What is a Galgo?

The Galgo Español or Spanish greyhound is an ancient breed and a member of the sighthound family.

Despite being called a “greyhound”, the Spanish Galgo is not closely related to the English/Irish Greyhound, the lineage of the two breeds being different. In ancient times the galgo was a prized possession, but currently they have become disposable “hunting tools”. GDS believes galgos are an integral part of Spanish legacy and deserve to be returned to a place of respect.

Galgos are smooth- or rough-coated in a variety of colours; their coat may be one solid colour, brindle or two colours in combination. They are similar in appearance to racing greyhounds but are distinctly different in their conformation. Galgos have a leaner musculature, more characteristic of an endurance runner than the ‘sprinter’s’ build of the English/Irish racing greyhound. They are long, lean, elegant dogs; in fact it’s hard to describe them without over-using the word ‘long’; they have long backs, long tails and long streamlined heads with almond shaped eyes. 

Galgos have a similar nature to greyhounds; many are calm, usually quiet, gentle and laid back. They are however curious and many are jumpers — baby gates and 4′ fences are not an obstacle for them. Described as 40 mph couch-potatoes, content to sleep their day away, they are happy with a couple of short walks per day but can also make excellent jogging companions.

Many galgos live with cats and other small animals without problem, while others, given careful introductions, can be trained to do so once they have learned the appropriate boundaries.

Galgos are widely used by hunters in the rural areas of Spain for both hunting and hare coursing with betting. They are considered disposable and when the short hunting season ends each year, tens of thousands are abandoned or brutally killed by their owners to whom they are no longer of use. 

Some GDS galgos were saved from perreras (killing stations) where their lives were due to be ended. The majority were abandoned or escapees living rough and scavenging to survive until caught by the GDS team who often face hostility from locals for rescuing a breed deemed worthless.

GDS Rescue Missions

Rescuing galgos is a challenging, unpredictable and often dangerous undertaking. An abandoned galgo that has been living rough may have to be observed and coaxed with food for weeks and sometimes months before it will allow a human near. GDS has rescued galgos that have been thrown into wells, lain injured in fields, tossed into dumpsters, run scared in traffic, given birth on a roadside and left to die in abandoned breeding camps. A galgo sighting may occur at anytime so GDS is perpetually on call. View a few of our Rescue Videos here or on our Youtube channel.

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