Most dog lovers know how fascinating these animals can be, especially after they have become a part of your life. However, each breed has its unique history, physical characteristics, and personality traits. Greyhounds have many unique features that make them great pets and ideal family companions. It is essential to be aware of these characteristics if you are to become a great pet parent and maintain a strong bond with your furry companion. While you may have learned a lot about this breed of dog by doing your research and from spending time with your greyhound, there are a few excellent points of your dog you may not know about. Here are some facts that may surprise you.
They were owned by ancient Egyptians.
There is no better place to start than tracing the early recorded history of this breed of dog. Their origin will help you to understand your greyhound better and know how far the dogs have come so you can appreciate the breed as a whole. While dogs have evolved over the years, their history can also provide insights into the personality and characteristics associated with the dogs. These may include loyalty, affection, friendship, protectiveness, and why they are revered.
Greyhounds have been around for about 3,500 years, with their origins tracing as far back as 3000 BC. There is evidence that the dogs lived in ancient Egypt and were revered by the people at that time. Wall drawings, paintings, statues, and stone relief sculptures from this period depict what appears to be a representation of the slender canines with pointed faces and ears. Greyhounds are also linked with one of the most iconic Egyptian gods, Anubis. Drawings of the Egyptian god were such that they showed Anubis as having the head of a sighthound. These drawings may have been based on the greyhound.
They are extraordinarily fast.
Before getting a greyhound, you may have learned that these dogs are very fast. With their long legs, streamlined form, and lightweight build, greyhounds are built for speed. The dogs are known for their speed right from the earliest accounts. Over time, their ability in speed has improved remarkably. While a good number of people are aware that greyhounds are fast, very few know just how fast the dogs are. With their athletic abilities, it is no surprise that racing is in their blood.
Greyhounds are actually the second fastest animals and the fastest dog breed. When running over a short distance, these dogs can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Thanks to their lean bodies, the dogs require less energy to propel their body forward. They also have a flexible spine, and when running at top speed will spend most of the time in the air without any of their feet touching the ground. In fact, it takes them only three strides to reach speeds of 30 miles per hour and six paces to reach the full speed of 45 miles per hour. Since racing greyhounds are bred for their fitness and speed, they are not likely to have many of the temperament problems and congenital defects that affect most breeds.
They have exceptional eyesight.
While dogs have five senses, just like humans, some are more highly developed. For instance, dogs that were developed to chase game by sight will rely more on their vision since they can detect any movement from far. Generally, dogs can see much better than humans at night but not so well in bright light. However, the animals are not gifted at focusing on objects at close range or judging distances. Dogs also have a membrane that helps to protect their eyeballs from irritants.
Greyhounds are a breed of sighthound, meaning that they have thin heads and widely spread eyes. The unusual position of their eyes gives them a wider field of vision, with the 270-degree view allowing them to see part of the back of their head as well as what is behind them. This view is incredible considering that humans can only see 180 degrees. The animals also have extraordinary eyesight and can see clearly up to about half a mile. This factor puts them in a position to match the maneuvering tactics of their prey. Their ability to see anything that moves both quickly and easily enables them to hunt by sight rather than scent. However, greyhounds are not likely to see stationary objects, so you may have to move around when calling them to come to you.
They’re big but gentle
Understanding your dog will go a long way in ensuring that you fulfill their needs and maintain a healthy friendship. The fact that greyhounds have a unique personality cannot be emphasized enough. Whether you adopted a retired racing greyhound or bought a puppy, you will want to understand why they behave in a certain way.
You already know that your greyhound is a big dog that could weigh up to 90 pounds and up to three feet tall at the shoulder. However, it is important to remember that most of these dogs are also gentle and affectionate. It may surprise you that there are times when your greyhound seems to have no clue how big he is. He may act like a puppy or a smaller dog by asking to be picked up or climbing onto your lap. Your dog will also want to cuddle and be pampered. Take time to learn the signs your dog uses to communicate so you can meet his emotional needs and make him feel like part of your pack.
They have trouble sitting.
The unique physical characteristics of greyhounds affect many aspects of their lives. As a pet owner, it is important to know the limitations and challenges your dog has so that you can have realistic expectations. This way, you will avoid punishing or scolding the animal for mistakes that are beyond his control. This is particularly necessary when training your pet and issuing commands. Here is what you need to know as you work on training your dog and teaching him what you consider to be acceptable behavior.
