The greyhound is a large dog of incredible speed that was originally bred for hunting small animals but is it best known as a racing dog today. While these regal creatures love to run but they are also just as happy to snooze the day away on a comfy chair. They love the company of people and do well as inside dogs and while they may appear aloof with strangers they are totally devoted to their families.
Greyhounds are sighthounds with keen eyesight and a strong prey drive. It’s important to take this into consideration where other small animals may be in the household, including cats.
According to Australian law greyhounds must be muzzled when walking outside of the house. People who adopt ex racing greyhounds can apply to have the dog ‘green collar’ accredited meaning it has been tested and can be taken for a walk outside the house without a muzzle as long as it wears the accredited green collar and lead.
Greyhounds do not require a huge amount of exercise and they are usually quite well behaved on the leash.
These gentle dogs have a short easy to care for coat which means they prefer to live indoors and often require a warm coat in winter. They come in a wide variety of colours including white, grey, fawn, black, striped and also parti-coloured. They do shed some hair and love a rub with a hound mitt.
The average weight of a male greyhound is 30 to 40 kilograms with females weighing between 27 to 32 kilograms. Males grow to a height of 71 to 76 centimetres with females standing at 68 to 71 centimetres. Their life expectancy is between 9 to 11 years.
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The greyhound is a gentle and affection breed who is not overprotective of property. They get on well with other animals in the household but if adopting a greyhound it’s always good to remember what they have been bred for and that’s chasing small animals. These dogs are often graded for their cat tolerance prior to adoption.
They are very tolerant of children and are more likely to move away if they are being annoyed rather than reacting. They are large dogs though and may easily knock young children over so it’s worthwhile to always supervise dogs around young children.
Greyhounds are relatively easy to train and they usually walk well on a leash.
While they love to stretch their legs they love nothing better than snoozing the day away on a lounge chair.
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It has been suggested that the greyhound breed has been around for 4,000 years from the time they joined the royal courts of Persia, Egypt and Greece. The epic novel Homer’s Odyssey features his loyal and trusted greyhound Argus.
These regal and speedy dogs were displaced during the middle-ages from the great halls of the ruling class as people were impacted by famine and disease yet as conditions improved they once again found themselves as pampered companions of the wealthy. The greyhounds hunting ability meant that it became an offence to kill a greyhound and only nobles were permitted to own and breed greyhounds at that time.
During the age of enlightenment greyhounds still featured prominently in the homes of the wealthy as a status symbol. Many portraits of the time featured the regal greyhound alongside their owners. Famous artists of the time who included greyhounds in their portraits included Dupain and Millais.
Greyhound dog racing commenced as an unorganised form of rivalry between owners, developing into a form of professional racing that became as popular as horse racing. Oval track greyhound racing started in America during 1912 when Owen Patrick Smith developed the mechanical hare for the animals to chase around the track. The first track was built in the United Kingdom in 1926 and Australia started greyhound racing in 1927.