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The Greyhound is an extremely elegant short-haired sighthound from Great Britain. He is one of the most popular sighthound breeds and is not only highly valued by sighthound fans in Germany, but also by sporty families who are looking for a quiet dog. The greyhound is recognized as a separate breed in the FCI, it can be found in FCI group 10 under section 3 short-haired sighthounds without a working test with the standard number 158.

Greyhound Dog Breed Information

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Size: 68-76cm
Weight: 26-40kg
FCI Group: 10: Sighthounds
Section: 3: Short-haired greyhounds
Country of origin: Great Britain
Colours: black, blue, brindle, fawn, red, white
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
Suitable as: family, companion and racing dog
Sports: greyhound racing
Character: affectionate, athletic, gentle, intelligent, calm
Leaving requirements: high
Drooling potential: high
The thickness of hair: rather high
Maintenance effort: low
Coat structure: fine and dense
Child friendly: yes
Family dog: yes
Social: rather yes

Origin and breed history

The Greyhound is a very old sighthound breed that has received a more up-to-date character through modern breeding. Despite the modern character, the greyhound has not lost its traditional elegance and its sensitive and calm nature. His ancestors were valued companions, admired, and sometimes even revered. Dogs that look similar to greyhounds were already viewed and revered as messengers of God by the Egyptians. Even in the Bible, Solomon tells of the elegant hunters.

Already the Celts owned dogs, which belong to the ancestors of the greyhounds and which looked very similar to them. They brought the dogs about 375 years BC. When they arrived in the British Isles, the breeding of the breed shifted mainly to the British Isles, which is why the Greyhound also has Great Britain as its country of origin.

The greyhound often has a different name in different countries, but it is always the same breed. The name often denotes the association with hunting, as in Italian, where the greyhound is called Levriere, which means something like a rabbit. This designation clearly shows what type of game the greyhound specializes in hunting. The greyhound specializes in hunting small game. In open areas, it hunts specifically for sight and can grab its prey at very high speeds.

Due to the Greyhound’s early popularity, the breeding of these elegant animals was placed in the hands of the nobility. He attached great importance to the appearance of the dogs. They were supposed to appear particularly elegant and graceful and enjoyed various privileges with the nobility that were not granted to other hunting dogs at the time. This is also reflected in 14th-century painting, as most of the paintings depicting a dog are of a slender greyhound. The popularity went so far that the greyhound was even allowed to be at the side of its owner at church services.

Over the years the greyhound’s popularity in Germany declined, while in America, for example, the animals were popular for stake dog racing. In the United Arab Emirates, the dog is still a status symbol for the wealthy upper class.

Nature and temperament of the Greyhound

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The Greyhound is a highly specialized sight hunter used for small game hunting. His hunting instinct determines his nature and small animals in the house should always be handled very carefully. Free running is usually only possible in fenced areas. But in addition to the hunting instinct and the great joy of running, the greyhound is first and foremost a very nice and affectionate dog. In the house, he is a quiet dog who observes his people well and reacts to the slightest speech. He is a dog that needs gentle leadership and should still enjoy a good education. He is very suitable as a family dog, as he is neither a barker nor shows any aggression or other undesirable behavior. With strangers, he is neutral or friendly reserved. With a hard hand, he can quickly become anxious and skittish. With good socialization and training executed with positive reinforcement, the greyhound will not become anxious.
The greyhound is very affectionate and cuddly with its owner and his family, he actively seeks the closeness of his people and suffers from long separations. Most greyhound enthusiasts describe their dogs as alert and pleasant companions with a high need to run.

The appearance of the Greyhound

The Greyhound is a very long-legged greyhound with a height at the withers of 71-76 cm for males and 68-71 cm for females. His appearance is very slender and elegant with a finely trimmed head and a dense but very short coat with no undercoat. He should have a calm and observant look without appearing hectic or anxious. His physique should be slightly muscular and show the typical greyhound body. For people inexperienced with dogs, a greyhound often looks half-starved because its ribs are clearly visible, but this very slim appearance is typical of the breed and not a serious condition.

Various variants of the coat color are permitted in the breed standard. So there are the coat colors black, white, red, blue, brownish reddish-yellow, sand-colored, brindle, or multicolored – each of these colors is in combination with white.

How big does a Greyhound get?

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The height at the withers in the Greyhound is 71-76 cm for males and 68-71 cm for females.

Training and husbandry of the Greyhound – this is important to note

The Greyhound is quite easy to train, only its clearly pronounced hunting instinct usually requires running out on the leash. Free running is only possible in fenced areas. Hobby races are very well suited to keep the greyhound sufficiently busy because racing is simply in the greyhound’s blood. When it comes to basic training, the Greyhound works very well with its owner, likes to please its people, and is very easy to handle. In general, his reserved behavior is very beginner-friendly.

In addition to basic obedience, he can also be enthusiastic about a few dog sports and is particularly calm and relaxed in hectic situations. The owner should take their time training and work with calmness and positive reinforcement. Since the greyhound responds very well to encouragement, simple stroking can help as reinforcement. In addition to basic obedience, early socialization should also be considered so that he understands the language of other dogs well and does not develop a fear of other dogs.

Are Greyhounds Family Dogs?

The Greyhound is very child-friendly and gets along well with the hectic everyday life of a family. Care should only be taken when coming into contact with small animals, as they awaken the hunting instinct.

