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Posts tagged “spanish hunting dog

(A Belated) Breed All About It- Pachon Navarro!

Welcome back everyone!

The week is wrapping up and we are celebrating with our weekly “Breed All About It”  series! For those of you that are new, each Thursday (except for this week where the supreme lazies kicked in) we cover a new dog breed- some old, some new- for our readers to enjoy. If you would like to assist in the picking of the next breed that we cover, we have been randomly selecting a country and then a breed that looks interesting, so drop us a line in the comments below and we’ll let you know who got chosen in the upcoming week! We had some good guesses about what the breed in the last ‘Wordless Wednesday’ post was, but no one who hit the ball on the nose (and the nose on this breed is one of their very, very distinct features!). This one was a toughie and it isn’t a well-known or an AKC recognized one. I had no idea about this breed prior to this week, so you get to learn about them along with me! Our breed of the week is the rarely heard of Pachon Navarro, a Spanish hunting breed of dog.


The original Old Spanish Pointer was developed on either side of the Pyrenees Mountains in the 1200s. Although few written references can be found from the first couple of centuries of their existence, many breed historians believe it was the first breed of Pointer, beginning as a mix of the most popular Spanish hunting dogs in the Middle Ages. The mix may have included early Greyhounds, indigenous mastiffs, and French Braque types of dogs.

The Pachon Navarro is considered a Braque-type of hunting dog, because it is versatile and used for pointing, as well as to retrieve, flush, and trail game over a variety of terrain. Pachon Navarros are used primarily to hunt birds, such as partridge and quail, and small game, like rabbits. They are quick to catch on to different methods of hunting and astute at working in tandem with the hunter, staying just the right distance from the gun. They easily adapt to the demands of the terrain and naturally work in collaboration with other dogs during the hunt.

The Pachon Navarro’s most distinctive feature is its nose, which has a deep crease between the nostrils. American journalist Freeman Lloyd aptly described it when he wrote in the AKC Gazette that some dogs had noses that looked like the wrong end of a double barreled shotgun. In fact, this distinctive nose is referred to as a double, double barrel, or a split nose. Many, but not all, Pachon Navarros are born with the double nose, which has long been considered a desirable (but not mandatory) trait. This split nose was believed to give them their keen sense of smell, but no scientific data supports the claim.

Today, some Pachon breeders do not select for this trait, because of the increased chance of puppies with completely cleft palates. As many as ten percent of them are stillborn or have to be euthanized because the cleft is severe enough that the dogs cannot breathe or nurse properly. But most Pachons with double noses have only a moderate cleft that does not interfere with its functioning.

Over the centuries Spanish sportsmen bred various local pointing dogs, refining them for hunting purposes and naming them after the particular locale in which they lived. The various names by which they were known include: Pachon, Perdiguero Navarro, Pachon de Vitoria, Pachon Espanol, Perdiguero Comun, or Navarro. By the mid-1400s images of dogs resembling the modern day Pachon Navarro appear in Spanish paintings. One of the most well-known such art works is a miniature of a falconry scene, found in the cathedral of Toledo. A painting from 1635 by the famous Spanish artist Diego Velazquez, depicts Prince Baltasar Carlos of Austurias (a region of Spain) with a Pachon Navarro type of dog.

German, French, and British soldiers, who had fought in Spain for nine years in the War of Spanish Succession, took Pachon Navarros and other Spanish dogs back to their homelands, following the signing of the Peace Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The English Pointer was developed from the Pachon Navarro (and possibly other Spanish Pointers, as well).

The Pachon Navarro was popular in the 1700s and 1800s, and much favored by Spanish nobility. The Bourbon family exported the dogs, spreading the breed into other European countries. As the sport of hunting gained momentum among Spanish bourgeois society of the 1800s, Pachon Navarros hit their peak of popularity; during this time they could be found throughout northwestern Spain.

