Helping to shine a spotlight on one of the darkest animal welfare issues, World Galgo Day was established. The lifespan of a Spanish Galgo runs from 12 to 15 years. Sadly, very few members of this ancient breed are allowed to reach old age. Each year 50,000 to 1000,000 galgos and podencos– another of Spain’s native canines–lose their lives when their performance over the course of the hare hunting season has been deemed lacking.
Galhueros (Spanish hunters) often inflict violent deaths on the dogs, believing that the more pain the dog suffers prior to their passing will lead to a more prosperous outcome in the next hunting season.
When is World Galgo Day?
World Galgo Day is held every year on February 1. The date holds great significance, as it signals not only the end of the hunting season in Spain each year, but also the start of a vicious cull of dogs who are seen to have outgrown their usefulness.
Thankfully, the start of 2022 brought about the start of a new era in animal welfare in Spain, with Spanish law now forbidding the abuse or abandonment of companion animals, and looking upon dogs, cats and horses as “sentient beings.” However, even with the law in place, the lives of galgos and podencos are still under threat.
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How You Can Help
Adopt or Foster — Several non-profit organizations throughout the US, Canada and Europe concentrate solely on saving, transporting and finding forever homes for galgos. Below you’ll find links to several galgo rescues.
Make A Contribution to a Galgo Rescue — As with all rescue organizations, non-profits that care for galgos are always in need of monetary donations.
Spread Awareness — Follow galgo rescue organizations on social media, and share the story of the galgos’ plight with your followers. For a downloadable poster and updated information regarding the ongoing struggle to provide a better tomorrow for galgos and podencos, visit diadelgalgos.com
Interesting Facts About The Galgo
The Galgo is also known as the Spanish Greyhound. Unlike the Greyhound, whose fleet feet can sprint for short distances at a speed up to 45 mph, the Galgo– which clocks in at up to 40 mph– is a long distance runner.
The Galgo has more red blood cells than any other breed of dog.
The sighthounds’ keen eye can spot their target from a distance of more than 800 meters, and the breed can even see behind them thanks to their 270 degree scope of vision!
Galgos’ coat comes in both smooth and rough textures.
The image of an ancestor of the galgo appeared on the back of Roman coins, and a depiction of the breed features in a 12th century mural at The Hermitage of San Baudelio de Berlanga in Spain.
Author Miguel de Cervantes mentioned the galgo in his iconic 17th century novel Don Quixote of La Mancha.
Celebrities Who Have Assisted Galgos
Several celebrities have used their star wattage to shine a spotlight on the plight of the galgo, including:
Peter Egan — A champion for all with fur, fins or feathers, the English actor (who US audiences will recognize as Shrimpie in Downton Abbey) is a patron of Greyhounds in Need, a UK-based charity which also rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes galgos from Spain.
Ralf Little — In 2021 the star of the popular British detective series Death in Paradise became a patron for Project Galgo, an all-volunteer run, UK-based charity that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes abandoned and abused Galgos, Podencos and Salukis.
Adopting A Galgo
If you are pondering the prospect of welcoming a rescued Galgo into your heart and home, there are several non-profit organizations that can help, including:
Galgo Rescue International Network (GRIN)— Since 2006 this volunteer-run organization has helped galgos and podencos in Spain’s shelters find forever homes in the United States.
Galgos del Sol — This charitable organization in Spain, the UK and the US helps rescued galgos, podencos and mixes of the two breeds find loving homes in the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium and The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and the galgos’ homeland.
Save A Galgo Espanol (SAGE) — Founded in 2011, this non-profit works with three rescue organizations in Spain to find forever families for galgos in the state of Pennsylvania.
Love, Hope, Believe Galgo Adoption— A non-profit in the Chicagoland area/Central Illinois area.
Galgo Podenco Support — Since 2014 this volunteer-run non-profit has offered aid to licensed Spanish charities which help Spain’s dogs in need. The organization’s website includes an extensive list of rescues in Spain.