20 Things You Didn’t Know about Greyhounds
Many people consider the Greyhound to be one of the most majestic dog breeds that’s ever lived. While some people absolutely love them and can’t imagine owning anything but a Greyhound, other people know relatively little about the breed itself. Unfortunately, this sometimes causes people to make incorrect assumptions about the breed. As a direct result, they also make incorrect assumptions about individual dogs that are either purebred or have a certain amount of Greyhound in their breeding. If you really want to know what this breed is all about, read through the following list of 20 things about them. Chances are, you’ll end up feeling like you’re being introduced to the breed for the first time.
1. They are very independent dogs
The one thing that almost everyone notices about these dogs instantaneously is that they are fiercely independent. Greyhounds have been bred to be independent for centuries. Much of that comes as a direct result of them being sighthounds who are required to make decisions on their own in the blink of an eye. As such, it’s almost impossible to breed or train that instinct out of them. It doesn’t make them bad dogs, not by a long shot. That said, it does mean that they need an understanding home with people who can understand what they need and then provide the type of guidance that works best for them as a breed.
2. They tend to be quite gentle
As a rule, the Greyhound tends to be quite gentle in its approach to practically everything. The overwhelming majority of Greyhounds want to be affectionate with their owners. As a result, they also like to be treated with affection. The one thing that they don’t do particularly well with involves individuals who are being especially harsh with them for one reason or another. In fact, it is possible to completely break a Greyhound’s spirit by being too harsh with them. Therefore, it’s important that you understand exactly what you’re dealing with when you’re trying to discipline or train your Greyhound. Otherwise, you might inadvertently do irreparable damage to the bond the two of you share.
3. They grow to 28-30 inches in height
Greyhounds are certainly not the biggest dog in the world, but they’re not exactly small, either. In fact, they have a tendency to grow anywhere from two to three feet in height. Clearly, the females are a little bit shorter. More often than not, they’re closer to about two feet four inches in height while males maybe two or three inches taller on average.
4. They weigh 65-70 pounds
Despite the fact that they are relatively large dogs, they don’t tend to weigh as much as most people would first think they would, largely because they stay quite slim as they run around all over the place. On average, a healthy adult Greyhound will weigh anywhere from 65 to 70 pounds. As is typically the case, males often weigh a little bit more than females. While most adult females weigh somewhere around 65 pounds, the males usually weigh about 5 pounds more.
5. They live 10-13 years on average
Despite the fact that they are on the larger side, Greyhounds tend to have a fairly long life expectancy. While smaller dogs typically live longer than larger dogs, Greyhounds almost seem to be the exception to the rule. Typically, they live anywhere from 10 to 13 years, especially if they are healthy to begin with and they are given good nutrition, plenty of exercise and regular veterinary care. Once in a while, a Greyhound defies the odds and makes it to 15 years of age or even older.
6. They usually make good family dogs
One of the reasons that people usually want to get a Greyhound in the first place is because they tend to make good family pets. That is largely because of their fairly docile personality and their tendency to be affectionate with the people that they are closest to. As a result, they don’t tend to be overly aggressive as a breed, something that is of vital importance if you have other pets or especially if you have children.
7. They tend to do well with other dogs, too
Greyhounds also tend to do very well with other dogs, at least in most cases. While every dog is an individual and should be treated as such, people who own Greyhounds tend to have less trouble overall with socializing their dogs when they already have other pets. By the same token, they tend to handle the situation better when another dog is brought into the home that they have been living in for quite some time. As previously mentioned, there will be exceptions to the rule. That said, Greyhounds are usually more adept at handling these types of situations than many other breeds.
8. They’re even good with the neighbors
If your Greyhound sees you spending time with your neighbors, there’s even a better than average chance that he will eventually become more affectionate with them as well. These dogs tend to be rather affectionate with those that they are closest to, as well as people that are around their favorite individuals on a routine basis. When it comes to total strangers, they don’t usually have a tendency to be aggressive, but instead they merely choose to leave the room and put themselves in a position where they don’t have to be around someone they aren’t familiar with.
9. They typically like to be around children
Most of the time, Greyhounds seem to thoroughly enjoy being around children. The only thing that can sometimes get them into trouble is the fact that they are fairly sensitive. As such, they sometimes get overwhelmed when they are around exceptionally small children who may not understand that it isn’t okay to be overly aggressive with dogs. Even then, they don’t usually have a tendency to bite. Instead, they typically become rather insecure and try to avoid the situation at all costs.
