The Greyhound is one of the oldest of all of the dog breeds native to Europe, and one that has long been prized for their ability as a sighthound, traditionally used for hare coursing and other hunting roles but today more commonly used for racing. The greyhound also makes for an excellent domestic pet, and many of the greyhounds owned within the UK today are ex racing dogs, of which thousands are rehomed every year after their racing careers come to an end.
The greyhound is a large dog breed that is very lightweight and lithe, with the perfect conformation for racing and running at high speed. Despite the fact that the breed is among the fastest of land animals at a flat-out sprint, they do not have a significant degree of endurance, and tend to be relatively lazy other than when they are being exercised!
The male greyhound can stand up to 30” tall at the withers, and weigh up to 40kg, with females standing up to 28” tall and weighing up to 34kg. The greyhound coat can be seen in a huge variety of colours, with virtually every potential shade possible within the breed. Their coats are single layered, short and very fine, which can mean that greyhounds are prone to feeling the cold.
If you are wondering if a greyhound is a good choice of pet and are considering buying or adopting one, it is important to do plenty of research on the breed first, including looking into the average lifespan and hereditary health of the breed as a whole. We will examine these factors in more detail within this article.
The average lifespan for the greyhound is 9-11 years of age, which places them towards the low middle of the average rankings across the board for dogs of a similar size. In the case of ex racing greyhounds, injuries and damage sustained while racing may potentially contribute to the shorter end of the lifespan for dogs of the breed.
The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the greyhound breed is 8.8%, which indicates that the breed is subjected to a reasonable degree of inbreeding. Below 6.25% is considered to be optimum for pedigree dog breeds, and so breeders should seek to reduce this figure where possible within their own breed lines.
The greyhound is a lithe, leggy and highly streamlined dog that is considered to have a very workmanlike build, and is not prone to exaggerations that might adversely affect the health of the dog. However, the long, fine limbs of the dog does make them slightly at risk for injuries to the legs, particularly in racing dogs and ex racing dogs of the breed.
The greyhound breed as a whole is considered to be a healthy, diverse one, and injuries due to impacts are more likely to pose a health risk to the breed as a whole than hereditary health problems. That being said, greyhound breed organisations and the British Veterinary Association do recommend a couple of tests and health schemes for the greyhound, in order to improve the health of the breed as a whole. These tests are:
While the greyhound breed as a whole is considered to be a healthy, well balanced dog that is fit for life, there is quite a wide range of other health conditions that may potentially affect dogs of the breed, but for which no pre-breeding testing is available. These conditions include: