Despite being an old and relatively healthy breed, we rarely hear of the Podenco in the UK. Often used as hunting dogs in Spain, these dogs face a lot of ill-treatment, particularly when hunting season ends and they are abandoned. In May protests were held in London to raise awareness of the cruel cycle these dogs endure.

One lucky Podenco has found a new life in Scotland and his owner hopes telling his story will encourage others to help. After being turned away from UK rescue charities as they worked and studied full-time, Danial and his fiancée came across a woman who was rehoming a Podenco from Spain through her self-ran non-profit animal rescue – One Love Dog Rescue.

“We’d never heard of the breed before and decided to do some research and inquire with the woman, a quick online search and we were sold – the treatment and suffering of these dogs is something I couldn’t conceive was happening in a developed European country today, let alone on such a massive scale. Whilst many dogs suffer abuse in the UK and many need homes, I don’t feel the suffering is on a comparable level to what Galgos and Podencos go through in Spain. We knew we wanted to help.”

Daniel made contact with One Love Dog Rescue but the particular Podenco they had seen had already been rehomed. They were told of another called Leroy, on his way from a killing station in Malaga and would be in Scotland within a few days.

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Floki before his rescue. Credit: Demoniac/Imgur

The couple were interviewed and once Leroy had arrived and had settled, they were allowed to visit. “When we arrived and saw his big beautiful eyes we instantly fell in love. Despite being incredibly weary and timid, he gingerly approached us and placed his head into my fiancée‘s palm and rested it there, staring at us. We had to have him.

“Leroy had been the longest resident dog in the killing station in Spain before he was saved by another rescue charity – Val’s Podenco rescue. Not much is known about his background but they think he was either captured by dog hunters as a stray or handed over by a hunter. Judging by some of the minor scars and that he is missing the tip of his right ear, his crazy prey drive and compulsion to chase birds and rabbits, and the fact he is incredibly social with other dogs, I think it may be the latter.”

Leroy, now called Floki, has been in his new home for a year and, according to Daniel, has really come out of his shell. “He loves to play tug of war and chase tennis balls, cuddle for hours, is an incessant kisser and can sleep like a champ. He is so trusting of humans despite what he’s gone through and won’t hesitate to give big kisses to any stranger who wants to pet him”

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Credit: Demoniac/imgur
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Credit: Demoniac/imgur

Floki even has his own Instagram account @flokithepodenco with almost 300 followers so far.

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Daniel says Floki can sleep at “an Olympic level”. Credit: Demoniac/imgur

Podenco plight continues

“After a year of blissful dog-induced happiness, I got to thinking about how the Podenco is still such an unknown and sadly neglected breed. I thought if i could share our success story with Floki to enough people, someone may be able to find enough room in their life to help one of these wonderful dogs – and at the very least – make people aware of the terrible suffering many thousands of these dogs endure.

“I’m amazed at how few people know about the breed, or their suffering. They are magnificent, hugely intelligent, trusting, independent and loving to a fault. Their aesthetic beauty and great genetic health is just a nice bonus.”

There are a number of organisations now working together to help improve the lives of Podencos. For more information go to Podenco Alliance and Podenco Support South West.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Megan Chapple, for this great and oh so necessary light on the Podencos, called the “Great Forgotten” of the hunting breeds of Spain. There is so much to be said in their favor! Come and visit also our group on Facebook -The Million Paw March for Justice is here to raise awareness about the hunting breeds of Spain – in particular the Galgos and Podencos and we are here to support the many people who are working so hard to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home them! Our deepest respect and thanks to all of these wonderful people!

  2. Thank you very much for your article, it’s a great support for the Podencos in Spain, these wonderful hunting dogs and perfect pets. Fantastic to see some of them in their new Life in Scotland. Thanks to all who made that happen. Megan Chapple, please stay tuned … the spanish Podencos and Galgos need and deserve the support of all of us. And perhaps, we meet you on … The Million Paw March for Justice ?

  3. Thank you Megan Chapple for this beautiful article on the mistreatment of this unique breed of dog. I hope thousands when reading this article will considering giving a podenco a home. I have brought 2 dogs back to Canada from Val’s Podenco Rescue. One of them is living with us now.

  4. I live in South Spain and can sadly confirm the horrors these dogs go through. During the hunting season they are widely used for their speed and skill. They are however treated as throwaway items and even when travelling to a hunt you see the hunter for example often in a big comfy 4×4 vehicle with a small tincan metal trailer bouncing after the car. Being so low the trailer gets all the exhaust fumes directly into the dogs and when opened the animals stumble half falling out dizzy from the fumes. They are often very poorly fed the concept being that a very hungry dog is a better hunter.

    When the hunting season ends the dog pounds fill up with the result that countless podencos and galgos are put down….many never teach the front pens where the few that do get a chance of being seen and offered a life in a home….something they have never tried.

    After hunting season many never make it to the bursting pounds, they are either shot or just fumped out into the countryside to fend for themselves or die. Some hunters play with their discarded dogs making these into so called Piano Players….this entails the hunter hanging the dog from a tree by its neck just high enough for the tips of its back paws to touch the ground. A long slow traumatic death ensues with the terrified animal tapping its paws desperately on the ground gagging and trying to get a foothold. Finally exhausted it gived up slumps chokes and dies….end of a hard harsh life.

    If more people abroad will adopt these lovely faithful fun and intelligent dogs the pounds may be able to better keep up with the onslought of incoming young dogs at the end of the season and fewer need to die. Spain is trying to change the disgusting treatment of the dogs and many many spaniards absolutely hate the hunters. Please help in this change and bring a dog to safety! Thanks.

  5. Thank you so much Megan Chapple for your article. Raising awareness about what the hunting dogs in Spain have to go through and specially the Podencos will help these breeds and all the shelters, rescuers and volunteers that work so tirelessly to save them. I live in Spain and I know the mentality here is changing very slowly and most people condemn the ways the hunters and “galgueros”treat their dogs. Please have a look at The Million Paws March for Justice. After reading your article I am certain you will like our page!

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