The Cretan Hound belongs into the group of oldest dogs we have in Europe with its history dating back thousands of years to the Greek island of Crete. It is believed that they share similar ancestry as other Meditteranean dogs, such as Podencos and old Egyptian dogs. It is also believed, that the breed predates the famous Minoan civilization and that it existed on the island of Crete for at least 4000 years. There are artifacts, that are dating back to at least 3500 years that document this breeds existence on this Greek island. So it is truly very old, ancient breed, definitely one of the oldest we have in Europe.
For a long time, the breed lived in isolation of Cretan island where it adapted to the local harsh terrain and hot weather and for a long time it was bred by Minoan civilizaton, which ruled this island. It was a highly valued hunting companion, which always was their main utilization. For thousands of years, the Cretan Hound was used for chasing rabbits and hares. They are perfect for this purpose, because they have natural chasing instinct, they are incredibly fast and they have extraordinary sight and sense of smell. They typically hunt alone or in small groups and they are capable of track down, chase, kill and retrieve the prey back to the hunter. It is truly an amazing hunting dog.
Today, not all the Cretan Hounds are used for hunting, many of them are living the spoiled life of family companions as well. And these dogs are very good companions. It is true, that when they are on the hunt, they are very focused and intense, but when they are at home, around its family, they are typically super affectionate, loyal, gentle and relaxed. These are tolerant dogs, that can make good partners for kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised. On the other hand, they are typically alert and suspicious towards strangers and they will most likely let you know when some stranger is approaching your property. Kritikos Lagonikos can live with other dogs in the family without problems, but other smaller household pets might be problematic due to their hunting heritage.
It is true that the Kritikos Lagonikos make wonderful companion, but they are much better suited for active people. This breed was used for thousands of years as tireless and relentless hunter, so it is only logical, that they have extensive exercise needs. Daily longer walks, hikes, jogs, vigorous playtime and fun training sesssions are necessary for this breed to stay healthy and happy. Without enough exercise, they might develop some problematic behaviour, such as destruction.
Not only the temperament of Cretan Hound is built for hunt. They even have perfect body type for this purpose. They are slender dogs, very strong in loin and light on feet, which is just perfect to move in dangerous rocky terrain in high speed. The dog is strong, but also very agile, nimble and flexible with amazingly fast reflexes and fast gallop. The head is elongated and wedge shaped with pricked ears. The tail is rather long and curved upwards.
The Cretan Hound is a strong dog with lean body and with average height between 50-60 cm, which is 20-24 inch and weight is usually between 15-22 kg, which is 33-49 lbs. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
7) Coat and color
The athletic Cretan Hounds body is covered by short and smooth hair, which is just perfect for the hot weather of Crete. You can find this breed in several colors, including pure white, cream, sandy, fawn, grey, black or brindle, bi-colored or tri-colored.
Speaking of the coat, it is important to mention grooming and maintenance as well and luckily its extremely easy with this breed. They do shed some hair all year long and regular brushing will remove loose and dead hair and minimize the shedding, but even without any grooming at all, they will keep their coats in great condition. Just like with any other breed, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
Pure Kritikos Lagonikos are very rare dogs, that can be still mostly found on the isle of Crete. It is estimated, that there is few hundreds of pure Cretan Hounds. Some of the Cretan Hounds are rescued by people from other countries as well, and there is for example relatively lot of them in Germany, but very often those are rather mixes of Cretan Hounds rather than purebred dogs. So if you would like to see a Cretan Hound on your own eyes, your best bet would be to visit Crete.
It is said, that the Kritikos Lagonikos is usually very healthy dog breed with good lifespan around 14 years. The breed has very few health concerns, one of them might be joint problems such as hip dysplasia, some eye problems and ear infections, but none of those are extremely common in this breed.
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