Are you are planning to adopt a Greyhound? These magnificent dogs have a rich history and unique characteristics that make them truly special. In this article, we’ll delve into 50 incredible Greyhound facts on this occasion of Greyhound month, from their ancient origins to their famous owners, and provide you with valuable insights if you’re thinking about welcoming one into your home.
1. Greyhounds in the Bible
Did you know that Greyhounds are the only breed of dog mentioned by name in the Bible? This historical tidbit showcases the breed’s enduring legacy.
2. The Oldest Known Dog Breed
Greyhounds hold the distinction of being the oldest known dog breed in the world. Their history can be traced back to ancient times.
3. Ancient Egyptian Connection
The majestic Greyhound made its mark in history as far back as 2751 B.C., with carvings of their likeness found in Egyptian tombs.
4. Ovid’s Written Accounts
The earliest written accounts of Greyhounds can be credited to the renowned Roman poet Ovid, who featured them in his tales from 43 B.C. to 17 A.D.
5. AKC Recognition
While their history is ancient, Greyhounds were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885, solidifying their place in modern dog culture.
6. Spanish Conquistadors’ Introduction
Surprisingly, Greyhounds made their way to America in the 1500s, courtesy of Spanish Conquistadors.
7. George Washington’s Loyal Companion
Even the first President of the United States, George Washington, had a Greyhound named Azor, who was his constant and faithful companion.
8. General Custer’s Greyhound Pack
General Custer was another notable Greyhound enthusiast, boasting a pack of around 40 Greyhounds that he hunted with, raced, and took on his travels.
9. Greyhounds as Sighthounds
Greyhounds belong to a group of dogs known as Sighthounds, famed for their exceptional vision.
10. The Rainbow of Colors
Greyhounds come in a stunning variety of 15 different colors and patterns, adding to their unique charm.
11. Universal Blood Type
One remarkable trait of Greyhounds is their universal blood type, making them ideal blood donors in veterinary clinics.
12. Thin-Skinned Sensitivity
Greyhounds have thinner skin compared to other breeds, which makes them more susceptible to cuts and tears.
13. Average Lifespan
On average, Greyhounds live for 10 to 12 years, providing years of companionship and love.
14. Weight Ranges
Male Greyhounds typically weigh between 60-88 lbs, while females range from 60-75 lbs, although racing Greyhounds may fall outside these guidelines.
15. Anesthesia Sensitivity
When administering anesthesia to Greyhounds, veterinarians must be cautious, as these dogs metabolize certain types differently, and an overdose can be fatal.
16. Flea Product Caution
Greyhounds are sensitive to pyrethrin-based flea products, so it’s crucial to ensure your flea prevention is free from this chemical.
17. Unique Blood Chemistry
Greyhounds have unique blood chemistry, which can sometimes lead to misinterpretations of their blood work results. Consulting a Greyhound-savvy vet is essential.
18. Osteosarcoma Awareness
Greyhounds are prone to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Regular vet check-ups are vital as they age.
19. Beloved by Historical Figures
Greyhounds have captured the hearts of many historical figures and celebrities over the centuries. Here’s a glimpse into the famous individuals who adored these elegant dogs:
20. Rutherford B. Hayes and Grim
Former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes had a Greyhound named Grim, showcasing the breed’s popularity among prominent figures.
21. King Henry VIII’s Love for Greyhounds
King Henry VIII was such a fervent admirer of Greyhounds that he added them to his family’s standard. To this day, Greyhounds are the symbol of the House of York.
22. Queen Elizabeth I’s Passion for Coursing
Queen Elizabeth I had a deep affection for Greyhound coursing. In 1561, she even proposed the “Law of the Leash,” which stipulated that prey animals used in coursing must be given a head start.
23. Bart Simpson’s Trusty Companion
Even in the world of animated entertainment, Greyhounds have made their mark. Bart Simpson from the popular TV show “The Simpsons” has a Greyhound named Santa’s Little Helper, who appears in several episodes throughout the series.
24. Bo Derek’s Advocacy
Actress Bo Derek is a well-known advocate for Greyhounds. She owns several retired racing Greyhounds, and her first Playboy pictorial featured her and her Greyhound enjoying the beach.
25. J.K. Rowling’s Furry Friend
The beloved author of the “Harry Potter” series, J.K. Rowling, adopted a Greyhound named Sapphire as a playmate for her Jack Russell Terrier.
26. More Notable Greyhound Enthusiasts
The list of notable Greyhound owners and lovers extends further, including sports legends like Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, the infamous Al Capone, the renowned dog trainer Cesar Milan, and the musician Trent Reznor.
27. The Sleeping Beauties
While you might think of Greyhounds as highly active dogs, they’re actually quite the opposite. These gentle giants are known for their love of sleep, often snoozing for 18 hours or more each day.
28. Perfect Apartment Companions
Their penchant for sleep makes Greyhounds ideal apartment dogs. They won’t need a massive yard to roam; a cozy living space suits them just fine.
29. Affectionate Companions
When Greyhounds are awake, they want to be by your side. This breed is incredibly affectionate and enjoys cuddling with their owners.
