The Greyhound

A bit of history

The greyhound is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence and has evolved very little over the centuries. There is probably a distant kinship with the hounds of ancient Egypt of the Pharaohs, due to their great morphological resemblance and to the fact that the Romans could have acted as “transmitters” of this breed to Hispania.

There is also the hypothesis that it was the Celts who, also via the Roman Empire, brought the greyhound to our lands, a descendant of an ancient Gaelic hound, Canis Gallicus, hence the name “greyhound”.

There are historical references to the greyhound in Roman writings or paintings in Romanesque churches, but perhaps we have one of the most famous references in literature. We refer to the beginning of Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, which reads as follows: In a place in La Mancha, whose name I do not wish to remember, not so long ago there lived a nobleman with a lance in a shipyard, an old-fashioned buckler, a skinny ruff and a running greyhound“.

It was mainly at this time that the greyhound took on great importance in the daily life of all social strata and ceased to be a dog destined for high society, establishing itself as a tool for hunting hares.

There are three types of Spanish greyhound, the short-haired, the wire-haired and the long-haired (practically disappeared).


Nowadays the galgo in Spain is a mere tool for hunting. Subjected to a terrible life in the hands of unscrupulous galgueros, most of them live crammed in small kennels, in many cases with hardly any ventilation and light, and are victims of continuous theft and illegal trafficking of these animals without any kind of governmental control.

They are bred en masse and then “selected” and only a “lucky” few will be used to run and hunt hares, the rest are exterminated. in many different ways (most famously, hanging in disuse in “favour” of other “systems”, thrown in wells, drowned in water ponds, slaughtered by veterinarians with no sense of ethics, taken to municipal kennels where they are slaughtered and massively exterminated, or simply thrown into wells, drowned in water ponds, slaughtered by veterinarians with no ethical sense, taken to municipal kennels where they are slaughtered and massively exterminated, or simply abandoned to their fate, dying in this case by being run over, by hunger and thirst, by traps, by poison ….).

It is estimated that between 50,000 and 75,000 greyhounds are killed every year in our country.unfortunately, however, there are no concrete data, as animal protection is a decentralised competence in the autonomous communities and there is not even a general register, and these data are an estimate of greyhounds slaughtered in municipal kennels, i.e. only the tip of the iceberg.

And all this happens year after year. It is not uncommon to find a greyhound wandering the roads, around petrol stations, scavenging for food in bins in villages and towns….. And yet it is as if they are all invisible, they are like ghosts… a greyhound can wander for weeks before someone actually “sees” him and tries to help him, many are never even that lucky.

Unfortunately, most galgos have very little contact with people, and when they do, it is with the galguero who breeds them and are often not treated very well They are usually very wary of humans who have treated them so badly, and it is often very difficult to rescue them. Only the patience of (real) people, little by little, providing them with food on a daily basis, can gain the trust of these animals in order to rescue them and give them a better life.

This harsh reality receives no response from the authorities, both regional and national, who excuse themselves with the lack of complaints or the supposed economic “benefits” of hunting with greyhounds. It is important to denounce, it is essential to exert pressure and not to be satisfied with “it is impossible”, “I cannot change anything”, “it is useless” …..

Don’t give up, little by little people are joining forces to stop this injustice, to change.