The advent of organized dog shows in the 1890s marked the categorizing of the local Pachons under the one name of Pachon Navarro. They were well represented in exhibitions and hunting tests, including the 1890 Madrid dog show. In 1900 a Pachon Navarro won first prize in a show held in Pamplona. In 1911 the breed was officially recognized by the Royal Canine Society of Spain and also won its first exhibition under the auspices of the newly founded organization. These successes spurred breeders to greatly improve the conformation and hunting performance of the breed. One breeder in particular at that time, Don Gregorio Martinez Lopez, was highly influential in his contributions to the development of the Pachon Navarro.

But when the Spanish Civil War ended in April of 1939, the breed was careening the edge of extinction, as a result of the strain on resources and humans (a not uncommon occurrence during wartime and its aftermath). Enthusiasts of the Pachon Navarro scoured the countryside for remaining specimens in order to replenish the population. This endeavor met with some success, but in the 1950s, the breed encountered another dangerous setback. A virus that affected rabbits called myxomatosis practically wiped out the primary quarry of the Pachon Navarro, causing hunters to lose interest in the breed and seek out specialized bird dogs instead. By 1970, many believed that Pachon Navarros had disappeared for all time.

Many of Spain’s native dog breeds, in fact, were in danger of extinction by 1978, prompting the Central Canine Society of Madrid’s new president, Valentin Alvarez, to form a special committee to address the crisis. Jose Manuel Sanz Timon was appointed to head the new Commission for Spanish Breeds. In 1979, Timon and three young veterinary students were charged with finding and cataloging any Pachon Navarros that remained in the regions of Navarre, Rioja, and Alava, as well as areas of Portugal. The commission and the students, Luis Arribas, Luis Centenera, and Carlos Contera, expected the project to be short-term, consisting of simply a written report and a census. The project became much more, and marked a turning point for the Pachon Navarro and other gundogs. They gained knowledge of the breeds and collected and preserved lines of hunting dogs that could have been lost forever. For Carlos Contera, and later his father, uncles, and cousins, it became a mission. The project also served to generate renewed interest in Pachon Navarros, especially among sportsmen.

Much of that interest was fostered by Carlos Contera, who founded a dog magazine, El Mundo de Perro, in 1980. The magazine had nationwide circulation; in it he published a trip summary and extensive report of the Pachon Navarro recovery efforts thus far. He also used the magazine to advertize for local Pachon Navarro dogs for the recovery project. That same year, the first litter was born from gathered Pachon Navarro dogs. Contreras now had a total of sixteen dogs to establish a foundation stock for regenerating the breedlines.

The Spanish government helped promote the recovery project as well. In 1983 the Royal Factory of the Mint issued stamps with Spanish breed dogs on them, including the Pachon Navarro. A headshot of “Ron”, a Pachon owned by Mr. Mass of Madrid, who played an important role in the Pachon project, was featured on the stamp.

The Contera family established a trademark for their dogs, Alaju, in 1992. In 1996, the Conteras created Info-Alaju, a software database program, for entering and storing genealogical records for Pachon Navarros. All hand written records were incorporated and today international access to the database of records allows owners to trace their dog’s pedigree to the first generation. In 1999, they established the breed website, which is still current today and contains a wealth of information on Pachon Navarros.

The establishment of a breed club in 2002, called The Circle of Hunters and Breeders of Pachon Navarro (Circulo do Cazadores y Criadores de Pachon Navarro), marked a major milestone in the breed’s history. When it was founded, Carlos Contera was the chairman of the board. Veterinarian and breeder Juan Jose Garcia Estevez was secretary, and Jose Manuel Utrillas was treasurer. Florentino Alvaro, Jordi Esteban, and Carlos Irujo composed the rest of the board. All of these men were accomplished hunters and enthusiastic dog lovers.

In 2004, the Royal Canine Society of Spain accepted the club’s proposed breed standard on an interim basis and began an official Pachon Navarro registry. Alaju Ito was the first dog registered; only two months prior, Ito was dubbed best dog in an exhibition held in Pamplona. February 22, 2005, the first litter to be recorded in the registry was born. The dogs were owned by Javier Alhama; the father was Alaju Zapo and the mother was Alaju Quira.

