About Greyhounds. The racing dog | The greyhound is a hunting dog bred mostly for racing and coursing, but it is also a family pet.
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About Greyhounds

The greyhound is a hunting dog bred mostly for racing and coursing and increasingly nowadays as a family pet.

Two characteristics that readily come to mind when thinking about greyhounds are their speed and vision. Curiously, unlike a typical hunting dog, the greyhound's sense of smell is average. Therefore, the dog can only chase those objects which it can see.

Physically, greyhounds can be easily recognised by their long legs with large lean muscles, by their wide, deep chest where strong heart and spacious lungs are located, and generally by their long, muscular, slender build all of which features make them "racehorses in the world of dogs."

Greyhounds' racecourse temperament stands in stark contrast to what they usually represent in the domestic environment. When racing greyhounds resemble superb running machines cutting through the air like an arrow – swift as the wind, intensively focused with all their muscles visibly straining against the skin.

italian greyhound lying adn sleepingOn the other hand, as household animals they are almost ideal pets – laid-back, quiet, sensitive and even to some extent annoyed by noises. As sleeping seems to be their favourite pastime, greyhounds can spend a day without a single indication that hunting runs through their blood. In fact, they can sleep even 20 hours a day! There is even a joke about a shopkeeper who put a sign on the door saying "Beware of the dog." The slightly frightened people who entered the store were baffled as they saw a sleeping greyhound in the middle of the floor. Pointing with a smile to the dog customers asked the owner "Is this the dog you are warning about?" The shopkeeper's answer was: "Yes, before the sign people just tripped over him."

Although greyhounds require very little exercise that does not mean that they don't need a daily run in the backyard or in a park, plus, as it is a case with every dog, a few "bathroom breaks." Remember also that you should have high fences to prevent your greyhound from getting outside of your premises! Also, if you are taking a greyhound for a walk don't forget about a leash. Despite their relative idleness indoors, these creatures are very much curious of their surroundings. They will explore their new house throughout taking particular interest into such objects as glasses, cups, remote controls, phones, paper and most of all your dirty laundry which will be especially valuable to them as it has your dear scent on it.

Many people living in the suburban areas or simply those who like to have a big dog living indoor frequently opt for a greyhound and very rarely regret their choice. This is because greyhounds can successfully chase not only after a hare but also after the master's heart and affection. Owners quickly become their best friends, and if the owner is himself a lazy-bones the mutual love is almost guaranteed. Greyhounds have no problem getting along with children and many medium-size domesticated animals. Though, these dogs may have some issues with small cats, sometimes with small dogs, rabbits or anything small and moving which can be considered a pray.

It is generally believed that the ideal greyhound for the role of a family pet is the one that has retired from racing. These are usually 4-5 year-old dogs which can live up to 14 years given their natural healthiness. Even if they have never been house-trained, after months of prior training with different people, they should have no problems acquiring a couple of new skills. Ex-race dogs also tend to be calmer (their racing trainers usually teach them not to bark) and more graceful than younger greyhounds.

It is also important not to confuse the popular English Greyhounds with Italian Greyhounds (much smaller) and Hungarian Greyhounds (e.g. have shorter snouts).



Type Sighthounds
Probable Origin Egypt, ca. 2700BC or Middle East, ca. 8000 BC
First in the UK 5th-6th century from mainland Europe
Lifespan 10-14 years

Male: 27 to 40 kilograms (60 to 88 lb)
Female: 27 to 34 kilograms (60 to 75 lb)


Male: 71 to 76 centimetres (28 to 30 in)
Female 68 to 71 centimetres (27 to 28 in)

Color Any color – black, white, gray, fawn, brown, red

Curious Questions about Greyhounds

Q. Are greyhounds aggressive animals and do they have to be kept on leash outdoors?
No, they are just prey animals which means that they will use every occassion to chase anything smaller than them, whether it is a squirrel in a park or your neighbor's small pet. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that you keep your greyhound on leash!

Q. Why is it inadvisable to keep greyhounds outside?
Practically without body fat and undercoat, greyhounds are sensitive to extreme temepratures.

Q. Is a greyhound a good choice for a guard dog?
No. Despite their considerable posture, greyhounds are affraid of intruders. Racing greyhounds are taught not to bark.

Q. Why greyhounds should be treated only by special vets?
Only veterinarians who are acquinted with greyhound's unique anatomy and physiology should treat the dog. Unlike other dog breeds, for instance, greyhounds cannot metabolize barbiturate-based anesthesia.

Q. What are greyhounds' common health problems?
Greyhounds are very healthy animals and they rarely have any serious problems with health.
Though as it is the case with large dogs, their deep chests makes them susceptible to bloat, a very serious and often fatal condition in which the excessive gas content in the stomach makes it twist and turn over.
Sometimes, greyhounds' delicate skin makes them prone to some allergies and chemicals poisoning.