The Greyhound is believed to have come from the Saluki or Persian Greyhound found in Ancient Egypt but scientific evidence proves otherwise. An intelligent and affectionate breed, it boasts of above-average hunting and racing skills. It is an easy breed to groom thanks to its short coat but since it has a sensitive skin, it cannot tolerate gluten. It can do fine in apartments as long as there is access to a fenced yard. It may have high exercise needs, but it loves lazing inside the house.
Are you thinking of getting a Greyhound? Here is a brief background of this sighthound and racing dog.
The Greyhound’s origin has always been linked to Ancient Egypt as depicted in drawings found on tombs dating back to 4000 BC. However, there have been no scientific basis to this claim. In fact, DNA results in 2004 suggest that this breed may not be related to the Saluki or Persian Greyhound found in Egypt, although they may look similar.
The breed arrived in Europe during the Dark Ages, which garnered great respect for being a remarkable sighthound that went after large game like wolves, deer and antelopes. Since royal game reserves were protected at that time, laws prohibited people living within 10 miles of the king’s forests from owning Greyhounds. Only nobles and the elite were allowed to own this breed in 1016.
Greyhounds then rose to popularity in England as they were used for hare coursing and then later on racing. They are dubbed as the fastest dog and the second fastest animal in the world, only next to Cheetahs. The breed now remains a popular choice as a pet companion because of its gentle nature and patience for kids.
Appearance and Grooming
The Greyhound is an iconic breed that is pretty easy to identify. It is an athletic and muscular dog that stands 68 to 76 centimetres at the withers and weighs 50 to 88 pounds. This strongly built hound has a long head, strong neck, deep chest, and spacious body. It has intelligent-looking, oval eyes, rose-shaped ears and a powerful jaw. Built for speed and performance, it has arched loins, powerful hindquarters and agile limbs that allow it to cover huge distances at very high speed.
According to The Kennel Club, the acceptable colours are white, black, red, blue, fawn, brindle, and fallow, or any of these colours broken with white. Its short, fine and close-lying coat is easy to groom. It is a low shedder, which can be managed by daily brushing. Bathing can be done as needed and a dry dog shampoo will keep its coat sleek and healthy. As a breed prone to dental issues, brushing with a vet-approved toothpaste at least twice a week is necessary. Chew bones and treats will also help in removing tartar build-up.
It is important to keep its ears dry and free from debris to avoid infection. Accustoming your dog to having its nails trimmed will make the experience pleasant and lessen costs at the vet’s or groomer’s.
Temperament and Intelligence
The Greyhound is a gentle, affectionate and loyal pet. It is not aggressive towards strangers but would calmly bark to alert you when it senses a presence. It also has a tendency to be timid towards guests but will warm up when it detects no harm. It develops a strong bond with its owners and tends to suffer from separation anxiety even when left for a short time. This breed is friendly and patient with kids and would rather walk away than snap at an unruly child. However, as a large dog that could accidentally run over a toddler, supervise interactions between them. It can do well with other dogs but smaller pets should be avoided altogether because of its high strong prey drive.
The breed is very intelligent and can be a great option for first-time owners because it is a people pleaser. It is also highly trainable and would eagerly learn new tricks. Since it is sensitive by nature, it does not respond to harsh trainings. It would do well with gentle words and praises. While it is quite receptive, its prey drive can get in the way. Even a well-behaved Greyhound could not resist a small animal it believes it should chase.
Breeds can have particular temperament and intellect tendencies but it does not mean that all dogs will fit the bill. The development of its characteristics can also be influenced by environmental factors.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Greyhound is 2.5 to 4 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day, depending on your dog’s age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. There are guidelines for breeds when it comes to serving size and meal timing but your dog has distinctive needs. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide whichever you find fitting. As a breed prone to bloating, it is wise to avoid feeding it before a physical activity.
Typical calorie needs of adult Greyhounds weighing 80 pounds per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 1,600 calories daily
- Typical adults: up to 1,700 calories daily
- Physically active/working dogs: up to 2,200 calories daily
In choosing your Greyhound’s food, opt for high quality brands suitable for active large dog breeds. It thrives on protein, specifically on animal meat (chicken, turkey, lamb and beef) and should consume between 250 and 300 grams of meat per day. To promote bone and joint health, food should contain calcium, glucosamine and chondroitin. Because it has sensitive skin, avoid gluten and include Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.
Health and Exercise
Greyhounds are generally healthy but can be predisposed to certain health issues such as Hypothyroidism, Esophageal Malformations, Osteosarcoma, skin irritations, spinal injuries, and Gastric Torsion or bloat. This breed is also prone to drug sensitivity so utmost care is needed before administering any treatment or anaesthesia during veterinary procedures.
Greyhounds may be known as high-energy dogs but they actually love lounging around the house and sleeping. They can also do fine in apartments as long as there is access to a fenced yard where they can play freely. That being said, as a large dog bred as a sighthound its exercise needs are high. Physical activities should be spread throughout the day, starting with a short walk in the morning, a longer one in the afternoon and free time at the yard. Make sure to have a high and sturdy fence to avoid escaping while chasing a small animal. A well-trained Greyhound will be a great jogging partner.
Cost of Ownership
Realistically speaking, raising a large dog is more expensive than owning a small one because its needs are also bigger. High quality food for your Greyhound will cost around £40 a month. Treats and vitamins will be an additional £20 per month. Basic equipment such as beds, dish bowls, toys, and grooming supplies will be around £100.
When it comes to the health of your dog, you need to be prepared because as animals, they are likely to get sick. Routine health checks, spaying or neutering, annual vaccinations and other preventive measures can add up to about £1,000 a year. Pet Insurance coverage can be around £20 to £50 a month, depending on the policy you choose.
Not to mention, these expenses do not include the price of a well-bred Greyhound, which can be anything from £200 to £400.