In May 2005, the Spring Dog Show organized by the Madrid Real Sociedad Canina was held, with Mr. Montesinos as overall judge and Carlos Salas as specialist judge for Pachon Navarros. Out of the twelve contenders, Alaju Ito won Best of Breed. September 11, 2005, fifteen Pachon Navarros were entered in an international dog show held in Pamplona, where Alaju Law won Best of Breed. In December, at a dog show in Almendralejo, Alaju Ito became the first Pachon Navarro to win the title Champion of Spain.

March 4, 2007, an unprecedented seventy Pachon Navarros gathered for the first National Contest of Breeding and Selection. Juan Jose Garcia Estevez was judge. The contest was supported and authorized by the Royal Canine Society of Spain and held in Lorca. Three males were selected for stud with a two year commitment to be bred with at least ten females per season. The males selected were Alaju Argos, owned by Raul Pascual of Soria; Double Gingerbread, owned by Carlos Contera of Guadalajara; and Alaju Wen, owned by Miguel A. Herrero of Teruel.

Today in 2012, the Pachon Navarro is known by the Continental Kennel Club under the name Perdiguero Navarro, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) does not recognize the Pachon Navarro by any nomenclature. But the Circle of Hunters and Breeders of Pachon Navarro, with Juan Garcia Estevez as president, is still active and vital ten years after its inception and continues to work tirelessly toward gaining recognition for the Pachon Navarro in the international dog world.

As of 2012, eleven generations of genetically pure Pachon Navarros have been carefully bred under Carlos Contera’s Alaju trademark. These breed specimens are unsurpassed in the history of the Pachon Navarro for appearance, performance in the field, and authenticity of bloodlines. Since the 1980s, Contera, his father Manuel, and Juan and Carla Estevez (who live near Pamplona, Spain), have bred more than 1,000 Pachon Navarro puppies. The breed continues to grow in popularity with Spanish hunters and the number of puppies born increases each year. Carlos Contera has achieved the goal he set before himself in 1978, to fully restore one of Spain’s native dog breeds, the Pachon Navarro.


Pachon Navarros are large, stout dogs with rectangular shaped bodies and short, but sturdy, limbs; these dogs possess great physical strength. They can weigh in at 44- 66 pounds, depending on sex, and are between 20 and 22 inches at the withers.

The vast majority of Pachon Navarros have short fur of a hard texture. The rare, long haired dogs of this breed have silky coats. Theircoats are usually a color combination of black and white, brown and white, liver (a darker shade of brown) and white, or orange and white. They may have patches or ticking (that is, freckled with a certain color) on the coats, or the dog’s coat may be monochrome or tri-colored. Their thick skin is somewhat detached in areas, such as where it forms a double chin. The skin appears thinner in some areas of the body.

The large head of the Pachon Navarro is boxy and the skull is wide. These dogs have broad foreheads, expressive eyebrows, and well defined stops. The length of their faces is less than the length of their skulls. They have long ears that are set low on their heads, but in a line above their eyes. They carry their ears high and wide; the ears fall forward, extending beyond the corners of the mouth. The ears are wide and flat at the base, with a rounded tip. Their large, round eyes are chestnut brown and wide set, but retain a forward facing gaze.

They have strong, square muzzles which are usually shorter than the length of their skulls. The muzzle in profile is straight, although the nose may be slightly elevated. The majority have the unusual double noses, which are split down the middle, with a demarcating line of fur that extends to the upper lip. Nose colors are in accord with the dogs’ coloring, and the nostrils are broad, large, and open. The strong jaws have complete dentition, closing in a scissors bite. Their thick lips are well pigmented and the pendants contribute to the square look of the muzzle.

