The Perro Montero Valdueza is a type of hunting dog that pertains to central Spain. Outside the world of Spanish hunters, the Valdueza is not very well-known. It is a relative young breed, and even for those who are appalled by hunting, hunters and their world, the Valdueza is still a strangely fascinating dog.
The Valdueza is not precisely a griffon, but a hunting dog that contains griffon blood. The official name is Perro Montero de Valdueza. The breed has been recognized as an ‘ethnic group’ by the Real Sociedad Canina de España, which means the Asociación Club Español del Perro de Montería Valdueza can apply for the recognition of the Valdueza as a Spanish breed. They are mainly found in the part of Spain that stretches from west to east under Toledo to the northern parts of Andalusia.
The Valdueza is a large, versatile and strong hunting dog. Its history goes back some 70 years when Don Alfonso Álvarez de Toledo y Urquijo, the father of the current Marquis de Valdueza, started interbreeding white, long haired Podencos Campaneros with the lightly build Mastins that can be found in Extremadura.
The Marquis’ aim was to create the perfect hunting dog for his ‘rehala’, his hunting pack. From the Podenco his new dog would have its agility, speed, hardiness, endurance and liveliness, while the Mastín would add its powerfulness, grandeur and grip.
But that was not quite enough, his perfect hunting dog was not complete yet. The Marquis had heard about the Griffon Nivernais used in France, and how great these hounds were for hunting wild boar, famous for their tenacity, their trailing abilities and their loud bark – and so his curiosity was aroused, and he wanted to give them a try.
Because the Marques also was a cattle breeder who traded with France, his trucks brought him back a male Griffon Nivernais which he named ‘Fransuá’ with whom he started breeding. Mixing in griffon blood would add a powerful nose with the ability to follow a scent trail and of course, the powerful and loud griffon bark. Currently, only up to 25% of the make up of a Valdueza is griffon blood. The result was satisfying and he started to refine the breed. Others started to follow his example, and the population of Valduezas steadily grew. Other breeders have also used the Griffon Vendéen.
Valduezas nowadays look very homogeneous, a white or wax coloured shaggy coat of some 3 to 8 cm in length that sometimes contains a few orange spots on the head or back (other, darker colours are not acceptable according to the official standards). They are bearded, have the rounded large paws of the griffon and the robust build of a slender Mastín but with the musculature of a large Podenco. Their tail is usually docked at around 20 cm, and their ears are docked as well.
The males are 67 – 75 centimetres tall at the withers, and females measure around 66 – 72 centimetres.
There is one exception to the color prescription: Valduezas with black ears and spots on the head and some black spots on their body. These are dubbed ‘Urracas’, Magpies, and one of guys who breeds them is in the Madrid area.
As many people already know, Podencos and especially Griffons and even Mastins make great company pets that do very well living with a family in a house. A dog that is a mixture of the three, of course will be a great dog to have around as a loyal friend. All three breeds are known to be pretty independent though and supposedly these dogs need a lot of excercise. Hopefully we can publish a blog post in the future about the experiences people have living with a Valdueza as a pet.
Although not precisely a griffon, we have included the Valdueza for several reasons. The first reason to include this breed on this website is that Valduezas contain griffon blood and when looking at them it shows. The second reason is that the Valdueza is a Spanish hunting breed, and therefore at some point they may be abandoned or get lost and will need rescue. Because so little – if at all – has been written about them in English, is the third reason to include them here.
The Valdueza is not a dog that is saturating Spanish pounds, or at least, not that we know of. Perhaps because their territory is the interior of Spain and therefore they may be less visible on places like Facebook. But it is inevitable that some of these dogs will end up at local shelters and are offered for adoption. And probably more so in the future, because also in Spain the laws about abandoning dogs and killing them are slowly changing for the better. It is good when the persons who want to rescue one of these amazing dogs, will know a little about them.
Source: Perro Montero Valdueza, joya viva de la Montería Española (PDF by the Real Sociedad Canina España – in Spanish)