I am re-posting a piece I wrote at roughly this time a year ago because, while all the dogs touch my heart, every single one of them, there are are several breeds that are so overlooked, that are so often left behind and ignored. One of these is the Bodeguero. These little clowns will make you laugh but it make you cry too to see them languishing behind bars for so long simply because the breed's unknown, and sometimes misunderstood.
It breaks your heart to see so many Bodegueros and Podencos left behind in the shelters while so many other dogs are adopted. One of the reasons may be that these breeds are little known – not just in Holland but in the UK, the rest of mainland Europe and indeed throughout most of the world. In this post I’ll concentrate on the Bodegueros and will write about Podencos another time.
There may be other reasons for the lack of adopters for Bodegueros. The main ones are almost certainly ignorance of the breed and its characteristics and the confusion with the Jack Russell terrier, which it seems has a bad reputation in Belgium though not I think generally in England. However, the Bodeguero is a completely different and original breed – strong, healthy, sweet, very intelligent and loyal.
This sturdy little dog has a nice and compact muscular body, fairly long, elegant legs, and a nice smooth coat. They have beautiful little faces! Real teddy bear faces – and yes, they do smile! The breed is known by various names. The Rat Nero (rattevanger), the Perillo Ratero (rat dog) and the Bodeguero Andaluz. They got the name Bodeguero from the wineries and wine cellars (bodegas) where they are used to keep wine barrels free from rats and other vermin.
The Bodeguero first became known towards the end of the 18th century with the arrival of the English wine merchants in the province of Cadiz, Spain. The British brought with them a breed of particularly smooth-haired fox terriers. These were crossed with the already existing local dogs that were used as rat catchers in the bodegas.
These hybrids quickly became popular and made excellent ratters. At that time they were bred to be white in colour, so that they could be seen in the dark vaults of the then unlit wineries. In 1993, the Club Nacional del Perro Andaluz Ratonero Bodeguero, was formed and in 2000 the breed was recognised as a native Spanish breed by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture. It is not yet recognised internationally by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
Bodegueros adapt well to full-time indoor or apartment living but have lots of energy so they both enjoy and need a great deal of daily exercise. They love to spend time outdoors, playing games such as fetch and tug-of-war, and having plenty of room to roam, run, and play.
They thrive on strong dependable relationships with humans. This in particular makes them easy dogs to train and thus they make excellent pets being bright, clever, obedient, loyal, loving and affectionate with adults and children alike. Like all shelter dogs they may take a little time to adapt to a new home. But once they have settled in (and being so intelligent and eager to please this may not take too long) you’ll have a delicious, crazy, sweet, funny and loving friend for life.