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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Greyhounds Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:21:55 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 31 Dec 1997
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/lists/faq-list.html, or
via email by sending your message to email@example.com with
in the body of the message.
This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.
* Originally written by Jack Dean, 18 June 1992.
* Revisions and updates from Sharon Toolan, 6 January 1993.
* Additional material from Stacy Pober, 30 April 1993
* Additional material from Robert Brady, 3 August 1994
* Additional material from Andrew Shaindlin, 5 March 1995
* Further updates in July, August, September 1995 by CTM.
The faq is currently edited and maintained by Cindy Tittle Moore who
holds the Copyright (1995) on this version.
(July 1995) It is with sorrow that I note the passing of Robert Brady,
who devoted so much of his time and energy to Greyhound rescue. He is
missed by many.
Table of Contents
* Characteristics and Temperament
* Frequently Asked Questions
* Special Medical Problems
+ Medical sensitivities
+ Bone Cancer
+ Online Resources
+ Breed Rescue Organizations
+ Breed Clubs
+ Additional Resources
For thousands of years Greyhounds have been bred to hunt by outrunning
their prey. They were not intended to be solitary hunters, but to work
with other dogs. Switching from hunting to racing has kept this aspect
of their personality very much alive. The fastest breed of dog,
Greyhounds can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour, and can average
more than 30 miles per hour for distances up to one mile. Selective
breeding has given the Greyhound an athlete's body with the grace of a
dancer. At the same time, the need to anticipate the evasive maneuvers
of their prey has endowed the Greyhound with a high degree of
The Greyhound has a long neck and head, with a barely noticeable stop,
or bridge to his nose. The ears are small and usually folded flat back
against the neck. The ears may stand semi- or fully erect when the
Greyhound is attentive. This is called a "rose ear."
The back is long and muscular with an arch over the loin. The deep
chest and narrow waist give the Greyhound its distinctive silhouette.
The legs are long and powerful. The feet are small and compact, with
well knuckled toes. The tail is long and curved.
The coat of a Greyhound is short and smooth, and is the result of
crossing Greyhounds with Bulldogs in the mid-1700s. Greyhounds come in
an endless variety of colors, including white, fawn (tan), cream, red
(rust), black, blue (grey), many shades of brindle, and with patches
of these colors on white. There is virtually no body fat. In general,
Greyhounds are very clean and do not require a lot of grooming.
A show Greyhound typically stands between 26 and 30 inches and the
shoulder, and weighs 60 to 85 pounds. Bitches average around 10 to 15
pounds less than dogs. The average lifespan is twelve to fourteen
years. Track Greyhounds are often between 25 and 29 inches and 50 to
80 pounds. The AKC standard specifies 65-70lbs for males, 60-65 for
females as ideal.
The Greyhound is a quiet and docile animal when not racing. While they
can be somewhat aloof in the presence of strangers, more often they
are generally friendly to most people. They are very affectionate
toward those they know and trust.
The Greyhound is recognized by all major kennel clubs around the
world, as well as by various national racing clubs such as the
National Greyhound Association (NGA) and the American Greyhound
Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds of dogs, and appear in art and
literature throughout history. In ancient Egypt, Greyhounds were
mummified and buried along with their owners, and tombs were often
decorated with Greyhound figures. A hieroglyph of a dog very much
resembling the modern breeds Greyhound, Saluki, and Sloughi can be
found in the writings of ancient Egypt. Alexander the Great had a
Greyhound named Peritas. The Greyhound is mentioned in the Old
Testament (Proverbs 30:29-31), Homer (_Odyssey_, where the only one to
recognize Odysseus upon his return was his Greyhound, Argus), Chaucer
(_The Canterbury Tales_), and Shakespeare (_Henry V_ and _Merry Wives
of Windsor_). Greek and Roman gods and goddesses were often portrayed
As Clarke, in _The Greyhound_ states:
But, ancient as the Greyhound is, it would be stretching the truth
to claim that the Arabian hounds depicted on the ancestral tombs of
ancient Egyptians were identical to the Greyhounds we know today.
In their conformation, in their grace and pace, in the poetry of
their motion, yes -- but not in the style of coat they wore! [...]
In fact, there is reason to believe that the Arabian Greyhound may
well have resembled a Saluki -- but for all, still a dog of the
There are many differing explanations for the origin of the term
Greyhound. One writer suggests that the original Greyhound stock was
mostly grey in color. Another says the term derives from the Old
English "grei," meaning "dog," and "hundr," meaning "hunter." Another
explanation is that it is derived from "gre" or "gradus," meaning
"first rank among dogs." Finally, it has been suggested that the term
derives from Greekhound, since the hound reached England through the
Greyhounds have long been associated with royalty. In fact, from the
11th to the 14th century, English law decreed that no "mean person"
was allowed to keep a Greyhound. Penalty for breaking this law was
Characteristics and Temperament
Greyhounds have a very gentle and quiet disposition. They are very
pack oriented dogs and will quickly adopt human masters into their
"pack." To allow different Greyhounds to hunt and race together,
aggressiveness towards other dogs and people has been nearly
eliminated from the breed. Many do retain a strong prey drive (which
is a compnent to their racing) and are sometimes unsuitable for houses
with other small pets such as cats or rabbits. Their sensitivity and
intelligence make them quick learners, and good candidates for
Greyhounds are often tolerant of children, especially if they have
been raised with them. Being non-aggressive, a Greyhound will
generally walk away from a worrisome child, rather than growl or snap.
