Spanish Galgo: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care

History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

dark brindle Spanish Galgo

Tsik / Getty Images

The Spanish Galgo is a medium-size hound dog breed from Spain with a short, smooth or rough coat and a narrow, lanky build. Also known as the Spanish greyhound, these dogs closely resemble the more common English greyhound dog breed—likely a relative of them. Galgos are athletic, with good swiftness and endurance. But they don’t require an excessive amount of exercise and are typically calm in the house. They can make for very gentle and loving companions. 

Breed Overview

Group: Hound

Height: 23.5 to 26.5 inches (female), 24.5 to 27.5 inches (male)

Weight: 50 to 55 pounds (female), 60 to 65 pounds (male)

Coat: Short, smooth or rough

Coat Color: Can be any color; usually fawn, brindle, black, chestnut, cinnamon, red, or white with/without white markings

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Friendly, calm, even-tempered

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Spain

Characteristics of the Spanish Galgo

The Galgo generally has a laid-back personality and is friendly with people, including children. Galgos also typically get along with other dogs and sometimes cats, but they might view smaller animals as prey. A moderate energy level also helps to shape this breed’s temperament, making it a good dog for those who like to be active but also curl up on the couch.

Affection Level  High
Friendliness  High
Kid-Friendly  High
Pet-Friendly  Medium
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level  Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence  Medium
Tendency to Bark  Low
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Spanish Galgo

The Spanish Galgo can trace its ancestors thousands of years back, potentially to ancient African, Asian, and European sighthound breeds. Images of these types of dogs have been documented in Spain since around the 10th century. 

They were highly prized for their hunting abilities, making the dogs a favorite among the nobility. Ancient Spanish artwork also depicts Galgos hunting with their owners. The Galgo is even mentioned in the famous Spanish novel “Don Quixote.”

Spanish Galgos remain rare around the world today. The United Kennel Club first recognized the Galgo in 2006. The American Kennel Club does not yet recognize the breed.

Illustration from Don Quixote, featuring Galgos hunting along with people and horses
Illustration from "Don Quixote" featuring Galgos Duncan1890 / Getty Images

Spanish Galgo Care

Meet a Galgo's exercise needs each day, and it usually will be an easygoing household companion. Grooming is fairly easy for this dog. And training and socialization should ideally begin at a young age.


Plan to spend at least one to two hours each day exercising your Galgo via long walks, running, hiking, cycling, vigorous games of fetch, and more. Puzzle toys can help your dog burn some mental energy. Dog sports, such as tracking, are a great way to provide mental stimulation and physical activity.

It’s ideal that a Galgo has a securely fenced area where it can run freely at its own speed to burn energy. But avoid letting a Galgo off leash outside in an unfenced area, as its hunting instincts might kick in and cause it to take off chasing perceived prey. 

Moreover, the short coat of a Galgo doesn’t provide much protection against cold weather. So consider a dog coat or sweater in the cold, and try to keep outdoor sessions relatively short.


Galgos only require basic grooming. Brush weekly to remove loose fur either with a soft-bristle brush or grooming mitt. You might notice an uptick in shedding in the fall and spring, during which you’ll have to brush more frequently. 

Plan on a bath around every month, depending on how dirty your dog gets. Trim your dog’s nails roughly every month as well. And check its ears at least weekly for wax buildup, debris, and irritation. Finally, aim to brush its teeth every day.


It’s best to begin training and socialization when your Galgo is a puppy to instill good manners. Galgos tend to respond well to positive training techniques; harsh corrections can cause this sensitive breed to shut down and refuse to learn. Put some extra focus on recall training, so you’ll ideally be able to call your dog back if it begins to chase perceived prey. 

Galgos can be shy and reserved around strangers, though they don’t have a tendency toward aggression. Try to give your dog lots of positive experiences around different people and in various places to help boost its comfort and confidence. 

Spanish Galgo puppy sitting on grass
Fernando Trabanco Fotografía / Getty Images
tan and black Spanish Galgos standing side by side
Tsik / Getty Images
Spanish hunting dogs
GlobalP / Getty Images

Common Health Problems

Because Galgos are rare, not much is known about the breed's potential hereditary health issues. But these dogs can be prone to some of the same issues that are also often seen in greyhounds and other sighthounds, including:

Diet and Nutrition

Always have fresh water available for your Galgo. Feed it a high-quality canine diet that’s nutritionally balanced. Always discuss both the type of diet and the amount with your vet. It’s typical to feed two measured meals per day. But Galgos can be prone to bloat and potentially life-threatening stomach twisting if they eat too quickly. So you might want to feed smaller, more frequent meals or use a special feeder that slows down their eating. Also, avoid exercising your dog right before and after a meal. 

Where to Adopt or Buy a Spanish Galgo

The Spanish Galgo is a rare dog breed, especially in North America. It is difficult to find a reputable breeder, and you likely won’t find a Galgo at a local animal shelter. 

There has been much controversy over hunters in Spain abusing Galgos and then leaving them to die once they’re no longer useful. Rescue organizations worldwide have attempted to intervene in this and save the dogs. So it is possible to adopt a Galgo in need through one of these organizations, including:

Spanish Galgo Overview

  • Typically gentle and loving

  • Can be a good family pet

  • Doesn't need a high amount of exercise

  • High prey drive

  • Doesn't tolerate cold well

  • Difficult to find a breeder or rescue group

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

As with any breed, if you’re interested in the Galgo be sure to do plenty of research to verify that it will fit with your lifestyle. Talk to breed owners, rescue organizations, reputable breeders, and veterinary professionals. Try to spend some time around Galgos, too, if possible.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • What's the difference between a Spanish Galgo and a greyhound?

    The Galgo and greyhound look quite similar at first, and they have comparable temperaments. But the Galgo is generally a little smaller with a less deep chest. And its tail and head are a little longer than a greyhound’s.

  • Are Spanish Galgos rare?

    The Spanish Galgo isn't a common dog breed to find, especially outside of Spain. But there are rescue organizations that work to save unwanted Galgos from abusive situations, so it’s possible to find a Galgo through one of them.

  • Are Spanish Galgos good family dogs?

    Well-trained and socialized Spanish Galgos can be excellent family dogs. They are typically even-tempered and patient even around rambunctious kids, though any dog should be monitored around young children.

Article Sources
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  1. Greyhound. American Kennel Club.