The Greyhound is the fastest of all dog breeds and can reach speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour. Greyhounds are sight hounds, like the Afghan and Saluki, who rely on good eyesight to spot and chase down game. Sight hounds had to be tall, sleek and very fast sprinters to chase down fast game such as gazelles.
These hounds have long and strong legs with muscular thighs and a lean body and deep chest. The Greyhound’s coat is short, smooth and silky and lies close to the body. All colors are acceptable but the most common include black, white, fawn, orange and brown; with or without white markings.
Greyhounds are tall with males standing 28 to 31 inches and females standing 26 to 28 inches at shoulder height. These hounds can weigh from 55 to 75 pounds. This breed is a member of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Hound Group.
History of The Greyhound
Greyhounds were probably developed in ancient Egypt or the Middle East and came to Europe with the first Phoenicians. These hounds became very popular in Europe in the Middle Ages where royalty used them to hunt small game.
More recently this breed has been used in the dog racing industry chasing mechanical rabbits around a track. A large Greyhound rescue organization has been developed to save these racing dogs from being euthanized after their racing career is over.
Greyhounds were ranked 131st out of 154 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations. That rank doesn’t reflect their popularity because most of the thousands of rescued dogs will not be registered with the AKC.
Temperament of a Greyhound
Greyhounds are sensitive, loving, gentle and obedient dogs. These hounds make wonderful family pets and get along very well with older children and other larger dogs. Because of his hunting heritage, he will chase small dogs and cats.
This breed is gentle and prefers peace and quiet. They don’t bark very often. Young children and toddlers can be too rough for the touch sensitive Greyhound. These hounds don’t need long exercise sessions as they have lots of speed but not too much endurance.
After they mature, these hounds turn into couch-potatoes. The breed is intelligent and can be fairly easy to train because they are so co-operative. Training must be done with sensitivity and gentle patience to enhance the confidence of the breed.
Greyhounds do best with experienced owners. If given sufficient exercise this breed can even adapt to being left alone during the day.
Greyhounds need a safe, enclosed area where they can have a daily run or sprint. The breed doesn’t need hours of daily exercise and is usually content to sleep after 30 minutes of fast running. Don’t let these dogs off leash unless they are in a fenced area otherwise they will run off chasing a squirrel.
These hounds require minimal grooming. An occasional brushing with a soft brush will suffice. This breed sheds very little.
Greyhounds should live for 10 to 14 years and have very few common health problems. Their thin tails can get broken and they can injure the tail tips by wagging against hard objects. Buyers should consider acquiring a retired racer through a Greyhound rescue league. Ex-racers make excellent companion dogs.