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Greyhound

Other names: English Greyhound

Greyhound
Greyhound
Puppy

First bred as a hunting companion and a racing dog, the Greyhound has become a popular family pet. Although capable of a top speed of up to 40mph, the greyhound is a placid and gentle breed that prefers to spend most of its time relaxing. Greyhounds are most happy in quiet, relaxed environments. These gentle animals make excellent pets for families with small children and other dogs.

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Key facts about the Greyhound

  • Life expectancy : Between 9 and 11 years
  • Temperament : Hunter
  • Size : Big
  • Type of coat : Short
  • Price : Between £280 and £600

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 10 - Sighthounds

Section

Section 3 : Short-haired Sighthounds

Physical characteristics of the Greyhound

Adult size

Female dog Between 27 and 28 in
Male dog Between 28 and 30 in

Weight

Female dog Between 62 and 73 lb
Male dog Between 62 and 73 lb

Coat colour

A greyhound’s coat can be one of any 30 recognised colours, including white, brown, black, fawn, grey, and blue/grey.

Type of coat

Very short.

Short and smooth with some shedding.

Eye colour

Eye colour varies, although it’s likely to be dark brown or a darker green.

Description

Greyhounds have lean, muscular frames with a deep chest, powerful legs, and a flexible spine. Greyhounds are dolichocephalic, which means they have a long, narrow skull and an elongated muzzle.

Temperament

Affectionate

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Greyhounds can appear a bit aloof and unfriendly towards strangers, but they’re very affectionate and extremely loyal to members of their own pack; this includes owners, young children, and other pets.

Playful

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Greyhound puppies are full of energy and love to play, although they tend to mellow as they get older. Despite their athletic frames and blistering pace, adult greyhounds are a bunch of couch potatoes.

Calm

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Although breed for high-energy, intense activities, Greyhounds tend to be calm and docile pets who prefer the quiet life. They rarely get overexcited by houseguests and tend to adapt well to new situations and environments.

Intelligent

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The Greyhound has a high-level of intelligence and responds well to training. However, because of their gentle nature, handlers and owners should always use gentle commands combined with reward-based training methods.

Hunter

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With its excellent vision and athletic physique, the greyhound is tailor-made for hunting. Anyone who has ever seen a greyhound race or a coursing competition will know just how quickly this dog can move and how determined they become once they’ve locked onto their target.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Greyhounds are neither fearful or wary of strangers, they’re just not that interested in them. This doesn't mean that the greyhound is shy or nervous, they just prefer to stay out of the spotlight and will rarely, if ever, display the attention seeking behaviour associated with more playful and energetic breeds.

Independent

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Greyhounds are definitely one of the most independent dog breeds. As long as they get one good exercise session per day, greyhounds are content to spend the rest of their time lazing about in their own company. This "you do your thing and I'll do mine" approach to life makes the greyhound an excellent pet for busy people with hectic lifestyles.

Behaviour of the Greyhound

Tolerates solitude

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Greyhounds have a strong independent streak and are very comfortable with their own company. In fact, the vast majority of greyhounds prefer a little bit of “me time” and are happy to be left alone for hours at a time. These qualities make greyhounds a good choice for people living the 9-5 life.

Easy to train / obedience

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Greyhounds respond best to gentle, reward-based training methods. As long as you stick to these techniques, it won't be long before you have a very well-trained and very obedient greyhound. You’ll also need a little bit of patience as greyhound puppies tend to be extremely boisterous, meaning they can struggle to focus on a specific task. So keep the training sessions short and fun.

Barking

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Greyhounds are not known for being loud or consistent barkers. In fact, Greyhounds are one of the less vocal breeds. They rarely bark, howl, or whine.

Tendency to run away

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Although they're unlikely to run away, Greyhounds are very capable of doing so. As well as being excellent sprinters, greyhounds are pretty good at jumping and can easily leap over a 3-foot fence. It's also a good idea to keep them on a leash in unfamiliar environments. Greyhounds have an exceptionally high prey-drive, meaning they'll chase after anything small and furry, and you're going to have a very hard time trying to catch them!

Destructive

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As long as a greyhound is getting the right amount of exercise, they're very unlikely to engage in destructive behaviour. Any instances of destructive behaviour should be taken seriously; it may be a sign of an underlying mental health problem.

Greedy / Gluttony

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Greyhounds are not particularly greedy or glutinous. But, like most breeds, they will overeat if you let them. Greyhounds are also quite tall and agile, meaning they have a tendency to “steal” food off the dinner table and kitchen tops.

Guard dog

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If you want a watchdog, then don’t get a greyhound. These guys are far too relaxed and chilled to carry out any patrols, and they’re likely to spend most of their time snoozing or resting.

First dog

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You really need to know the characteristics of greyhounds before adopting one, especially for a first canine experience. This dog is not really made for beginners, he needs a good structure and a reliable owner to make them feel safe.

