Galgo Espanol

5 Differences Between a Greyhound and a Galgo Espanol

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Even though the Galgo Espanol is often referred to as the Spanish Greyhound, the Galgo is actually not the same as a Greyhound at all. The Galgo Espanol and the Greyhound are both sighthound breeds (dogs that hunt by sight and speed, instead of by scent and endurance), but they are not genetically the same. Around 40 different sighthound breeds exist. Probably the most well known ones on the list are Greyhounds, Whippets and Afghan Hounds.

I recently posted a brief introduction about the Galgo Espanol, but because many people don’t realise there are differences between the English and the Spanish Greyhound, I decided to list 5:

1. Size

The first, most obvious difference between a Galgo and a Greyhound is the size. The Galgo is smaller than the Greyhound. Galgo males range from 62-70 cm in height, females are around 60-68 cm. Greyhounds are generally several centimeters taller, which makes the male Galgo about the size of an average female Greyhound.

2. Build

The loin should be higher than the shoulders. In contrast to the Greyhound, the Galgo does not have thick and round muscles portions at rear spar and back. They have a flat musculature with the rib cage being less deep than that of a Greyhound – it should not reach the elbows. The head of a Galgo is very long and fine with relatively large ears. The tail is longer than a Greyhound’s tail and has a lateral hook at the end.

It’s good to note that a Galgo can sit, whereas the Greyhound is often unable to fold his hind muscles comfortably into a sitting position, due to their bulk and strong tone necessary for taking off from stationary into full speed as they spring from traps.  The body of a Galgo is longer, and proportionally the head is narrower with a less marked “stop”. The neck of a Galgo is longer than the Greyhound’s and more agile and flexible to accommodate to the twists and turns of the hare they are chasing.

3. Hair

The Galgo coat comes in two different types: smooth and wire haired. Greyhound coats are only ever smooth. It is believed that the rough coat gives the Galgo more protection when running through the fields.

Wired and smooth haired Galgos
Wired and smooth haired Galgos

4. Running

Both breeds are a very different type of athlete. While Greyhounds are sprinters on short distances, Galgos must be able to gallop persistently. Galgos were developed to be fast, robust, agile and have a lot of endurance. Greyhounds were developed to be fast, fast, fast for a short period of time. Greyhounds are sprinters and can hit up to 45mph for very short spurts. Galgos are endurance runners and can range around the 40+mph for long distances. Greyhounds are better on straight surfaces, Galgos can turn on a dime. Greyhounds are almost useless hunting on anything but a flat, clear surface but Galgos excel on uneven, even rough terrain, in forests, on anything. Greyhounds have feet like cats, and Galgos have feet like hares. To be successful hare-hunters, they must be able to do what a hare is able to do!

5. Other pets

Retired Greyhounds can often be a bit more of a handful than a rescued/retired Galgo. Greyhounds are generally not as good with other dogs, as they have only ever known the company of other Greyhounds. Galgos are more used to the company of different types of dogs, and therefore adjust and get on better with any dog in the home. Galgos also tend to be better with cats than Greyhounds are.

 

Ok, I will throw in one bonus difference. For free. In the hope I don’t upset any Greyhound owners who may be reading this, I am going to say that Galgos are more persistent and possibly smarter than Greyhounds. Galgos are a more intense in the prey drive department. You can call a Greyhound’s attention away sometimes but this is much harder with a Galgo. They may try to return to the spot he once saw a rabbit on every walk. It is common for a Galgo to return to a place for days or even weeks after spotting a prey animal waiting for it to come back. A Greyhound would have forgotten by lunch time 😉

 

Despite these differences, when looking at temperament, the Galgos and Greyhounds are very similar. They both are a little bit shy and gentle and affectionate. Both breeds are calm and laid back and they love snoozing comfortably on the sofa, a bed or a duvet. Galgos can sleep up to 18 hours a day!

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Comments

  • You are in error when you state that Greyhounds are not as good with other dogs and are difficult to handle. In promoting Galgo adoption, you have no reason to insult Greyhounds. Shame on you.

  • I have to disagree with the information in #5 concerning greyhounds, but otherwise it was a well written piece.

  • Wow, a lot of negative greyhound comments. I know many greyhounds who would do (and DO) quite well coursing prey in terrain that’s not flat. Additionally, my retired racer does quite well with ALL breeds of dogs, his only limit is puppies, although he’s grown to be quite chummy with our new whippet baby.

    Conversely, the galgos I know are the complete opposite as painted in this portraiture. They’re neurotic, shy to the point of being unable to be around strangers, and hyperactive.