The Pachon Navarro has a muscular, thick neck of medium length, with a moderate amount of dewlap. Their shoulders are muscular and long; their chests are very broad and deep, well let down to the elbows. They have rounded ribs and long sternums. The topline is straight and their strong backs are well muscled. The loin is broad, muscular, and flexible and the belly has a slight tuck up. Their broad croups are muscular and long, and rounded with a slight incline.

Their sturdy limbs are somewhat short and set well apart. Pachon Navarros’ upper arms are angulated at about 90 degrees from the shoulders; both the upper and forearms are muscular. The pasterns of the forelegs are short and thick, and well angulated when viewed from the side. The back legs are muscular and robust, with good bend in the knees. The hocks are wide, well bent, and close to the ground. Their rounded feet have arched toes, close together, with large, firm pads. Both the pads and nails are pigmented according to the dog’s mantle coloring.

They have straight, thick tails that are set at a medium height on their bodies. At rest, their tails fall; when moving during hunting, they trot with tails swinging side to side. But when they are on the alert during the hunt and tracking the scent of game, they have their tail extended, holding it rigidly still. Their body and muscles are tensed in a horizontal projection; their form is elongated and the limbs are slightly bent.


The Pachon Navarro is intelligent, friendly, loyal, and brave. They are a large, athletic breed and need vigorous daily exercise. These dogs possess a strong hunting instinct, but also make excellent human companions.

The Pachon Navarro has a great temperament for a family dog; they are gentle and affectionate, with happy dispositions. When indoors, they are docile, preferring to be near their human family; this breed will not be happy living outside away from its people.

They are friendly toward people in general, and get along well with most other dogs. Small noncanine pets, especially birds, will not fare well with a Pachon Navarro in the house, because of their hunting instinct for birds and small game. These dogs do not pick fights with other canines, but will defend what is theirs, if necessary. Their bravery and loyalty make them good watchdogs.

The puppies collect and carry objects as it is part of their retrieving instinct; they may be inclined to chew things in the household, especially if they do not get enough attention and daily exercise. These large, athletic dogs need a lot of outdoor exercise every day, to siphon off their high energy and keep them mentally and physically healthy. They love to be able to run free, outside in a large area, but the area must be enclosed because their strong hunting instinct. Your Pachon Navarro could easily run off in pursuit of prey, with no regard to traffic.

Pachon Navarros are by nature cooperative team players and quick, flexible learners. These traits, along with their high intelligence and loyalty, make them fairly easy to train. Socializing and training a Pachon while still a puppy is best, as it is with many breeds. Early socialization can help prevent them from becoming overly timid; while early training will nip unwanted behaviors in the bud, right from the start. Clear rules, consistent reinforcement, and firm leadership are the ingredients to effective training with this breed.



The Pachon Navarro is not suited to apartment life because of their need for a large amount of space in which to move around. They can do well in a house with a large, enclosed yard, or a home in the countryside.

In addition to frequent time to run outdoors, these dogs require a long and/or vigorous daily walk, or a jog. Make sure that even while you walk this breed, you maintain your role in the pack. Though they love their humans, they are pack animals and need a designated leader that will guide them on what is and is not appropriate.

Health and Life Expectancy:

Pachon Navarros are generally very healthy and genetically sound, with lifespans of about twelve to fifteen years. They are prone to ear infections; other possible health concerns for Pointer dog breeds, such as the Pachon Navarro, are hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, allergies, and skin problems such as cysts.

That’s all we have for you today though guys! Thanks for dropping by and learning about our new breed of the week! The Pachon was a hard breed to research since there wasn’t much information listed about them anywhere, so there was a lot of information scrounging going on this time around. A huge, huge thank you goes out to for having such a thorough background for this unusual breed! We hope that you enjoyed your visit and that we will see your smiling faces back from our future ‘Breed All About It’ breeds. Drop us a line in the comments below if there is a country that you would like us to consider for the upcoming week and we will be happy to add your country to the hat!

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~ Anastasia and Xeva