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What is the Difference Between a Greyhound and a Lurcher?

Updated on September 1, 2010

Both greyhounds and lurchers are sighthounds. This means that they were originally bred to hunt by sight, rather than by scent, and to run their prey down using their innate speed and agility.

Greyhounds are the fastest of all dog breeds, able to reach speeds of up to 45mph in a sprint. Lurchers are a cross between a sighthound (see below list) and any other breed, but what they lose in speed they gain in other areas, for example, increased endurance or intelligence.

The Intelligence of a Lurcher

Other sighthounds include:

  • Afghan
  • Azawakh
  • Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)
  • Chart Polski (Polish Greyhound)
  • Deerhound
  • Galgo Español (Spanish Greyhound)
  • Hortaya Borzaya
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Magyar Agar (Hungarian Greyhound)
  • Saluki (Persian Greyhound)
  • Silken Windhound
  • Sloughi
  • Whippet

If, for example, a lurcher is the result of a greyhound and collie cross, the dog will likely be highly intelligent, fast and agile with a keen sense of shepherding. This particular lurcher cross is common and sought-after.


As I have previously stated in an earlier hub, greyhounds have a docile, placid character by nature.  They are loyal, intelligent, sensitive and not aggressive.  They are perfect for many families, including those with children, because of these character traits.

Lurchers, being a cross breed, can have many different temperaments depending on the breeding.  Many inherit the calmness of the greyhound, and others, especially those crossed with terrier breeds may be of a more enthusiatic nature. 


Greyhounds have been bred for speed.  The ideal physique for a greyhound is to have strong, muscular legs and a deep chest.  Greyhounds are a slim breed of dog and should carry virtually no body fat.  They have a characteristically long face and short, easily-maintained fur which sheds little.  Greyhounds are tall dogs, up to 30 inches from the paw to the base of the neck.  There are many colors of greyhound, including black, white, sand, grey and brindle (a mix like tabby for cats) and a combination of any of these.

Lurchers, in the same way as with their temperament, can vary significantly in appearance.  Many look similar to greyhounds with slight variances in fur length, height and shape and others look less like a sighthound and more like the crossing breed. 

The Plight of Greyhounds and Lurchers

Despite their differences, both breeds often find themselves in rescue centers due to misconceptions about their character and needs.  Greyhounds require little space, little exercise and as much attention as you are able to give.  Lurchers may vary from dog to dog but some research into the crossbreed will give an idea of the resulting animal. 

If you are considering a new pet, please look into greyhound and lurcher adoption, there are too many beautiful dogs waiting for a loving home in rescue centers all over the world.


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