Brown, white, black tan, grey and any combination of those colors in large spots may be evident. They are said to be either solid colored or piebald. A tan brindle is also very common.
28-30 inches (71-76cm)
65-70 pounds (29-32kg)
27-28 inches (68-71cm)
60-65 pounds (27-29kg)
Surprisingly, these active dogs can be adapted to apartment life, in part, because they are so relaxed indoors. In the case of racing dogs, it may be they think your house is a big crate, and they'd be essentially correct. It's not until they get outside and see things to chase and investigate that they become restless.
They do, of course, get along quite well in rural areas though they may have to be kept behind a very tall fence to keep them from chasing off after something and forgetting to come back.
The favored dog of betting tracks everywhere, this tall and slim dog is all about speed. They have been clocked in excess of 40 miles per hour and absolutely love running. Their gait is graceful and easy.
Greyhounds have many adaptations that facilitate their fantastic speed. For instance, their spines are unusually flexible and they can often be seen in what appear to be impossibly hunched positions. Their tails are long and slightly curled at the bottom. Their bones are long and thin and they often appear as if they need a sandwich because of their very deep chests and small waists.
Their heads are small for the size of their body and the ears are small for the size of their head. They are primarily sight and scent hounds and certainly have the height and keen eyesight to see a long way.
As a breed, the next most obvious greyhound characteristic is their obsession with chasing down and snapping the neck of any small creature that your dog may spy. This includes the family cat and it is generally not recommended that greyhounds share a home with a cat or any other prey-like animal that might be your pet such as ferrets, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, etc. Even specimens that don't seem nearly as interested in chasing small animals will go after them, often when you least expect it.
In the home as companion animals they are very relaxed, often to the point of laziness. While they love physical activity, they seem to forget this when confined to a house and make very good housedogs, assuming your couch is large enough to accommodate them.
Very short, fine hair is continually shed. However, there's so little of it most people don't notice. Some greyhounds so thoroughly shed in the summer that they go bald on the chest, though this is considered a fault in show.
In fact, the coat is so thin that many greyhounds are seen sporting sweaters during the winter months in temperate climates. It may become a bit spotty during the summer moult.
The origins of the greyhound go back to the early middle ages, when traders brought Sloughi dogs to England from Arabia. They became the basis for what would soon become a fearsome hunting dog the ability to run down game without stopping. They are usually associated with the hunting of smaller animals such as fox, but have been known to catch up with and take down full-grown deer.
They were also prized for ability as a sight hound as well and have been selected for a long time to have a noble carriage when not actually on the hunt but ready to leap into action at a moment's notice.
The breed itself is known to have been the companion of nobility from the 16th century onward; achieving particular fame in Great Britain during the 19th century when dog shows first became popular.
Since the early 20th century there have been essentially two breeds of Greyhound that are registered with separate stud books: racing dogs and show dogs. As such, they differ with the show dogs typically making better companion animals because they have fewer congenital disorders later in life.
The breed has gotten larger and heavier over the course of the 20th century. As such, they may be somewhat more prone to hip dysplasia.
Unless you're a rabbit, greyhounds are among the most gentle and calm dogs with your family or strangers. They are generally not interested in the affairs of people unless there is a chance they'll be let outside for some running.
Quite intelligent, the greyhound is able to pick up training rather quickly. The racing industry has had a profound effect on the breed, with many dogs having been bred for speed and the ability to remain calm in the crate before being sprung for a race. As such, while there may be many disorders that plague this breed in old age, they usually are very good with people, though not always friendly in the traditional sense of the word.
Greyhounds are usually quite good with other dogs, and former racing dogs have already been well socialized while young. If you buy a greyhound pup you'll have to do that yourself, but they seem to readily accept the company of other dogs.
The breed is surprisingly good with children, and greyhounds tolerate a great deal of shenanigans from older children without problem. Being somewhat fragile, they are leery of roughhousing and will simply get up and walk away from a situation they deem dangerous. Very young children may find themselves chased due to their high pitched squeals that sound more like wounded animal than a human being.
Barking is usually not a major problem, as this too has been carefully bred out of the dogs, though they often bark and yip when confined too long or are chasing prey. In a household situation they make terrible guard dogs since they're simply too relaxed to care much what humans are doing.
Generally speaking greyhounds are healthy dogs, in no small part because they have to be. Sadly, the greyhounds bred for racing have several ailments, many of which don't appear until later in life.
