Greyhounds belong to the category of dogs that hunt by sight. These dogs are all grouped under the term ‘sighthounds’. There are several types of Greyhounds and they come from different countries as well. Let us study this beautiful dog breed in detail.
Fun facts about Greyhounds
- The ancestor of the Greyhound may be the first of the watchdog breeds crossed with the first sheepdogs. This breed was mainly created for its shape.
- The Celtic Greyhound is believed to have been developed in 1500 BC in Germany. Later, the breed spread through other parts of Europe.
- Many popular racing Greyhounds have been preserved and kept in top museums especially those in Britain.
- Greyhounds were frequently taken and given as payment!
- Many famous people throughout history have loved and kept Greyhounds as pets. Some names include Cleopatra, Frederick the Great, and Prince Albert.
- The modern Greyhound found today was developed in Britain. The country has also given us other Greyhound type breeds including the Whippet, Deerhound, and the Irish Wolfhound.
- Several other nations have produced different types of Greyhounds and sighthounds including the Afghan Hound from Afghanistan, the Rhodesian Ridgeback from Zimbabwe, the graceful Italian Greyhound from Italy, Iran’s Saluki, and Morocco’s Sloughi. Australia also developed its own Greyhound breed called the Kangaroo hound developed for hunting. But not many people showed interest in the breed as a result of which it soon became extinct.
- A famous Greyhound named Master McGrath, winner of the Greyhound Waterloo Cup had a ‘private audience’ with dog lover Queen Victoria. He even traveled by train for this meeting.
- Many retired racing Greyhounds end up in dog shelters and rescue homes. Thankfully, kindhearted people are opening their doors and hearts to these veterans and many Americans have adopted old racing Greyhound rescues as pets.
Physically these dogs look rather fragile but in reality, they are very strong. The height in males is about 32-38 cm and weight is about 5.5 kg. Females are slightly shorter and lighter. They have a deep chest with a slender head and very short coats that exist in many colors. Black, grey, and fawn are the most popular Greyhound coat colors.
A well-constructed Greyhound is a pleasure to watch. Greys are classic sighthounds and they display grace, symmetry, and elegance. Some great racers look like flying machines when they run!
Where to find a Greyhound
If you have decided that a Greyhound puppy is right for your home, you can start your search by talking to other Greyhound owners or a vet in your area. They can guide you to top breeders near you. You can also visit the Greyhound Club of America website to find registered breeders. Once you have shortlisted several breeders, call and speak to several of them. Try to assess their intentions behind their breeding programs. Are they in it for the money or are they genuinely concerned about the breed’s welfare? You can get hints to these questions by visiting their kennels.
Is the facility well-maintained? How many breeds do they keep apart from the Greyhound? Ideally, a good breeder would not keep more than one or two breeds. If possible, ask to meet their litter. Your potential puppy should appear curious, alert, intelligent, and well-fed. Also, ask to meet the puppy’s dam (mother). Her temperament can give you a great deal of insight into your Grey’s temperament. The average price of a purebred Greyhound puppy is between $800 and $1500.
Greyhounds make great family pets and companion dogs owing to their stable and predictable natures and gentle disposition. They are loving, loyal, and affectionate dogs, although most of us think of them only as ‘racers’. In reality, they are a lot more than that and racing is just one aspect of their personality.
Greys get along well with children and other house pets. They are generally quiet dogs that don’t bark unnecessarily. Most Greyhounds attach to one person in the family and they are extremely loving and loyal to that person. Since they do not roam or leave their master’s side, they can be kept unleashed when outdoors on walks. However, you must train your pet for this.
Greyhounds need plenty of exercise and are energetic dogs. Make sure you have a fenced yard and a secure home where your Grey can expend his energy running around.
No Greyhound likes being a couch potato and this breed needs more exercise than most other dog breeds. You must commit to walking and running your dog at least twice a day. This is very important for your pet’s mental and physical well-being. The Greyhound’s athletic nature and long limbs paired with an inborn desire to run make them a high maintenance breed to keep in optimal physical shape.
As stated before, early training and socialization are a must for this dog. They have strong personalities and audacity which can make training slightly challenging. Make sure you start early; as soon as your pet is about 12 weeks of age. You can begin with housetraining and crate training. This will stop your puppy from soiling his living quarters. Later on, you can teach basic commands like Come, Sit, Heel, etc. It helps to enroll your pet in puppy obedience school if there is one available nearby. This will also help him socialize with other dogs. This intelligent dog learns quickly provided you teach him with patience, love, consistency, and respect.
Grooming your Grey
This hardy breed does not need too much grooming. You need to still comb and brush their coat once or twice a week to keep it free from pests and also stimulate the natural oils. Use a vet-approved shampoo and crème rinse to keep your Grey smelling good. Check his ears from time to time and trim his toenails. Brushing of teeth is recommended to keep dental issues at bay.
Health issues in Greyhounds
Racing Greyhounds tend to develop injuries like luxation, fractures, and impacts on footpads. Lameness in racing Greyhounds is also common.
Other genetic issues seen in the breed are urogenital conditions, ophthalmic, gastrointestinal, and neurological conditions. They are also at increased risk of canine distemper, salmonellosis, and thiopentone. The lifespan of the breed is 12-15 years.