The galgo español is a sighthound of ancient origins, a very near relative of the greyhound (the galgo inglés). The pure galgo can be short or longhaired, the latter being the preferred type at breed shows.
The dog is bred for its athleticism, stamina, and ease of handling and is widely used throughout internal Spain by hunters, called galgueros, for coursing the hare with betting. The conditions under which they are reared and live are as harsh and as punishing as the bitter winters and scorching summers, which they must endure. They mostly live chained up outside on hillsides, or in cellars hidden from thieves who steal them for sparring at dogfights. The hunting season lasts from September to January at which time they are got rid of in the quickest way so as not to cost their owners one penny more than is necessary, whilst ironically, new pups are bred for the following year.
It was the custom, probably for centuries, for galgueros to hang their galgos, sometimes in the most brutal way to augment their owner’s machismo. Due to ours and others’ protests since 1995 when these atrocities first came to light, the hangings have diminished and are replaced now by massive abandonment of many thousands of these lovely dogs throughout Spain, many of them young. Most end up in hideous municipal ‘perreras’ (dog pounds),crammed together in freezing conditions where food and water are not on offer to those condemned eventually to be put down.
Our charity has been dedicated to the cause of the greyhounds and galgos of Spain since 1991 and rescued 4000, almost all of them exported and imported as pets into several other countries whose minds and hearts we opened to the problem, many of whom now carry out their own rescue work.
For more information on our work and how you can support us and help the situation politically, please contact us.
Written for Amra Media Solutions, Introducing Animals Magazine Spring/Summer issue 2003