1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
3. Looking for a Greyhound ?
8. Intelligence / Trainability
9. Children and Other Pets
11. Caring for a Greyhound
15. Average Cost to keep/care for a Greyhound
The Greyhound is an elegant, graceful dog that over time has found their way into the hearts and homes of many people both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. These athletic looking dogs love to let off steam whenever they can, but they also know how to chill out and relax which is just one of the reasons why they have become a popular choice as either a family pet or companion dog. They are, in a nutshell, the most popular of all hound breeds with the added bonus of Greyhounds being low maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats looking good and for such large dogs, they are not big eaters either.
According to a few experts, the Greyhound may originate from the Middle East. There is some evidence of this in drawings that depict similar looking dogs on the walls of ancient tombs found in Egypt which date back to 4000 BC. It is thought these dogs were a favourite with Pharaohs, well to do Egyptians, Asian nobility and African leaders.
These hounds were bred to hunt larger game which included antelopes, deer and wolves. Over the years, they found their way to Europe and when they first arrived in England, they were to become a definite status symbol. In 1016, only nobles and the elite were allowed to own greyhounds thanks to the Canute Law. They became heraldic dogs found on the coat of arms of the royals, namely Henry VIII and Charles V of France.
Greyhounds were first used for hare coursing, but later thanks to their tremendous turn of speed, these hounds were used for racing, proving themselves to be the fastest dog on the planet. Only the cheetah boasts being faster than a Greyhound in full flight.
Today, Greyhounds are still one of the most popular choices as family pets and companion dogs because of their kind, gentle natures and the fact they seem to have a natural affinity with children.
Height at the withers: Males 71 - 76 cm, Females 68 - 71 cm
Average weight: Males 27 - 40 kg, Females 27 – 34 kg
Greyhounds are athletic, muscular and nicely proportioned dogs that boast long heads and necks which adds to their graceful appearance. They have powerful jaws, well chiseled muzzles and slight stop. Their eyes are oval in shape and dark in colour with dogs boasting a bright, intelligent look about them. Their ears are rose-shaped and small being fine to the touch.
Greyhounds have strong jaws with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are previously mentioned are long and well-muscled with dogs carrying them arched in an elegant fashion. Shoulders are muscular, oblique and well laid back being well defined and their front legs are straight, long and boast a good amount of bone.
A Greyhound boasts a deep chest and deep well sprung ribs which are carried well back. Their back is long and broad with dogs boasting powerful slightly arched loins. Hindquarters are well muscled with Greyhounds boasting wide and muscular thighs and second thighs which are proof of their exceptional power. Their feet are moderately long and dog's boast compact, well knuckled toes with strong paw pads. Tails are long and set low being stronger at the root before tapering to the tip and which dogs carry low and curved slightly.
When it comes to their coat, Greyhounds have fine and close coats which can be a variety of colours. These include the following:
Greyhounds can also have all of the above colours with white markings in them which is permissible as a breed standard.
Greyhounds are affectionate and loyal dogs that boast a very gentle side to their nature. They are intelligent and are a wonderful choice for first time owners because they are always eager to please. Once they form a bond with an owner and their family, Greyhounds become valued members of the household and enjoy nothing more than being involved in all that goes on from day to day.
They love to be out and about, but once a Greyhound gets home, they chill out and relax. The only downside to their devotion is that these dogs are prone to suffer from separation anxiety if they are left to their own devices even for shorter periods of time. As such they are a great choice of family pet in a household where one family member usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house.
Because Greyhounds have quite delicate skin, care has to be taken when they are around other dogs and play time gets a bit rough. They also need to sleep on nice thick bedding because of their delicate frames. The other thing to bear in mind is that these dogs feel the cold and therefore have to wear a coat when the weather turns cold or when they go out for a walk in wet and windy conditions. They can be a little wary and aloof around strangers, but they rarely show any sort of aggression towards people when they first meet them, preferring to remain a little distance away.
Greyhounds are intelligent dogs and they are known to be quite easy to train. They are always willing to learn new commands, but because they are sensitive dogs by nature, their training has to be done gently and carefully to avoid scaring them, especially when they are impressionable puppies. However, their prey drive is very strong and even a well-trained and good behaved Greyhound might just decide to ignore a recall command if they spot something in the distance they think they should chase.
Greyhounds are gentle characters which is why they make great family pets, but they do need to be well socialised from a young age for them to be confident, outgoing and well-rounded dogs. They seem to have an affinity with children and tend to be on the best behaviour when they are around them. However, any interaction between a dog and the kids should be supervised by an adult to make sure things don’t get too boisterous.
They are usually very good around other dogs, but unless a Greyhound has grown up with a family cat, care has to be taken when they are around any cats they don't know. They should not be trusted with smaller animals because of their high prey drive. A Greyhound might just see family pets as something they need to chase.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Greyhound is between 9 and 11 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Greyhounds are true athletes having been bred to race and chase prey. As such their build is quite delicate which means they are prone to injuring themselves and more especially this typically involves injuries to their legs. Other health issues that are worth noting if you are hoping to share your home with one of these laid back hounds include the following:
As with any other breed, Greyhounds need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in tip-top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Greyhounds are low maintenance in the grooming department thanks to their tight, short and close coats which means a once over with a bristle brush once a week would keep them gleaming. It's also important to keep an eye on their ears and to clean them on a regular basis to make sure there are no infections taking hold which can be very hard to treat once they flare up.
Greyhounds need to be given a minimum of an hour's exercise on a daily basis. However, they do not need to be given a tremendous amount even though they look so athletic. Ideally, a shorter walk in the morning followed by a longer one in the afternoon of around 40 minutes would be enough to keep them fit, happy and healthy. They also love to be able to run around in a back garden where they can really let off steam as often as possible. However, the fencing has to be high and very secure to keep a Greyhound in bearing in mind that these dogs are very good at jumping great heights.
It's also not a good idea to let a Greyhound off a lead when they are being exercised in any public places unless, that is they are extremely well-trained because their instinct to chase anything that moves may well get the better of them. The other thing to bear in mind is that Greyhounds are very good at injuring their legs all thanks to the fact they run so fast even over rough ground when allowed to.
If you get a Greyhound puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy, finicky or big eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because Greyhounds are prone to suffering from bloat, it's really important not to feed them just before they go out for walk or when they just get back from one. Feeding a dog before any strenuous exercise or when they have just come back from a walk, puts them at great risk of suffering from bloat which can prove fatal.
If you are looking to buy a Greyhound, you would need to pay anything from £200 to over £400 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Greyhound in northern England would be £21.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £47.37 a month (quote as of April 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Greyhound and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Greyhound would be between £50 to £100 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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