Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Meet the Greyhound, the swift and sinewy breed that has inspired poets, artists, and royalty for thousands of years. Given their admirable grace and incomparable athleticism, it is no wonder why mankind has dignified Greyhounds throughout history!
Greyhounds are the track stars of the doggy Olympics. However, they also are all-stars at being couch potatoes! With a Greyhound, you truly get the best of both worlds. Furthermore, this calm and collected breed loves being with humans and fellow canines! Read on to learn about the world's fastest dog breed!
Also Known As...
English Greyhound. 40-mph couch potato. "The fastest, laziest dogs in the WORLD!"
Greyhounds have a rich and pervasive history. In fact, they are among the oldest breeds of dogs. Early cave drawings and ancient Egyptian artifacts trace Greyhounds' existence back 5,000 to 8,000 years! According to the American Kennel Club, first knowledge of the Greyhound was found in the Tomb of Amten. This tomb, which resides in the Valley of The Nile, belonged to the Fourth Dynasty which occurred between 2900 and 2751 B.C.
As you can see, Greyhounds have been long associated with royalty. Hounds of pharaohs were bred to outrun prey in hunting sprees. This training and breeding is evident to this day as Greyhounds are still the fastest of the canine breeds.
Plus, there's no denying Greyhounds striking good looks. Commoners in ancient Egypt viewed the elegance of royal Greyhounds to be a reflection of their Pharaoh's divinity. Talk about a compliment!
Greyhounds stand at about 68 to 70 inches tall at the withers (base of neck / top of the spine). These slim and sinewy hounds are the epitome of #LegsForDays!
Females average 60 to 65 pounds while males average 65 to 70 pounds. Fun fact: the Greyhound is playfully referred to as an "inverted S" due to the dramatic curvature of their deep chests and tucked waists.
Looking for a sweet and meek pup? Look no further! Greyhounds are known for their gentle and quiet dispositions. These dogs are 0% drama queen. True to their non-reactive nature, a Greyhound is more likely to walk away from a scuffle rather than snap or growl. How mature, right?
These pups embody the poise and grace fit for royalty. Well, this is no coincidence given their royal origins. Pups who are treated kindly generally turn out kind themselves! In fact, from the 11th to the 14th century, no "mean person" was permitted to keep a Greyhound as decreed by English law. So, if you're seeking for an elegant pup that makes you feel like royalty, look no further than the Greyhound!
Intelligence / Trainability
Greyhounds are rather intelligent pups who aim to please their humans. However, their wit and independence may pose some challenges in training. While you may think your Greyhound is not grasping a command, it's very possible he's pretending not to hear it!
Greyhounds are strong and independent, which are great qualities for character-building, but not-so-great for training. Thus, Greyhounds need a confident and consistent alpha-human for successful training.
Due to their intelligence, Greyhounds need stimulation to avoid boredom. Boredom typically results in destructive behavior. So, unless you enjoy chewed shoes and destroyed pillows, we suggest engaging your Greyhound in daily exercise and playtime.
Best Training Techniques For Greyhounds
Though Greyhounds want to please their humans, they want something out of training too! Therefore, rewards-based techniques work best in training Greyhounds. Furthermore, Greyhounds are sensitive souls, so harsh techniques and punishments are the worst fit for this breed.
Tap into your Greyhound's athletic ancestry and turn training into fun-filled bonding with activity-based training! Greyhounds definitely prefer doing things with their humans, rather than for their humans.
This breed especially excels at agility, obedience, rally, and other dog-activities. While Greyhounds are Olympians at these complex sports, ironically, they may have difficulty with the command "Sit" as this demands an unnatural position for their body.
Though they've been royal companions for centuries, you don't need to live in a castle to have a home fit for a Greyhound! In fact, Greyhounds make excellent apartment dogs! They have even been compared to "giant cats" due to their calm, independent, couch potato nature. If given access to a yard, make sure that it is securely fenced as the Greyhound's strong chase instinct may take her beyond your property lines.