10. The breed has been around for thousands of years
This is a breed that has been around for thousands of years. While most purebred breeds have existed for decades or potentially even centuries, these dogs have been around for thousands of years and have been a staple of many ancient cultures.
11. They sometimes develop a neurologic condition that only affects the breed
Unfortunately, Greyhounds are not immune to certain health conditions. Just like virtually every other breed, there are some conditions that tend to affect them more than others. One issue that they sometimes develop is a neurologic condition that makes it very difficult for them to walk. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition and many dogs that develop it must be put down. Fortunately, puppies can be screened for the gene that creates it, so at least you know whether or not there is a chance that your dog could potentially develop the disease at some point in their lifetime.
12. They can develop cardiac issues, too
Greyhounds have a tendency to develop cardiac issues as well. For the most part, it centers around developing an irregular heartbeat that is only present at rest. The interesting thing is that these same dogs who are dealing with this particular concern can go out and run at full speed and their heart rhythm usually returns to normal, only to become irregular once again when they become fully calm. More often than not, it’s not considered a serious condition and can be managed by a veterinarian if necessary.
13. Some of them will develop problems with their eyesight
In addition to these health concerns, some of these dogs will eventually develop problems with their eyesight. It’s almost always related to the development of cataracts, often at an early age. As such, it’s a good idea to have your Greyhound screened for this problem early on. Furthermore, they should continue to receive regular screenings throughout their lifetime.
14. They are prone to gastric torsion
These dogs are also prone to a problem called gastric torsion. It involves a situation where the stomach becomes very bloated and at times, the stomach can also become twisted. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical care because it essentially cuts off the blood supply to the affected portion of the stomach. If it isn’t dealt with immediately, the stomach could rupture or it could cease to function because of the lack of blood flow. Either way, the condition can easily become fatal.
15. They love to run
These dogs love to run. In fact, most of them live for it. As such, they should be allowed to run as fast as possible on a daily basis. If you own a Greyhound, it’s important that you either have a secure fence in an area that is large enough for the dog to run or that you have access to a dog park that is completely secure so that they can run at full speed without the risk of them getting away and becoming injured.
16. They can travel as fast as 35 mph
Speaking of running, these dogs have the capacity to run faster than some horses. It isn’t at all uncommon to see a Greyhound running along at approximately 35 miles an hour without even straining to do so. It’s important to keep in mind that most thoroughbred race horses run at approximately the same speed. Obviously, a dog that can run this fast has to be watched when they are allowed to exercise because you don’t want them to run into some type of issue and become injured. When you consider how fast they are capable of running, it’s easy for them to get out of your sight very quickly, so you have to take that into consideration when you are allowing them to get the exercise that they so desperately need.
17. You should keep them on-leash unless they are inside a secure fence
Since they are capable of running so quickly, they must be kept on leash unless they’re inside a secure fence. This is vitally important because Greyhounds are sight hounds. That means they will chase practically anything and everything they see. It is so deeply ingrained into them that it’s almost impossible to train them to refrain from chasing something. If you’re walking around your neighborhood with your Greyhound who is off-leash and he sees anything that sparks his interest, it’s very unlikely that he’s going to be able to resist the urge to bolt after it. Since he’s capable of running so fast, he can get out of your sight and become lost before you even scarcely know what is happening. By the same token, he could potentially run into the street and be hit by a car or have any number of other things happen to him. For his safety (and the safety of everyone else), it’s imperative that he stays on-leash unless he’s inside a fence that you know he can’t readily get out of.
18. They can appear to be difficult to train, but are largely misunderstood
Some people think that Greyhounds are difficult to train because they are stubborn, but that isn’t necessarily true. While they can be headstrong, the perceived stubbornness usually comes from the fact that they are simply following centuries of breeding that tells them what to do. Therefore, Greyhounds must be trained in a way that allows them to work with you as opposed to simply doing something for you.
19. They have very sensitive personalities
It’s important to remember to be patient with your Greyhound because they tend to be very sensitive souls. If you lose patience with your dog, it tends to affect them more than it might some other breeds. Therefore, you must remember to be patient and try to see things from their perspective as well as your own.
20. They make up their own minds
Greyhounds have been trained to make up their own minds for thousands of years. That is precisely why some people think they are difficult to train. In reality, they just need some understanding and more than a little patience on your end.