Infobox Dogbreed
akcgroup = Hound
akcstd =
altname = English Greyhound
ankcgroup = Group 4 (Hounds)
ankcstd =
ckcgroup = Group 2 - Hounds
ckcstd =
country = England
fcigroup = 10
fcinum = 158
fcisection = 3
fcistd =

image_caption = Greyhound
kcukgroup = Hound
kcukstd =
name = Greyhound
nzkcgroup = Hounds
nzkcstd =
ukcgroup = Sighthounds and Pariahs
ukcstd =
maleweight = 65-70 pounds
femaleweight = 60-65
maleheight = 27 to 29 inches
femaleheight = 25 to 27 inches
coat = Fine, smooth
color = Any
litter_size = 6-8 pups
life_span = 12-15 years
The Greyhound is a breed of dog that has been primarily bred for coursing game and racing, but with a recent resurgence of popularity as a family pet. It is a soft and intelligent breed that often becomes attached to its owners. It is the fastest breed of dog on the planet and second fastest animal [ [ Of Dogs, "Greyhound: General Description Of Breed"] ] . A combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest and aerodynamic build allows it to reach speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph) in less than one and a half seconds, or within 3 strides. [ [, "Greyhound: Breed Temperament, Exercise Needs & Health"] ]



Males are usually 71 to 76 cm (28 to 30 inches) tall at the withers and weigh around 27 to 40 kg (70 to 100 pounds). Females tend to be smaller with shoulder heights ranging from 68 to 71 cm (27 to 28 inches) and weights from less than 27 to 34 kg (60 to 75 pounds). Greyhounds have very short hair, which is easy to maintain. There are approximately thirty recognized color forms, of which variations of white, brindle, fawn, black, red and blue (gray) can appear uniquely or in combination. [ [ American Kennel Club - Breed Colors and Markings ] ]


Although greyhounds are extremely fast and athletic, and despite their reputation as racing dogs, they are not high-energy dogs. They are sprinters, and although they love running, they do not require extensive exercise. Most are quiet, gentle animals. An adult greyhound will stay healthy and happy with a daily walk of as little as 20 to 30 minutes. Greyhounds have been referred to as "Forty-five mile per hour couch potatoes." [ [ "Friends of Greyhounds": Greyhound Rescue and Greyhound Adoption in South Florida FAQ] . Accessed April 15, 2008]



Until the early twentieth century, greyhounds were principally bred and trained for coursing. During the early 1920s, modern greyhound racing was introduced into the United States and introduced into United Kingdom (Belle Vue) in 1936 and Northern Ireland (Celtic Park) on April 18th 1927 and immediately followed by Shelbourne Park in Dublin very soon after.Fact|date=November 2007 The greyhound holds the record for fastest recorded dog.

Greyhounds are the second fastest animals on land, second only to the cheetah [ [ Of Dogs, "Greyhound: General Description Of Breed"] ] .

Greyhounds as pets

Greyhound owners and adoption groups generally consider greyhounds to be wonderful pets. [ [ NZKC - Breed Standard - Greyhound - Hound ] ] They are pack-oriented dogs, which means that they will quickly adopt humans into their pack as alpha. They can get along well with children, dogs and other family pets. [Livingood, Lee (2000). "Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies", p. 19-22. IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., Foster City, CA. ISBN 0764552767.] Rescued racing Greyhounds occasionally develop separation anxiety when re-housed or when their new owners have to leave them alone for a period of time (the addition of a second greyhound often solves this problem). [Livingood, Lee (2000). "Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies", p. 143-144. IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., Foster City, CA. ISBN 0764552767.] Greyhounds bark very little, which helps in suburban environments, and are usually as friendly to strangers as they are with their own family. [Branigan, Cynthia A. (1998). "Adopting the Racing Greyhound", p. 17-18. Howell Book House, New York. ISBN 087605193X.] The most common misconception concerning greyhounds is that they are hyperactive. In retired racing greyhounds it is usually the opposite. Young greyhounds that have never been taught how to utilize the energy they are bred with, can be hyperactive and destructive if not given an outlet, and require more experienced handlers. Fact|date=November 2007

Greyhound Adoption groups generally require owners to keep their greyhounds on-leash at all times, except in fully enclosed areas. [ Greyhound Adoption League of Texas, Inc. - About the Athletes ] ] [ [ Microsoft Word - SEGA_Foster_Manual_V7_FINAL_JUne_2006.doc ] ] [ [ FAQ ] ] [ [ Greyhound Adoption Program - Is a Greyhound right for you? ] ] [ [ How Safe is an Off-Lead Run? [Adopt a Greyhound ] ] [ [ :: View topic - Leash Rules ] ] [ [ Greyhound Angels Adoption ] ] [ [ Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option ] ] This is due to their prey-drive, their speed, and the assertion that Greyhounds have no road sense. [ [ GRV Clubs - GAP ] ] Due to their strength, adoption groups recommend that fences be between 4 and 6 feet, to prevent them being able to jump.

