When you think about Spain, what comes to mind?
Perhaps it is its tapas, dancing, art, culture, architecture, and crazy fiestas, or its fascinating history of exploration, or even its world-class resorts and over 8,000 beaches.
But did you know Spain is also home to some of the world’s most unique and fascinating dog breeds? Some of which can trace their heritage to breeds in Ancient Egypt, more than 5,000 years ago.
The Spanish Royal Canine Society lists 23 breeds that are native to Spain. Many of them are extremely rare, even within their home country and not all of them are recognized by international kennel clubs.
They might be rare and unique, but we have rounded up a list of excelente Spanish dog breeds for you to look at here.
The Spanish breeds we see today have been bred for everything from herding to hunting to companionship. Many of them have strong working or hunting drives. But quite a few including the Catalan Sheepdog, Pyrenean Shepherd, Podenco Manoto and Spanish Terrier also make fantastic family members.
If you don’t have time to look through the full list, here is a small taste of some of the unique dog breeds from the Iberian Peninsula.
- The Great Pyrenees is an ancient breed that has been used to herd and protect livestock on the border between Spain and France. In fact, ‘Pyrs’ are such an ancient breed that fossils of this dog dating back to between 1800 to 1000 BC have been found in the region. These gentle giants have an incredible coat (which unfortunately does shed), a calm, protective and nurturing nature and make great family pets.
- The Ibizan Hound nicknamed the ‘Beezer,’ is an elegant sighthound whose ancestors can be traced back to ancient Egypt. They are fast, agile, and have heaps of stamina. Beezers can make good family dogs in an active household as they are usually calm and even-tempered but can also be playful and silly. They may not be suited to living with other small pets.
- The Spanish Water Dog’s distinctive curly, woolly coat forms into cords when long. No need to brush these dogs, but you need to separate the cords to keep them from matting. These smart, playful, and intelligent pups originally came from the Canary Islands where they were used as sailing dogs, but they have also been used for sheep herding and retrieving.
Just like a plate of delicious tapas, if this snapshot has left you wanting to learn more about Spanish dog breeds, our list is a great place to start exploring.