The Alopekis is a fox-like, ancient breed of dogs from Greece characterized by a body longer than its height at the withers, wedge-shaped head, muzzle with a deep and broad base, strong jaws, large eyes, broad nose, large, triangular ears, well-rounded hindquarters, strong knees, and vertical hocks. Ancient writers such as Xenophon, Aristophanes, and Aristotle had mentioned about this breed while numerous archeological findings including sculptures, tombs, statues, and carvings have representations of this small fox-like dog.
|Common Nicknames||Moropa, Bobis, Alepoudista, Venetaki, Bouboudi|
|Coat||Two-layered; short, hard, flat/ harsh and medium/ wiry and medium|
|Color||All colors excepting albino; black, white, black and white, parti-color, light fawn, off-white; patches of black, brindle, fawn, or other colors are seen|
|Group of Breed||Primitive|
|Lifespan||12-15 years or more|
|Weight||Female: 7-17 lb|
Male: 8-18 lb
|Size/Height||Female: 9-12 in|
Male: 10-13 in
|Size of Litter||2-5 puppies|
|Temperament||Obedient, devoted, athletic, confident, outgoing, intelligent, friendly|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Country Originated in||Greece|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||DRA|
Video: Teaching an Alopekis to Fetch
Since numerous prehistoric artifacts bearing the representation of Alopekis have been found in Thessaly, Raphina, and Asketario, it is believed that this breed evolved from ancient dogs that lived during the proto-Hellenic period. Moreover, dog bones like those of marshland dogs or turf-dogs found at the sites of Neolithic settlements (such as Sesklo and Sitagroi) indicate that Alopekis is one of the oldest dog breeds to originate in Europe.
Alopekis dogs were very common throughout Greece. Aside from its traditional role of exterminating small vermin as well as protecting domestic ducks and chickens from foxes, it is believed to be used for controlling aggressive bulls in training sessions and games of bull-leaping.
In modern times, urbanization, crossbreeding with imported dogs, and lack of breed registry have made an impact on their numbers. Since 2005, a group of researchers led by Prof. Spyros Chleiounakis have been studying a local population of Alopekis in Northern Greece. The results of their research along with the subsequent articles published in the press demand for the conservation of the surviving Alopekis dogs in Greece. The Kennel Club of Greece is now working with the Amaltheia volunteers to save them from extinction.
Temperament and Behavior
The Alopekis with an affectionate, sociable, and pleasant personality is a devoted companion well-suited for urban and city dwellers. Known to be a diligent worker, it is often used for hunting and retrieving game.
Even though it is sometimes trained for catching rats and other vermin, the dog can get along well with other animals and pets. Caring and playful by nature, it makes a fabulous companion for kids. Owing to its spirited, bold, and alert disposition, the Alopekis is considered an excellent watchdog.
The lively and athletic Alopekis dogs need regular physical activity including free play in a fenced yard and long daily walks. Although they are adaptable to small households, they should be taken for frequent walks to prevent frustration and boredom.
They do not need much grooming, as brushing their coat once or twice a week along with an occasional bath keeps them clean and healthy. You can also brush their teeth on a daily basis and make sure their nails are trimmed every month.
The Alopekis dogs are not known to suffer from any breed-specific health issues exhibiting a sound genetic health.
It is an easily trainable breed because of its smartness and obedient nature.
- Leash Training: Introduce your Alopekis to the harness and leash by allowing it to wear them for a while during which you can play with it and give it treats. Teach a sound cue by clicking your tongue or using a word such as ‘Yes.’ Make your pup come to you by backing up few paces and then giving treats when it gets to you. Before taking it outside, practice walking inside with little distraction.
- Herding and Driving: A visit to the ranch or farm where your dog can observe cows or sheep in pens is a good way of introducing it to livestock. Watch how your Alopekis reacts when it is around ducks, hens, cows, and sheep. Also, there are herding trials that simulate the conventional tasks of herding breeds, allowing your pup to revel in fetching and running alongside livestock.
Your pup’s food should contain a correct combination of proteins, fats, carbs, minerals, and vitamins. Pet foods with real animal protein from sources such as fish, whitefish, turkey, chicken, and venison should be given.
- At the end of the twentieth century, their numbers reduced significantly, and since then the breed has been on the verge of extinction.
- The wirehaired Alopekis dogs are extremely rare.