Alopekis: An Ancient Endangered Dog Breed

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Training
Sensitivity to strangers
Affection for family
Suitable for first-time owners
Ease of grooming
Energy level

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The Alopekis is a wonderful dog breed with many years of history, and it is currently endangered.

The Alopekis is an ancient dog breed from Proto-Hellenic Era. Great philosophers such as Aristotle wrote about these marvelous dogs, and also we can see them portrayed in numerous archeological remains.

Despite its fame, this dog breed is almost extinct; and in the last years a few specimens have been seen in the streets of Greece, as stray dogs.

The laws and dispositions against stray animals (this includes the spaying and neutering of every stray dog), and Canine Leishmaniasis, have led to the endangerment of this dog breed in the last few years.

The Alopekis is a quiet and playful dog, with an excellent hunting instinct, but also it is a great guardian dog despite its small size.

It is very easy to train and it can adapt perfectly to every lifestyle. It can live with a family without any problems, but it also needs to exercise frequently, so daily walks are very important. The Alopekis is a smart and faithful dog.

Alopekis: Origins

The Alopekis is an ancient dog breed from Greece; its ancestors were early primitive dogs from the Proto-Hellenic Era. The name “Alopekis” literally means “small fox”.

This dog breed was often mentioned by writers and philosophers such as Aristotle and Aristophanes, among others. Besides, we can see it portrayed in numerous archeological remains such as ancient burial tombs, monuments, ceramic artworks and sculptures.

The oldest representation comes from Ancient History (3000 BC – AD 500), it was a clay vessel from 3000 BC, with the shape of an Alopekis, which is now stored in an Archeological Museum in Athena.

Therefore, we can consider this dog breed as the main candidate to represent one of the oldest dog breeds in the World. It is believed that it was created from the crossing of dogs and foxes. This dog breed has been endangered since 1990.

Alopekis: Physical Characteristics

The body proportions of the Alopekis suggest that throughout the years it has suffered from a significant reduction in size due to process of evolution, natural selection and local adaptation. This dog has a short, rough and smooth coat, with a soft and thick undercoat. The head is cuneiform; it has big round almond-shaped eyes, with a smart look.

The ears are big, triangle-shaped, slightly round on the tips and very mobile. It has a strong jaw and a wide nose with big and opened nostrils. The tail is long and curved on the point, in the shape of a sickle or hook.

The body is wider than taller. Also, it used to be a hairless variety of the Alopekis, but now it is completely extinct, probably due to climate conditions and lack of preservation of this dog breed from humans.

The Alopekis’ height can be around 7-12 inches (20-30 cm.) and its weigh can be of 6-15 lbs (3-7 kg). The lifespan of a healthy Alopekis can be 14-16 years of age. There is no evidence of particular diseases or conditions in this dog breed.

Alopekis: Temperament

The Alopekis combines the personality of a hunting dog with the skills of a guardian dog. It is the number one enemy of rodents; in fact, it was used around Greece as a mice exterminator or to protect the poultry. It is an excellent guardian dog; it is brave and strong despite its size. However, the Alopekis is friendly, quiet and easy to train.

We can say it is an enthusiastic worker; it is very agile and it has a strong hunting instinct, but also it is a great playmate. This little dog has a great and lively personality; it is very adaptable, so it can easily live in an apartment, as long as you take it on its daily walks. It has an excellent relationship with children; and regardless of its quiet personality it needs a strong but affectionate owner. The Alopekis is a faithful and confident dog that gets very attached to its owner.

Alopekis: Trying to Preserve this Dog Breed

As we mentioned before, this dog breed has been endangered since 1990. In the last few years, there were more specimens wandering through the streets of Greece than in apartments living as companion dogs. The primary reason for this significant decrease in the number of Alopekis is Canine Leishmaniasis.

Also, this issue has intensified due to the small number of puppies on each litter, and the high number of mortality of these dogs, taking into account that large quantities are stray dogs. In fact, the law and initiatives to reduce the number of stray dogs led to massive neutering campaigns, which are directly linked to de decrease of specimens and endangerment of the Alopekis.

However, in the last few years, a small group of animal lovers tried to preserve this dog breed by spreading the fact that it is the oldest dog breed in the World, and that it should not completely disappear. Nowadays, the Alopekis is not a recognized dog breed by any international association, but the Kennel Club of Greece expects the increase of specimens so it can be finally recognized.