The Andalusian hound (Spanish: Podenco andaluz) is a dog breed originating in Spain, especially Andalusia. These dogs are similar to other Iberian breeds such as the Ibizan Hound, the Portuguese Podengo, the Podenco Canario and the Maneto. In the Iberian Peninsula there are cave paintings representing dogs with a strong resemblance to these races. Dogs very similar to these, including the Cirneco dell'Etna and Pharaoh Hound, have been bred in much of the Mediterranean basin since ancient times. Despite the widespread belief that the podencos were introduced into Spain some 3,000 years ago by the Phoenicians, recent genetic studies have concluded that these dogs actually have a close genetic relationship with other European hunting dogs and are no more "primitive" than the others.
Standardization and recognition
Despite being a native ancient breed, it was not until 1990 that it entered the world of official cynology with the formation of a breed club to promote the development of breed standards. Phillipe Bloque-Rentón and colleagues at the University of Córdoba's veterinary medicine faculty undertook the research work required to specify the breed; their study, presented at the second Simposium de las razas caninas españolas (Spanish dog breeds symposium) in 1992, was recognized by Real Sociedad Canina de España (Royal Spanish Dog Society, RSCE) in April of that year as a defining breed standard. In Spain, Andalusian hounds were included within Group V - Spitz and Primitive Types, under Section 7, Primitive type - Hunting dogs. However, the breed is recognized neither by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) nor by any other international dog breeds association, due to the large number of matches with the Portuguese Podengo standard — a fact which casts doubt on its claim to be regarded as a separate breed.
In January 2015, the Andalusian Hound was nationally recognized in Germany.
As in the Portuguese Podengo, the Andalusian Hound comes in three sizes (large, medium and small) and with three types of coat (wire-haired, long-haired and smooth). This combination of factors can results in nine different varieties. There is also a dwarf or basset variety derived from a medium-sized short-haired Andalusian Hound — called Maneto from its short, stout legs — which the RSCE has provisionally accepted as a distinct breed.
Andalusian Podencos, like other hounds, have excellent sight, hearing and smell, which makes them good hunters, often employed for hunting rabbits. Andalusians and mastiffs form the heart of the rehalas (teams of 20 to 24 hunting dogs) of central and southern parts of the Iberian Peninsula; medium and smaller dogs search out deer or wild boar, whilst the larger hounds are used for attacking the prey.