Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds on record. This breed dates back to ancient Greece and Egypt. Depictions of greyhounds can be found in paintings and carvings dating back to 2900 BC. They were brought to America by the Spanish in the 1500s and grew in popularity, used mostly for hunting hares, jack rabbits, foxes and deer.
Greyhounds are part of a group called sight hounds. These hounds tend to rely on their sight for hunting rather than their noses like other hounds. Greyhounds’ sight is quite formidable. They have a long head with a rather narrow muzzle that widens at the ears. The placement of their eyes allows a 270˚ field of vision (2 times that of a human) which basically means they can see behind their head. They have small ears that are bent toward the back.
The Greyhound’s body is built for speed. They have very muscular hindquarters, they are tall and lean, with a very deep chest. Greyhounds have a very flexible spine that allows them to run in a double suspended gallop. This means all four legs are suspended at two points during their gallop, when they are stretched out and tucked under their body. This allows for great speeds. Greyhounds can reach a speed of 45 miles per hour in 30 ft. So it is no surprise that this magnificent breed has been used for racing. They also love to participate in other dog sports like lure coursing, flyball and agility.
But speed and hunting are not the only things they are good at, Greyhounds are very sweet and lovable family dogs. They love children and other dogs but great care must be taken with smaller pets and other animals. A greyhound will chase almost anything they see moving, so it is very important to have them on a leash when outside and to provide a secure location for them to run freely in.
Due to this breed’s amazing speed, training, specially a reliable recall, is a must. The good news is that they are quite easy to train, they love to please their humans. And though they love to run when there is space, they can be very good apartment dogs since they are amazingly calm when indoors. They are actually known as couch potatoes by many owners, but they are healthiest when exercised daily. A proper diet is a must. Since Greyhounds have a propensity for bloat it is suggested that they rest for at least an hour after being fed; and feeding smaller meals 2 or 3 times a day rather than one big meal once a day.
Greyhounds have a short smooth coat that can be almost any color. There can be Greyhounds in black, white, grey, brindle, red, blue, blue fawn, red brindle and mixtures of these colors. They have very thin skin that can easily tear so it’s important to keep an eye on them when they are running outdoors. Their smooth coat is easy to take care of, needing only occasional brushing and bathing.
They are quite tall, a full grown Greyhound will be about 30 inches tall, but their frames are quite delicate so they tend to only weigh between 60 and 70lbs. Though they are tall they still think they are lap dogs. Greyhounds can’t really sit like other dogs, when they do their backside just hovers without touching the ground. During training, most Greyhound parents tend to teach them a down stay instead of forcing them to sit. With appropriate care a Greyhounds’ life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
So if you have access to a secure space for running and want a gentle well behaved, sweet family dog then maybe a Greyhound is right for you.