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The Alopekis - A Charming Ancient Greek Dog
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The Alopekis - A Charming Ancient Greek Dog

You would be forgiven for never having heard about a lovely little dog known as an Alopekis, although the breed is known to be one of the most ancient on the planet. Native to Greece, they are renowned for their loyal and affectinate natures which is why these little dogs have found their way into many people's hearts and homes even outside of their homeland.

A Little Background History

The Alopekis has a fascinating ancestry and are thought to be the descendents of dogs that were around in the Proto-Hellenic era. Archeological digs discovered these dogs were around in the Paleolithic period and that the Ancient Greeks called them "alopecis" because of their similarity to small foxes. At one time, there was even a hairless Alopekis, but they no longer exist mainly due to climate change and the fact the Ancient Greeks did not like the look of these "naked" dogs.

In modern times, the Alopekis was at one time often seen in the streets of Greece as many of them were strays. However, careful selective breeding is now in place which means the Alopekis is considered to be a breed all of its own in its native homeland and should not be confused with another dog namely the Small Greek Domestic Dog. Of the two, the Alopekis is the rarer, but fortunately for the breed, more of them are now being bred elsewhere in the world including here in the UK.

Faithful and Devoted Companions

The Alopekis is known for their lovely, kind personalities and for the fact they form very strong bonds with their owners becoming life-long, devoted and faithful companions. These little dogs just love to please and it's this trait that makes them a real joy to be around. They are also excellent "ratters" because of their natural hunting instinct which is extremely strong.

However, although they need to be kept busy both mentally and physically, the Alopekis is a great choice as a family pet because they are so adaptable and fit in to virtually every environment whether they live in town or in the countryside. They are also known to be protective of the people they love and their territory which in short, means that although they are small in stature, they are superb natural watch dogs.

Early Socialisation is a Must

Because the Alopekis has a strong prey drive, it's important for them to be well socialised and trained from a young age. If they grow up with other pets and dogs, they are generally very good around them. However, introductions need to be made slowly and carefully, especially if it's between a small pet like a hamster, guinea pig or other rodent because these little dogs might just end up thinking they are prey.

Good Around Children

These little dogs are also very good around children and like nothing more than to play games with the kids. They are incredibly smart and learn things quickly which means they easily pick up both the "good" and the "bad", so it's important that children be taught how to behave around their canine friend and that all games be supervised by an adult to make sure dogs are not teased.

A Healthy and Robust Little Dog

The Alopekis stands at around 8 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder with males being slightly bigger than their female counterparts. They typically weigh in at around 3 to 7 kg and again females tend to be a little lighter. They are healthy and robust characters unlike many other breeds, they don't suffer from any known hereditary and/or congenital health issues. When well cared for and fed a good nutritious diet to suit the different stages of their lives, the Alopekis boasts a long life span which can be anything from 14 to 16+ years.

Taking Care of their Coats

When it comes to keeping their coats looking good, these little dogs are very low maintenance and just need to be brushed regularly to get rid of any loose and shedding hair. As with other breeds, they tend to shed more during the spring and then again in the autumn. They have a lovely fine double coat with the outer coat being sleek while their undercoat is denser and much softer. Alopekis have charming shortish feathers on the backs of their front legs and their coats can either be short to medium in length, but never longer than 2 inches. When it comes to colours, the Alopekis can be anything from white to black and lots of mixtures in between.

Conclusion

The Alopekis is a charming little dog native to Greece where they have always been considered as wonderful pets and companion dogs. The breed is ancient with records of them being around in the Proto-Hellenic era. The dogs we see today are thought to be very similar to those seen in ancient times when they were referred to as little "fox-like" dogs that were a joy to have around. Breeders can be found in other parts of the world other than in their native Greece and this includes here in the UK, although the breed is still one of the lesser known.

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