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What is a Greyhound?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

A Greyhound is an old breed of dog that is thought to be related to the Saluki, or Persian Greyhound, of Ancient Egypt. Greyhounds are sleek and long-legged and are sight hounds rather than scent hounds. Sight hounds follow their target with their eyes rather than by smelling their prey and following the scent like scent hounds. The Greyhound became known as a prime racing dog because of its speed.

Greyhound racing involves the dogs running through a racecourse pursing an object that resembles a rabbit. The object guides the greyhounds through the course and the first dog finished the racecourse wins. Only the cheetah has a faster acceleration than the greyhound and the greyhound's distinctive slim, yet muscular shape makes it a very fast, athletic dog breed. When running, the greyhound is airborne, with all four feet in the air, twice in every stride. This movement is known as the double suspension gallop.

The cheetah is the only animal that can accelerate faster than a greyhound.
The cheetah is the only animal that can accelerate faster than a greyhound.

Despite their name, greyhounds are not always grey in color. There are at least 15 recognized colors for the greyhound including solids and mixtures of brindle, red, black, white and blue. The deerhound, or Scottish Deerhound looks very similar to the greyhound, but is long-coated while the greyhound's coat is short.

Surprisingly, because of their speed, greyhounds are not usually known for being energetic pets. They prefer to sprint rather than use their energy constantly. They need space to run, but cannot live outdoors since they have no undercoat and not much body fat. A greyhound should always be walked on a leash, since they instinctively chase animals on sight. Greyhounds are naturally sociable, but usually do best with older children and adults rather than younger children.

The greyhound breed has a tendency to become bloated easily and veterinarians often recommend smaller meals several times a day rather than one large meal. This breed is also susceptible to problems with the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that transports foods and liquids to the stomach. Some greyhounds may also be highly sensitive to medications including flea powders. Many vets caution against using any type of flea products or flea collars on greyhounds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Greyhound?

A Greyhound is a breed of dog known for its slim build, deep chest, and long, powerful legs, which contribute to its status as one of the fastest dog breeds. They can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour, making them exceptional in dog racing and hunting. Despite their athletic prowess, Greyhounds are also popular as gentle and affectionate pets.

What were Greyhounds originally bred for?

Greyhounds were originally bred for hunting due to their keen eyesight and remarkable speed. They were used to chase down game such as deer and hares. Their history dates back thousands of years, with depictions found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Over time, they have also become synonymous with dog racing, showcasing their incredible sprinting abilities.

How fast can a Greyhound run?

Greyhounds are renowned for their speed and agility. They are capable of reaching speeds up to 45 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest dog breeds on the planet. This speed is a result of their aerodynamic build, strong hind legs, and flexible spine, which allows them to cover large distances with each stride.

Are Greyhounds good family pets?

Yes, Greyhounds can make excellent family pets. They are known for their gentle and friendly disposition. Despite their athletic nature, they are often quite content to lounge around the home. Greyhounds are also known for being good with children and can be very affectionate with their family members, making them a loving addition to many households.

What is the lifespan of a Greyhound?

Greyhounds typically enjoy a lifespan of 10 to 14 years. Factors that contribute to their longevity include genetics, diet, and overall care. Regular exercise and health check-ups are important for maintaining their well-being. With proper care, these dogs can be a long-term companion.

Do Greyhounds require a lot of exercise?

While Greyhounds are fast and have a natural inclination to run, they do not require excessive amounts of exercise. They are surprisingly well-suited to a more sedentary lifestyle than one might expect from such athletic dogs. A couple of short walks daily and occasional opportunities to sprint in a safe, enclosed area are typically sufficient for their exercise needs.

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    • The cheetah is the only animal that can accelerate faster than a greyhound.
      By: TanArt
      The cheetah is the only animal that can accelerate faster than a greyhound.