Meet the Breed: The Greyhound



  • Height: 27"- 30”
  • Weight: 60-80 pounds, though some reach up 90-100 pounds
  • Historical function: Hunting, sighting, coursing, racing
  • Modern function: racing, companion
  • AKC classification: Hound

Physical Characteristics:

The Greyhound is a tall, slender dog designed for speed. The anatomy of the Greyhound enables this dog to run at speeds over 40 MPH. This includes a light yet muscular build, a flexible spine, and a large heart. The chest is deep. The front legs are long and straight. The head and muzzle are narrow. The ears are small and held close to the head. The short coat is easy to groom and comes in a wide variety of colors.

History of the Breed:

The Greyhound is an ancient breed, and similar-looking sighthounds were depicted in Egyptian tombs as early as 2900 B.C. Greyhounds were used to hunt hare, rabbits, deer, fox, and wild boar with great stamina. They were used especially in the sport of hare coursing, where the dogs would chase after the animal using their sense of sight and not smell. This tradition mostly gave way to the sport of Greyhound racing, where an artificial hare circles the track until the finish line. This has become a gambling sport similar to horse racing. There has been concern over the sport as non-winning dogs would be euthanized in great numbers, but now there are several adoption programs designed to rehome retired racers that have reduced the numbers of animals killed.


The Greyhound is a docile, good-natured dog that is rather sensitive to tone of voice, therefore these dogs do best with calm, confident leadership. They don't often bark and are quite mellow companions and make excellent apartment pets, more so than smaller, yappy dogs. They need to be securely fenced to prevent them from chasing prey but appreciate a large safe area where they can race as they were designed to do. Do this with caution as they have no sense for cars when sighting a target. They may have to be taught to leave cats alone due to their prey drive. These dogs are often crate trained and used to being inactive for as many as 18 hours a day.

  • Best suited for: Families with gentle children, apartment dwellers.
  • Preferred living conditions: This breed doesn't tolerate cold temperatures. Prefers a routine. Enjoys a peaceful home. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care short coat sheds moderately. Brush and dry shampoo as needed.
  • Exercise needs: Long daily walk as well as the opportunity to run free in a safe area.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to bloat. Feed small meals instead of one large one. Also prone to hypothyroidism. Discuss this breed's sensitivity to drugs and insecticides with your vet.

Breed Club Links: Greyhound Club of America. Also check out Adopt a to learn more about giving a retired racer a home. Perfect Pairings: We recommend Fido Fleece to keep your Greyhound warm!

Have any stories about a Greyhound? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Liza31337.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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