Greyhound

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The Greyhound is a dog racing straight to your heart. Learn a few facts, their traits and personality in our complete guide.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
10 to 13 years
Size:

Large

Maintenance Level:

Low

Shed Level:

Low

Temperament:
FriendlySuper ChillIndependent
Coat Color:
BlackBlueRedFawnWhite

Best For

Greyhound dogs are best for first-time pet parents with or without kids and babies and homes with a large yard where these track stars can run around. They get along with other dogs, but they are not a good fit for homes with cats, as they have a deep instinct to chase.

Greyhound Traits

What makes the Greyhound a Greyhound? Let's find out how they stack up.

Greyhound Temperament

Greyhounds (aka English Greyhounds) are friendly, gentle dogs who aren’t known to be aggressive. That makes them great with (well-behaved) children, but, coupled with the fact that they aren’t big barkers, it also means they shouldn’t be your first pick for a guard dog.

This dog breed has spurts of energy they need to get rid of (off-leash) throughout the day, but once their energy is depleted, they’re quiet and calm. Unless you’re a rabbit or a squirrel, they are a pretty chill breed who will lie at your feet when you’re relaxing at home. Sure, they like to play, and it’s great to engage your Greyhound with toys and fun, but you won’t need to throw a ball down a hallway for hours on end like the always-on Border Collie, for example.

Because Greyhounds are sighthounds (dogs who hunt by sight instead of by scent), they were bred to pursue game independently of their human hunting buddies. That means they have a rather independent streak, so proper training and early socialization will help them be well-mannered members of the family. That instinct to chase also means they don’t mix well with cats, but they generally do well with other dogs.

How to Care for a Greyhound

The Greyhound breed is a laid-back dog with a maintenance routine to match. They don’t shed much nor do they need a lot of brushing. (They don’t even need a lot of baths!) But they’re a bit “ying and yang” when it comes to their exercise needs: They have moments of really high energy levels that needs to be satisfied, then they’re content to be a couch potato with you for the rest of the day.

Greyhound Health

Greyhounds have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years and are generally healthy dogs. However, there are a few health issues you need to be aware of, so you can help your pup live the longest and happiest life possible.

  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): Because of their deep chests, Greyhounds may experience GDV (aka bloat), which causes the dog’s stomach to fill with gas and become twisted. It can occur suddenly and is a life-threatening emergency. To help reduce the chance of your dog experiencing GDV, use a slow feeding bowl at mealtime, keep the bowl on the ground (don’t elevate it) and avoid exercising at least an hour before or after mealtime. If you think your pup is suffering from GDV, get to your vet immediately.
  • Greyhound Neuropathy: This inherited neurological condition appears to only affect this breed and causes abnormalities to the nervous system. Symptoms usually occur at around 8 to 12 weeks old and show up as muscle weakness, lack of desire to exercise and even showing up as a “gallop” with turned-out knees. There is no treatment for the condition at this time. However, responsible breeders should screen their dogs to prevent future generations from suffering from the condition. Be sure to get a copy of the test for the parents of the puppy you’re considering.
  • Blood Clotting: Some Greyhounds also have problems with blood clotting that may appear almost five days after an injury, surgery or dental work. Here, the blood starts to clot, then the clots dissolve. There is no way to predict if a dog has it until the intense bruising shows up. There are medications that can help with clotting, so make sure your vet has them on hand.
  • Cancer: Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) is a common cancer for Greyhounds. Signs to look for include weakness, lameness, limping, swellings on the body or exhibiting signs of hunger, but your dog is losing weight. Treatment options include pain medication, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
  • Back and Joint Problems: If your Greyhound is a retired racer, they might experience pain and stiffness in the joints (like arthritis) from their previous career. Maintaining a good diet and regular exercise can help prevent some of these joint issues. Ask your vet if they recommend supplements to help prevent or alleviate joint health problems with your Greyhound.

Greyhound History

Their origins are rooted deep in ancient history—ancient Egypt, to be exact. Pictures of Greyhounds can be found in pyramids, and the dogs were often mummified with their aristocratic families.

