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Ever notice how these slender canines can run so fast? Well, it’s no surprise since the Greyhound is the fastest breed there is!

Despite this reputation, a Greyhound loves a slow-paced life. That means they would rather lounge around the house or cuddle with you on the couch!

This breed profile tells you the main characteristics and temperament of a Greyhound. See if their personality fits yours and whether they would be a perfect addition to the family!

The first impression of people when they first see greyhound dogs is that they are tough-looking, lanky dog breeds who would do great as police dogs.

And these impressions are correct! They are graceful, loyal companions with high prey drive that are also easy to train.

Another attribute commonly overlooked in a Greyhound, probably because of their regal look, is that they are naturally sweet.

They are a calm dog breed that would make excellent family pets since they can adapt to the various energy levels of their owners.

In some instances, you will see your Greyhound comfortably tucked into one of the corners of your couch. Some dog owners would even call this breed couch potato!

brown greyhound dog breed greyhounds

The History of the Greyhound

The Greyhound is one of the oldest dog breeds there is! There were even depictions of the greyhound dogs in ancient Greece and ancient Egypt.

Around 5000 years ago, greyhounds used to be the pharaoh’s hound. Their primary role was to hunt and chase away fast-moving wild creatures from the desert. 

The Greyhound had a regal, noble look that their godlike beauty was almost equal to their ruler. A ravishing leader looked even more divine with this canine on their side.

Greyhound dogs are seen beside great leaders throughout history. Whether it was Alexander the Great or the Tsars in Russia, they both served as canine hunters and added elegance to any ruler’s image.

As hunting dogs, They trained greyhounds to hunt and attack by sight. They later improved them by boosting their speed, helping them catch prey even faster.

Greyhound racing greyhounds running in race

In the 1900s, people started using the Greyhound dog breed for racing. It began in California in 1919 and quickly spread to 13 states, according to the National Greyhound Adoption Program

Dog racing was soon made illegal in states like Iowa and Florida. When they were banned, more and more greyhounds were homeless or put up for adoption.

The decline of dog racing resulted in a lesser number of greyhounds. Still, there was more demand since the Greyhound is an excellent choice for a family dog.

Breed Standard

The Greyhound was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Based on the AKC 2020 Most Popular Dog Breeds Rankings, this dog breed has ranked in 142nd. 

Two greyhound dogs brown white on grass

Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about Greyhound Dogs.

Did you know? 

Greyhounds were considered a majestic breed that became a popular subject for poets, artists, and kings. 

But that’s not all. Here are more interesting facts about this ancient breed:

  • There are many theories regarding their name “Greyhound.” They might have been derived from the old British Grech that means dog. Or they could tell the color gray, which is the standard breed color. 

 

  • They found the first evidence of the Greyhound breed in the Tomb of Amten in the Valley of the Nile, which probably dated around 2900 to 2751 B.C.

 

  • Greyhounds are considered ancient dogs. They were the only dog breed mentioned in the Bible (King James version) in Proverbs 30:29-31.

 

  • The Greyhound was a famous dog among rulers in ancient Egypt. It is said that prominent leaders like Alexander the Great, King Tutankhamun, and Queen Cleopatra owned earlier versions of the Greyhound. 

 

  • General George Custer was a famous greyhound owner, having a pack of 40 hounds as he traveled. 

 

  • The Greyhound dog is often known as the world’s fastest dog, with a record of 40 to 45 miles per hour during a sprint.

 

  • Despite their speed and hunting skills, they love lounging long hours on the couch. They even gained the nickname “40-mph-couch potatoes.”

 

  • Greyhounds were one of the first dog breeds to appear in American dog shows and had 18 entries in the first Westminster Kennel Club catalog during 1877. 

 

  • This dog breed is also known as the English Greyhound. However, this shouldn’t be confused with the Italian Greyhound since they are two separate breeds.

 

  • The hare is the Greyhound’s natural enemy. 

