- Breed group — Hound group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 27-30 inches
- Weight — 60-70 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Short, thin, and smooth coat
- Coat color — Coats can be over 55 combinations of grey, black, white, red, blue, or fawn. Markings are solid, parti-color, ticked, or various shades of brindle.
- Exercise needs — Average
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — Seldom
- Life span — 10-13 years
- Temperament — Friendly, gentle, and athletic
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — Ancient Egypt
Greyhound fun facts
👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Greyhounds Cooper; Oliver is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Greyhounds love Luna, then Bella.
- Greyhounds are an ancient breed. The earliest evidence of the greyhound dates back 8,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. They belonged to pharaohs and were bred to outrun and hunt the fast wildlife of Egyptian deserts.
- They are the fastest dog breed. With the ability to run almost 45 miles per hour, it’s no surprise greyhounds are known for being athletic. While running, the dogs spend 75% of their time in the air.
- They are considered “sighthounds.” Unlike most dogs, greyhounds rely on their sense of vision more than their sense of smell. They were bred to detect fast-moving animals while moving fast themselves.
Greyhound temperament and characteristics
Greyhounds are considered one of the most gentle dog breeds there is. Because of this, they make a great addition to families with kids, so long as they’ve been properly trained. Although they are a medium-energy breed, they value playtime with humans and dogs alike, particularly activities that involve running and chasing. Because they were bred to hunt, greyhounds have a prey drive and owners should exercise caution around smaller animals like cats and little dogs.
When it comes to strangers, greyhounds can be a little reserved at first, but will likely return to their friendly and playful selves over time. If they receive proper exercise and mental stimulation, they do well in either houses or apartments and tend to relax during the day.
The Greyhound is an impressively graceful breed of dog. According to the AKC breed standard, they possess a sleek, athletic build with a short coat, which can be any brindle pattern. The coat colors can also be black, blue, fawn, white, red, or any combination of these colors. The breed standard said the coat coat is immaterial. We teamed up with FidoTabby Alert, and according to their database, a common coat color for the Greyhound is (77%) black.
Common greyhound health problems
Although greyhounds are considered a very healthy breed, like all dogs they are susceptible to several health issues. Here are some conditions to be aware of if you are thinking about bringing home a greyhound:
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). As a deep-chested dog, the greyhound is prone to GDV, a common form of canine bloat. It occurs when gases build up in the breeds’ stomach as they digest food, which might cause the stomach to rotate and restrict blood flow.
- Anesthesia sensitivity. Greyhounds have a low body fat percentage, so a normal dose of anesthesia for most dogs can be lethal for this breed. The breed struggles to break down the barbiturates found in anesthesia.
- Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition that can cause the joint between the head of a greyhound’s femur bone and their hip socket to be unstable. This can lead to arthritis later in the dog’s life if left untreated.
- Periodontal disease. One of the most common diseases found in greyhounds is Periodontal disease. This gum disease causes gingivitis and could even lead to the dog needing to have their affected teeth removed. Clean your greyhounds teeth regularly and be on the lookout for inflamed, bright red gums.
Cost of caring for greyhounds
As with any breed, anyone bringing home a greyhound will want to enroll early in a suitable health insurance plan to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Alternatively, dog owners can start a pet savings account to be covered in the event of an emergency. While expenses vary from dog to dog, those caring for a greyhound can expect to spend between $1,000 and $2,000 a year. Familiarizing yourself with the typical costs associated with pet veterinary care will be helpful in budgeting for your new four-legged friend.
History of the greyhound
The earliest records of the greyhound come in the form of temple drawings that date back to 6,000 BC. While today they may be a common pet, they originally belonged to Egyptian pharaohs and were outlawed to anyone who wasn’t considered royalty. The breed was so revered that when greyhounds died they were mummified and buried in tombs alongside their aristocratic owners.
In addition to their regal status, they were useful in chasing down hares and other small animals in the Egyptian desert with their incredibly fast speed and ability to hunt with sight.