However, even the gentle Greyhound has its limits, and should not be
subjected to continuous harassment.
Although Greyhounds are the fastest breed of dog, they achieve their
incredible speed in one all out sprint, and do not have a lot of
endurance. A Greyhound is quite content to be a "couch potato" and
spend most of the day sleeping. Since they don't have a lot of
endurance, a Greyhound actually requires less exercise time than most
Greyhounds are the prototypical sighthound, a group of hounds that
pursue their prey by sight rather than scent. As with all sighthounds,
Greyhounds have a very strongly developed chase instinct. In spite of
this, it is possible for Greyhounds to peacefully coexist with other
pets, including cats, dogs, and even rabbits. Cohabitation will be
easier if the other pets do not run away. Even after you've trained
the Greyhound to not chase the family indoor cat, this does not mean
that it won't chase the neighbor's cat, or even the family cat
Frequently Asked Questions
_Do Greyhounds shed a lot?_
It seems to vary a lot from dog to dog. Some will shed an
appreciable amount, others hardly at all. "Appreciable" means that
when you use a curry comb, you can get loose hair off the dog.
There is some thought (and anectodal evidence) that lighter colored
Greyhounds shed more than dark ones do! However, bear in mind that
even a so-called "heavily shedding" Greyhound would shed a lot less
than say, a Dalmatian or a German Shepherd Dog.
_I've heard they aren't good with children. Is this true?_
Many breed description books will list the Greyhound as being too
"highstrung" to tolerate children. This is false. Most Greyhounds
have a very calm disposition, and many of them are good with
children, especially if they are raised around well-mannered
In general, any dog, of any breed, that has not been raised around
children or has an unknown background, must be watched carefully.
In any case, all interaction between dogs and children, no matter
how trustworthy either are, should be supervised by an adult.
_Don't they need a lot of exercise?_
They need less exercise than you would think. Greyhounds are
primarily a sprinting breed, rather than an endurance one. They are
happy with several good runs a week -- and will lie on your couch
all the rest of the time!
_What are the differences between track (NGA) and show (AKC)
In general, track Greyhounds are a little smaller (shorter and less
heavy) than the show ones. Track Greyhounds are more heavily
muscled in the rear and their necks and heads are not as slenderly
exaggerated as the show Greyhounds' are. Those are the physical
There tend to be some behavioral differences, but these are due to
the upbringing that each receive rather than actual differences.
It's thought that there are some health differences. Track
Greyhounds are thought to live longer (because ofsuperior
cardio-vascular condition); on the other hand they are thought to
be more prone to bone cancer, possibly as a result of extra stress
from heavy racing. However, these are solely speculation.
_Why do I see many people muzzling their Greyhounds at get-togethers?_
Their racing instinct is based on a well-developed prey drive. When
you have a group of greyhounds together, especially strange ones,
it is advisable to muzzle them to prevent accidental bites.
Greyhounds are not dog aggressive, but when excited may nip at
Don't let the muzzles lull you into a false sense of security. You
must still monitor a group of muzzled Greyhounds since it's
possible to catch ears through a muzzle and so on.
Do note that muzzling is not always required; it's simply a
sensible precaution if you are dealing with a large group of
_Can Greyhounds swim?_
Many people believe that because of their structure and low body
fat that they cannot swim. This is untrue. Some Greyhounds are
excellent swimmers and others are not. Supervise your Greyhound's
entry into water until you are certain he can swim.
Special Medical Problems
Greyhounds' livers metabolize toxins out of their bloodstream more
slowly than other dogs of comparable size, so it is possible for
harmful concentrations of these toxins to develop. Also, the breed has
a very low percentage of body fat in proportion to its size. There is,
on the average, only 16% fat in a Greyhound's body weight versus about
35% fat in body weight for a comparably sized dog of another breed.
Greyhounds are very sensitive to certain medications, including
anesthesia. Before allowing your Greyhound to undergo any surgery,
make sure that your vet is aware of the special anesthesia
requirements for Greyhounds. In particular, barbituates are to be
avoided. Do not be afraid to ask questions of your vet; not all are
aware of a Greyhound's special anesthesia requirements. Rodger I.
