Information about the Sabueso Español

The Sabueso español (Spanish Scenthound) is an scenthound breed with its origin in the far north of Iberian Peninsula, included in Group VI of F.C.I. classification. This breed has being used in this mountainous region since hundreds of years ago in all kind of game: wild boar, hare, brown bear, wolf, red deer, fox, roe deer and chamois. It is an exclusive working breed, employed in hunting with firearms.

First description of Iberian scenthounds appears in “Libro de la Montería de Alfonso XI”, king of Castilla, written in the Middle Age, where chapter 39 talks about: “which forms scenthounds males and females must be”.

After that diverse descripcions of iberian scenthounds appeared in various hunting Spanish books from 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries: “Tratado de la Montería”, “Discurso de la Montería” or “Origen y Dignidad de la Caça”.

During these centuries Spanish scenthounds (we are talking about Spanish scenthounds because they were born in Spain, not because those hounds were an exact reflecting of actual Spanish scenthound standard) were used mainly in brown bear and wild boar hunting. Also they were very used to track wounded game by hunters called Ballesteros (because they used crossbows). Of course these hounds have been used since very ancient times in “caza a traílla” (leashed hound-hunting) to know previously of the hunt the resting location of bears, boars and wolves.

When firearms were getting common in northern Spain and big game populations decreased, uses of Spanish scenthound derived in small game, mainly in a type of hare hunting called “caza de la liebre a la vuelta”, although the breed was keeping on used in wild boar and roe deer hunting.

Today big game populations in northern Spain has increased again a lot and then Spanish scenthound is now very used, with a fixed standard since 1982, mainly in wild boar hunting, in the traditional type of boar hunting called “caza a traílla”.

Spanish Hound is a medium-sized dog, longer than taller. Beautiful head with long ears. Box perimeter is longer than height. Very well-boned with strong legs and feet. Smooth and simple coat. Sweet, noble and sad eyes. These dogs are kind and loyal, but good individuals are gritty hounds in wild boar hunting.

General appearance of strong dog, not very tall but very rough. Two colors are allowed: red and white. Red and black noses are allowed. Red color can be very clear (lemon) until reedish brown.

The breed presents a high sexual diversity. Males height: 52-57 cms. Females height: 48-53 cms.

Firstable there were two subtypes in the breed: Mountain Hound and Hare Hound, but they were completely unified since 1982.
Spanish scenthound. Female of ancient harehound type.

Spanish hound is a scenthound with a great sense of smell, with a good percentage in the breed of really cold-nosed hounds. It is a chop-mouthed hound, with a very loud voice. Hunters can know the different fases of the hunt listen to the hound because of the variations in its voice: cold track, hot track and baying. In far northern Spain the scenthound barking while it is running a track is called “latido” or “llatido”.

This hound is very used in hare hunting, a traditional hunter behaviour allows the hare get gone away and allow the hound to work the track until it is able to make the hare come back to the hunter with nose and intelligence. This kind of hunting is called “caza de la liebre a la vuelta” (coming back hare hunting).

Also, Spanish Scenthound is very used in wild boar hunting in northern “montería” (big game collective hunting), mostly in the type of hunting called “caza a traílla” (leashed-dog hunting), the most genuine and traditional, which origin is lost in ancient times. This kind of hunting consists in looking for the resting location of the wild boar during the daylight with the help of a leashed scenthound. The hunter (called “montero”) and the scenthound will track the boar night journeys until they know the resting location of the wild boar. When this location is sure (because hunter and scenthound have rounded the wood and there are not a boar track getting out the wood) some hunters with firearms wait rounding the wood and some scenthounds are unleashed on the track. They jump the boar and run it at least until hunters can shoot it. Spanish scenthound is an excellent hound for this type of hunting.

This hunting dog possess a marked independent character because it have been bred to hunt alone or with one or two more hounds, because of that this breed is not properly a packing breed. These hounds need a powerful management to get the dog only works the track of the hunting specie its owner wants to hunt.

Spanish hound must be generous with its voice in all phases of hunting, it has stamina and it has true heart. It is a good scent hound who runs its prey during long distances, 4-5 hours runnings worked by one hound alone are not strange.

This hound is not a good pet. It needs lots of exercise and space, and it is unjustified not to allow what it loves to do: Hunting.