Breeds 101: Meet the Greyhound

Hitting a maximum of 45 mph while running Greyhounds are built for speed. While once the subject of the widely popular, Greyhound racing, the racing industry has been on a sharp decline as tracks all over the United States close.

On the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) list of most popular breeds for 2020 the Greyhound pulls in at 142 out of 195.

According to the AKC breed standards, Greyhounds head should have “[l]ong and narrow, fairly wide between the ears, scarcely perceptible stop…[e]ars are small and fine in texture, thrown back and folded, except when excited, when they are semi-pricked.” These high speed sighthounds are built for speed, their body is aerodynamically built in an “inverted S” shape.

Racing Greyhounds are often lighter than those in the show ring, but as with most breeds the females tend to be a little smaller than the males. Females typically stand at 27-28 inches and weigh in at 60-65 pounds while males stand at 28-30 inches and weigh in at 65-70 pounds.

The unique shape of Greyhounds has provided artistic inspiration for centuries and they are today’s focus for “Breeds 101.”

The Greyhound has a life expectancy of 10-13 years which is pretty standard for dogs of that size.

Many of these retired racers are finding second chances as family pets through a variety of rescue groups. While these dogs are happy to lounge on the couch it is important to allow them time to run within an enclosed area, since they have a strong prey drive they will run off.

They are known for their gentle and independent nature. As a very independent breed, Greyhounds can present as a more difficult to train breed. Early socialization can help because they tend to be very connected to their family, but less than outgoing with strangers.

Grooming is very minimal due to their short hair. Greyhounds need regular baths, nail trims, and ear cleaning to keep them comfortable.

They have few health issues associated with them, the main concern is bloat and gastric torsion which is common among deep-chested breeds. A breed specific disease called Greyhound neuropathy has been seen and has a very early onset in the dogs around 3 to 9 months of age.

The Greyhound has origins dating back 5,000-8,000 years ago in ancient Egypt and were regarded as dogs only allowed to be owned by royalty. In the Middle Ages, because of their prestige, laws were passed that allowed only nobility to own and hunt with Greyhounds.

Famous Greyhound owners throughout history have ranged from Egyptian pharaohs, Alexander the Great, generals and presidents. The United State’s 19th president, Rutherford B. Hayes, had a Greyhound named Grim that lived in the White House with him.