Greyhounds were first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. By the early 1900s, the sport of greyhound racing was born and spread throughout the country. Although the sport still exists today, it has been banned in more than 40 states due to unethical practices, according to the Humane Society.
The greyhound is the only dog breed to be mentioned in the Bible, as well as 11 of William Shakespeare’s plays. Famous greyhound owners throughout history include Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII, Christopher Colombus, Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and Frank Sinatra.
Caring for your greyhound
Before bringing home a greyhound, plan ahead for puppy-proofing your home, visiting your vet for the first time, and staying up to date on vaccinations. Greyhound puppies are known to have sharp teeth, so be prepared for teething. You’ll also want to get your new short-haired companion plenty of outdoor playtime to tucker them out, and signing up for FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared if your dog gets away from you.
Although greyhounds do enjoy lounging around the house, they should be exercised for up to an hour a day to remain healthy and physically stimulated. They are the fastest dog breed and love activities like chasing and fetching to show off their lightning speed.
Owners should exercise caution when it comes to letting greyhounds run off leash in areas that aren’t fenced-in, as the dogs were bred to hunt and can outrun their owners. Because greyhounds are short-haired dogs, they get cold easily and may require a warm coat in colder climates.
Because greyhounds have short hair and don’t shed a lot, the breed doesn’t require much grooming aside from occasional brushing with a soft brush. The dog’s nails grow in as fast as they can run, so be ready to trim them regularly to avoid discomfort and avoid scuffing up your floors. Additionally, the greyhound should have their ears cleaned monthly and teeth brushed at least once or twice a week.
Diet and nutrition
The greyhound is considered a large breed that requires more protein and calories than most dogs. As with any breed, you should consult with your vet to calculate how much to feed your greyhound. Generally, vets recommend between 2.5 to 4 cups of high-quality dry food divided into two meals each day. Because they are susceptible to bloating, you may need to rely on puzzle feeders and slow-feed bowls to slow down their eating and reduce the amount of air they swallow.
Training your greyhound
Greyhounds are highly intelligent, which generally means a dog is highly receptive to training. However, greyhounds are considered stubborn and independent dogs, and they will need consistent training sessions with a patient owner to curb unwanted behaviors. It should also be noted that greyhounds are sensitive and do better with positive reward-based training methods and games than with discipline.
Breeds similar to the greyhound
Not quite sure that a greyhound is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Afghan hound. Although they’re not nearly as short-haired as greyhounds, the Afghan hound is also an ancient breed that was bred to hunt.
- Basenji. Another ancient hunting breed, Basenjis are considered a healthy breed that make good companions to families with young children.
- Saluki. Also from Egypt, the Saluki makes for a great family dog. They are incredibly playful and have a lot of energy, so they do well in homes with young kids that have a lot of energy themselves.
Frequently asked questions
Are greyhounds a good family dog?
Greyhounds are great dogs for families with kids of all ages. They are considered one of the most gentle breeds, so with proper training, they’re safe to have around children and infants. Although they can be couch potatoes, they also love to run around and play and will help tire out any restless kids.
Are greyhounds considered healthy?
Although greyhounds are known as a healthy breed, they are prone to certain health issues. As deep-chested dogs, they are susceptible to bloating. Other conditions to look out for include hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.
Do greyhounds bark a lot?
Greyhounds seldom bark. When they do, it’s often out of excitement, like when their owner comes home or during play. Although they aren’t natural barkers, they can be influenced to do it more from other dogs.
Are greyhounds difficult to train?
Greyhounds are incredibly smart but also stubborn and independent. It may require time and patience to train the dog, and they do best with reward-based methods.
Can greyhounds be left alone?
Because of their independence, greyhounds do better with being left alone than most breeds. They don’t have high exercise needs and enjoy laying around, and will likely do so if left alone for long hours. However, if left alone too long, they may become bored and develop separation anxiety.