The World’s Fastest Doggos: The Greyhound Dog Breed

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grey hound dog breed in fieldThe graceful and great Greyhound! One of the most ancient breeds, the Greyhound dog is the fastest in the world!

They can reach speeds of around 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour). Known for racing, they are also popular for dog sports. A Greyhound pet is one to both stretch your legs with, and respect for their smart and sensitive spirit.

What’s in a Name? Grayhound? Grehound? Greyhoud? Greyhound!

An obvious question is how can a dog be called a “grey” hound when they’re not necessarily the color grey?! And isn’t “grey” spelled “gray”?! To answer the second question first, in terms of the color grey any spelling is fine! In terms of the dog breed, the correct spelling is Greyhound.

The name Greyhound is thought to be an adaptation or derivative of previous language use. “Gre” or “gradus” meant of a high ranking or a high status.

Another theory is the grey comes from “grech” or “greg”, which meant dog. The dogs were also once known “grei-hund” and then”greihounds”. So the spelling of this noble and high ranking dog is likely to have morphed into the Greyhound word we use today.

A Brief History of the Fastest Dog in the World!

The fastest dog breed in the world is also one of the oldest. Greyhound dogs have been around so long that their presence was recorded via prehistoric Egyptian and African art long before anything was ever recorded in writing about them.

They were then mentioned by Romans, Greeks, and have the distinction of being named in the Bible. Greyhounds as a breed have been recognized by the British and American Kennel Club since the mid-late 1800s. The breed became popular in dog racing in the 1920s.

What’s the Difference Between Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, and Greyhounds?

These are three different breeds, but it is mostly size that differs if you’re comparing Italian Greyhounds, Whippets and Greyhound dogs. Otherwise, they all share many of the same characteristics, personality traits, and the Greyhound lines.

Italian Greyhound puppies are small dogs – the mini-me version! Whippets are medium sized dogs. The Greyhound dog is the largest of these three sighthound dogs.

The Appearance of Greyhound Dogs

Greyhounds are fine boned, tall, elegant and sleek looking. The breed is a well-chiseled lean machine through and through! The breed has dark intelligent oval-shaped eyes, smallish ears, deep muscular chests, long legs, and tails that taper.

greyhound dogs running

Average Size and Weight of the Greyhound Dog Breed!

Greyhounds are large dogs, and males usually a little larger than females. The average heights and weights of the Greyhound dog are:

  • Height:  Males measure 28-30 inches (71-76 centimeters). Females measure 27-28 inches (68-71 centimeters).
  • Weight: Males weigh 65-70 pounds (29.5-32 kilograms). Females weigh 60-65 pounds (27-29.3 kilograms).

Coats and Colors Explained!

Greyhound coats have short fine hair and feel like smooth silky satin to the touch. Greyhound dogs may have a black mask, and they can be just about any color under the sun including black, blue, red, white, fawn, and liver. The coat and markings in the breed may be:

  1. Ticked: Ticking is when individual strands of hair have distinct color bands between the shafts to the tips.
  2. Parti-Colored: A parti-colored coat has two or more distinct colors.

The Beautiful Brindle Greyhound

A brindle coat is mainly grey, brown or tawny with streaks or stripes of other colors.

Temperament and Personality of These Sighthounds!

Greyhounds are naturally independent, gentle and noble. This breed is friendly and non-aggressive. They tend to be more on the quiet and sensitive side.

If not properly socialized they may be timid with people they don’t know or spoken at harshly. They can also seem aloof and indifferent to strangers due to their shyness. With their family and other dog lovers, however, they are affectionate and easy going.

It may sound contradictory to say that a racing dog breed that is the fastest in the world can also be a big couch potato, but it is true! These dogs truly understand and epitomize the art of relaxation! They will like nothing better than having a soft comfy spot in the sun to either curl up or stretch out in.

Greyhound companions often refer to their Grey’s as being more like an oversized cat in this regard. Just make sure your couch is big – Grey’s may be lean, but they have a lot of length and height to accommodate!

A Look at the Greyhound Lifespan

The expected lifespan of a Greyhound dog is 10-13 years.

4 Potential Health Issues to Be Aware Of!

Greyhounds are generally healthy. Some conditions this breed may be predisposed to include:

1. Bruises, cuts, and abrasions: 

There’s not a lot of “puppy fat” on these pups, so they can easily suffer skin and soft tissue damage from accidental knocks. They need soft bedding – sleeping on a hard surface can hurt them.

They feel the cold easily, so in colder climates may need a dog t-shirt or dog coat to keep them warm. Because of their slenderness, they’re not a dog that is good with rough and tumble type play with children or adults.

2. Stomach Issues: 

Deep-chested dogs, like Greyhounds, can be at risk of bloat if they gulp air while they are eating, or gastric torsion. Keep an eye out for their stomach expanding.

Gastric torsion involves the stomach twisting and has a range of symptoms. It needs urgent veterinary treatment.

3. Drug Sensitivities:

Greyhounds can sometimes react to certain types of anesthetics. If your Grey does ever need surgery or a procedure under anesthetic your vet should be aware of this.

4. Other Conditions:

Other potential issues that you may need to monitor for are problems with their feet, eye conditions, and Von Willebrand’s disease, a blood clotting disorder.

grayhound dog smiling

Greyhound Puppies for Sale!

Does a graceful Greyhound sound like your ideal company?

Many of the USA Greyhound breeders focus on breeding dogs for the Greyhound racing industry. So there are fewer Greyhound puppies available for the general public.

The best places to find puppy breeders via the Greyhound Club of America or the American Kennel Club. Both organizations reputable breeders of puppies for shows and sale registered their clubs.

Be Sure to Get Your Greyhound Puppy from a Reputable Breeder!

When you are looking for a Greyhound puppy, it is important to look for a reputable breeder. A good breeder will also be looking for responsible Greyhound owners too.

A breeder should be ascertaining whether you train and care for the needs of a Greyhound dog. You should ask a prospective breeder about their breeding program, the health of their dogs, and their kennel environment.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Greyhound Rescues!

If you want to adopt a Greyhound from a non-profit organization, you may find more adult Greyhound adoption dogs, than you will young puppies for sale. The Greyhound clubs are networked with rescue groups for retiring Greyhounds and Italian Greyhound rescue groups.

Greyhound racing dogs eventually retire and are often put up for adoption, re-sold or, sadly, euthanized. They are sight hounds with a prey drive and a need for speed, so racing around a Greyhound park may not have been a bad life.

But to retired Greyhounds, a warm home with a new housemate is likely to appeal just as much! Offering an adult rescue dog a loving new home, especially a dog retiring from a Greyhound track, is the very least they deserve for the rest of their days. Retired racing Greyhounds make excellent companions.

Common Questions on Greyhound Dogs

Are Greyhound racing dogs good pets?

Do Greyhound dogs feel the cold?

How fast can Greyhound dogs run?

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