Barr, DVM, has written an article on the safe method of anesthesia for
sighthounds. For further information on the use of anesthesia in
Greyhounds, contact the Small Animal Teaching Hospital of Colorado
State University at Fort Collins, Colorado (303/484-9154).
Flea collars, and long lasting pesticides such as Hartz Blockade, can
also be harmful or even fatal to Greyhound. Any product which releases
flea killing chemicals into the bloodstream of the dog should be
avoided, as should those applied monthly to the length of the dog's
spine or a spot on the base of the dog's neck (i.e., Rabon, Bayon,
ProSpot, Ex-Spot, etc.)
Products containing Pyrethrins are generally safe to use on
Greyhounds, and given their very short coat, flea combs are especially
effective. Other safe products are Rotenone and d-Limonene. The
Rotenone is often sold in the gardening sections of feed stores, but
it is organic and directions for treating pets for fleas are included
in the "approved uses". Several companies make d-Limonene dips, sprays
and shampoos. D-Limonene is derived from citrus fruits and is a fairly
safe organic pesticide. Additionally, the human shampoo Pert Plus
kills fleas on the dogs, although it has little or no residual effect.
Lather, wait a few minutes, and then rinse.
Care also needs to be taken when deworming a Greyhound, as they are
extremely sensitive to anything with an organophosphate base.
Some relatively safe choices for worming Greyhounds: For hookworm or
roundworm infestations: pyrantel pamoate. This is the active
ingredient in these non-prescription wormers: Evict, Nemex, Nemex2;
and in the prescription wormer Strongid-T. For tapeworm: Droncit
tablets. Droncit injections are also effective, but some dogs find
them very painful. For whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms: Panacur.
However, keep in mind that adverse reactions can happen with any
individual animal to any particular medication.
As with other deep chested breeds, Greyhounds are prone to bloat, or
torsion. Bloat is a life threating disease where the stomach flips
over. Immediate medical attention is required to avoid death.
Preventive measures include avoiding exercise just before and for an
hour or two after eating; avoiding ingestion of large amounts of water
immediately after eating dry kibble.
Symptoms include distended abdomen, repeated unproductive vomiting,
pacing and restlessness. It can kill quickly, an immediate trip to the
vet is in order. You may wish to discuss bloat with your vet, to set
up in advance what to do should it happen to your dog. Your vet may
also suggest other things you can do while driving to the vet's for
emergency care to improve your dog's chances for survival.
Considerations for the ex-racer
Because racing Greyhounds are kenneled with a large number of other
dogs in a highly transient population, you will probably have to make
sure your dog is checked for worms and tick-borne diseases such as
Ehrlichia and Babesia.
A greyhound in racing condition will probably lose muscle and put on
some extra fat once retired. While they should not become overweight,
few dogs remain at racing weight, often gaining about 5 pounds in
their retirement. This is to be expected.
It's not actually known whether Greyhounds are actually more
predisposed toward bone cancer than other breeds, but there are enough
anecdotal stories to warrant keeping an eye on your Greyhound for
this, especially a former racer. The first symptoms involve lameness
in the leg.
This is common in large dogs especially over bony prominences like
elbows. It is usually seen in dogs housed on hard flooring. A hygroma
is a fluid-filled bursa which forms to protect the skin from pressure
necrosis from the bone underneath. They can get inflamed or even
ulcerate. They tend to look more alarming than they are; your vet can
advise you of the best course to take.
Many Greyhounds appear to have low-normal levels of thyroid. Symptoms
of hypothyroidism include: hair loss (on rear and neck, usually
bilateral and typically through thinning), darkening or thekening of
the skin, and lethargy. Sometimes irritableness and/or wheezing are
indicators. Untreated, hypothyroidism can have serious long term
Barnes, J., ed. _Complete Book of Greyhounds_. Howell Book House,
Includes a good general overview of GH nutrition.
Blythe, L., Gannon, J., Craig, A.M. _Care of the Racing Greyhound_.
American Greyhound Council, 1994.
This is probably the most comprehensive, concise reference on GH
Branigan, Cynthia A. _Adopting the Racing Greyhound_. Howell Book
Invaluable for those who have adopted former racers, or who are
contemplating doing so.
Burnham, Patricia Gail. _Playtraining Your Dog_. St. Martins Press
This is not about Greyhounds _per se_. It is an obedience training
book written by a Greyhound breeder and all but two pages of the
many lovely illustrations are photographs of Greyhounds. It covers
basic obedience (AKC) through the Utility Dog exercises.
Clarke, H. Edwards. _The Greyhound_. Popular Dogs Publishing Co., Ltd.
Revised by Charles Blanning.
This has a little bit of everything - history of the breed,
coursing, racing, showing and kennel management. Though it is not
written with pet owners in mind, it has lots of interesting
Clarke, H. Edwards. _The Modern Greyhound_. London, Hutchinson's
Library of Sport and Pastimes.
