10 Spanish Dog Breeds in Honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month
Learn about 10 dog breeds you may not have known originated in Spain!
Craig Koshyk Photo
Let's celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15th through October 15th we honor Hispanic Americans and the discovery of America by Spanish conquistadors led by Christopher Columbus in October, 1492. To pay my tribute to España, I have compiled a list of 10 special dog breeds that you may not know originated in Spain.
1. Alano Español (aka Spanish Bulldog)
These pooches date back to 5th century Spain and are best known for their use in Spanish bullfights. Also worthy of note is their skill at hunting big game, especially wild boar. This breed weighs 75–85 pounds and has a large boxy head with a big black nose. Their thick coat is usually brindle and their faces and necks tend to be adorably wrinkly. They are fearless, loyal and devoted hard workers who are also very patient with children.
Originally from Andalusia, Spain, these hounds were depicted in cave paintings. They come in three different sizes (small, medium and large) and have three types of hair (hard; long and silky; or short and straight).
3. Basque Shepherd Dog (aka Perro de Pastor Vasco)
The sheepdog is one of the oldest dog breeds. Skeletal remains were found in Neolithic caves 12,000 years ago. The Basque Shepherd Dog tends to be agile and they are obedient herders. The eyes are oval, amber or brown, and the coat is medium length in a vivid yellow color.
4. Cantabrian Water Dog (aka Perro de Agua Cantábrico)
These dogs come from the coast of Cantabria in Northern Spain and were bred to assist fisherman. If you own a boat and want an excellent companion, this breed is your best doggie bet. Happy sailing!
5. Galgo Español (aka Spanish Greyhound)
The Galgos are ancient dogs that appear similar to American Greyhounds but a tad smaller with longer tails, and a longer streamlined head. Unlike Greyhounds, Galgos come in smooth or rough coats. They can be brindle, black, golden, cinnamon, red, yellow or white. These canines are known for their calm, quiet and gentle demeanor. Another perk is they're extremely cat friendly and great with kids.
This breed has been used by shepherds. They’re known for their dependability as livestock guardian dogs. One of the first known descriptions of these dogs dates all the way back to 1407. Pyrenees are white but can have spots of grey or tan on their face, body and/or tail. Their unusual double-layered coat is long, flat, and thick on the outside, which works as protection for their fine wooly undercoat. They’re gentle, affectionate and great with kids.
7. Pachon Navarro (aka Old Spanish Pointer)
Whoever heard of a double nose? Well, that’s what this breed is known for. The nostrils are separated by a band of skin and fur that divides the nose all the way to the dog’s upper lip. Because of this bizarre feature they are believed to have extra smelling skills, which made them popular hunting dogs at the time of the Conquistadors.
Almost extinct after World War II, this dog was developed for its power and tenacity. When challenged, this dog will not back down. It can be trained to be respectful of its human family, including kids, but it shouldn’t be trusted with other animals. These perros need several long walks per day and need to be socialized from puppyhood or they can be dangerous. They’re smart and must be taught behavior by knowledgeable highly-skilled trainers.
9. Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz (aka Andalusian Wine-Cellar Rat Hunting Dog)
From the terrier family, these dogs were bred to hunt rats and mice hidden between the wineries of Andalusia, Spain. The Ratonero strongly resembles a Jack Russell Terrier and has even been referred to as the Spanish Jack Russell. They have a short coat that is typically white with facial markings of brown, white and/or black. They usually have tan eyebrows and a black mask. In addition to their strong hunting instincts, these dogs are also considered safe for kids.
10. Sabueso Español (aka Spanish Scenthound)
Originally from the far north of the Iberian Peninsula, this breed was written about in Spanish hunting books from the 15th through 17th centuries. History has documented their adept skills at hunting—especially wild boars and brown bears. They have long ears and sweet sad eyes like a typical hound. In the present day, they’re most frequently used for hare and wild boar hunting. They have distinctive and very loud voices and hunters can tell the different phases of the hunt by the variations of their barks.