The Greyhound is a coursing and racing breed which may have originated in Egypt over 6,000 years ago. The breed’s aerodynamic build and long legs make it the fastest dog on record. It can reach speeds of 45 miles per hour in only 3 strides. The breed was historically used for hunting in the open using their keen eyesight. They were once kept for sport by royalty in England. The name Greyhound means “fair dog”. Until the 1920s, Greyhounds were bred and trained primarily for coursing.
The Greyhound generally stands 27 to 30 inches tall and weighs 60 to 100 pounds. The breed has short hair which can be an assortment of colors; 30 colors of Greyhound are currently recognized. It does not have an undercoat.
The Greyhound makes an excellent pet, easily adopting its owner into its “pack” as its leader. The breed can grow to love its family so much that it can experience severe anxiety when it is left alone. The Greyhound is quick and athletic; however it is not necessarily a high-energy breed. The breed does need some exercise, but it really loves to relax. The breed does not need a large amount of living space to be very happy because it is not generally a hyperactive breed.
The breed is fairly low maintenance due to its short coat. Despite the ease of taking care of the Greyhound, its amount of time spent outdoors needs to be carefully monitored. Its short coat added with its lack of body fat can cause it to be more susceptible to temperature fluctuation than other dogs.
Most Greyhounds are bred for racing, yet most only race during the first few years of their lives. Some dogs are not able to race, and quite a few sustain lifelong injuries during their racing years.
The Greyhound is a relatively healthy breed which typically lives to be 10 to 13 years of age. Hereditary illnesses are rare in the breed, yet some can develop problems such as esophagal achalasia, bloat, osteosarcoma, and skin sores. Respiratory failure is also a problem with the breed. The breed is often used as a blood donor due to its high level of red blood cells. The red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, allowing the Greyhound to move oxygen to its muscles from its lungs faster than other breeds. Due to its unique physiology, it is important that the Greyhound have a veterinarian who understands this and relevant breed-related issues.