The Breed and their reality...
What to expect from the breed.
In our country there are still few people who have a Spanish Greyhound (SG), so here is a little introduction about them. They are noble dogs and, like the other Greyhounds, have an aristocratic appearance. Their shapes suggest power and speed, added stamina, agility and ease on performing quick maneuvers. They are calm, kind and happy to sleep on a sofa all day long. With very good temperament, when indoors SG are extremely quiet, as long as given the opportunity to disperse their energy in open spaces quite regularity. The Spanish Greyhound are independent and shy dog. Serious and reserved, they are not given to exaggerated displays of affection. Due to these characteristics they are difficult dog to train. They like to please the owner. They do not require long walks, but need a place for them to have their energy explosion with a long and fast race. As a hunting dog, rodents, small animals and cats are seen as prey, but the SG can live very well with other animals, provided that you educate them. They can live well in the family, but pay attention in open spaces, everything that runs is to be hunted! The SG is a very healthy dog, not presenting any specific incidences related to the diseases that usually affect large dogs. The average life span is approximately 12 years. Easy to maintain, the Spanish Greyhound coat requires only a weekly care: a good brush to remove dirt or loose hair and baths only when they become dirty ... water and SG don't match. The good health of the Spanish Greyhound have been ensured over the years by natural selection, until the 1970s they were used almost exclusively for hare hunting. This breed has a legacy of healthy and truly robust dogs.
SGs have characteristics that make them suitable to travel long distances along rugh terrain. They are dogs of thin forms and slightly longer than taller. Their legs are similar to a hares leg, ideal for running on uneven terrain. The head of the Spanish Greyhound is long and like a funnel, ending in a small black nose. The eyes are small and oblique, usually dark brown. The ears are wide at the base, rose-shaped and with high insertion. This breed has a compact bony structure, with the belly quite arched inside. The chest is powerful and deep, but not too wide. The tail is of low insertion, long and thin to the tip. At rest it remains low in contact with the legs. There are e types of Spanish Greyhounds known: the short smooth-haired, the long fur (almost non-existent) and the hard fur. Of the three, short smooth-haired dogs are the most common, both in hunting and dog shows. Only 20% of Spanish Greyhounds are hard-fur. The smooth-haired Greyhound has been better adapted to the Iberian geography and climate. The coat of the Spanish Greyhound is dense, but thin, quite soft to the touch. All colors are accepted, the most common are with white markings. Males should be between 62 and 70 cm and females between 60 and 68 cm. They weigh between 20 and 30kg.
The Tragic Reality of Spanish Greyhounds.
Spanish Greyhounds have been used almost exclusively as a hunting tool in Spain. They usually live in barns and most rarely see the light of day. The focus of the problem is divided into two parts: the indiscriminate breeding of and the massive and cruel disposal at the end of the hunting season, which takes place annually between September and January. Investigations by WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) in 2001 and 2002 proved that thousands of Spanish Greyhounds are raised annually for the sole purpose of participating in the national hunting championship, with Medina del Campo being their main center. At the end of the season, hunters traditionally hang their SGs on trees outside of Medina del Campo and this "tradition" of hanging dogs in Spain continues to this day. It is estimated that thousands of Spanish Greyhounds are bred and killed annually in rural areas. Due to complaints about the hanging of Greyhounds, the hunters began to take unwanted dogs to associations, resulting in around 500 abandoned dogs at the end of each season, most of them Spanish Greyhounds. For the owners the associations are only used to collect their garbage. For them, a Greyhound at the end of the hunting season is nothing more than garbage from which they want to get rid of.
When the hare hunting season is over, the terror for these noble animals begins.
Most abandoned Spanish Greyhounds are about two or three years old and generally arrive in poor condition. Many are slaughtered before they can reach an association, where they would have the chance to have a more dignified future. The tradition is to hang the dogs in the lower branches, where they suffer a slow, agonizing death known as 'the pianist' because of the frantic attempt to touch their paws on the ground. Those who run well are hung on higher branches, resulting in a faster death. In some nearby villages, people even complain about the howling during the night. This practice has its roots in the tradition of the Spanish nobility: when the hunting season ended, the wealthy landowners killed their Greyhounds with exquisite cruelty to prove their status and thereby impose fear and respect. The reason for this tradition to continue until the present day is not known. Although there is a law that forbids this act, few are the cases that at any come to justice. Unwanted greyhounds are also stoned, abandoned and left to starve, drowned, thrown into wells, burned with gasoline, buried alive, tied up in cars and dragged to death, poisoned, shot in the paws to avoid running behind their owners, tortured with sticks in their mouths not to bark. Many of those who are abandoned on the streets end up being run over and those who are more fortunate are left in the associations which are overcrowded after the hunting season.