Greyhound dogThe Greyhound is a very popular breed of dog. It is mostly bred for racing and other similar games, due to its long powerful legs, deep chest and lean, aerodynamic built. Popularly thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt, the Greyhound were used primarily for hunting due to their keen eyesight. Its name does not necessarily make a reference to its appearance, as Greyhounds are seen with a wide variety of coats.

Breed Origin

Bas-reliefs and tomb walls depict greyhounds like they were members of the familly, from birth to death. Some were even mummified and and buried with their owners for the "trip" to the afterlife.

Some of these greyhounds were sold to the Greeks. The breeds was depicted in coins, art and literature. It is thought that, a dog resembling the Greyhound was included in the Odyssey – the dog Argus, who was the only one to have recognized Odysseus after his 20 year absence.

It was the Romans who were responsible for the greyhound’s spread over Europe. They admired the breed’s speed and hunting skills.

The dog nearly become extinct due to famine and diseases. The clegry saved the beed and bred them exclusively for the noble people. Laws were created to prevent commoners from owning greyhound. Records say that one can tell if a greyhound is owned by a noble man or a commoner. Nobles want their greyhound to be bred white to show them off and to easily spot them in the woods. Commoners want their dogs to "blend in" especially when poaching game on royal grounds.

Grey hounds were brought to North America by the Spaniards. They were imported in large numbers during the mid-1800s to hunt jackrabbit and coyote infested farms in the American Midwest. The U.S. Cavalry also used the greyhounds during the war with the Indians. In 1877, the breed became part for the first time of the First Westminster Kennel Club show, then later on, part of the American Kennel Club in 1885. O.P. Smith invented the lure which paved the way for racing.

Appearance and Size

Male greyhounds are usually reach about 71-76 cm (28-30 inches) in height (feet to hight point in the back) and 27-40 kg (70-100 lbs.) in weight. Females are usually slightly smaller with heights ranging from 60-71 cm (27-28 inches). Greyhounds have short hair and no undercoat, making them easy top maintain and less likely to trigger allergies.

However, short hair and no undercoat coupled with lack of body far makes them susceptible to extreme temperatures. It might be good idea to let your Greyhound staty indoors when it’s too hot or too cold out. Greyhounds have long and narrow heads, small ears and small dark eyes. Their tails are long and thin which curves upwards.

Personality

Greyhounds are often wrongly thought of as hyperactive. But, the truth is they are sprinters. Meaning their speed comes from short bursts of energy. Greyhounds are very fast and athletic. They love running Thus, the they are the racing dog breed of choice. But check with "retired" racers and you’ll see that greyhounds are very quiet and gentle animals.

Adult greyhounds can stay healthy with a daily walk for as little as 30 minutes a day. They younger greyhounds that have not been trained to utilize their energy can be hyperactive but only until they are given an outlet. They usually can be seen in various coats of black, gray, white, fawn, brindle, or any of the colors with a broken pattern of white. Due to their prey-drive, speed and lack of road-sense, Greyhounds should be kep on a leash at all times, excpet when in an exclosed space.

Home and Relations

Greyhounds are loyal, gentle animals. They are very friendly and can even be nice to stangers. They can play with children and other dogs in family. But they should be closely watched with other smaller animals. They might chase or hunt them. They enjoy sitting around with the family on the couch, just as much as running around and playing.

Greyhounds are very easy to train because they are very intelligent and obedient. Initially thought to require large living spaces because of their speed and energy, greyhounds can thrive well in small houses. It is widely accepted that they make better apartment dogs than most smaller hyperactive dogs because of their temperament.

Health and Grooming

Due to their short and fine coat, grooming and maintenance is easy. Bathe your greyhound when necessary. Greyhounds are very sensitive to insecticides. Due to this, many veterinarians warn against the use of flea collars and flea sprays unless they are pyrethrin-based. It is not advisable to let greyhounds sleep in hard surfaces because they easliy develop skin sores due to their lean physique and lack fineness of coat.

Because they are racig dogs, they can develop serious injuries throughout their racing career. Some of the are:

  • Gastric torsion or bloat – a condition which is associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting. Gastric torsion can be life-threatening.
  • Hip dysplasia – happens when the hip is malformed and results in pain, arthritis and lameness.
  • Fracture – break in bones or cartilage.

Other diseases common to the greyhound are:

  • Esophageal achalasia – a disease wherein the muscles in the esophagus are disrupted. It is characterized by difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation and chestpains.
  • Osteosarcoma – a common type of malignant bone cancer.
  • Hypertension – an increase in the arterial blood pressure.
  • Von Willebrand’s disease – a bleeding disorder characterized by uncontrollable bleeding.
  • Pannus – inflammation of the eyes
  • Lens luxation – dislocation/displacement of the lens within the eye.