This week in our series on Getting to Know Your Dog Breed we are featuring the Greyhound. Greyhounds are well known as racing dogs and are the fastest dogs in the world.
Life expectancy: Between 10-13 years.
Size: Greyhounds are a tall, thin breed, weighing only 60-70 pounds, but standing 28-30 inches tall. That’s about the same height as a Newfoundland, but less than half of their weight.
Color: Greyhounds were originally predominantly grey, but their color variations have expanded to include white, black, liver, and brindle with various markings.
Origins: The Greyhound dates back to 3,000 BC ancient Egypt with the Pharaohs keeping Greyhounds to chase down game in the Egyptian desert. They belong to the category of hounds called sighthounds who sight their prey from a distance and then run them down.
Over the years Greyhounds were bred for racing. It was a brutal lifestyle for them and once past their prime, they were frequently dumped at shelters or euthanized. Luckily, there are many Greyhound rescues to prevent that from happening and to help find loving homes for these regal animals. Greyhound racing is now banned in 41 states in the US.
Personality: Greyhounds are noble, reserved and somewhat lazy couch potatoes. They love their families and make wonderful housemates as they are clean, quiet, well-behaved and graceful for their size. They meet strangers well although prefer the company of their family. They do well with medium to large size dogs, but because of their strong prey drive, cats or smaller dogs could be a temptation.
Health Issues: Due to their low body fat and short fine hair, Greyhounds don’t do well in colder temperatures and should never be left outside in the cold.
Greyhounds are relatively healthy although are susceptible to a few conditions such as bloat where the stomach expands with air and may turn on itself cutting off blood supply. This is a very serious condition and requires immediate veterinary intervention.
Greyhounds also suffer from bone cancer more frequently than other breeds, so there is likely a genetic component. They also have big hearts and may develop murmurs or have blood pressure issues.
Fitness/energy level: They need surprisingly little exercise given their racing genes, a couple of leisurely walks a day will suffice. Puppies will need more exercise and training to restrict their hunting instinct which is quite strong. Greyhounds are easily trained with a very light hand.
Native foods for the Greyhound: Native foods for Greyhounds are foods found in Egypt and would include camel, hyena, boar, sheep, goats, tilapia, and dates.
Good foods to feed your Greyhound: Based on the Greyhound’s origin, here are a few foods that contain some of the key ingredients that the original Greyhounds would have likely eaten. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather provide ‘food for thought’.
Fun facts about the Greyhound:
- The greyhound is the fastest dog, clocking speeds up to 43 MPH.
- The Roman Goddess, Diana associated with the hunt is often pictured with a Greyhound at her side.
- President Rutherford Hayes owned a Greyhound named Grim.