The Galgo Español (Spanish hound) really took form in the middle ages. As the reconquest of Spain advanced, previously abandoned lands began to regain lost Christian populations and kings began to assert their power and influence.

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Some photographs courtesy Michelle Henninger

There are three recognized types of Spanish Hound: The smooth-haired variety, the long-haired variety (almost non-existant) and the hard-haired variety. Of the three, the first is the most frequently seen at the dog shows, field tests and the competitions that take place at the dog tracks.


The hare became very commonplace in the sowing lands and extensive areas of wasteland and fallow land brought about an increase in game, thus consolidating the traditional hare races with Spanish Galgo, a common practice as much in the arab kingdoms as in the Christian ones.

There is proof as to how much the Greyhound was appreciated at this time due to the great number of laws that penalized their being stolen or being killed. The municipal charters of Salamanca (9th century), Cuenca, Zorita de los Canes, Molina de Aragón (12th century) and Usagre (10th century) bear witness to this in the archives of Slonza. There are records of a donation of landed property being made by Gutierrez in favour of Diego Citid, dated the 3rd november 1081, in which the following statement can be read: "Urso Galgo colore nigro valente caetum solidos dae argento". To find this type of dog listed gives us an idea of how highly it was appreciated.

In the renaissance the Spanish Hound tradition continued to flourish and thus Martinez del Espinar writes in this book "The art of crossbowmanship and hunting: there are many ways to kill these animals (the hares). I would say that in Spain they chase them with hounds which are extremely lightweight here as some of the hares which escape without being caught however, just because they are fleeing doesn´t mean they don´t return to their owners; the hares continue because they know the trail and in most cases they hide near the waybys, on the edge of some thicket, mountain or hillside or stony ground and thus escape and go downhill however the Spanish Hounds reached them on the hillsides and rough ground and seem to fly..."
The names "Galgo" and "Lebrel" are nowadays treated as synonyms which refers to the same race of dog; however there is documentation that demonstrates that in the 14th Century the "Lebrel" was of a medium size, with a fairly large and long head, a bulky stomach and powerful flanks as can be read in the book on hunting by Gaston Phoebus. As time passed, the Spanish Hound developed its morphology, and at the same time it was progressively referred to as "Lebrel" or "Galgo" indistinctly.