Lifestyle

Greyhound in a flat

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The Greyhound must run and he needs a lot of space. He can live very well indoors but it is essential that he can exercise every day.

Life in an apartment is not the ideal setting, especially because apartment is often synonymous with city life and its sensitivity is not adapted.

A life in the countryside, in a house with a large, well-fenced garden seems more suitable for this dog.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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The Greyhound is the indisputable lord of the cynodromes, where it offers a unique show: it can reach the speed of 70 km per hour.

It is therefore inconceivable to consider this dog as a simple pet.

He needs at least 2 hours a day to feel fulfilled. He needs a dynamic owner.

Travelling / easy to transport

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Its large size but especially its sensitivity do not allow this dog to be able to follow his owners serenely in all their movements.

Compatibility

Greyhound and cats

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This depends! Greyhounds reared from puppies are far more likely to get along with cats. In fact, they'll probably become quite good friends. EX-racing greyhounds are a completely different matter. These guys were bred and trained to chase small, furry things! Un-learning such behaviour is a challenge for the dog, the owner, and the poor cat!

Greyhound and dogs

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Rather solitary, this dog is not really comfortable in the presence of other dogs. A good socialisation of the Greyhound puppy is necessary for him to learn and reinforce his canine codes to live serenely surrounded by other dogs.

Greyhound and children

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Greyhounds are great with children of all ages. However, greyhounds still need their own space, so it's important that children learn when to leave a greyhound alone.

Greyhound and the elderly

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This calm and discreet dog may be suitable for older people, but they must still have enough energy and the ability to regularly take their greyhound for a run.

Price

A Greyhound pup can cost anywhere between £280 - £600, and there are many ex-racing and rescue greyhounds looking for a new home!

Greyhounds don't need massive amounts of food; two medium-sized meals made from high-quality dog food will meet all their nutritional needs. Budget between £40-60 each month to cover the cost of feeding your greyhound. Other expenses, like insurance, will vary depending on your dog's age and medical history.

Grooming

Greyhounds have short coats which are really easy to maintain. They also shed very little, saving you the time and money involved with regular trips to the doggy salon. A quick weekly brush is all a greyhound really needs.

Hair loss

Greyhounds are not prone to suffering from any medical conditions that can lead to hair loss. However, given their short coats, any instances of hair loss may look worse than they actually are.

Nutrition of the Greyhound

An averaged sized greyhound requires around two cups of high-quality dog food twice a day. They will also need access to fresh clean drinking water. Greyhounds are susceptible to bloating, a condition in which the stomach swells and twists. This can be extremely serious, so avoid walking your dog 30 mins before or after feeding time.

Health of the Greyhound

Life expectancy

The average lifespan for a greyhound is between 9-11 years.

Strong / robust

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The Greyhound is robust but as it doesn't like cold temperatures he must always be protected when the weather is bad. You also have to pay attention to the accidents that can occur while running: the dog can be injured easily and must be treated in time to avoid any infection.

Withstand heat

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The heat can quickly be harmful for this dog: its activities (including coursing) must be arranged during periods of heat wave.

Withstand cold

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A winter coat is an essential accessory for any Greyhound. Because of their short coats and lean frames, greyhounds can struggle to maintain healthy body temperature in cold weather. This means they'll always need their coats on during winter and it's best to avoid walking them during the coldest parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.

Tendency to put on weight

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Greyhounds do have a greedy side. However, their naturally lean frames and taste for high-intensity exercise means you never really see an obese greyhound. Still, don’t overfeed them and always keep doggy treats within strict limits.

Common illnesses

  • Oesophagal achalasia
  • Gastric dilation volvulus (bloat)
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Alabama Rot
  • Sensitivity to pesticides

Good to know

Because of a greyhounds sensitivity to pesticides, speak to your vet before using any flea collars or sprays. The same goes for any ticks treatments.

The Greyhounds long, lean physique isn't suited to hard surfaces; make sure they have a nice, comfy bed made from soft material.

Greyhounds have unique blood chemistry. They have a high amount of red blood cells, and their livers have lower levels of certain enzymes. If your Greyhound has any blood tests, make sure your vet is aware of your dog's unusual blood chemistry as it can to misdiagnosis.

Origins and history

Although there is no scientific evidence, there are suggestions that greyhound-like dogs existed as long as 4,000 years ago. Reference to these animals appear in ancient Egyptian culture, and they may have been used as hunting dogs by Celtic tribes from 5th and 6th century BC.  The first reports of the modern greyhound appear in the 18th century. It was then officially recognised by British kennel authorities in the 19th century. Since then, the Greyhound has had a long and illustrious career as a hunting companion and racing dog.

Names

Good names for a Greyhound: Annie, Flash, Haley, Miles

Find out more dog name ideas here