In more modern times, Greyhounds became a recognized trait of nobility in Europe during the Middle Ages (mere commoners couldn’t have them), and their status was cemented as they were included in Renaissance paintings as a sign of wealth. In the 16th century, lure coursing became a popular sport (using real rabbits), but the winner didn’t always catch the rabbit. The competing dogs were judged mainly on their speed, concentration and agility. The rules of lure coursing are basically the same to this day (minus the live rabbits, of course).

Their popularity continued to swell through the 19th century in England and Wales, as Greyhounds were used to get rid of hares, foxes and badgers from fields. Coursing races were still incredibly popular with the wealthy, too, and it didn’t hurt that Prince Albert (married to Queen Victoria) had one as a pet in the 1800s. That Greyhound was captured in a painted called “Eos, A Favourite Greyhound, Property of HRH Prince Albert.”

Greyhounds were brought to the US from Ireland and England during the mid-1800s to hunt down jackrabbits that were destroying Midwestern farms. (Greyhounds can see for up to half a mile, and these dogs are fast—their top speed is over 40 MPH, giving them a distinct advantage over their prey.)

The English love for racing Greyhounds followed the dog to the United States. In the early 1900s, an American developed a lure that could run on the circular track used by horses. Greyhound track racing became a popular spectator sport in America, hitting its peak in the early 1990s. But they aren’t just great racers; Greyhounds were among the participants in the very first Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 1877.

Greyhounds joined the American Kennel Club in 1885 as one of the first recognized breeds, and the Greyhound Club of America was formed in 1907.

Are you interested in raising a Greyhound? Today, Greyhound puppies can cost up to $1,000 for a purebred. But for that price, you often get a dog who’s been screened for health issues and may come with pedigree papers. You can find reputable breeders at the AKC’s website. You can also adopt them through Greyhound rescues or keep an eye out for them at your local shelter.

FAQs

How fast can a Greyhound run?

Greyhounds are fast—they can run up to 45 miles per hour for short distances. Because they are the fastest dog, they are often nicknamed the “cheetah of the dog world.”

Are Greyhounds hypoallergenic?

Greyhounds are not considered hypoallergenic even though they have short coats. They do produce dander and may spark a reaction in allergy sufferers.

Are Greyhounds dangerous?

Greyhounds are not dangerous—well, maybe to that pesky squirrel. While they are great with people, kids and other dogs, Greyhounds have a high prey drive, so they’re bound to chase smaller animals like cats.

Where do Greyhounds come from?

The Greyhound we know and love today comes from jolly old England, but the breed has deep roots in ancient Egypt.

What are the most common Greyhound names?

The most common Greyhound names include Luna, Bella, Sophie, Milo, Rosie, Roxy, Oliver, Shadow, Ginger, Lexie and Bandit. You could also go with names that play off their speedy trait, like Rocket, Jet, Speedy, Lighting or Hermes. Find more inspiration here.

What are the most common Greyhound mixes?

The most common Greyhound mixes are:

  • Greyhound-Lab mix (Greyador)
  • Greyhound-Pitbull mix (Greybull Pitt)
  • Greyhound-Chihuahua mix (Greyhound-Chihuahua)
  • Greyhound-German Shepherd mix (Shephound)
  • Greyhound-Doberman mix (Doberhound)
  • Greyhound-Great Dane mix (Greyhound Great Dane)
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Top Takeaways

Greyhounds are loungers who love family time in the home almost as much as they love running. (And they do love to run!) While they are not as high energy as the Australian Shepherd, they do need a large, fenced yard to manage their energy bursts and use their amazing sighthound skills. This breed is a good option for first-time pet parents and families with children of all ages. While they can be a bit stubborn, their wonderful personalities make them great family pets.

Expert input provided by Lacey Rosenberg, DVM, Diplomate, American College of Theriogenologists, NorthStar VETS Veterinary Emergency, Trauma, and Specialty Center. Training expert input provided by Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, at Fun Paw Care in Los Angeles.

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