Frequently asked questions
1. Does a galgo need a lot of exercise?
Despite being the athletes of the dog world, galgos are not active dogs. Three twenty-minute walks a day is usually sufficient, combined with the occasional free run in a safe, enclosed area. Naturally, young galgos need more exercise than older dogs but, in general, galgos love nothing more than lounging around on soft surfaces.
2. Can a galgo run free, or should it always be kept on a leash?
Many galgos cannot be off-lead in open spaces as they don’t respond to recall once they are in full sprint, creating a danger to themselves, other people and other animals. As sighthounds, they are more visually orientated than other breeds and can spot prey or a moving object at a distance. Some galgos have a very strong chase instint or may be fearful and prone to fleeing, so it is dangerous to let such dogs off the lead in parks or open spaces for obvious reasons. A frightened galgo will flee at full speed and will not think twice about crossing roads in front of cars.
Fearful galgos should always wear a Martingale collar which has an anti-escape mechanism and prevents them from the slipping out of their collars when panicking. Extendable leads should not be used to walk galgos as they can do themselves a lot of damage if they sprint to the end of the lead and receive a sudden jolt at that high speed.
Once you have won your galgo’s trust, trained a reliable recall and assessed how well he interacts with other dogs, you can allow your galgo off-leash in enclosed spaces such as fenced dog parks but check the fence is higher than 2 metres as they are great jumpers.
3. Where should a galgo sleep?
Galgos really feel the cold as they have very little body fat and most have short hair, so they are not suited to outdoor kennels. They should be allowed to sleep inside as they are very social, comfort-loving dogs that need warmth and a soft surface to sleep on. If left up to them, they would no doubt choose sleep on your bed or sofa but if this is unacceptable in your home, a padded bed or folded duvet on the floor is fine. You will need to be consistent with house rules as your galgo will not understand why he is allowed on the sofa one day but not the next when he happens to have wet paws.
4. How many hours does a galgo sleep?
Galgos are very lazy dogs and can sleep for up to 18 hours a day. Most are happy to doze in your home until you take them out for their next walk
5. Can I leave a galgo alone at home whilst I am working?
That depends on each individual galgo. Some are quite happy to sleep peacefully whilst you are out at work, whilst others can be anxious and panicky when left alone. As many abandoned galgos were previously owned by hunters and kept in groups, they are not used to being without the company of another dog and can develop separation problems when left alone in a new environment.
As we evaluate each galgo’s needs whilst it is in fostercare, we can assess which galgos can be left alone and which need the company of another dog in order to feel secure. Separation problems can normally be resolved with behavioural therapy, guidelines for which are provided by SOS Galgos.
6. What should I feed my galgo?
Galgos eat the same type and quantity of kibble as any other large breed. We recommend you feed your galgo a high quality, dry food twice a day (never before or just after intense exercise). Galgos find it more comfortable to eat and drink from raised bowls.
7. As I have never owned a galgo before, can I have a trial period before I decide to adopt?
We recommend that adopters foster their galgo for a few weeks before making the commitment to adopt. If the galgo adapts well in his new environment and you are happy with him, you can then proceed with the definitive adoption.
8. How must does it cost to adopt?
The adoption fee is 260 euros which includes microchipping, vaccination, deworming, bloodtests, transport and neutering.
9. Can galgos live with cats?
Some can, some can’t. We check a galgo’s compatibilty before it goes to a home with cats.
10. How do galgos get along with children and elderly people?
Galgos normally get on very well with children and the elderly as they are very gentle dogs. They don’t tend to jump up, bark or salivate excessively, making them ideal therapy dogs for the elderly. SOS Galgos carries out educational visits in schools accompanied by galgos and they behave impeccably.
11. What differences are there between galgos and other breeds?
No, they are dogs like any other and requiere the same level of commitment, care and affection. In some rural areas of Spain, galgos are not regarded as companion animals but these attitudes based on ignorance are changing. Galgos make ideal pets, as they are gentle, affectionate and love being with people. Certain breed characteristics make them very appealing to dog owners: they rarely bark or pull on the lead. They are very calm withing the home and adapt well to apartment living as they don’t need a lot of space. Their presence in the home is barely noticed as they love to sleep!
12. How long can a galgo live?
Galgos normally live for 12 to 14 years.
13. I can’t commit to look after a galgo all its life. How else can I help?
We are always in need of foster homes for recently rescued galgos. Foster carers play a vital role in the process of re-homing abandoned galgos; they evaluate the galgo’s character and individual needs, whilst helping rehabilitate the animal physically and psychologically before it goes to its forever home.
Fostering is the ideal option for people who are unsure of their long-term plans, who are living in Spain temporarily, who already have a dog and have space for another or who simply want to get to know numerous galgos rather than just one. Some people may find it hard to part with their foster galgo, but it is helpful to bear in mind that every galgo that is adopted makes room for another to be rescued. And unfortunately there is no shortage of galgos in need, so you can foster another dog as soon as you are ready.
14. Are all galgos fearful, timid dogs?
A galgo’s level of fear depends on a combination of factors: genetics, socialisation and past experiences. Abandonment is a traumatic experience for any dog but, in addition, many galgos suffer cruel treatment from hunters which makes them fearful of humans in general. They are not exposed to urban environments, different types of people and dogs at a young age so are inherently fearful of unfamiliar stimuli. Traumatised or very poorly socialised galgos are happier living in rural environments where they can slowly build trust in their new owners.
Other galgos, that have not had such a hard time in life and are more confident by nature, arrive at our clinic with wagging tails, eager for human affection. Whether fearful or not, galgos are affectionate, sensitive dogs that soon create a strong bond with their owners and you will have a loyal, loving companion by your side.
15. Can they live in appartments in a city?
Many galgos can live quite happily in apartments if they are given adequate exercise. Most galgos have no prior experience of domestic living (for example, lifts, stairs, household appliances…) but are surprisingly adaptable and quickly gain confidence.
16. Can galgos be trained?
Galgos are intelligent and can be trained like any other dog. They should be trained using postive reinforcement methods only, no harsh words. Galgos are capable of learning anything you wish to teach them, but in general they are not particularly motivated to excel in obedience or agility for example. They are quite independent by nature and, rather than being trained, they prefer to walk, run, explore, meet other dogs or, quite simply, to sleep! Of course, there are exceptions, and some galgos perform very well in agility and other canine sports/activities.