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The term “sighthound” is used to encompass a fairly broad spectrum of dogs, all of which have one thing in common-they are avid hunters, which hunt by sight rather than scent. Something else that all sighthounds also have in common is their tall, lean and leggy appearance, which means that they can also get up a run fast enough to catch most potential prey, and while historically this made them valuable working dogs, today, can be something of a problem when it comes to keeping smaller animals safe!
Sighthounds are one of the most popular types of dogs when it comes to pets and companions, and they are also not as challenging to exercise as you might expect-while they can get up to high speeds in short bursts of sprinting, when they are not exercising, they tend to be quiet, relaxed and even last in some cases, which makes them a good pick for homes that cannot handle a high energy dog.
If you are wondering if a sighthound might be the right choice of dog for you and are confident in your ability to manage their prey drive and hunting instincts, this article will provide a basic introduction into some of the most popular and well-known types of sighthounds, to help you to narrow down your search. Read on to find out more.
The greyhound is perhaps the best known of all of the various sighthound breeds, and today, the greyhound is much more commonly used for racing than hunting. Greyhounds are one of the larger sighthound breeds, and so you need a home with enough room to allow them to move around comfortably, but aside from this, they are fairly low-maintenance dogs compared to a lot of other breeds.
Additionally, buying a pedigree greyhound from a breeder helps to counteract the declining number of pedigree greyhounds bred in the UK, and adopting a greyhound helps to provide a home for an ex-racing dog.
The Italian greyhound is one of the smallest breeds of sighthound, and they are very similar to the greyhound, only in miniature! They are very small, fine and delicate, and so care must be taken to keep them safe and not play too roughly with them, but they also tend to be very lively and excitable at times too, as well as, like all sighthounds, spending a reasonable amount of time asleep!
The whippet is closely related to the greyhound, and again, often used for racing. Whippets are smaller than greyhounds but otherwise very similar, including their propensity to laze around all day and not do very much at all, given the chance! They are kind natured, very affectionate and friendly, but can be wary of strangers, and will often bark to let you know if someone is approaching the house!
The Irish wolfhound is the largest of all of the various sighthound breeds, and actually one of the tallest dog breeds of all! The sheer height and size of these dogs means that they need a large home with lots of room to stretch their legs, but like most sighthounds, they are not particularly energetic or fizzy other than during short bouts of sprinting when they are out on their walks.
The Saluki is sometimes referred to as the Persian greyhound, and as the name implies, they originated in the Middle East. They are lithe, lean and muscular, with a slightly less pointed muzzle than the greyhound, and distinctively feathered ears. They are very affectionate, loving dogs, but their owners will usually agree that they are not blessed with large amount of common sense, and can be rather silly!
The Afghan hound is a highly distinctive, easily recognisable dog, although they are a fairly uncommon sight within the UK today. They are one of the oldest and longest established dog breeds in the world, with a history going back for over four millennia, and have been formative in the creation of a reasonable amount of other breeds throughout their history too.
The most distinctive feature of the Afghan hound is their coat, which is very long, fine and silky, and requires a significant amount of maintenance and upkeep to maintain the coat in good condition.
Loving, affectionate and social, the Afghan hound is not the brightest dog in the world-in fact, they are right at the bottom of the list in the Coren rankings of canine intelligence by breed!
Finally, the lurcher is not a breed of dog in its own right, but rather the term used to refer to a cross-breed dog that is a mixture of sighthound and any other breed. Generally, lurchers tend to be rather lean, leggy and have a typical sighthound appearance, although this can of course vary considerably, depending on the overall mix of breeds within them!
For this same reason, the temperament, exercise requirements and intelligence too can vary considerably from dog to dog, but overall, lurchers make for excellent versatile pets for people from all walks of life.
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