The Greyhound is a member of the dog breed commonly known as sighthound which includes Whippets, Lurchers, Salukis, and the magnificent Irish Wolfhounds.
Retired racing Greyhounds are often adopted and make excellent companions.
Used in racing, the Greyhound is renowned for its speed and keen sight.
The Greyhound can reach speeds of up to 43mph and despite a formidable reputation as a hunting dog used to pursue hares, deer, foxes, and small game it is known as a very gentle and extremely intelligent companion dog.
Male Greyhounds are 28 to 30 in tall and weigh in at between 60- 88 lb whilst females are usually smaller at 26 to 28 in tall and weigh anything from 55 to 75 lb.
Their colors have many variations of white, black, red, gray, brindle, and fawn, and roughly 30 are recognized.
The Greyhound has a very short coat which makes it easy to groom and its head, like other sighthounds, is very narrow and it’s muzzle elongated.
The Greyhound makes a wonderful companion for single households or families with children provided they are treated sensitively by everyone and more especially by the children. Some children’s rough and tumble games would not suit the sensitive Greyhound, so children need to respect this.
They also prefer a quiet environment so may be better suited to a family with older children.
Despite popular belief not all Greyhounds will seek to chase or attack small dogs or other family pets such as cats. It really depends on individual dogs and whether or no they have a high prey drive.
A nuisance dog as classified by the Environment Agency needs to bark continuously for at least 20 minutes before action is taken and for a Greyhound to do so is well-nigh impossible.
Since Greyhounds seldom bark, they are the perfect companion for those with nearby neighbours.
Greyhounds can sleep for up to 18 hours a day so despite their large size and especially if they are retired racing dogs can be a great choice for those living in apartments or flats.
Have you noticed that you seldom see a Greyhound walking off the lead and maybe wondered why? Well in fact you will seldom see any sighthound walking off lead because as sighthounds they are prone to dashing off to pursue cats or other small animals such as hares, rabbits, and squirrels.
So if you are intent on adopting a Greyhound bear this in mind. You can of course allow them off lead outside in your back garden. Greyhounds are of course very athletic so as a precaution your garden needs to have an impregnable fence or wall surrounding it at least 4ft tall and ideally 6ft to prevent your Greyhound escaping.
Mostly reserved for their owners, the Greyhound is very affectionate although it can sometimes appear indifferent to strangers. Surprisingly for such a fast breed they tend to be couch potatoes and at home always seem to claim the most comfortable sofa as theirs exclusively. Most of the time they are very chilled out and easy-going and some might even accuse them of being lazy.
If you suffer from anxiety, they will show you how to relax like no other breed except for another breed altogether – the cat!
For couch potato humans they are the perfect companion because they don’t need to be taken for long walks and would rather hare around your back garden at speed!
The average life span of a Greyhound is 10 to 14 years and they don’t usually suffer from any hereditary illnesses. Overall the Greyhound is a healthy breed.
You need to provide soft comfortable bedding for a Greyhound because of it’s slim build which means they can easily develop skin sores without this type of bedding.
Generally vets recommend that you do not use flea collars or flea spray on Greyhounds if the product is pyrethrin-based because of their sensitivity to pyrethrin.
The Greyhound lacks an undercoat although they are not hypoallergenic although some describe them as such. This lack coupled with their relatively low levels of body fat makes the Greyhound susceptible to temperature extremes so they need to be housed indoors – a practice which is considered to be de facto nowadays for all dog breeds especially for those kept as companion animals!
Through The Ages
The speed, agility, and companionship of the Greyhound have been appreciated for 4000 years by Kings and Commoners alike. They were revered by the Pharaohs and have been found mummified alongside their masters in their sarcophagus when the ancient kingdoms of Egypt, Greece, and Persia existed. There are frequent depictions of them on tomb walls and references in the Bible and ancient texts.
Later and certainly during the Middle Ages the Greyhound was revered by Royalty and nobles as a hunting dog and commoners were forbidden to keep them. Even nobles couldn’t keep them without the permission of the King and the life of Greyhound was considered above that of a commoner.
The next Greyhound era was that of Greyhound Racing when it became one of the favorite gaming sports firstly of the wealthy and later joined by the working classes, at one time rivaling the popularity of horse racing.
The current Greyhound era is witnessing the demise of Greyhound racing due to pressure groups who see it as an abuse of the noble Greyhound and inhumane. Unproductive Greyhounds who don’t earn their owners any winnings or are injured are often euthanized. Unfortunately this is sometimes done by the owner rather than a vet since many vets refuse to euthanize an otherwise healthy Greyhound.
This cruel and inhumane treatment of Greyhounds has lead to the formation of Greyhound specific rescue groups such as The Forever Hounds Trust. You can easily find one of the many Greyhound rescue groups near you by performing a Google search.
Greyhounds make tremendous companions and deserve to end their lives in forever homes, treated with respect by families that love them!