They are one of the fastest animals in the world but also one of the laziest. Known for giving it their everything or absolutely nothing at all.
They have the nickname of the 40mph couch potato for this exact reason. We are talking about, of course, our beloved Greyhound dogs.
Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds of dog that were originally bred for hunting hare, foxes and deer. They’ve been around for so long that they date back to Ancient Egypt as well as being mentioned in the Bible!
Greyhound coursing began in the sixteenth century which saw this breed of dog chasing hares whilst being judged on their agility, speed and concentration. As the centuries passed, this evolved into track racing. It stemmed from the emphasis on speed due to private courses being smaller than the traditional 3-mile coursing track. The large crowds and fear of trampling the public grounds formed a necessity to control what had now formed into track racing with enclosed coursing parks being developed into the tracks that we know about today.
What do Greyhounds look like?
This popular breed of dog was built for speed. They have muscular bodies and a deep chest with long faces, making them impressively streamlined. Their ears are folded back on themselves and become erect when they are attentive.
Their coat is flat and short with no undercoat. This means that their grooming needs stay low and their shedding is at a minimum. You can catch them in an array of colours including white, fawn, red, grey and brindle.
Greyhounds have a low body fat percentage - actually virtually non-existent – which often causes problems like pressure sores if they laze around too much! It also means they feel the cold more than most other breeds.
How big do Greyhounds get?
Generally, a male Greyhound will reach 76cm (30 inches) in height whilst a female Greyhound will reach around 71cm (28 inches).
Males at a healthy weight should grow between 29kg and 32kg with females sitting between 27kg and 30kg.
Greyhounds fully mature between 18 and 24 months with their lifespan typically falling between 10 and 13 years!
What are the personality traits of a Greyhound?
This medium-large dog breed is elegant, calm and graceful. They are very tolerant of many things but especially children as well as intelligent and obedient – making them excellent family dogs.
Since they were bred to hunt in groups, they have a strong prey drive but are not aggressive. They are gentle and quiet and it is not within their nature to snap or growl.
They will happily sleep all day if they are left to their own devices – some up to 20 hours! Although they are extremely fast and love to run, Greyhounds have low exercise needs. They have explosive energy (some might recognise this as zoomies), and tire quickly. They are not endurance-based dogs but rather sprinters. They are more than happy with a daily walk or occasionally your light jogging partner.
What problems are Greyhounds susceptible to?
Being a deep-chested breed of dog, Greyhounds are also prone to bloating, (GDV). This is when their stomach fills with gas and flips on itself. There are things that can be done to prevent bloating in dogs and it’s important that it is treated fast to prevent fatality if ever it does occur.
Greyhounds have a larger heart than many other dog breeds which is usually down to genetics. Retired Greyhound racing dogs are the ones most affected by this with reports of heart murmurs or other heart diseases as a result. High blood pressure is also another issue that Greyhound dogs are more prone to experiencing. This is usually kept a close eye on throughout their lives.
Cancer is a nasty disease that affects many dogs in their senior years. Larger breeds such as the Greyhound are more prone to cancers that may appear at a younger age. Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumour in breeds like Greyhounds.
Overall health in Greyhounds is very important, like all dogs, but especially due to their lazier breed of nature and lack of appetite. Greyhounds will stop eating when they are no longer hungry and so ensuring they are getting all of the minerals and vitamins that they need can be difficult! Multivitamin for Dogs, (featuring Turmeric), is a beef flavoured powder that you add to your dog's food to ensure they are keeping up with their essential nutrition.
Overall, Greyhounds are a wonderful breed of dog to consider inviting into your home. Their calming nature and kindness make for a wonderful family fit. Many retired Greyhounds unfortunately often end up in rescues. Consider whether a rescue Greyhound is the one for you and your family to give them a second chance.
Remember, the perfect Greyhound owner will match the temperament of their Greyhound too. Think of the endless lazy days and having the best companion to do so!