April is national Adopt-A-Greyhound month, and there are many greyhounds out there looking for a new home. These super-fast dogs have a few remarkable qualities that make them the ideal family companion.
1. Greyhounds Are the Fastest Dogs on Earth
Greyhounds are, quite literally, some of the fastest dogs on Earth. In fact, they are faster than racehorses, and can nearly keep up with a cheetah at full speed.
The greyhound can easily and regularly reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour or 72 kilometers per hour. Within just seven strides, a greyhound will reach its top speed and can have long-lasting endurance. When running at top speed, they’ll spend 70% of that time in the air, without a single paw touching the ground.
Part of this speed comes from the fact that many greyhounds were bred for racing as soon as their distinctive qualities became known. As more people began breeding greyhounds specifically for dog racing, their abilities in speed became better than those of other dogs, both domesticated and wild.
2. Racing Is In Their Blood
Greyhounds were found to have significantly higher red blood cell count, and lower white blood cell count. Red blood cells allow more oxygen to travel from the lungs to the muscles. This also makes them universal blood donors, and their blood type can potentially be used with any other breed.
Greyhounds also have much bigger hearts, and nearly matches the size of a human heart! Along with their larger lungs, their organs can push more blood and oxygen through their body. This all contributes to their superior athletic ability, making them the ideal racing machine.
3. Greyhounds Love to Nap and Cuddle
You might not expect the fastest dog in the world to be so laid back. If you’re looking for a companion to binge watch Netflix with, you can’t go wrong with a Greyhound. A warm blanket is all they need in life. In fact, you can expect them to lay claim to any cozy spot in the house. They are often referred to as the “40 MPH couch potato”.
4. Greyhounds Are an Ancient Egyptian Breed
It’s hard to say just how far back greyhound history goes, but there’s evidence they lived (and were once revered) in ancient Egypt. There are even wall drawings of what historians believe to be a representation of the greyhound in tombs that were built at least 3500 years ago.
One of the most iconic Egyptian gods, Anubis, was commonly drawn with the head of a dog. More specifically, Anubis had the head of a sighthound. Greyhounds are a specific breed of sighthound, meaning that there is a very good chance that Anubis’ head was based off the greyhound or similar breed.
5. They’re Super Low Maintenance and Have the Patience of a Monk
Many people assume that a retired racing dog would be high strung or anxious, but that isn’t the case with the mild-mannered Greyhound. In fact, greyhounds are one of the highest rated low maintenance dog breeds.
They do not have long fur, which means that they do not shed much, nor are they difficult to groom. They show incredible patience with children and other animals. And they spend their days lounging while rarely make a sound.
Not only does this make them the ideal family pet, but they’re great for those living in apartments without bothering the neighbors.
6. They Rarely Bark or Make a Noise
Speaking of annoyed neighbors, you won’t have too much trouble with that. Greyhounds are actually well known for being incredibly quiet dogs.
Usually, greyhounds will only bark under a few rare circumstances. If they are incredibly excited about something or if they have been left alone for too long, there’s a chance you’ll hear some whimpering or the odd bark. Otherwise, these dogs have taken a vow of silence and remain completely calm and quiet.
7. They Have a Very High Prey Drive
Despite being so calm, there is one thing that will get their attention: small animals. These dogs were used as a hunting breed for generations, and they still have that hunting urge deep within their DNA. Any little creature running at the park will immediately catch their attention. And did we mention that greyhounds are fast?
This is why it’s always important to keep them secured with a leash, and have very high fences in your backyard. Being that their necks are thin and sensitive, you’ll want to use a very wide collar, or secure them with a harness.
8. They’re the Only Dog to Make an Appearance in the Bible
Greyhounds are one of the few dogs that have been revered throughout history. While many people can agree that dogs have been mankind’s best friend since the beginning, there is nothing that really points to a specific breed of dog that has been by man’s side — that is, except for the greyhound.
The greyhound is the only dog to be mentioned in the Bible.
“There be three things which do well, yea, Which is comely in going; A lion, which is strongest among beasts and Turneth not away from any; A greyhound; A he-goat also.”
This goes to show that even thousands of years ago, the greyhound was a dog that would catch the attention of others with its regal, elegant appearance.
9. They Come in a Variety of Fashionable Colors
While the name might suggest that greyhounds are predominantly grey, this is not the case. Just as the body of the greyhound is one that is elegant and almost regal, the greyhound can also come in a variety of colors that put other dogs to shame.
Out of the several different colors of a greyhound’s fur, some of the most fashionable are red fawn, blue fawn, red brindle, and blue brindle.
There are actually 18 primary colors and 55 color patterns that your greyhound can come in.
10. They Have Incredible Vision
Because of their abnormal eye placement, the greyhound has a whopping 270 degrees of vision.
For comparison, a human who has normal 20/20 vision and no visual impairments will have a range of about 180 degrees. This means that greyhounds have more vision to their sides, and can actually see some of what is behind them. Making them an appropriate member of the “sighthound” group.
11. You’ll be dressing them in the latest styles
Greyhounds have low body fat, thin skin, and short hair, so they’re especially sensitive to cold temperatures. They’ll require a sweater for a little extra warmth. But that’s where the fun begins, as you’ll be outfitting them in the latest winter trends. You finally have the perfect model for that zebra striped fleece jacket. Just be aware of the outdoor temperatures, and know when it’s too cold for a walk.
12. Sitting Is Uncomfortable for the Greyhound
Because greyhounds have been bred specifically for racing, their muscle structure and long legs make sitting a little awkward. While not impossible, they are more comfortable with lying down than holding a sit for too long.
13. They’re Ready to Be Part of Your Family
There are many greyhounds out there looking for their next family. Dog racing is a sport that is only done with a greyhound that is no longer in prime condition to run.
While career racing greyhounds are not mistreated or abused, they do not receive much in terms of individual affection or family life. But it is something they can settle into quite quickly, as they are truly gentle by nature.
Despite the myth that retired racing dogs are anxious and antsy, the reality is that a retired greyhound is very docile and even a bit lazy. If you’re looking for an easy to care for a dog that enjoys a peaceful life, then you’ve found the perfect companion.
I absolutely knew I wanted to work with dogs from the time I was born, and that’s exactly what I did. Straight out of high school I went to college and shortly after was hired as a Veterinary Technical Assistant at a local practice. After several years in the medical field, I then fell in love with grooming and decided to open my own shop. And I now run a blog at PlayBarkRun.com where I share all my experience with other dog owners and lovers. No matter what field I’m in, I feel most at home dedicating my time to dogs and helping owners.