30. The Art of “Rooing”
While Greyhounds don’t bark as much as some other breeds, they have a unique vocalization called “rooing.” It’s a howl or yodel-like sound they make when excited, sad, or during the start and end of the day.
31. Need for Personal Space
Greyhounds are used to having their own space, much like a crate, especially during their racing days. It’s essential to provide them with a designated area in your home.
32. Sleep Startle Aggression
Freshly retired racing Greyhounds may exhibit something called “sleep startle aggression.” This happens when they are startled while sleeping and can react aggressively. Gradual adjustment to a new environment is key to overcoming this behavior.
33. The Training Marvels
Greyhounds make excellent pets due to their calm, loving, smart, and loyal nature. They are also very sensitive, so positive training methods are crucial to keep them engaged and happy.
34. Treats as Motivation
These dogs are highly food motivated, which makes training a breeze when you use treats as rewards.
35. Compatibility with Other Animals
Greyhounds can get along with other dogs, cats, kids, and even small animals. However, introductions should be done cautiously and gradually.
36. The Chasing Instinct
Despite their friendly nature, Greyhounds have a strong instinct to chase small, running animals. Always be cautious when they are around small creatures.
37. Off-Leash Exercise
Exercising your Greyhound off-leash requires special care because their chasing instinct can lead them to sprint after a hare or bird before you even realize it.
38. The Escape Strategy
If your Greyhound does manage to slip away during a walk, avoid chasing after them. Instead, lie down, roll around, and make high-pitched noises to get their attention and have them return to you.
39. The Speedsters
Greyhounds are renowned for their incredible speed, capable of reaching up to 43 mph. They are the fastest breed of dog, making them quite the spectacle to watch in action.
40. A Breed Apart
While Greyhounds are beloved, their popularity doesn’t always reflect in breed rankings. According to the AKC, they are only the 152nd most popular breed, but that statistic only considers registered dogs. Most Greyhounds are racing dogs and remain unregistered.
41. Two Distinct Types of Greyhounds
Greyhounds come in two distinct varieties: hot bloods and cold bloods, each with its own unique traits and purposes.
42. Hot Bloods: The Racing Pros
Hot blood Greyhounds are primarily bred for racing. They have an athletic build, often with a more muscular and barrel-chested appearance.
43. Tattoos as Birth Certificates
One distinctive feature of racing Greyhounds is the presence of tattoos in their ears. These tattoos represent their date of birth and the order in which they were tattooed in relation to their siblings.
44. Cold Bloods: The Showstoppers
Cold blood Greyhounds are bred for showing or as family pets. They tend to have a more refined and delicate appearance compared to their racing counterparts.
45. Basket Muzzles for Safety
All racing Greyhounds are trained to wear basket muzzles during races and when they play together. Their thin skin makes them prone to injuries while playing or racing.
46. The Allergen-Friendly Breed
Greyhounds are unique in that they lack an undercoat, which sets them apart from many other breeds. This characteristic makes them less likely to trigger allergies in people sensitive to dog allergens and helps them avoid the typical “dog smell.”
47. A Special Breed Awaits
Intrigued by these remarkable dogs? Greyhounds possess a captivating blend of history, personality, and unique characteristics. If you’re considering adopting one, there are adoption agencies worldwide dedicated to finding these wonderful dogs loving homes.
48. Sighthound Underground Adoption Agency
If you’re in search of a Greyhound rescue organization, consider reaching out to the Sighthound Underground Adoption Agency. They specialize in placing Greyhounds and their Spanish cousins, the Galgo Espanol, into loving homes.
Greyhounds are truly exceptional companions, and their distinctive qualities make them an excellent choice for those seeking a loyal and loving furry friend. Stay tuned for more valuable insights into the world of Greyhounds, as we delve deeper into their care, health, and lifestyle.
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Q1: Are Greyhounds good pets for families?
Greyhounds can make excellent family pets. They are typically gentle and have a calm demeanor. However, it's important to consider their individual personalities and any specific needs they may have, such as socialization or exercise.
Q2: Do Greyhounds require a lot of exercise?
Greyhounds are known for their speed, but they are also known as "couch potatoes." While they enjoy short bursts of play and running, they don't require as much exercise as some other breeds. Daily walks and occasional playtime are usually sufficient.
Q3: Are Greyhounds good with other pets, like cats or smaller dogs?
Greyhounds can coexist peacefully with other pets, including cats and smaller dogs, but it depends on the individual Greyhound's temperament and previous socialization. Proper introductions and supervision are essential when bringing them into a home with other animals.
Q4: Do Greyhounds shed a lot?
Greyhounds have short, sleek coats that don't shed excessively. They are considered a low-maintenance breed in terms of grooming. Regular brushing can help keep their coat healthy and minimize shedding.
Q5: Are Greyhounds prone to specific health issues?
Greyhounds are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health concerns. Common issues include bloat (gastric torsion), hip dysplasia, and heart conditions. It's essential to work with a veterinarian experienced with Greyhounds and to be aware of potential health risks.