Fawn brindle Greyhound dog outdoor

Main Characteristics of Greyhounds

Are you planning to adopt your puppy? Eyeing on the Greyhound for quite a while?

This sweet canine breed is very versatile in its living environment, and they only require minimal maintenance.

Even though they are large-sized dogs, they can adapt to any space as long as they have a comfy corner to sleep in. 

Check out the basic things you need to know about Greyhounds:

Appearance

Greyhounds have a distinct lean body shape that looks like an ‘inverted S’ emphasized by their deep chest and tiny waist.

Form follows function for this dog breed. They have a narrow skull, minimal body fat, and shock-absorbing feet, ready for any chase.

As the fastest dog breed in the canine kingdom, their muscular bodies are perfectly built for high speed. They even have a 270-degree vision, which helps them spot prey in a wide range. 

Size of the Average Greyhound

Male greyhounds grow up to 28 to 30 inches, weighing 65 to 70 pounds. As for the females, their size can reach from 27 to 28 inches with 60 to 65 pounds.

They are much more significant when comparing them to the related breed, Italian Greyhounds, which are only 13 to 15 inches in height. 

Color & Coat Type

The Greyhound has a short, smooth coat with an occasional shedding. They need less grooming, but their short fur lowers their tolerance for extreme weather. 

According to the breed standard, about 15 standard colors are listed, but the varieties could range up to 30 colors. The most common color is black, white, blue, and brindle.

There are also four listed markings in the breed standard: black mask, ticked, parti-color, and solid.

Brindle Greyhound Racing Dog Racing

The Personality & Temperament of a Greyhound

The Greyhound dog breed are lovable creatures that should be on top of your list if you’re looking for a pup that loves to cuddle!

Even though they look tough on the outside, they are a softie! They are gentle, lovable breeds who would want your love and attention most of the time.

Despite their reputation to be very active and speedy, greyhounds are even-tempered and mellow. This makes them an excellent choice for a family dog!

The Greyhound enjoys relaxation and some downtime. So, if you happen to be couch potatoes yourselves, getting a Greyhound wouldn’t be a problem!

They primarily created this dog to hunt fleet-footed prey. Still, in their genes, you might need to give them time to chase squirrels or run around for exercise.

Don’t worry. This shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself, though. Greyhounds love a good run, but you’d be surprised how much of a couch potato they are!

They also love to socialize. You can’t leave them home alone for a long time as they tend to get bored or frustrated.

The greyhound dogs also interact well with other canines in the house. However, older greyhounds might get injured by younger, more robust dogs.

Greyhounds are the ideal choice for first-time dog owners and families with kids. Still, they need to be trained and socialized before introducing them to the family. 

If you are adopting one, give them time to get used to their new surroundings. Make sure not to leave them alone with your little kids until they are fully trained.

ALSO READ: 30 Best Lap Dogs for Cuddly Pet Owners

Health & Common Illnesses Among Greyhounds

Greyhounds are fit and healthy dog breeds that can live from 10 to 13 years.

However, they are also prone to genetic problems such as hip, joint, eyes, and heart illnesses. 

Given their deep chest, gastric torsion or bloating is prevalent among greyhound dogs. This condition is the sudden stomach enlargement that can be fatal to dogs.

If you leave the bloating unnoticed and untreated, it will lead to the death of your pup. Hence, be extra mindful of the symptoms of bloating whenever your dog looks unwell.

There is also a breed-specific inherited illness called Greyhound neuropathy. Its common symptoms are weak muscles, turned-out knees, and a “hop-like” walk.

Fortunately, breeding tests can detect this condition at an early age. Once they are identified, it is encouraged that your Greyhound shouldn’t be bred. 

Racing dogs, most especially greyhounds, are at high risk for canine bone cancer called osteosarcoma.

Screening may not be applicable, but owners should be aware of the possibility. 

Best to adopt a Greyhound from a reputable breeder in your area. You can also find an expert in the Greyhound Club of America who knows the code of ethics for breeding.

Standard tests that you should check with your breeder:

  • DNA Test for Greyhound Polyneuropathy
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Greyhound sleeping on couch lap dog

You Need To Know About the Greyhound

The greyhound dog is such a unique breed that it has its own set of special needs. For instance, they have slim bodies, fragile skin, and very short hair that you should take care of.

Know more about what you need to do to take better care of your pooch:

Care and Grooming

Greyhounds will always need speed. With all that running, it’s not surprising that they could be prone to joint discomfort. 

In this case, give your pooch a friendly, comfortable place to rest or take a nap after a run.  Make sure the area is well-ventilated with the appropriate room temperature. 

The Greyhound has a smooth, skin-sticking coat that might not be so good with insulation.  Give your greyhounds a sweater or extra blankets for cold climates.

 

This dog breed does not do so well in extreme heat either. Overheating can risk the Greyhound of bone and joint pains, so it’s best to provide them water or something to cool them down with.

Due to their lean structure and very short fur, your Greyhound would need extra cushioning. Investing in a quality dog house bed is a good choice, especially for this canine couch potato.

Just like any other dog, they require to have their nails trimmed monthly. Otherwise, they would end up scratching and injuring themselves with their super long nails. 

You also need to check their ears from time to time. And make sure to brush their teeth regularly with vet-approved dog toothpaste.

Exercise and Energy Levels

This dog breed is genetically created for racing. This means that they need some form of exercise too!

The good news is that playing catch, running around indoors, or letting your Greyhound chase around rabbits is enough exercise to make them happy. 

Feeding and Nutrition

It’s best to feed the Greyhound with high-quality dog food that has nutrients suitable for their age.

This breed may require higher protein intake due to their activities and energy levels.

You can find quality dog food brands for your pup in local pet stores or make homemade dog food yourself! Just make sure to check which human food is safe for your Greyhound.

ALSO READ: 13 Balanced Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Brown Greyhound portrait

Commonly Asked Questions about Greyhounds

Here’s what most future dog owners ask about the Greyhound before actually getting one:

Is a greyhound dog a good pet?

Greyhounds are generally versatile. They have muscular, fit bodies, so you don’t need to worry much about their health.

The Greyhound only requires minimal maintenance, where wiping off their fur with a damp cloth is enough. They are also clean canines that won’t drool over you. 

Their sociability is flexible, especially to various family members, children, and other pets in the house.

Greyhounds can be both playful and relaxed, making them suitable for dog owners with different energy levels.

They don’t bark a lot and would only do so when they feel threatened. This pooch is a calm, mellow dog breed that would be perfect as housepets!

Are greyhounds aggressive dogs?

Despite their rugged look and reputation as hunting dogs, the Greyhound is a surprisingly docile dog breed. You won’t be seeing them growling or attacking strangers.

They still bark and growl at times but only when they are fearful or threatened. You can train your pooch to lessen their fear and manage their behavior over time. 

Why shouldn’t you get a greyhound?

The better question here is, why should you be getting a greyhound? They are an ideal choice for starters when you’re looking for a family dog with minimal needs.

Like any other dog, the Greyhound wants some tender loving care — especially for this cuddly type!

They also need extra protection against extreme temperature due to their thin bodies and short hair.

Are greyhounds high-energy dogs?

It usually depends on the situation they’re in. Greyhounds love to run around and chase rabbits, but they also love to laze around at home.

Their favorite pastime is sleeping. Still, they would have the energy to be running partners for active dog owners. 

One thing you should remember is that the Greyhound is built for speed and not for distance. They can withstand a quick sprint but would tire from long periods of jogging.

Final Thoughts About The Greyhound Dog Breed

The Greyhound is a good choice if you are looking for a dog that is both active and calm. They don’t have much demand when it comes to their living needs.

If you are already a decision away from getting your very own Greyhound, it is best to adopt or buy one from a recognized dog breeder.

That way, you can ensure the health and pedigree history of your soon-to-be pooch and have lesser things to worry about in the future.

READ NEXT: The 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2021: An Overview