Greyhounds do shed but do not have undercoats and therefore are less likely to trigger people's dog allergies (Greyhounds are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "hypoallergenic"). The lack of an undercoat, coupled with a general lack of body fat, also makes Greyhounds more susceptible to extreme temperatures, and most sources recommend that Greyhounds be housed inside. [Blythe, Linda, Gannon, James, Craig, A. Morrie, and Fegan, Desmond P. (2007). "Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound", p. 394. American Greyhound Council, Inc., Kansas. ISBN 0964145634.]

Greyhounds are very sensitive to insecticides. [Branigan, Cynthia A. (1998). "Adopting the Racing Greyhound", p. 99-101. Howell Book House, New York. ISBN 087605193X.] Many vets do not recommend the use of flea collars or flea spray on greyhounds unless it is a pyrethrin-based product. Products like Advantage, Frontline, Lufenuron, and Amitraz are safe for use on Greyhounds and are very effective in controlling fleas and ticks. [Branigan, Cynthia A. (1998). "Adopting the Racing Greyhound", p. 101-103. Howell Book House, New York. ISBN 087605193X.]

It is often believed that Greyhounds need a large living space, however, they can thrive in small spaces. Due to their temperament, Greyhounds can make better "apartment dogs" than some of the smaller hyperactive breeds Fact|date=December 2007.


In the late 20th century several Greyhound adoption groups were formed. The early groups were formed in large part out of a sense of concern about the treatment of the dogs while living on the track. These groups began taking greyhounds from the racetracks when they could no longer compete and placing them in adoptive homes.Fact|date=November 2007 Prior to the formation of these groups, in the United States over 20,000 retired greyhounds a year were euthanized; recent estimates still number in the thousands, with about 90% of National Greyhound Association-registered animals either being adopted, or returned for breeding purposes (according to the industry numbers upwards of 2000 dogs are still killed annually in the US while anti-racing groups estimate the figure at closer to 12,000.). [ Greyhound Racing Association media kit] : "The referenced industry figures do not include information about unregistered litters, nor outcomes for dogs after they finished as breeding dogs. The statistics vary depending on the reporting organization. According to the Greyhound Network News [ one page fact sheet] estimates that of the 26,600 greyhounds that were no longer racing in 2005, 45% of them were euthanized by either groups that could not adopt them out or by the dog breeders via farm culling."]

Accidents and disease are also common killers among racing greyhounds. In 2005, an epidemic of respiratory failure killed dozens of dogs and left over 1200 quarantined in the U.S., particularly in Massachusetts, Colorado, Iowa and Rhode IslandFact|date=February 2007.

The vast majority of greyhounds are bred for racing (registered with the National Greyhound Association or NGA), leading American Kennel Club registered dogs about 150:1Fact|date=February 2007. Each NGA dog is issued a Bertillon card, which measures 56 distinct identifying traits with the Bertillon number tattooed on the dog's ear to prove identity during their racing career. Fact|date=November 2007

Not all dogs bred for racing are able to do so, due to speed, temperament, or physical problems. Most NGA greyhounds finish racing between two and five years of age. Some retired racing greyhounds have injuries that may follow them for the remainder of their lives, although the vast majority are healthy and can live long lives after their racing careers are over.Fact|date=February 2007

There are currently two online databases to easily lookup or search for all past and present registered dogs: [] and [] Dogs can be searched by their Bertillon number, race name, and other attributes. Data includes dog photos, race statistics, and pedigree.


Greyhounds are typically a healthy and long-lived breed, and hereditary illness is rare. Some Greyhounds have been known to develop esophageal achalasia, Bloat (gastric torsion), and [osteosarcoma Because the Greyhound's lean physique makes it ill-suited to sleeping on hard surfaces, owners of companion Greyhounds generally provide soft bedding; without bedding, Greyhounds are prone to develop painful skin sores. Greyhounds typically live 10–13 years. [Coile, Caroline, Ph. D., Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds, Barron's Educational Series, 2005, p. 77.]