Mostly coursing and racing stuff. An oldie but a goodie. Almost
every book by Clarke is an interesting read.
Genders, Roy. _The Encyclopaedia of Greyhound Racing: A Complete
History of the Sport_. London, Pelham Books, 1981.
Kohnke J. _Veterinary Advice for Greyhound Owners_. Ringpress, 1993.
This is in a Q&A format, mostly for working dogs.
Mueller, Georgiana. _How to Raise and Train a Greyhound_. TFH
This is one of those slender paperbacks of which two-thirds is
generic dog care information. However, the one-third which is
written by Ms. Mueller is good information and the photos are quite
The Gannon video from the NGA called : "Soundness Examination of the
An AKC video - "Greyhound"
_Celebrating Greyhounds: The Magazine_
Published quarterly by The Greyhound Project, Inc., Joan Dillon, PO
Box 173, Holbrook, MA 02343 Topics include information on behavior,
health and veterinary issues, legal issues, care and feeding, safety,
first aid, activities for you and your greyhound, crafts, events, book
and product information and reviews, ads for greyhound paraphernalia,
humor and stories of interest to greyhound lovers. _Greyhound Gazette_
Published by the CSRA Greyhound Adoption, 415 Brookside Drive,
Augusta, GA 30904-4597.
_Greyhound Network News_
Published by Joan Eidinger, PO Box 44272, Phoenix, AZ 85064-4272.
A quarterly newsletter of general information with state by state
and international news items.
Jeanette Steiner, Editor/Publisher, 936 Cornwall Ave., Waterloo, IA
Published bimonthly by and for people who love Greyhounds.
_National Greyhound Review_
National Greyhound Association, PO Box 543, Abilene, KS 67410.
Official publication of the NGA.
P.O. Box 30430, Santa Barbara, CA 93130; 805-966-7270
This lovely slick magazine deals not only with Greyhounds but with
all the Sighthound breeds. Mostly show-oriented.
There is a mailing list for those interested in Greyhounds. Send email
to firstname.lastname@example.org with no/any subject line and
subscribe greyhound-L yourfirstname yourlastname. Do not add your
email address. A digest version is avilable, please read the
information you get upon subscribing.
If you have access to the Web, there are several URL's of interest:
* This FAQ:
* Extensive Greyhound Information:
* _A Breed Apart_, a Web based newsletter
Breed Rescue Organizations
There are hundreds of adoption agencies across the U.S., Canada and
the U.K. Some are large, have 800 numbers and have agreements with
airlines. Some are small having maybe only two or three people
involved with the group. All depend on volunteers to make the program
Even if you cannot be actively and directly involved in Greyhound
adoption and rescue, you and your Greyhound can be an ambassador for
the rescue and adoption programs. Walking your dog in public can be
one of the simplest and most direct outreach programs to inform the
American public of the Greyhounds that need homes and letting the
public meet, often for the first time, a live Greyhound. Many
Americans have never met a Greyhound and are unaware of what wonderful
and loving pets they make. Knowing facts about Greyhounds, their
history and racing will make you a better ambassador for Greyhounds
and the rescue and adoption movement. Many adoption agencies can
always use a monetary donation. Some of the more well known ones
follow; a more complete list can be obtained via email request to
Lynda Adame (email@example.com).
_Greyhound Pets of America_
167 Saddle Hill Road
Hopkinton, MA 01748
_Greyhound Club of America Greyhound Rescue_
4280 Carpenteria Ave.
Carpenteria, CA 93013
_National Greyhound Adoption Network_
Friends for Life and Northern California Sighthound Rescue
Five Ranch Road
Woodside, CA 94062
REGAP of Waterloo and Greyhound Rescue and Adoption
P.O. Box 7044
Villa Park, IL 60181
REGAP of Waterloo
All Pets Animal Clinic
3257 West 4th Street
Waterloo IA 50701
NORTH AND SOUTHEASTERN COORDINATOR
Make Peace With Animals
P.O. Box 488
New Hope, PA 18938
In the UK: _National Rescue for Homeless Greyhounds_
7a Beaverbrook Avenue
Warrington WA3 5HT
Tel: (01925) 765337
Contact the Greyhound Club of America for the addresses of local clubs
in your area to find breeders. Keep in mind very few such litters are
bred per year.
_National Greyhound Association_ (racing organization and registry)
PO Box 543
Abilene, KS 67410
_Greyhound Club of America_ (for AKC-registered Greyhounds)
227 Hattertown Road
Newtown, CT 06470
949 Springfield Road
Columbiana, Oh 44408
$25/year, free to GCA members.
Lynda Adame ( firstname.lastname@example.org) keeps an extensive list of
resources and information for the person interested in Greyhounds and
in Greyhound rescue.
Cindy Tittle Moore, email@example.com