Although greyhounds can sit, they do not like it. The dogs actually prefer lying down or standing to holding a sit for too long. This is because their long legs and muscular structure make it very difficult for them to be comfortable in that position. Through training, especially if the lessons start early, it is possible to teach your greyhound to sit correctly. However, this is an idea that your greyhound is likely to be hesitant to accept. If you notice consistent resistance, you may want to go slow on the training. You should also consider getting them something comfortable to lie on when they need to rest or take a nap.
Swimming isn’t their forte.
Most pet owners like to engage in different fun activities with their furry companions. These include adventures such as walking, hiking, camping, swimming, and dog games. When it comes to swimming, you should be aware of the aquatic capabilities of your dog. Knowledge of their aquatic abilities will not only help you to keep them safe but also ensure you do not force them into something they do not like. It is necessary to have information about the breed as well as get to learn your greyhound.
Greyhounds can paddle to swim. However, they are not very buoyant due to their lean bodies and low body fat. Their short hair not only makes them less buoyant that dogs with thick and long fur but also means they will not be well insulated from the cold water. Greyhounds are sprinters and not marathon runners. As such, the dogs can get tired after a short time of intense physical activity. Getting them into the water with you without swimming lessons can see them getting tired quickly, putting them at the risk of drowning. If you have a greyhound and a pool, you will need to have your eyes on them at all times. Whenever you go boating with the dog, make sure he wears the right floatation device.
Greyhounds are mentioned in the Bible.
Knowing some of the surprising and exciting facts about greyhounds will help you to protect your pet and take better care of him. However, other facts are suitable for general knowledge and will give you a sense of pride as an owner of this breed of dog. For instance, the mention of this breed in the Bible is testimony that greyhounds have been around for many years, a history that most dog lovers would want to be a part of.
Although dogs are mentioned in the Bible a total of 14 times, the greyhound is the only breed with a special mention. This provides clues on how old these dogs are and also points to the specific breed that has been man’s best friend since the beginning. The greyhound is a breed whose regal and elegant appearance caught the attention of man way back.
Proverbs 30:29-31 says “There are three things which are majestic in pace, Yes, four which are stately in walk: a lion, which is mighty among beasts and does not turn away from any; a greyhound, a male goat also, and a king whose troops are with him.”
They are couch potatoes.
One of the factors that will determine whether a pet is right for you is whether it can fit into your lifestyle and family. As a greyhound owner, it can be difficult to know if your pet is lazy or if he can keep up with your active lifestyle. This can be confusing, making it hard to decide which activities to engage in with the dog and when to let him rest. This is what you need to know about your greyhound in this regard.
While they are energetic, athletic, and incredibly fast, greyhounds can be couch potatoes. In fact, they have been nicknamed ‘40mph couch potatoes.’ The dogs like to lounge as much as the next guy when they are not running, preferring to rest, and relax quietly. Greyhounds’ lazy side is primarily attributed to their calm and laid back indoor personas, where they will cuddle up on the bed or sofa once they are in the house. Be that as it may, these dogs take cues from their owners and are always eager to please. Your greyhound will mirror whatever lifestyle you lead. They will keep up with an active lifestyle and cuddle up when you are unwinding.
They were favored by Royalty
Over the years, numerous qualities have made the dogs a favorite breed for many people. Greyhounds were beloved by royals for their elegance, calm demeanor, and loyalty. To this day, the breed is still a symbol of the House of York. If you are a pet parent to a greyhound, you should know that your dog is unique not just in terms of physical characteristics but also when it comes to personality.
Several high-profile people loved this breed of dog. King Henry VIII, a huge fan of coursing, had several greyhounds for the hunting game. Another royal, Queen Elizabeth I, also enjoyed coursing and loved the dogs. On his second expedition in which he departed from Spain in September 1493, Christophe Columbus brought the first greyhounds to the New World. President Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, owned a greyhound that lived with him in the White House when he took office in 1876. The president would later write that the dog was good-mannered and neat in his habits and that he took all their hearts at once.
They are used as therapy dogs
There are many reasons why a dog is referred to as man’s best friend. These animals enrich our lives in numerous unimaginable ways, helping to improve the quality of life. While many people know that dogs can be amazing companions and loyal protectors, very few know that they can help save a life in certain situations. Dogs can provide people with mental and physical disabilities with the love, assistance, and support they need.
