What is a Galgo?
The Spanish Galgo is an ancient breed and a member of the Sighthound family. Despite a close resemblance, they are a separate breed from the racing Greyhounds seen in the USA and UK. They can be smooth or rough-coated, with a more-lean musculature than the Greyhound, characteristic of an endurance runner rather than a sprinter.
Why do Spanish Galgos need our help?
Once a prized possession of the aristocracy, the Galgo has in more recent generations been used in Spain for hunting hare or for sport competition hunting. Unfortunately, this strong association with Galgos as hunters has led to its general dismissal as a potential pet in Spain. The life of the Spanish Galgo is a continual race for survival. Even a young, strong healthy dog may be discarded at the end of the hunting season, or at the end of a race, due to a bad finish, a small injury such as a sprained foot; anything that may make the Galgo lose value to its Galguero. At that point, a Galgo may be left stranded in the fields, beaten for its poor performance, sent to a perrera to be killed, shot in the head, hanged from a tree, burned to death, cast down a well, or tied up and left to starve. Even a dog who has served its Galguero well and earned prize money is not exempt. Once they have outlived their purpose, there is no limit to the cruelty they endure. Galgueros believe that the more painful a dog who has disappointed them dies the luckier they will be with the next dog. Likewise, cruelty permeates the training of a Galgo. Dogs may be tied to motor vehicles and made to run for hours with no breaks. If a Galgo trips and falls, the vehicle doesn’t stop, dragging the fallen Galgo along with it. There is no sympathy for this “losing” dog.
Organizations throughout Spain and abroad are fighting relentlessly to end this tragic practice, which has repeated year after year for generations. Over 10% of all animals abandoned in Spain are Galgos. Some organizations estimate the number may reach 60,000-100,000 Galgos discarded annually.
What are Galgos Like?
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.
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. Most are calm, gentle, quiet and laid-back; happy to sleep their day away on their backs on a sofa. While they are mainly “couch potatoes,” they can be slightly more energetic than a Greyhound. They are happy with a couple of short walks a day but may be great jogging companions. They are notoriously excellent jumpers, and a baby gate or a 4-foot fence is no obstacle for them. A large percentage of Galgos can be considered small animal, cat-friendly and good with other dogs. Galgos are also very good with children. Galgos have a very reserved personality and they have a tendency towards shyness, so it is very important that they have patient owners who give them the time they need to learn to love and trust.
Daphne Legacy Tour
Last year, the Daphne Legacy Tour, which is the transport organization that brings Galgos to the US, became a sponsorship program under American Greyhound’s 501(c)3. DLT is in the initial planning stages to transport a large number of Galgos to the US this fall. Because of Covid and changes in the airline policies it has become more challenging and costly to fly a large number of dogs in the cargo hold of commercial flights. They are looking at other options. Do you have an “in” in the airline industry or know of someone we can contact to help bring these dogs home? If so, please contact Erin Floyd firstname.lastname@example.org.
To date, Christina and DLT have transported 102 Galgos from Spain to the US. These Galgos are now living in wonderful homes in 17 States. Talk to any of the 102 Galgo owners who have been blessed to adopt and they will tell you how special this breed is. Why spend so much when there are dogs to help in the US? Do your own research on this breed. We guarantee you won’t be able to turn a blind eye. Our mission is to help any sighthound who needs us and we believe the lives of the Galgos are worth our help.
Since Galgos are going to be even more costly to bring home our fundraising efforts need to be given top priority. Do you have an idea or would you spearhead a fundraiser for American Greyhound?
References: Wikipedia, MNGR, GDS