Greyhounds are a strange and unusual-looking dog. They have several traits of some other dog breeds that make you think that greyhounds are actually mutts and not really their own breed. There are reasons for that, as well as several other fun and odd facts about greyhound dogs.
Fun Facts About Greyhounds
The Greyhound is the Fastest Dog on the Planet
Racing greyhounds have been clocked at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. That’s faster than most cars driving in city limits are allowed to go.
Only cars on highways and freeways going 60 to 80 miles per hour can go faster than a greyhound, and really that’s not a fair comparison of dog vs. machine. A cheetah can run much faster than a greyhound, by almost double the speed, but a greyhound is still documented as the fastest canine on the ground.
They’re Called “Greyhounds” Because the Breed’s Predominant Color Is Grey
Whether you write “grey” or “gray” makes little matter here. “Grey” is a more European spelling. Hence, “greyhound” follows the historical tradition of recognizing the color of this breed via the countries from which the breed came.
Greyhound also refers to the predominant color of the breed; grey. Although these dogs do come in a few other select colors or coat patterns, they are more often some shade of grey. The “hound” part refers to the fact that they are part of the sighting and hunting hound breeds of dogs.
They Are Surprisingly Small
When you see pictures of greyhounds by themselves, you often assume that they are big dogs. They are not. The males are larger than the females, but even the males are less than three feet tall at the shoulders.
They’re more of a mid-sized dog, weighing around seventy or so pounds. It’s their tiny waist and rear hips with the huge barreled chest that often gives off the impression that they’re big dogs.
Two Other Dog Breeds Are Confused for the Standard Greyhound
There are lots of dogs in the hunting hound category that have some similar features to the greyhound. However, there are two other distinct and closely related breeds that are confused with the standard greyhound. These two breeds are the Italian greyhound and the whippet.
The Italian greyhound is thought to be a toy version of the standard greyhound, since its diminutive size is about a fourth of a full-sized adult greyhound. The whippet is about half the size of greyhound, which is why it is also confused for a puppy or “toy” version of a greyhound.
A Greyhound’s Natural Quarry and the Racing Object on the Tracks
If you have ever been to a Greyhound racing track, you might have wondered why a metal rabbit is the object the dogs are supposed to chase. The answer is in the fact that the rabbit is the natural quarry for all greyhounds. They will even chase rabbits in your yard at home if you let them.
Betting on Greyhounds in Racing
Since greyhounds all run very fast, how can you decide on which dog to place a bet in a race? That is tricky, considering that it depends on the dog. Dogs tend to cluster in a pack when chasing something, but greyhounds are taught to break from the pack when racing.
The only way you will be able to tell which dogs are worth betting on is to watch several races without placing a bet. Then place bets on the dogs that seem most likely to break from the pack and run ahead after the fake quarry.
Other Reasons Besides Racing for Having a Greyhound
Sure, having a greyhound is synonymous with racing the dog, but not everyone will or does. So, why else would you own a greyhound?
Some other reasons for owning a greyhound include:
Of course, you could just want a dog and you decide that the temperament of an available greyhound is an excellent fit for you.
Odd Facts About Greyhounds
The Breed’s Ancestors Date Back Thousands of Years
Some of the first dogs resembling greyhounds were owned by Egyptian pharaohs. Pictures and mummified remains of the greyhound’s ancestors have been found in Kings’ tombs.
Other kings and rulers throughout history owned these dogs as part of their pack of hunting dogs. Other famous people to own greyhounds included past Presidents and General Custer, who was very fond of hunting, shooting, and enjoying his kill.
Today the greyhound is still synonymous with wealth. Some of the wealthiest people in the world own or have owned at least one greyhound.
Bored Greyhounds Can Be Destructive
Greyhounds are not apartment-friendly dogs. They need lots of space to work out their high energy levels. They do not like being cooped up all day with no one to run around with them.
A bored greyhound with too much energy can be a destructive greyhound. Do not get a greyhound if you tend to be a couch potato sort of person. On the flip side, if you go for runs in the morning and at night, a greyhound is an excellent jogging companion.
They Have Short Coats, but Still Shed
While it’s true that greyhounds have short coat hairs, they will still shed. They don’t shed as much as a long hair breed, but they shed a lot more than other short-haired breeds typically do. Expect to find shed fur on just about everything your dog lays on.
Brushing daily helps curb the shedding. A monthly bath may help too. It’s a good idea to do both of these care tasks outside where the wind can take the shed fur away.
Not Easy to Train
Despite the fact that these dogs have been used for hunting and racing for centuries, these dogs are not easy to train. They tend to be much more independent in nature than willing to please trainers. You will have to put extra time into training them to do things that don’t come naturally to them.
The Greyhound’s Odd Body Composition Makes It Susceptible to Gastric Issues
While these dogs are built for speed and are aerodynamic in body composition, it does create some unique digestive issues. They can easily develop bloat in their small-waisted bellies, and they can end up with twisted stomachs or twisted intestines. Both conditions are life-threatening and need immediate veterinary attention.
Lower intestine and anal issues are less common. However, they have been known to occur. Knowing your dog and his or her behavior is key to recognizing a health problem and getting timely treatment for whatever ails him or her.