Due to the unique physiology and anatomy of greyhounds, a veterinarian who understands the issues relevant to the breed is generally needed when the dogs need treatment, particularly when anaesthesia is required. Greyhounds cannot metabolize barbiturate-based anesthesia as other breeds can because they have lower amounts of oxidative enzymes in their livers. [Blythe, Linda, Gannon, James, Craig, A. Morrie, and Fegan, Desmond P. (2007). "Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound", p. 416. American Greyhound Council, Inc., Kansas. ISBN 0964145634.] Greyhounds demonstrate unusual blood chemistry, which can be misread by veterinarians not familiar with the breed; this can result in an incorrect diagnosis.

Greyhounds have higher levels of red blood cells than other breeds. Since red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, this higher level allows the hound to move larger quantities of oxygen faster from the lungs to the muscles. [Blythe, Linda, Gannon, James, Craig, A. Morrie, and Fegan, Desmond P. (2007). "Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound", p. 82. American Greyhound Council, Inc., Kansas. ISBN 0964145634.] Veterinary blood services often use greyhounds as universal blood donors. [ United Blood Services] article about Greyhounds as blood donors.] .

Gastric torsion can occur which causes the stomach to twist, heavy vomiting, pain and death within a few hours if not treated with surgery. This condition is common to many deep chested dogs.


Popularly, the breed's origin can be traced to ancient Egypt, where a bas-relief depicting a smooth-coated Saluki (Persian Greyhound) or Sloughi was found in a tomb built in 4000 BC. Analyses of DNA reported in 2004, however, suggest that the greyhound is not closely related to these breeds, but is a close relative to herding dogs.Mark Derr (May 21, 2004). " [ Collie or Pug? Study Finds the Genetic Code] ". "The New York Times".] Parker "et al" (May 21, 2004). "Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog". "Science" volume 304, pp. 1160–4.]

Historically, these sight hounds were used primarily for hunting in the open where their keen eyesight is valuable. It is believed that they (or at least similarly-named dogs) were introduced to the area now known as the United Kingdom in the 5th and 6th century BC from Celtic mainland Europe although the Picts and other hunter gatherer tribes of the Northern area (now known as Scotland) were believed to have had large hounds similar to that of the deerhound before the 6th century BC.Fact|date=November 2007

The name "greyhound" is generally believed to come from the Old English "". "Hund" is the antecedent of the modern "hound", but the meaning of "grig" is undetermined, other than in reference to dogs in Old English and Norse. Its origin does not appear to have any common root with the modern word "grey" for colour, and indeed the greyhound is seen with a wide variety of coats.Fact|date=November 2007 This may be confusing, however, as the deerhound and wolfhound are more commonly grey in colour and possibly the true origins of the greyhound.Fact|date=November 2007 However, the deerhound and wolfhound, both being reconstructed breeds, probably cannot have had any genetic influence on the much older greyhound. It is known that in England during the medieval period, Lords and Royalty keen to own greyhounds for sport, requested they be bred to colour variants that made them easier to view and identify in pursuit of their quarry.Fact|date=November 2007 The lighter colours, patch-like markings and white appeared in the breed that was once ordinarily grey in colour. The greyhound is the only dog mentioned by name in the Bible; the King James version names the greyhound as one of the "Four things stately" in the Proverbs.Proverbs 30:29–31 King James version.] However, in the modern version of the Bible this has been changed to "strutting rooster", which appears to be a more correct translation of the Hebrew term זַרְזִיר (zarzir).

According to PokornyPokorny, "Indogermanisches Woerterbuch", pp. 441–2.] the English name "greyhound" does not mean "gray dog/hound", but simply "fair dog". Subsequent words have been derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *g'her- 'shine, twinkle': English "gray", Old High German "gris" 'grey, old', Old Icelandic "griss" 'piglet, pig', Old Icelandic "gryja" 'to dawn', "gryjandi" 'morning twilight', Old Irish "grian" 'sun', Old Church Slavonic "zorja" 'morning twilight, brightness'. The common sense of these words is 'to shine; bright'.


Cultural references to Greyhounds

;Simpson's Santa's Little Helper:A widely recognized greyhound in popular culture is the fictional character Santa's Little Helper from the animated series, "The Simpsons".

