What is a Podenco?

The breed is believed to be a variation on the original Ibizan Hound, otherwise know in Spanish as the Podenco Ibicenco.  There are several types of podencos, distinguished mainly by size and/or region where located.  Examples are the Podenco Andaluz, Podenco Manchengo, Podenco Canario and the miniature Podenco Enano.  The podenco was originally bred to be used for hunting small game such as rabbits, but they have been known to be used to hunt game as large as a wild boar.  The general temperament of the Podenco is similar to the galgo and greyhounds.  They are very smart and eager to please, but they are sometimes stubborn.  Podencos are gentle, loyal and love to relax, but they love exercise and interactive playtime too.  Most have an amazing ability to jump, so a secure fence is a plus!

For additional reading on the breed, check out these sites: Ibizan Hound Rescue, Aza Hounds

Why They Need Our Help.

Much like the galgos and other breeds used by Spanish hunters (galgueros), the podenco faces a very grim life.  Galgueros view their hunting dogs as tools and strictly as property they own.  A podenco’s life is typically spent on a short chain with no shelter from scorching heat or freezing cold temperatures or in dark sheds, sometimes packed so tightly with other dogs that they cannot even lie down.

Since there is a belief among galgueros that dogs hunt better when they are hungry, the podenco is usually starved or fed and watered just enough to keep them alive.  After hunting season ends or when a podenco is no longer useful, they face much the same fate as the galgo.  They are sometimes hung or poisoned, but more often they are driven to a remote location and abandoned, sometimes being beaten, having legs broken or in one known case, having their eyes gouged out so they cannot find their way home.

As with galgos,  podencos are overbred and used as hunters' tools, and though they have received less publicity than the galgos, they often face the same fate they're no longer deemed useful. They deserve our attention.

Other Sighthounds

The Lurcher

The lurcher was originally bred in Ireland and England and used for hunting. It is a mix of breeds, typically a greyhound or other sightound mixed with a terrier or a herding dog, giving it greater stamina. The original lurchers in the UK were bred out of necessity. For centuries it was illegal for a commoner to own a purebred sighthound. Hunters who wanted the skill of the sighthound bred them to other breeds to obtain the fast, agile, and strong dogs — while diminishing the sighthound appearance just enough to legally own them.

The lurcher is a very smart, obedient and loving dog, still used for hunting and sometimes bred in the US for coyote hunting. They are more energetic than greyhounds, but yet have many of the endearing characteristics greyhound lovers adore.

The American Staghound

The American Staghound is similar to the lurcher but has its roots in American history. Bred as a cross of greyhound, deerhound, and other sighthounds, the staghound is bred for its ability to hunt. Unlike the European dogs, the staghound's past is not as dark. General Custer and Theodore Roosevelt both owned and loved staghounds, using them for hunting and companionship. The staghound is not an AKC recognized breed, but enthusiasts care little about pedigree as the ability to hunt is their primary concern.

The staghound, like the lurcher and galgo, can come in a variety of coats and colors. They are much like the greyhound in energy level, though they are not quite as fast but have greater endurance. Like most sighthounds, the staghound is a lovely dog, both in appearance and personality.

Sighthound Mixes

What, you might ask, is the difference between a galgo, lurcher, staghound, and a greyhound mix? To a certain degree it boils down to symantics. All three breeds are, in fact, sighthound mixes. But their origin and purpose, as well as the type of mix, dictate how they are categorized.

Sadly, the true mixes — greyhounds and other sighthounds mixed with labs, pit bulls, hounds, etc. are often left behind. Just as with any breed rescue there are indiscriminate litters born, and because they are not "purebred" they are left by the wayside, often euthanized before they ever have a chance at life.These dogs are just as deserving as their purebred cousins and they desperately need our help. Please don't turn a blind eye to them just because they aren't given a name.These wonderful "mutts" deserve a chance at a loving home. Dog lovers all over the world fall in love with a certain "type" of dog, and the mixes greatly resemble in personality the type that sighthound enthusiasts love.

It is fortunate that greyhound mixes are not seen in the great abundance that other mixes are. Due to the segregation of greyhounds in racing and the vigilance of greyhound rescue groups, there is a much smaller population of unaltered greyhounds at large. But there are unscrupulous individuals who refuse to alter their animals and, as with any breed, the indiscriminate breeding of greyhounds does occur.