Good For Families And Kids?
These kind and gentle dogs are excellent family dogs! Throughout their history, Greyhounds were often kept in packs. Thus, these pups have a strong pack mentality and seek the companionship of others - whether they be canines or humans! A Greyhound will eagerly enter your "pack" with an open heart and wagging tail.
And though they were bred as athletes, Greyhounds are very calm. Their laid-back nature, tolerance, and non-reactivity make them incredibly child-friendly dogs!
Greyhounds typically live to be 10- to 13-years-old.
Greyhounds are generally healthy dogs. However, as one of the most deep-chested breeds, Greyhounds are prone to bloat and gastric torsion. As this is a very sudden and life-threatening condition, it is important that Greyhound parents are aware of bloat's symptoms and causes.
Greyhounds also tend to be very sensitive to anesthesia. This is important to keep in mind if your Greyhound ever needs anesthesia. However, your veterinarian and anesthesia specialist will likely be well aware of this issue.
Greyhounds are famous for being speedy and infamous for being couch potatoes. That's right, these track star athletes are laid-back and lazy! Though they love lounging around, these pups still need daily exercise for their physical and mental health.
While puppies and young Greyhounds require more exercise, adult Greyhounds are typically content with a daily walk. Just be sure to keep your Greyhounds leashed at all times, who knows where their chase instinct will take them!
Friendly With...(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
Searching for a drama- and aggression-free dog? Then a Greyhound may be the pup for you! As it was necessary for Greyhound to chase and hunt in packs, "aggressiveness toward other dogs has almost been completely eliminated from the breed." Because of their history of being raised in packs, Greyhounds often seek the close companionship of other canines! Therefore, Greyhounds are generally very tolerant towards other dogs and humans!
The Greyhound has a very strong prey drive due to thousands of years bred as hunting companions. Because of this, Greyhounds may not be best suited for households with small pets, such as rabbits and hamsters. However, exceptions can be made with adequate socialization and training.
Coat & Grooming
Greyhounds have smooth, short coats that require very little maintenance. Regular bathing and weekly rub downs with a damp cloth, hound glove, or short brush should be more than enough for a Greyhound! However, they have fast-growing nails that may need regular trimming.
Toys Greyhounds Would Like Best
As mentioned, Greyhounds have an innate prey drive due to their lengthy history has hunting companions. Tap into your Greyhound's hunting instinct with plush toys! Bonus points if they're designed like cute and cuddly furry friends.
In their training to be incredible hunters, Greyhounds became Olympic-level chasers and racers. Tap into their athletic abilities with fetch toys like bouncy tennis balls!
For a more extensive list, check out the following post: What Are The Best Toys For Greyhounds?
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Greyhounds should be fed high-quality, age-appropriate food. According to the American Kennel Club, this breed needs a slightly higher caloric and protein-rich diet than some other dogs.
These healthy hounds generally do not need specific supplements. Though they were bred as racers and chasers, Greyhounds have surprisingly great bone and joint health. However, if your Greyhound suffers from anxiety, you may want to try some Hemp Oil.
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with joint issues, pain relief, and ease aggression in dogs during stressful situations. ($17.99-22.99.)
Seeing as Greyhounds love to lie around, a nice comfortable dog bed is probably a good idea!
This ultra plush orthopedic dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s small body and giving them a designated place to rest. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your favorite buddy. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find the Greyhound Of Your Dreams
Looking to add a loving and deserving Greyhound to your family? Perhaps you'd like to give a restful and relaxing life to a Greyhound who endured a strenuous past as a racing dog? Then check out these rescues!
- Greyhound Angels Adoption
- Grey 2K USA
- Heartland Grey Adoption
- Friends of Retired Greyhounds
- Second Chance Greyhounds
- Adoptable Greyhounds on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Greyhounds
Pepper & Scotty! @greyhounds.pepper.and.scotty
***Looking for a gift to blow your Greyhound's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Featured image via Xandergreyhound/Instagram