The character, Santa's Little Helper, exhibits many of the intellectual and behavioural characteristics of the typical greyhound as a pet. He is portrayed as affectionate, tolerant of other household pets (notably cats), loyal, and not overly active.

;Don Quixote:In the novel "Don Quixote", by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the protagonist imagined that his flea bitten mutt was a fine Greyhound.

;Greyhound BusThe Greyhound Lines bus company, in keeping with their logo which sports a racing greyhound, occasionally airs television commercials starring a talking computer-generated greyhound. The greyhound in these commercial shorts is often noted for his dry, deadpan wit. In holiday season commercials, the greyhound also sings about fare discounts, the song being set to a Christmas carol.

;Blur's Parklife AlbumBritish band Blur's album "Parklife" (1994) featured greyhounds racing on the cover art.


The key to the speed of a Greyhound can be found in its streamlined shape, large lungs, heart and muscles, the double suspension gallop and the flexibility of the spine (which is often called—incorrectly—hinged). "Double suspension gallop" describes the racing gait of the Greyhound, in which all four feet are off the ground twice during each full stride.


The Greyhound is often used as a mascot by sports teams, both professional and amateur, as well as many college and highschool teams.

*Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (Ontario Hockey League)
*Ohio Valley Greyhounds (United Indoor Football)

*Assumption College
*University of Indianapolis
*Loyola College in Maryland
*Eastern New Mexico University
*Moberly Area Community College (in Moberly, Missouri)
*Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
*Yankton College (Yankton, South Dakota)


*Greyhound was the name of several roller coasters in the United States and Canada. None of these rides operate today.

*In Australia, racing Greyhounds are commonly known in slang terminology as "Dish Lickers" ("e.g.", "I just won 50 bucks at the Dish Lickers").

ee also

*Lure coursing
*Greyhound racing
*Greyhound adoption
*Similar breeds:
**Afghan Hound
**Galgo Español (Spanish Greyhound)
**Italian Greyhound
**Hungarian Greyhound
**Lurcher (Not a breed, but a type of dog with Greyhound ancestry)


External links

* Clubs, Associations and Societies
** [ Greyhound Club of America]
** [ Greyhound Pets of America]
** [ National Greyhound Racing Club]
** [ National Greyhound Association]
** [ World Greyhound Racing Federation]
**Comprehensive database of Greyhound pedigrees [ Greyhound-data]
* [ Example of the Double Suspension Gallop ]
* [ UK Greyhound Racing Information]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Greyhound — Grey hound , n. [OE. graihund, greihound, greahund, grihond, Icel. greyhundr; grey greyhound + hundr dog; cf. AS. gr[imac]ghund. The origin of the first syllable is unknown.] 1. A slender, graceful breed of dogs, remarkable for keen sight and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • greyhound — ● greyhound nom masculin (anglais greyhound) Lévrier anglais, de grande taille, à poils courts, dressé spécialement à la course …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • greyhound — GREI HÁUND/ s. m. levrier de curse. (< engl. greyhound) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • Greyhound — (spr. grē haund), Jagdhund, s. Hund …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Greyhound — (engl., spr. grehaund), der kurz oder glatthaarige Windhund …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • greyhound — (n.) O.E. grighund, from grig bitch + hund dog (see HOUND (Cf. hound) (n.)). The name usually is said to have nothing to do with color, and most are not gray. The O.N. form of the word is preserved in Hjalti s couplet that almost sparked war… …   Etymology dictionary

  • greyhound — ► NOUN ▪ a swift, slender breed of dog used in racing and coursing. ORIGIN Old English, related to an Old Norse word meaning bitch …   English terms dictionary

  • greyhound — [grā′hound΄] n. [ME grehounde < OE grighund, * grieghund, akin to ON greyhundr < * grieg, bitch, coward (prob. < IE * gherēu < base * ĝher , to shine > GRAY1) + hund, dog, HOUND1] any of a breed of tall, slender, swift dog with a… …   English World dictionary

  • Greyhound — Als Greyhound werden bezeichnet: ein australisches Busunternehmen, siehe Greyhound Australia eine englische Windhundrasse, siehe Greyhound (Hunderasse) eine amerikanische Busgesellschaft, siehe Greyhound Lines der amerikanische Mischkonzern… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Greyhound — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sur les autres projets Wikimedia : « greyhound », sur le Wiktionnaire (dictionnaire universel) Le greyhound est un chien de course.… …   Wikipédia en Français

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