The Galgo Español, or Spanish Greyhound, is a breed with a history steeped in antiquity. Although the exact origin of the breed is unknown, they are thought to have descended from dogs brought to Spain by the Celts around 1,000 B.C. Their development was further influenced by various dog breeds introduced by the Romans and the Moors during their respective occupations of the Iberian Peninsula. Historically, Galgos were used primarily for hunting hares due to their exceptional speed and endurance. They were held in high regard in Spanish society, even making appearances in works of literature, such as the famous novel ""Don Quixote"" by Miguel de Cervantes. In contemporary Spain, however, Galgos often face a bleak existence. Once the hunting season is over, thousands of Galgos are abandoned or even killed each year. Despite international outcry and local efforts to improve their conditions, the abuse and mistreatment of these dogs remain a significant issue.
Spanish Greyhounds are known to be generally healthy dogs, but as a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Bone cancer has also been seen in this breed. They are susceptible to bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). This is a life-threatening condition that can come on suddenly, so it’s important to know the warning signs and get an affected dog immediate veterinary care. As a Sighthound breed, they are known to be more sensitive to barbiturate anesthetics. Thiopental, or any other thiobarbiturate, should not be used on these dogs.
Galgos are known for their gentle, affectionate nature. They are quiet dogs that generally get along well with other dogs and humans, making them good family pets. However, their hunting instincts are strong, so they may not be a good fit for homes with smaller pets.
Despite their speed and agility, Galgos are typically calm and reserved indoors, often described as "couch potatoes". They do require regular exercise to keep them fit and healthy, but are not as high-energy as some other breeds.
Despite the Spanish Greyhound's name and similar appearance, Galgos are not closely related to English Greyhounds.
Galgos are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world, capable of reaching speeds up to 40 miles per hour.
In Spanish folklore, it's said that Galgos have healing powers and were once used to cure illnesses in people.