Recommended for: Families
Maintenance Level: Low – medium
Lifespan: 9-11 years
Temperament: Calm, loving
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.
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.
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.
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.
COMMON GREYHOUND DISEASES AND CONDITIONS
Pannus is the abnormal growth of tissue over the cornea and can affect the greyhound. Pannus in thought to be a form of auto-immune disease that affects certain breeds. If this disease is left untreated it can lead to blindness.
- Bone cancer
Osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, is one of the most common cancers in greyhounds. The first sign is lameness, but x-rays are needed to determine if the cause is cancer. It is treated aggressively, often with chemotherapy and amputation. Fortunately, dog amputees adapt quite easily to life with a missing limb.
- Gastric dilatation and volvulus (bloat)
A serious condition, gastric dilatation is when the stomach becomes swollen with gas and fluid. Volvulus is the twisting of the stomach. This will prevent the dog from vomiting and is quite a serious condition; something life threatening when left untreated.
It can cause dehydration, gastric perforation, and peritonitis. Signs to look out for include retching without vomiting, enlargement of the abdomen and restless pacing. The Poodle may whine or groan when their belly is touched.
The best way to avoid gastric dilation and volvulus or ‘bloat’ is to avoid feeding your greyhound large meals. Spread them out during the day and feed them at least an hour before or after any rigorous exercise.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
This is a disease that can occur in greyhounds and can lead to blindness. The nerve cells at the back of the eye degenerate over time and will cause cataracts to form.
If you suspect your dog has signs of PRA, see your vet for observation as soon as possible. If there is still vision in the eye, corrective surgery may be an option.
INTERESTING GREYHOUND FACTS
Greyhounds are bred for racing and they can sprint at up to 65 km per hour.
Greyhounds have been owned by King Henry VII, Queen Elizabeth I and General George Custer.
The greyhound ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ is one of the best loved characters from The Simpsons.
Cesar Millan owns a greyhound named Argos who has featured on television.
Greyhounds as Pets: http://www.greyhoundsaspets.com.au/
Greyhound Rescue: http://greyhoundrescue.com.au/
Greyhound Adoption Program NSW: http://www.gapnsw.org.au/home/
Greyhound Adoption Program Qld: http://www.gapqld.com.au/
Greyhound Pet Insurance Quote
Getting pet insurance for your Greyhound will help ensure you can always afford the best vet care for them. Bow Wow Meow offers a range of flexible pet insurance options including cover for accidental injury, illness and routine care.
Wondering how much it would cost to insure your Greyhound if you got one? It’s quick and easy to get a quote.
(Note: dogs must be over 8 weeks old to take out insurance, so please enter a birth date to reflect this when getting an indicative quote.)