Dogs 101 Greyhound Dog Breed Facts – More than Greyhound Racing Dogs
The Greyhound is a breed of dog; a sighthound which has been bred for coursing game and Greyhound racing. Since the rise in large-scale adoption of retired racing Greyhounds, the breed has seen a resurgence in popularity as a family pet.
According to Merriam-Webster, a Greyhound is «any of a breed of tall slender graceful smooth-coated dogs characterized by swiftness and keen sight», as well as «any of several related dogs,» such as the Italian Greyhound.
It is a gentle and intelligent breed whose combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, flexible spine and slim build allows it to reach average race speeds exceeding 64 kilometers per hour (40 mph). The Greyhound can reach a full speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43 mph) within 30 meters (98 ft), or six strides from the boxes, traveling at almost 20 meters per second (66 ft/s) for the first 250 meters (820 ft) of a race.
Males are usually 71 to 76 centimeters (28 to 30 in) tall at the withers and weigh around 27 to 40 kilograms (60 to 88 lb). Females tend to be smaller, with shoulder heights ranging from 68 to 71 centimeters (27 to 28 in) and weights from less than 27 to 34 kilograms (60 to 75 lb). Greyhounds have very short fur, which is easy to maintain. There are approximately thirty recognized color forms, of which variations of white, brindle, fawn, black, red and blue (gray) can appear uniquely or in combination. Greyhounds are dolichocephalic, with a skull which is relatively long in comparison to its breadth, and an elongated muzzle.
Greyhound owners and adoption groups consider Greyhounds wonderful pets. Greyhounds are quiet, gentle and loyal to owners. They are very loving, and enjoy the company of their humans and other dogs. Whether a Greyhound will enjoy the company of other small animals, such as cats, depends on the individual dog’s personality. Greyhounds will typically chase small animals; those lacking a high ‘prey drive’ will be able to coexist happily with toy dog breeds and/or cats. Many owners describe their Greyhounds as «45-mile-per-hour couch potatoes».
Greyhounds live most happily as pets in quiet environments. They do well in families with children, as long as the children are taught to treat the dog properly with politeness and appropriate respect. Greyhounds have a sensitive nature, and gentle commands work best as training methods.
Occasionally, a Greyhound may bark; however, Greyhounds are generally not barkers, which is beneficial in suburban environments, and are usually as friendly to strangers as they are with their own families.
A very common misconception regarding Greyhounds is that they are hyperactive. This is usually not the case with retired racing Greyhounds. Greyhounds can live comfortably as apartment dogs, as they do not require much space and sleep almost 18 hours per day. Due to their calm temperament, Greyhounds can make better «apartment dogs» than smaller, more active breeds.
At most race tracks, Greyhounds are housed in crates. Most such animals know nothing other than being in a crate for the majority of the day. Therefore, crate training a retired Greyhound in a home is generally easy.
Many Greyhound adoption groups recommend that owners keep their Greyhounds on a leash whenever outdoors, except in fully enclosed areas. This is due to their prey-drive, their speed, and the assertion that Greyhounds have no road sense. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal for Greyhounds to be allowed off-lead even in off-lead dog parks. Due to their size and strength, adoption groups recommend that fences be between 4 and 6 feet tall, to prevent Greyhounds from jumping over them.