The typical racing career of these dogs is just a few years, so they have been bred for many generations in the United States, Great Britain with only the first few years of their lives in mind. Show dogs are often healthier as a general rule, but may actually be a bit higher strung.
Hip and joint disorders: hip dysplasia is a somewhat common disorder that can strike dogs as young as 3-4 years, though is more common over 5. There is very little that cane be done for this genetic disorder other than trying to prevent it through gentle work when the dog is still a pup.
Broken bones: Greyhound bones are quite delicate for such a big dog. They can harm themselves by too vigorously chasing something over rough terrain. If your dog is limping, get him or her to the vet for an immediate exam.
A common effect: Chemical sensitivity means your dog could break out in hives after bathing or after flea treatment. Consult a vet before administering sub-dermal chemical flea and tick control. If you put a flea collar on your dog, be sure to check and make sure they're not reacting badly to it. Baby and puppy shampoos can usually be used without problem, though your greyhound is unlikely to need more than the annual bath.
Though the problem is rare,most greyhounds are fed small meals several times a day to avoid Bloat,the painful twisting of the stomach that can accompany especially large meals.
Keeping a greyhound well groomed is very simple, since their coat is so fine and thin already. In fact, a simple rub with a hound cloth or a quick combing with a rubber comb to stimulate the skin will be much appreciated every week or two.
Dogs that are allowed out for exercise will usually have enough work on a hard surface to keep their nails short without requiring trimming, but those greyhounds that still have their dewclaws (they are often removed when the dogs are young) will need them trimmed every few weeks.
Since they have floppy ears (rose ears, they're called), they will benefit from regular ear cleaning. This can be very carefully accomplished with a gauze pad used to gingerly wipe around the outside of the ear. Never plunge a q-tip into your greyhound's ear canal. It's an even worse idea for your dog than it is for you.
The well-groomed greyhound will also have careful attention paid to the condition of their skin, as they can have trouble with allergies. This may include hives, pustules, redness, swelling or scaly dander that resembles eczema. Be careful of what you put on, as it could make it worse. Severe cases should be nipped in the bud and a vet consulted.
The coat is impregnated with dog oils that keep them from getting too wet or dirty. This may seem a little unlikely, especially in the worst of the summer when they become a bit patchy. Regardless, they should only be bathed when absolutely necessary - usually bathing as an annual event is sufficient for most Greyhounds. They love the occasional dip in the lake or misting as long as there's no soap around.
It is a good idea to get your dog used to the handling that even a simple regimen. This means making sure you go through the motions and carefully examine their paws ears on a very regular basis when your greyhound pup is new. If you're adopting a former racing dogs, they are just as devoid of the social graces as the newborn pup, so making sure your greyhound can be handled without incident.
These dogs love to run. While they are famous as couch potatoes when indoors, they get the bug as soon as they go outdoors and you will have to take special care to train them to leash walking without pulling you along for the ride.
Since they are usually easy with other dogs they do very well in dog parks with off-leash areas. Here, they can carouse with other dogs and really enjoy their ability to outrun every other member of the pack.
Many people also take them for a run while they pedal a bicycle. This is usually a fine form of exercise, but care must be taken to not injure the dog, as hey can be a bit spindly. Their paws are also very small and very frequent running on asphalt can damage the pads. It's a good idea to inspect their feet regularly and perhaps get them booties for protection.
The training of a puppy differs greatly from the training of a retired racing dog that one may adopt, though they still have to learn many of the same things. For instance, the organizations that train dogs for new homes after racing careers often have to teach them how to climb stairs, though they seem to take to furniture readily.
Both will likely have to be housebroken, too. This is usually fairly quick for the adult dog, though greyhound puppies take to it very quickly, too. Older dogs that do have some difficulty often respond to the crate training they should have already mastered in such situations. Be sure the crate is plenty big so your dog can turn around without having to compress his or her spine to do it.
They tend not to bark very often at all and can easily be trained out of it if the trait develops as a pup. Usually taking your greyhound for a walk is enough to get all the pent up energy out of their systems and defuse the bark.
While they are generally good with other dogs, when the pack is larger then four or five dogs, they can be some conflict, especially among males, though females are by no means exempt. You can work on this with your dog by using a "turning out muzzle" and rewarding good behavior.
Though greyhounds can be a bit stubborn at times as far as training goes, but they do usually want to please their owners. Though not particularly protective to the family group, they are loyal and often bond to family members in very short order upon arrival.