Diet of the Greyhound

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The greyhound always looks very thin, but this is typical of his breed. He can’t really gain weight once he’s fully grown. Nevertheless, it is important to adjust the amount of food to the dog’s needs, because if he eats too little, he will get stomach problems and if he eats too much, he will vomit quickly. He also often suffers from an intolerance to grain. In rare cases, it can also happen that he is allergic to certain types of meat.

Whether he is fed dry or wet food is at the discretion of his owner, both types of feeding are suitable for the Greyhound. In addition, the food should be tailored to the age of the greyhound, because a puppy should still be given puppy food up to the age of 10 months and senior food from the age of 7. The individual types of food are adjusted to the needs of the respective age.

Health – life expectancy & common diseases

With good care and adequate exercise, the Greyhound has a life expectancy of around 12 to 14 years. The breed is quite healthy and has no known medical conditions, with the exception of the sometimes sensitive stomach.

Because the greyhound has no undercoat, it is vulnerable to the cold in winter and tends to shed and catch a cold. Therefore, it makes sense to put a coat on the greyhound when the weather is bad. If the greyhound also takes part in hobby races, you must pay close attention to his joints, because he develops high speeds when running, which can put a heavy strain on the dog.

Otherwise, regular preventive check-ups at the veterinarian are important and, of course, vaccinations.

How Much Exercise Does a Greyhound Need?

The greyhound should be able to walk at least three times a day for an hour each time and occasionally enjoy the opportunity to run around with other dogs in a fenced area.

Care of the Greyhound

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The Greyhound has a very short coat with no undercoat and is therefore very easy to care for. He only loses a little hair during the change of coat and apart from regular checks on his eyes, ears, and paws, he doesn’t really need any grooming. Only when it is raining, wet, and in winter should you make sure that the greyhound does not freeze and that he wears a coat if necessary.

The Greyhound – Activities, and Training

As a real sighthound, the greyhound is of course particularly enthusiastic about running and running. Greyhounds used to go on long hikes with their owners, looking out for rabbits and other small game and hunting them independently. If you want to keep your greyhound as a family dog, you should find out about their hunting instincts and offer them enough activity. For example, there are dog tracks that can be rented by clubs or private individuals to keep their greyhounds busy.

In addition, the greyhound should go for a walk three times a day for at least an hour. He is often enthusiastic about intelligence games and sometimes even trickdogging. In everyday life, he is a very quiet dog who seeks close contact with his owner and is very cuddly. An attitude in a kennel is out of the question for the sensitive breed. He also gets along well with children, although he should be introduced to the sometimes hectic everyday life in a family at an early stage.

Due to the high hunting instinct, free running is not possible in most cases. It is advisable to regularly take the Greyhound to fenced-in outdoor areas to let the dog run off-leash and play with other dogs.

Good to know: Special features of the Greyhound

The Greyhound is a very elegant dog whose delicate appearance impresses many people. Due to his gentle nature, he is very well suited for dog beginners, but attention should be paid to his hunting instinct. You should also be careful with small animals, as they can arouse their hunting instincts.

Probably the most famous representative of the greyhound is the cartoon dog, Knecht Ruprecht, from The Simpsons. In addition to this little star, there are numerous other film adaptations in which Greyhound is represented. Especially since many celebrities still like to watch and wager on dog races. This is very strongly represented in the States, but there are also official dog races in Germany.

In the United Emirates, the greyhound, like some other sighthound breeds, is still a status symbol that represents wealth and prosperity. But the traveling nomads still have the greyhound as a faithful companion in the unreal steppes and semi-deserts.

Is a Greyhound suitable for beginners?

Yes, the Greyhound is suitable for beginners. He has a calm nature and is considered to be very easy to train. Most of the time he just can’t be let off the leash.

Disadvantages of the Greyhound

Probably the biggest disadvantage of the greyhound, as with almost all sighthound breeds, is the strong hunting instinct. Since this is an independent hunting instinct, it is very difficult to control. Even with good anti-hunt training, the dog still has a residual risk. In most cases, a free run can only be allowed in a fenced property. It is therefore good if the owners have a large garden in order to be able to let the dog romp freely without danger on a regular basis.

Another point is its sensitivity to bad weather. Wet and especially cold can affect the sensitive dog severely and he needs a coat for protection.

Is the Greyhound right for me?

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If you are looking for a very loyal and affectionate dog that has a somewhat sensitive nature, the Greyhound is the right choice. This can be a great family dog but has its own demands on its owner. As a greyhound, he is an independent hunter whose hunting instinct is very difficult to control. In everyday life and especially in the house, he is always at his human’s side and enjoys every form of attention. Despite his medium size, he is very shy and needs gentle guidance with plenty of patience and positive reinforcement.

He is very well suited for beginners, who should be aware that their dog is probably only allowed to run free in fenced areas, but can otherwise look forward to a calm and balanced dog.

The Greyhound is also well suited for seniors, because of its elegant and slender appearance, it does not have much traction and is also a good companion for older people. The only important thing is to give the dog a regular opportunity to actively exercise and just run a bit.

Racing is the greyhound’s great passion and he should definitely be able to meet his need. There are special clubs that deal with sighthounds and sometimes also hold hobby tournaments. These clubs can also help with dogs that are very fearful or whose hunting instinct is becoming a problem.