The ‘father’ of the modern day Galgo Barbucho Patagonico is Dr. Aldo Omar Iriarte, who dedicated over forty years to developing and curating the breed.
The breed is recognised nationally by the Kennel Club Argentina, but not yet by the FCI.
The origins of the breed are deeply linked to the topography and history of Argentine Patagonia, from the natives to those who settled from afar. The breed can be tracked back to the end of the 18th century and it’s development is steeped in rich history.
The Galgo Barbucho Patagonico descended from the Irish Wolfhound, which was introduced to Patagonia by British vessels who traded with the native people of the Tierra del Fuego and the southern Santa Cruz province. As the British introduced the wool industry to Patagonia, they brought the Irish Wolfhound over to provide protection from native predators such as pumas and foxes. The Irish Wolfhound truly flourished in Patagonia, where the geography of the land, weather and the topography provided the ideal conditions for them to thrive.
A crucial element to acknowledge is that before the arrival of the horse, the natives hunted by foot with large bearded dogs that had fine snouts. These dogs excelled in this method of hunting and as a result, the natives cared for them greatly. According to Dr. Aldo Omar Iriarte, Charles Darwin states in ‘On the Origin of Species’ that the natives of the Tierra del Fuego preferred to kill old women rather than their hunting dogs!
The Galgo Patagonico is the outcome of these wild and savage years in Argentine history. The dogs adapted to the harsh, unforgiving landscapes and climate of Patagonian Argentina, which combined with the breeding of the natives and their nomadic hunting way of life led to the creation of the formidable Galgo Barbucho Patagonico. They possess a unique bravery and fearlessness that can only be surpassed by the Dogo Argentino.
Dr. Aldo Omar Iriarte was dedicated to the preservation of the bloodlines. With his passing, we have lost the guardian of the breed. The purity of the bloodline is now in jeopardy due to indiscriminate cross breeding. Additionally, the new generation of hunters are not practicing the traditional hunting style that developed this unique breed and is needed to maintain it.
The Galgo Patagonico is the spirit of Argentine Patagonia. The story of this fascinating breed and the hunting tradition responsible for it’s development needs to be passed on and safeguarded for posterity.