The ears should be shaped like roses and must be pushed backward. This breed has dark-colored eyes, and their necks are long and impressive. The front legs of the Greyhound should be perfectly straight. The tail should be held low, and the short coat can come in any of the colors that are commonly seen with dogs. These dogs have participated in races for many years, and are sought after around the world.
The Greyhound is the fastest dog on the planet and can reach a top speed of 40 miles per hour. This is a breed that has existed for thousands of years. Many experts believe that they are descendants of the Sloughi, and the physical similarities between the two breeds are enough to support this. These dogs were often used to hunt game.
The Greyhound as a breed has been around for thousands of years. There are carvings in the Tomb of Amten in the Valley of the Nile that date from the Fourth Dynasty (2900 – 2751 B.C.) that show a dog very close in resemblance to the modern day greyhound. The most noticeable difference between the Egyptian carvings and the Greyhound that we know to day are in the coat (carvings show a dog with long, flowing hair) and tail (ancient dogs had a ring tail, modern ones have a long tail). Regardless of these differences, the type of dog is very similar in other ways.
In these Egyptian carvings, there are scenes of the dogs chasing down deer and other animals. In fact, Greyhounds were often mummified and buried with their owners.
The tombs of Egypt are not the only signs of the breed’s antiquity. Alexander the Great had a Greyhound named Peritas; in Proverbs 30:29-31 of the Old Testament they are mentioned and in Homer’s work “The Odyssey the dog of Odysseus, Argus, was the only one to recognize him upon his return. The gods and goddesses of Greek mythology were often portrayed with Greyhounds and Chaucer as well as Shakespeare each made reference to the breed in their writings. The earliest written description of the
Greyhound is from Roman times the work of Ovid who lived from 43 B.C. to 17 B.C. His description tells of a dog whose only real difference between the Greyhounds of that time and the ones we see today is in the type of coat.
The Greyhound can also be found in ancient English manuscripts. There is an illustrated one from the 9th century in which Elfric, Duke of Mercia stands beside a brace of Greyhounds.
In 1016 the Canute Laws were written and enacted in Parliament. The 31st law makes reference to the Greyhound:
No meane person may keepe any greyhounds, but freemen may keepe greyhounds”
At the time the Canute Laws were written the Greyhound was strictly for the aristocracy. Greyhounds first arrived in America with the Spanish explorers. There purpose at that time was hunting and guard duty. Writings from that time tell of their fantastic ability to hunt rabbits and other small game.
Breeders during the 1700s made some out crossings of Greyhounds with Bulldogs and it is believed these breedings are where the present day shorthaired coat comes from.
The first entry into the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) studbook for a Greyhound is in 1885. The dog’s name was Baron Walkeen although the first records of Greyhounds in American dog shows are of eighteen dogs that participated in the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1877.
From centuries of hunting there was a remarkable ease in the Greyhound’s transition from hunting course to racetrack. In 1912 a man by the name of O.P. Smith invented the mechanical lure and Greyhound racing as a sport took off in the 1920’s. As Greyhounds were bred to hunt in packs for thousands of years added to the ease in which the transition was made.
The Greyhound is the fastest breed of all types of dogs. They can reach top speeds of forty-five miles an hour and can even sustain a speed of thirty miles per hour for up to one mile. To watch these magnificent athletes run is beauty in action. For many years these dogs were unfortunately treated in extremely inhumane ways and this has tarnished the sport of Greyhound racing for many.
Today there is legislation in many states to stop the sport altogether while in others there is a strong “Adopt A Retired Racer” program going on. Many wonder about the temperament of these dogs that have had little human interaction since birth. Those that have taken the chance to adopt a retired racer will almost always tell of how gentle, loving and loyal these dogs can be. They will also expound on the beauty, speed, intelligence and even the Greyhound’s innate sense of humor.
The official standard for the Greyhound calls for:
Head-The head should be long and narrow but fairly wide between the ears. There is almost no stop and little or no development of nasal sinuses. The muzzle is of good length and has strong jaws without sign of coarseness. The teeth are strong, in good condition and the bite should be even.
Ears-The ears are small and fine in texture. In repose they are thrown back and folded against the neck and back of the head. When the dog is alert they area semi-pricked.
Neck-The neck is long and muscular but without sign of throatiness. It is slightly arched and widens as it approaches the shoulders.
Shoulders-The shoulders are placed as obliquely as possible and show good musculature without appearing loaded or coarse.
Forelegs-The forelegs should be perfectly straight, set well into the shoulders and should not turn in or out.
Chest-The Greyhound’s chest is deep and wide to accommodate the lungs and heart.
Back-The back is broad and muscular.
Loins-Excellent depth of muscle, well arched and well cut up (tucked) in at the flanks.
Hindquarters-The Greyhound’s hindquarters are long, muscular and powerful. They are wide and well let down with bent stifles. Hocks are well bent, set close to the ground but when viewed from the rear appear straight.
Feet-The feet are hard, close and hare shaped.
Tail-The tail is long and fine with a slight upward curve. It tapers towards the tip.
Coat-The coat is short, smooth and firm in texture (owners looking for a smooth coated dog that sheds little would do well to look into a Greyhound).
Color-Greyhounds come in all colors and combinations.
Weight-Show males are 65-70 pounds; females are 60-65 pounds. Racing Greyhounds will range from 50-80 pounds.
Size- Show dogs usually measure 26-30 inches at the shoulder while track Greyhounds are normally between 25-29 inches.
Greyhound Club of America (for AKC-registered Greyhounds)
227 Hattertown Road
Newtown, CT 06470
Greyhound Club of America Greyhound Rescue
4280 Carpenteria Ave.
Carpenteria, CA 93013
National Greyhound Adoption Network
Friends for Life and Northern California Sighthound Rescue
Five Ranch Road
Woodside, CA 94062
Also Known As
The Greyhound is an intelligent dog that is courageous and reliable. Despite this, it can be stubborn at times. These dogs are known for displaying a reserved behavior towards strangers and their owners alike. To avoid these issues, the dog must be properly trained while it is a puppy. The Greyhound should always have a disposition that is calm and peaceful. However, these dogs are predatory and may chase small cats or animals with the intention of killing them. It is important for owners to make sure they’re trained.
Greyhounds are susceptible to developing bloat. To avoid this, they should never be overfed. Owners should also be careful when using medications. Insecticides can be especially harmful to Greyhounds. This breed has a maximum life expectancy of 12 years.
Greyhounds love to run, and this is an understatement. They were bred for this purpose, and owners will want to make sure they get the exercise they need. They should be taken on long walks, and owners will want to make sure they are allowed to run off the leash in secure areas. Greyhounds can function well in apartments, but their owners must exercise them. These dogs must be protected in cold weather.
Special Grooming Needs
The Greyhound has a smooth coat that is simple to maintain. Owners will want to use a brush or comb with strong bristles, and these dogs should only be bathed when they need it. The Greyhound will shed a standard amount of fur.