Breed of the Week - Greyhound

The Asiatic Wolf is the most commonly accepted ancestor of modern sight hounds, including the Greyhound. Large parts of the Sahara were once well-watered lands, which provided the Greyhound's early ancestor with both wide open land and plenty of prey to give chase to. Sight hounds, as their name implies, hunt by sight and overtake their prey with great speed. The body of a Greyhound is a perfect example of such a hound, as its lean body and powerful legs give it both speed and endurance.

Greyhounds were popular in Egypt as both pets and hunting dogs. Some were even paid divine honors. When a Greyhound died, it was greatly mourned, being carefully embalmed and mummified. Sight hounds were also well-known to the Greeks, where they were commonly depicted in artwork. The Greek historian Arrian lectured on hunting with sight hounds, and detailed the appearance of a properly-bred Greyhound.

Greyhounds may have a high prey drive, especially in ex-racers which are usually bred to have a high chase instinct. In such instances, Greyhound owners commonly use muzzles to protect smaller animals until they have trained their dog to not give chase. On some occasions, ex-racers who aren't used to dogs other than Greyhounds, may mistake small dogs for the lure used in races, but this behavior is uncommon and will go away once the Greyhound is properly socialized. Contrary to popular belief, Greyhounds don't need extended periods of daily exercise as they're bred for sprinting, not endurance. That said, they do extremely well in agility events, and make great disc dogs.

Greyhounds have no undercoat, and naturally short fur. This lack of fur means that they aren't well protected for the cold. If you plan to take your Greyhound outside during colder months, then a coat is always a good investment. While the lack of long fur means you won't experience tangling with your dog, it's important to give him a good head to toe brushing once or twice a week.

Greyhounds are very sensitive to insecticides. Many vets do not recommend the use of flea collars or flea spray on Greyhounds unless it is a pyrethrin-based product. Greyhounds have a higher level of red blood cells than other dogs. Red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles, so the high amount of the cells allows Greyhounds to move larger quantities of air to the muscles much faster than other breeds.

As you can see, the Greyhound is a beautiful breed of dog with many qualities that make it a great family pet. So if you're considering adopting a dog, you can't really go wrong with the Greyhound. They make a great companion for both an experienced pet owner and a first time dog parent.

For more information about the Greyhound, visit the Greyhound Club of America website.

By Colin McNevin

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