The Greyhound is believed to be the fastest dog in the world, capable of reaching speeds of up to 65 kmh. These dogs were first bred for sight hunting and fast running in the African desert thousands of years ago. They were also used for hare chasing by the aristocracy for many years. Of course these days they are a favourite on the racing track, but in Australia are often adopted out as household pets when they retire.
As pets, they are quite easy dogs to look after. Although they love to run and have a powerful instinct to chase moving objects by sight, they are also very relaxed animals who like nothing better than to rest and take it easy in the company of the family.
The temperamentof the Greyhound breed is intelligent, loyal, gentle and even-tempered. They are also quiet and although they may alert you of a visitor, they do not make good guard dogs. They are often referred to as ‘couch potatoes’ due to their love of resting and are quite content to have a short outing and then return home for the rest of the day. Greyhounds are social animals and prefer to be in the company of their owners.
In appearance, Greyhounds are very strong but lean, (averaging only about 16% body fat), have a long head and neck, small rose-shaped ears and a long slightly curved tail. They possess a very fine short coat, which may come in a number of different colours. Their height ranges from 71-76 cms according to the Breed Standard.
A young puppy will need training, but because Greyhound pets are usually adopted as adults and have already been socialised with other dogs and people, this makes their training requirements quite minimal.
Caring for a greyhound is relatively easy:
- Grooming involves a weekly quick brush, periodic worming and lice treatments, and a nail trim when required. An occasional bath helps to keep him clean and due to the short coat, he dries very quickly. As this breed has no undercoat his hair-shedding is minimal.
- Greyhounds are sprinters with limited endurance and do not require constant exercise. About 20 minutes each day is enough to meet his activity requirements. Because of his chasing instinct it is important to walk him on a leash.
- Since they love to chase it is important to have a well-fenced secure yard to keep your Greyhound contained.
- Greyhounds do feel the cold due to their lean build and short coat, and need to be kept warm during the colder months of the year.
Greyhounds do not generally appear to inherit the health problems that face many other breeds. In addition a dog who is adopted after retiring from the race track will have been well cared for and should have a clean bill of health.