Traditional Hunting Dogs Are Left to Die En Masse in Spain

Thanks to the hard work of organizations like Fundación Benjamin Menhert, many galgos are getting a second chance. 
Animal welfare groups are working to reduce horrific treatment of galgos, an ancient Spanish breed. 

Galgos are an ancient breed of hunting dog once raised exclusively by Spanish nobles. Today they must be one of the most abused dog breeds on the planet. Tens of thousands are killed in Spain every year, often in gruesome ways. Countless more are abandoned

They’re similar in appearance to greyhounds, with a smaller, lighter build, and have either smooth or shaggy coats. People who work with galgos say they tend to be loyal, kind, and affectionate.

Galgueros, the people who own and breed the dogs, use them for hare and lure coursing. In

hare coursing—a controversial sport—the dogs race over the countryside or an enclosed track to catch the fleeing hare. Lure coursing replaces the hare with a mechanical lure. Galgueros hold coursing competitions every year between September and February. In the most prestigious of these, held in a different host city in Spain every January, the winning galgo takes home the Copa de Su Majestad el Rey, or King’s Cup, tacitly sponsored by the king of Spain himself, Felipe VI.

Galgos are mass-bred in hopes of finding that special courser. According to Tina Solera, founder of Murcia-based Galgos del Sol, the organization that rescued Luke and Sirius, dogs in many parts of the country are often kept in terrible conditions, chained outdoors in small concrete bunkers and fed just enough to keep them alive—and ravenous enough to give them an edge in competitions. “We've had galgueros that have had 70, 120 galgos, living on crisps and bread and eating each other when they die,” she says.

To train galgos for maximum speed, “a lot of times they'll take 12, 15 dogs out, tie them to the back of a motorbike or a car and run [them],” says Christman. “If one of them falls down or gets injured, too bad.”
Source: National geographic