Greyhound, the Racing Dog
The Greyhound is a dog largely bred for racing and dog show competitions now. They are tall, slender; with neck slightly arched and long, and with a wide, deep chest. They are built for speed and were originally used primarily for hunting and racing. Greyhounds when not running tend to sleep. They can be good pets and even apartment dogs, but they do need some exercise.
There is some new popularity in dog breed shows competitions. The breed is split between show lines to conform to a written standard and racing lines that are bred for speed. The AKC recognized the breed in 1885.
Unfortunately there is a need for people to adopt greyhounds that are retired from Greyhound racing.
Adopt a Greyhound
I heard some years ago that Greyhounds are put down when they are retired from racing. It seems to me to be a bit ungrateful of owners, who the dogs have served well. However, Greyhounds can be adopted. April is “adopt a Greyhound Month.”
Greyhounds do make great pets for the right people. Despite their fame for running , they do not require a lot of activity. When they are used for racing they actually spend most of their day in crates. At home they will spend more time sleeping than running. Like other dogs they do need exercise, but not as much as one might think.
The Greyhound Project would like to show you what good pets Greyhounds can be after being retired from racing.
There are many rescue groups in North America, Australia and Europe to place these dogs that are gentle andloving dogs. They are not hard to housebreak. They’re already crate trained from the track. It’s best if they find an even-tempered, gentle but firm and loving owner who will consistently communicate the rules of the house.
I’ve heard it said that greyhounds have two speeds: forty miles and hour or zero.
Appearance and Anatomy
The males are usually 28 to 30 inches tall at the withers. That is, the highest part of the back at the base of the neck. They weigh 60 to 88 lbs.
The female are usually 27 to 28 inches and weigh 60 to75lbs.
The Greyhounds have very short hair and it is easy to maintain. They come in a variety of colors and combinations.
The breed gets its speed because it is built light and muscular with a large heart and the highest percentage of fast-twitch muscle of the dog kingdom. It has extreme flexibility of the spine, according to Wikipedia. They further refer to “Double suspension gallop” which is the fastest “running gait” of the greyhound, in which all the dogs’ feet are free from the ground, both when they are contracted and extended going at full stride.
This dog is the fastest dog in the world and can reach speeds as fast as 40 miles per hour.
According to dogbreedinfo.com Greyhounds are brave, devoted, intelligent, laid-back, charming and loving. They tend to have reserved behavior toward strangers and even toward their master. They might not obey orders if they think they are stronger minded than the person giving the orders. They also won’t respond well to harsh discipline. The owners need to project an attitude of natural authority. Socialize them well to keep them from being timid.
They are not aggressive dogs. They do wear muzzles when racing to avoid injuries in a race from dogs nipping each other during or after a race when they are excited. They literally have thin skin, which can tear easily. Sometimes they wear muzzles if they have a high prey drive in order to protect small animals.
Generally they are healthy and long lived and rarely have hereditary illness. Some have been known to develop esophageal achalasia bloat and osteosarcoma. They should not sleep on a hard surface because of their thin physique and soft bedding is advised to avoid skin sores. Their lifespan is about 10 to 13 years.
A vet with knowledge of greyhounds is advised if you have a greyhound. The breed is sensitive to some anesthetics. The Greyhound's blood chemistry is different form other breeds which could lead to wrong diagnosis. They are also sensitive to insecticides, so some vets suggest that owners avoid flea collars and sprays. Products such as Advantage, Frontline, Lufenuron and Amitraz are effective and safe for greyhounds, according to Wikipedia.
They have a higher level of red blood cells than other breeds. Red cells carry oxygen to muscles and lungs.
Greyhounds do not have undercoats and are less likely to trigger allergies. They should be housed indoors because they are not able to withstand weather extremes.
The primary use of Greyhounds originally was for coursing deer. They specialized in competition hare coursing later. They still do coursing but artificial lure coursing and racing are more popular. In Ireland coursing is still important and many leading breeders are there. Most of purebred greyhounds are whelped in Ireland.
Depictions of Smooth coated sighthound type dogs have been found in ancient Egypt. Thus the breed has been reputed to have its origins there. DNA analysis, however, indicates that the breed s not closely related to these breeds, but rather, to herding dogs. The probable origin of the Greyhound is more likely with the ancient Celts from Eastern Europe.
Modern purebred pedigree Greyhounds come from Greyhound stock which was recorded in the 18th Century private and in the public 19th Century studbooks.
The sighthounds are historically used mostly for hunting in the open. They may have been introduced into the area we know now as the United Kingdom in the 5th and 6th Centuries B.C. from Celtic Europe. Some hunter-gatherer tribes of what is now Scotland were thought to have large hounds similar to the deerhound before the 6th Century B.C.
from the Celtic mainland of Europe.
The breed was originally brought to America by Spanish explorers in the 1500’s. It was one of the first breeds to be shown in dog shows.. Its natural quarry is rabbits or hare, but has been used for hunting stag, deer, fox, and wild boar.
In some versions of the bible the Greyhound is mentioned in Proverbs as one of the “four things stately. According to Wikipedia some newer translations has changed it to “strutting rooster.”
The Greyhound is an old dog breed that has been used for coursing and racing. More recently they have been used for dog shows. As hunters their speed, sight, and prey drive has allowed them to be used for hunting both large game such as deer and smaller game such as hare. Their lean build and large lungs give them advantages for speed in racing since they a can run as fast as 40 miles an hour. When not racing they sleep a lot, adapt well to living with families but require a fairly firm hand from owners.
More by this Author
It has long been debated which dogs are most closely related to wolves. DNA evidence of the 21st century indicates fourteen breeds of dogs that are closly related to the grey wolf.
Australian Kelpies are primarily a working dog for livestock.They were one of the breeds that developed from the Scottish collie breeds. They are dogs used for work and not so much for show.
Wolf, dog hybrids are somewhat controversial. I have tried to relate an objective view about them. In some places they are banned.