and sensitive. Many are relaxed, and some can also be stubborn and mischievous. Most are good with other dogs and some are friendly with cats. The galgo tends to be sensitive, calm, and gentle though still playful in the yard, some even downright rowdy.
Heritage: It is believed that the original cave paintings depicted an early form of the podenco; the greyhound is said to be the only dog in the bible. Today in Spain the podenco and galgo are bred and used as hunting tools, then tortured, killed, or abandoned.
Traits: Having been categorized as sighthounds by laypeople and generally considered sighthounds now, in fact podencos do also use scent and sound as well as sight. Both podencos and galgos are athletic and agile and have the physical ability to leap 5 or more feet high–some even from a standstill–and scale a wall of that height, or higher in a few cases, especially if there are horizontal members to assist.
Behavior: Being loyal breeds, many are alarm barkers. Most love to run, play, and cuddle–with other animals and/or with their humans.
Needs: High quality food, fresh water refilled several times a day, daily exercise, social opportunities, affection, and consistent respect and gentleness. Without these last three things, they will likely break their bond with, and certainly your trust in, you.
Appearance: Podencos: Small, medium, and large size; white, red, tan, brown, or combinations of these colors. (Once in a while they also appear in black, chocolate, or variations/tricolors in Spain.) Usually huge, erect ears, long limbs, bodies, tails, and snouts. Pinkish-tan colored noses (called “red” by breeders). Coat types are smooth, rough, long (a Spanish peculiarity), and wire, or a combination of these. Galgos: About the size range of whippets and greyhounds and in the same color ranges, but galgos also have rough and wire/long coated varieties. They tend to have longer tails, muzzles/snouts, and ears than greyhounds and other subtle physical differences such as a higher back end, and they have a bit more endurance and agility than their sprint-bred counterparts.
Plight: Without rescue, they face extreme torture, abandonment, & cruel forms of slaughter after hunting season.
A NOTE ABOUT WEIGHT
Often we hear “feed that dog!” or “that dog is too skinny!” While it is true that many Spanish dogs are too skinny when rescued, it is also important for the public to understand that many sighthound breeds are supposed to be thin. If a greyhound, galgo, Ibizan hound, or Saluki, for example, shows absolutely no rib, there’s a good chance that hound is overweight. We in the USA are accustomed to dogs looking a little, shall we say, well-fed? Nowhere is this more painfully apparent that among comments by non-sighthound people about sighthounds. Unfortunately, because many sighthound breeds are relatively rare, many vets, etc., also may be unfamiliar with the differences and may misperceive your sighthound as underweight, due to judging by non-sighthound criteria. Making matters even worse, the standard “Body Condition Scoring” and “Is Your Dog Fat” charts would incorrectly paint all sighthounds as dangerously underweight! It is crucial to seek out the advice of sighthound experts for sighthound health as well as sighthound safety.