Due to their gentle and calm nature, greyhounds are being used around the world as therapy dogs. Their calm persona has been found to be helpful when it comes to autistic children. Some individual greyhounds may be able to serve as emotional support dogs for veterans and people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Their sweet nature can put a smile on the faces of these people. These sensitive and affectionate dogs can also help in providing comfort to individuals in retirement homes, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and those suffering from substance use disorder.
High energy levels
Even after spending a considerable amount of time with your greyhound, you will still need to keep learning about them. Understanding your dog’s energy level will make it easy for you to understand their exercise needs, their behavior, the kind of outdoor activities they are suitable for as well as the limits beyond which they cannot go. This will also help you to look out for the signs that the dog uses to communicate when exercising.
One misconception is that because greyhounds have great athletic abilities, they can participate in intense physical activities for extended periods of time. However, these dogs are only fast over short distances and do not have much stamina. They will typically have short bursts of energy, which will then be followed by long naps. In order to get a clearer picture, a greyhound will produce about 100,000 watts of waste heat energy from just one 30 second race. This is enough energy to boil half a liter of tap water in less than two minutes. Since the greyhound is likely to keep going until he drops from exhaustion, you should be careful not to over-exercise him.
Universal blood type
Some of the facts about greyhounds are as interesting as they are surprising. Others are mundane and are easy to brush off. As much as the details may not seem to be important, the information will come in handy in case of an emergency. In fact, it could help to save the greyhound’s life or the life of your other dogs. Here are some important pieces of information you need to know as a dog lover and owner.
Greyhounds have a universal blood type, a factor that makes them perfect blood donors. In fact, a good number of veterinarians request greyhound volunteers to donate blood on a regular basis. The dogs have unique blood chemistry, making it important to work with a vet who understands the special needs of the breed. Another important point is that since the dogs are very sensitive to flea products that contain pyrethrin, be sure to look carefully at the product you intend to use on your greyhound. These dogs have a higher red blood cell count than other breeds. Because they are highly active and run so quickly, this is a vital feature that ensures oxygen is transported throughout their bodies.
They come in a variety of colors
As a dog lover, you should be aware of basic things, such as the colors in which different breeds come. While some people may take it that the name greyhound suggests that these dogs are predominantly grey, this is not the case. Actually, these dogs come in a variety of colors. Such people may have a hard time when they are looking for a greyhound to adopt or buy. It may also be difficult for them to identify a greyhound in other settings.
While greyhounds come in different colors, the most fashionable include blue brindle, red brindle, blue fawn, and red fawn. With the 18 primary colors and 55 color patterns that you can choose from, you will definitely find a greyhound whose fur is in your favorite color. However, the most important thing is to ensure that the dog is right for you and will be perfect for your lifestyle. This way, the two of you will have a better chance of enjoying a strong bond and loving the experience.
Owning a dog can be an exciting life change and a fulfilling experience. As a dog owner, you dream of doing as many things as they can with their four-legged companion. You want to take good care of your pet and create amazing memories together. When adopting a retired racing greyhound, you will want to know for how long you are likely to spend time with the animal. This will help in planning for the different needs of the dog.
On average, a greyhound will live for between 12 and 15 years. Considering that a good number of these dogs are two to five years old when they retire from racing, you can look forward to many years together after bringing him into your life. From time to time, you will find a younger of an older greyhound that is up for adoption. Regardless of the age of the dog, focus on giving him the best possible life that you can provide.
Greyhounds are fragile
Greyhounds have many special needs, most of which every greyhound owner should know. However, there are a few needs that you should pay attention to in order to keep your furry friend safe.
Just like other sighthounds, greyhounds have different metabolism and anatomy from other dogs. This will require that you choose your veterinarian carefully, making sure they understand the particular needs of the breed. Second, the dogs should not be allowed off-leash if the area is not securely fenced. This is because they respond to movement and will quickly run after anything that looks like prey. The sad bit is that they are notoriously bad at finding their way back home. You should also avoid using invisible fences for greyhounds and use safe collars and fitted harnesses to keep the dog secured on a leash so that they do not slip out of their narrow heads.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more things that you will learn about greyhounds as you spend more time with your dog. The key idea is that both of you enjoy the wonderful experiences.