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Welcome to FOR Greyhounds
Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds of dogs, and appear in art and literature throughout history. In ancient Egypt, Greyhounds were mummified and buried along with their owners, and tombs were often decorated with Greyhound figures. A hieroglyph of a dog very much resembling the modern breeds Greyhound, Saluki, and Sloughi can be found in the writings of ancient Egypt. Alexander the Great had a Greyhound named Peritas. The Greyhound is mentioned in the Old Testament (Proverbs 30:29-31), Homer (Odyssey, where the only one to recognize Odysseus upon his return was his Greyhound, Argus), Chaucer (The Canterbury Tales), and Shakespeare (Henry V and Merry Wives of Windsor). Greek and Roman gods and goddesses were often portrayed with Greyhounds.
As Clarke, in The Greyhound states: But, ancient as the Greyhound is, it would be stretching the truth to claim that the Arabian hounds depicted on the ancestral tombs of ancient Egyptians were identical to the Greyhounds we know today. In their conformation, in their grace and pace, in the poetry of their motion, yes — but not in the style of coat they wore! […] In fact, there is reason to believe that the Arabian Greyhound may well have resembled a Saluki — but for all, still a dog of the Greyhound family.
There are many differing explanations for the origin of the term Greyhound. One writer suggests that the original Greyhound stock was mostly grey in color. Another says the term derives from the Old English “grei,” meaning “dog,” and “hundr,” meaning “hunter.” Another explanation is that it is derived from “gre” or “gradus,” meaning “first rank among dogs.” Finally, it has been suggested that the term derives from Greekhound, since the hound reached England through the Greeks.
Greyhounds have long been associated with royalty. In fact, from the 11th to the 14th century, English law decreed that no “mean person” was allowed to keep a Greyhound. Penalty for breaking this law was death!
Characteristics and Temperament
Greyhounds have a very gentle and quiet disposition. They are very pack oriented dogs and will quickly adopt human masters into their “pack.” To allow different Greyhounds to hunt and race together, aggressiveness towards other dogs and people has been nearly eliminated from the breed. Many do retain a strong prey drive (which is a compnent to their racing) and are sometimes unsuitable for houses with other small pets such as cats or rabbits. Their sensitivity and intelligence make them quick learners, and good candidates for obedience training.
Greyhounds are often tolerant of children, especially if they have been raised with them. Being non-aggressive, a Greyhound will generally walk away from a worrisome child, rather than growl or snap. However, even the gentle Greyhound has its limits, and should not be subjected to continuous harassment.
Although Greyhounds are the fastest breed of dog, they achieve their incredible speed in one all out sprint, and do not have a lot of endurance. A Greyhound is quite content to be a “couch potato” and spend most of the day sleeping. Since they don’t have a lot of endurance, a Greyhound actually requires less exercise time than most dogs.
Greyhounds are the prototypical sighthound, a group of hounds that pursue their prey by sight rather than scent. As with all sighthounds, Greyhounds have a very strongly developed chase instinct. In spite of this, it is possible for Greyhounds to peacefully coexist with other pets, including cats, dogs, and even rabbits. Cohabitation will be easier if the other pets do not run away. Even after you’ve trained the Greyhound to not chase the family indoor cat, this does not mean that it won’t chase the neighbor’s cat, or even the family cat outdoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do Greyhounds shed a lot?
- I’ve heard they aren’t good with children. Is this true?
- Don’t they need a lot of exercise?
- What are the differences between track (NGA) and show (AKC) Greyhounds?
- Why do I see many people muzzling their Greyhounds at get-togethers?
- Can Greyhounds swim?
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