The Spanish Greyhound is a gentle and sensitive athlete. Though typically reserved, these dogs make energetic, lively hunters. Like other sighthounds, they tend to be affectionate toward their people and don't mind spending most of the day napping on the couch.
Spanish Greyhound History
Spanish Greyhounds (or Galgos Español) originated on the Spanish plains, where they hunted hares, rabbits, and occasionally fox or boar. The Galgueros, or Galgo hunters, bred the dogs for centuries.
In the early 20th century, breeders reportedly crossed the Spanish Greyhound with the English Greyhound to increase their racing speed. Today, they remain uniquely Spanish, but regional variations exist, depending on the local terrain.
Other fun facts about this breed? It's featured on a Roman denarius coin, and a Spanish Greyhound famously appears in the novel
The United Kennel Club recognized the Spanish Greyhound in 2006.
Spanish Greyhound Traits
Spanish Greyhounds are medium-to-large, well-muscled, compactly built dogs.
Coat and Colouring
The Spanish Greyhound's coat is made up of smooth, fine, short hair. It's slightly longer on the backs of the thighs and can form facial furnishings—such as a beard or mustache. The coat comes in all colors and may be solid, flecked, bridle, or pied.
Distinctive Physical Traits
Spanish Greyhounds have long, narrow heads and muzzles. Their almond-shaped eyes are commonly dark hazel and offer a calm, soft expression. They have tucked-up bellies and long tails that form a hook at the tip.
Spanish Greyhound Temperament
Spanish Greyhounds are gentle and affectionate dogs that make excellent companions. They form close bonds with their families but can be a little shy around strangers. They also have a reputation for being good with other animals they're raised with—including cats. However, these dogs may chase smaller outdoor animals due to their sighthound instincts.
Though they need to run regularly, Spanish Greyhounds like to sleep a lot during the day (preferably on a soft couch). And as long as they get their daily exercise, they can make good apartment dogs thanks to their quiet, low-key personalities. To help prevent separation anxiety, be sure to expose your pup to some alone time when they are young.
Spanish Greyhound Care
Spanish Greyhounds need high-quality food appropriate for their life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior). To help them stay at a healthy weight, carefully measure out their meals, and limit treats to no more than 10% of their calories.
These dogs are at a greater risk than most breeds for bloat (also known as twisted stomach). To help prevent bloat, break your dog's food up into several meals a day, and use a food bowl specially designed to slow their eating. When timing meals, avoid feeding your pup immediately before or after any vigorous activity.
These are just a few ways you can help prevent this life-threatening condition. Ask your veterinarian about other ways—including surgical options—to prevent bloat.
The Spanish Greyhound's short coat is easy to maintain. Weekly brushing with a hound mitt or rubber curry brush will keep it looking its best. Nail trims, ear cleanings, and regular dental care—including at-home teeth brushing and professional cleanings—should also be part of your grooming routines.
Spanish Greyhounds love to go for runs and walks. But when your pup is off-leash, be sure to limit any outdoor activity to an enclosed area. These dogs make good jogging partners and enjoy canine sports—such as lure coursing, racing, agility, and competitive obedience.
Typical of sighthounds, Spanish Greyhounds respond best to positive and reward-based training methods. They may also require careful socialization to prevent or reduce fear-based defensive behaviors. Starting this socialization when in puppyhood will help your Spanish Greyhound develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult dog.
Reviewed 5 September 2020 by Annette Louviere, DVM