This breed stands 26-30 inches
and weighs 60-90 pounds. It can be any color from
white to black, and any pattern from solid to
pinto to brindle. Bred for sight hunting, the
greyhound has a deep chest for great heart and
lung capacity, slender legs for speed and
agility, well-developed muscles for endurance,
and slender head with wide nostrils for more
effective breathing while running. These specific
traits make the greyhound the fastest breed of
dog, with an estimated top speed of 45 mph.
Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings
dating back to 2900 B.C. show what appear to be
greyhounds attacking deer and other prey. The
first complete description of the breed was
written by Ovid, who lived between 43 B.C. and
A.D. 17. Greyhounds were developed as a sight
hunter in the arid and semi-arid lands of North
Africa and the Middle East, and were specifically
bred for increased speed. Greyhounds were
introduced into America by the Spanish in the
1500's, who used them to "guard, hunt,
intimidate and punish their enemies"
(Indians). Greyhound racing, once a very popular
sport in the United States, grew out of the
custom of watching greyhounds chase hares and
other prey. There are several ideas as to the
origins of the name "greyhound,"
including: a derivation of Graius, an
ancient Greek word meaning "Grecian;"
the old British word grech or greg,
meaning dog; or, simply from grey for
the predominance of that color in the breed.
Greyhounds make good pets, but
must have a relatively quiet household as they
are somewhat distressed by noise and commotion.
They get along with children past the toddler
stage and other dogs, but generally see cats as
prey and will usually chase them if given the
chance. Taking a greyhound on a walk requires
great care and a strong leash, because even a
well-trained greyhound has a tendency to run off
after anything that looks like prey, and an
unrestrained dog can be blocks away before the
owner has a chance to realize what has happened.
American Kennel Club www.akc.org/breeds/greyhound/
Dog Owner's Guide www.canismajor.com/dog/ghound.html
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