5 Differences Between a Greyhound and a Galgo Espanol
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!