One of the first types of dogs selectively bred by humans was the Sight hound, a dog that could run after and catch game by outrunning it. The prototypical Sight hound has always been the Greyhound. Greyhound-like dogs have been depicted since ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. The name Greyhound may come from Graius, meaning, Greek, or from the Latin gradus, denoting…high grade. In 1014 the Forest Laws prohibited all but nobility from keeping Greyhounds near royal forests unless they had been “lamed”; these laws remained in effect for 400 years.
Even when they were repealed, Greyhounds remained the dogs of nobility because with the growing importance of agriculture and domestic animal food sources, the running dog was not economically advantageous. Instead, Greyhounds were used for coursing hare for sport, and during the 1800s coursing became a consuming pastime of the upper class.
The Greyhound is a tall, slender dog. The head is long and narrow, wide between the ears, with a long tapering muzzle. There is no stop. The small rose ears are held back and folded, and are semi-perked when they are excited. The eyes are dark in color. The slightly arched neck is long. The legs are long with the front legs being perfectly straight. The chest is wide and deep. The long tail tapers with a slight upward curve. The short, fine coat comes in all colors.
The Greyhound is quiet, calm and extremely well-mannered indoors. They are good with other dogs, and with other pets if raised with them; outdoors, they tend to chase any small thing that moves. They are very sensitive and sometimes timid. Despite their independent nature, they are eager to please. The Greyhound is brave and devoted. Intelligent, laid-back, charming and loving, its character is often undervalued because of its reserved behavior toward strangers and even its master. Greyhounds are sensitive to the tone of one’s voice and will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner.
Most Greyhounds have a definite prey drive. It is instinctive for these dogs to chase anything that moves quickly. They are extremely fast and some will kill cats and other domestic animals, although this is not the majority. Greyhounds are not particularly vigilant. Show lines tend to be a bit heavier and bred more for temperament than racing lines, which are bred for speed. However, racing lines also make wonderful pets.
He is not amenable to living outdoors. Greyhounds relish creature comforts and must have soft bedding and warmth. The coat is extremely easy to care for, needing only occasional brushing to remove dead hair.
The Greyhound needs daily exercise, but he is a sprinter, not an endurance runner. His needs can thus be met with a chance to run, or by a longer walk on leash. He loves to run and chase outdoors. Greyhounds that are kept as pets should have regular opportunities to run free on open ground in a safe area. Greyhounds love a regular routine.