  • Greyhounds are commonly great with other dogs and fine with cats. Your #5 is not, I’m sorry to say, accurate at all. Please consider rewriting it so that you don’t give greyhounds a bad reputation. They are wonderful dogs, just as galgos are. My first greyhound adored ALL other dogs and loved to meet every dog she saw while out on walks; it was her favorite part of walking. She was also wonderful with my cats, a true cuddle hound. My current greyhound is also great with my podencos and my cats.

  • i enjoyed reading this, up until 6 months ago, I had never heard of a Galgo, ( or Lurcher ) before. I’ve had greyhounds for 18 years & Whippets before chat! I know I should have. Galagos sound wonderful too!

    Thank you!

  • Sorry to disagree but my greyhound never forgot where she saw prey. For years she would try to take me down a driveway she once saw a squirrel, basicly she would lead me to all places she may have seen a squirrel one time. She never seemed to lose that hope, very funny.

  • Are the wire-coated Galgos considered hypoallergenic? I know Greyhounds shed a lot. I live with people with allergies and would love to have another Greyhound, but can’t because of those allergies.

    Thank you..

  • Are wire-haired Galgos considered hypoallergenic? I know Greyhounds shed a lot of short hair and have a lot of dander on occasion. I live with people with allergies & would love to have a a big dog again.

  • I know the two diffrent breeds very well and can agree with most things you have written execpt for one the inteligence and memory of a greyhound is as impressive if not more so than that of a galgo and they don´t forget things as you have implied. I am not being offensive I just want to correct this point as its simply not true.Love both breeds of sighthounds currently have four greyhounds.

  • These are the most great differences explained I have ever seen. And I support them. Being a foster for both galgo’s and grey’s, I support this. If one has only had either galgo or grey, you wouldn’t notice. Tho I might want to add one more difference, which is hard to point on. Grey is more active, but what would care if you have just one dog?? You love him/her to pieces..no doubt!

  • I enjoyed this post,but want to point out that Greyhounds have hare feet, not cat feet. At least every greyhound I have seen in the US.

  • Informative information about the physical differences. My most intense, persistent, prey-driven retired racer (and the only one to actually catch any suburban varmits) is also the only one to fit the stereotype of not getting on with other breeds.

  • While are there some valid points in this, you miss the most critical. Which is vital to our veterinarians. Greyhounds are different, blood levels, body readings, etc. from other dogs. Galgos are different also. From the others. Even the greys.

    While this is interesting, you missed some salient points in the welfare of our hounds.

    And for the record, my greyhounds are far more easy than my galga…

  • Our two must have some Spanish in them, then. They stared at the same tree in the park for days after watching a cat race up it. 🙂

  • Cool overview, thanks for clearing up some questions we had about the differences. We have owned several greyhounds when living in North America (most came from the tracks). But since returning to Europe, finding greyhounds has become very difficult, but Galgo’s are easy to find.

    As for the prey driven comment on Greyhounds, we cannot compare to Galgo’s, but most greyhounds we have had were extremely prey driving (definitely don’t count on them listening to you, because they won’t). This was particularly true in dog from the tracks. Walking greyhounds without a leash is therefore a big no. Have seen first hand what damage that can do!

    But love to hear that both breeds are as laid back and love to sleep.

    Cheers!

  • I have 3 cats and a medium sized dog (some kind of shepherd mix, fine with the cats) – if I got a galgo as a puppy would it be possible to get them used to each other and have the galgo not attack my cats? They are already used to my dog and are quite young still (1.5 years old, all littermates).

    I won’t be doing this for a while yet anyway (not until I move to a bigger house in a a year or two) but I’m wondering if it’s possible for me to get a galgo in future? There are hundreds, maybe thousands in shelters and pounds near me and many are available as puppies (both purebred and crossbreeds) in shelters.

  • My recent trip to Spain was tarnished when I took a walk in the countryside and her a dog crying and howling behind a wall/gate. When I tried to approach to help it I was stopped by a hunter who said it was dying and old. When he left I looked in the door, yet couldn’t open I saw many galgos in a big cage. It was horrible 😢 I hate the Spaniards

  • Sorry about that! I never meant to cause offense to greyhounds AT ALL! 🙂 I will correct.

  • Hi Jude, thank you for your comment. It was certainly not my intention to first of all promote galgos at the disadvantage of greyhounds nor insult anyone – least of all any breed of dog. I am sorry you took offense. As with many articles this was perhaps a generalised statement. It was a characteristic that came up several times during different pieces of research, and I went with it. I will see if I can rephrase or edit, but I did definitely not mean any harm and I am sorry you took it that way. Thanks for reading.

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