Most of the dogs we saw in Portugal were scruffy. Some by breed or hair type, but most because they hadn't had a bath or brushing in quite a while, if ever. That's not to say the Portuguese don't love their dogs. They certainly have a lot of them around and the dogs all seem quite healthy and happy. But as to the guardianship of any particular dog, that wasn't immediately obvious -- the dogs at seem to be more wards of the community... constant, roaming features of the Algarve landscape. Based on stories told to me by my grandparents, this is much the way small town dogs lived here in the US a couple of generations ago, in the days before things like doggy daycare and puppy beauty spas. But the dogs clearly knew who their humans were...
We saw a scruffy little dog trotting cheerfully with a boy and girl, accompanying them to the school bus stop. Children delivered and mission accomplished, he then went about his other job of roaming the cobblestone streets, sniffing and marking all the light poles, shrubs and parked cars.
(Sidenote: As soon as the boats came in they were swarmed by dozens of the local cats, most of whom seemed feral, sickly thin and mangy looking...definitely not faring as well as the local dogs. As soon as the fish were unloaded, the cats jumped into the boats and cleaned out the detritus and remains of fish that were caught in the nets. There always seemed to be a few dozen cats hanging around, largely ignored by the dogs.)
|Cabo de São Vicente|
This grumpy old dog came out as soon as the gates opened at Cabo de São Vicente. He was intent on digging something out from under that door and was very annoyed when we tried to distract him long enough for a photo. Eventually he gave up and decided to lie down for a nap and tourist photo op.
|Podengo at Praia do Castelejo|
In the afternoon, we would see dogs stretched out napping in the shade or curled up next to the boats.
In the larger city of Lagos, east of Salema, the city dogs also roamed free. This one, below, wasn't exactly scruffy, but her eyes were mesmerizing. I love this picture (like all of the others, courtesy of my photographer/artist husband, Jamie).
|Not exactly scruffy, but the most soulful eyes...||Lagos|
This Spanish Water Dog in Salema was a tourist roaming the beaches with his human. At first I thought he was a small Portuguese Water Dog (after all, we were in Portugal) but when I inquired, his owner quickly corrected me. The dog was cute, but not very friendly and I'm not sure how Jamie got this picture because he never stopped moving...
|Spanish Water Dog in Salema|
We didn't get any great dog pictures in Paris this time... but we couldn't resist this decidedly non-scruffy Chihuahua in a store window in Reykjavik, Iceland. At first I thought he was part of a display, then he opened his eyes, blinked and went back to sleep.
That's it for this edition of "Portugal's Scruffy Dogs." I hope to return as soon as possible to continue my research (and enjoy more of those long, lazy, warm days by the beach).