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Known for their slender long legs and majestic figure, and with muscles straining against their skin, the graceful Greyhound is a dog with a long history, dating back to at least ancient Egypt, as depicted in tomb drawings. They were also found throughout Celtic, Irish and British history and literature as early as the 9th century. They are a breed that is well-adapted to and perfect for warmer climates due to their thin skin and coats. They were also used as sight hunters in North Africa and Middle East in their ancient past. Their history has also been traced to Ancient Greece.
The name Greyhound was said to have been derived from either Graius or Grecian, or it could have come from grech or greg, the Old British words for dog, and hundr which means hunting. Another explanation is that most of them (especially the original breed) are colored gray, hence, “gray hound”.
Greyhounds were originally dogs of high status and lived among the aristocrats and royalty. In fact, in England, there was a law enacted in the year 1016 in which the murderer of a Greyhound was subjected to the death penalty, because the breed was of high value, and only high status people or royalty were allowed to own them.
The breed is known for hunting using sight, instead of smell, a technique which is known as “coursing”. They have the speed and agility to chase down rabbits and other prey. Since 1912, the breed has been used in coursing games and later in dog tracks.
In recent years the brutality of breeding and training dogs for these gambling “sports” has come to light, and several laws have been enacted to protect them. Many of the dogs used in racing were abused or abandoned, or in many cases just simply killed once they had served their usefulness. Many organizations have active programs for rescuing these dogs from such illegal activities.
In the standard breed, the Greyhound has a height of about 26 to 30 inches and weighs about 60 to 90 pounds. Colors of the breed range from brown, red, and fawn to gray, and can also come in various patterns, either brindle or solid color.
A deep chest helps him have good stamina and a large capacity of his heart and lungs, and he has long and strong legs for sprinting and endurance sports. Greyhounds have wide nostrils which allow them to breathe easier, and a slender head, to match his slender legs. Having a deep chest also makes the Greyhound more prone to bloating so one should consider how he eats his meals. They are also sensitive to anesthesia, and can also experience bone fractures easily.
During racing and sprinting, his ears are folded back, but they are upright whenever he becomes alert or excited. He also has dark eyes. The feet are a bit cat-like and are well-suited for racing sports and running activities. Its skin is quite delicate, but he does shed a little with his soft, short coat, so grooming is still an important part of an owner’s routine.
The Greyhound is a sensitive breed and is easily startled with sudden noises. They get along with other dogs and kids too, although it may be best not to have cats in the home due to the dog’s size and predatory nature. Because they are sensitive, they require more training and attention.