Dog Breed Profile: Health and Fitness Tips for Greyhounds
Greyhounds are one of the oldest purebred dogs that can be dated all the way back to Ancient Egypt where they were considered as Gods and strictly only owned by royals. A fascinating history to say the least, Greyhounds are also the only dog breed to be mentioned by name in the bible in Proverbs 30:29-31, how interesting is that?
Since then, their long legs and narrow, elegant physique were recognised as dogs capable of racing in the late 1800s, where Greyhound Racing became a popular competitive sport. The fastest dog breed in the world that can reach a top speed of 45 miles per hour, Greyhounds are handsome, gentle and lovable dogs who often present a wonderful, goofy personality.
Very adaptable dogs, Greyhounds are gentle with children and very affectionate towards their family. Their racing and hunting years have given many people the impression that they are aggressive breeds, but they are far from it! They are especially kind natured and gentle in everything they do, even when racing around in the back garden!
Size & Colour
Medium sized dogs, Greyhounds typically weigh between 60-80 pounds for both male and females and are generally 25-29 inches tall. They have an athletic, slim-like appearance with an arched back and a deep chest.
Typical base colours of Greyhounds include black, white, fawn, red and blue. They can often present a brindle pattern (stripy) of many different shades including the colours noted above. Common combinations include;
- Black and White
- Red and White
- Light Brindle
- Red Fawn
- Blue Brindle
- White & Brindle
- Fawn Brindle
Interestingly, when Greyhounds are born, they often don’t resemble the colour they will grow into. Many dog owners have been surprised to notice that their Greyhound puppy has changed colour since they got them a couple of months ago. As Greyhounds age, they can also present a beautiful grey mask on their face, resembling the golden years they have ahead.
Not the fluffiest dog breed out there, Greyhounds have a very short, dense, smooth coat that is very easy to maintain. Majestic, gorgeous breeds, Greyhounds however don’t have a double layered coat that you typically see with other breeds. They have a single layer coat which is not very good at keeping them warm.
Their short fur and single layered coat means that Greyhounds are not outdoor pets because they are unable to self regulate their body temperature, especially when outdoors.
In the winter months, Greyhounds will always benefit from a coat to protect them from the cold. The best Greyhound coats are ones that are waterproof, windproof and warm-fleece lined to protect them from all sorts the weather may bring.
A short, dense coat that sheds a low to moderate rate means that Greyhounds need very little grooming. However, they will benefit from a short, daily brush with a soft brush or grooming mitt to prevent shedding and to keep their coats looking glossy and healthy. Adding Cold Pressed Salmon Oil to your Greyhound’s food will also help to keep their coats happy and healthy. The naturally occurring omega 3 and 6 does natural wonders to a dog’s coat.
Often described as ‘odorless’ breeds because of their short coat that presents very little oil, Greyhounds will only need a bath when necessary. Generally you should aim for once every month and a half, but some lighter coloured Greyhounds may need more because dirt can appear on their coat more easily.
Grooming of a Greyhound should also include basic dental hygiene - brushing their teeth once or twice a week to prevent tartar build-up. You should also trim their nails regularly. Greyhounds do not cope well with long nails that are painful which makes it difficult for them to walk and they can often slip on wooden floors.
An athletic dog, , Greyhounds love to run! They should always have the option to explore in the garden but make sure it’s secure because Greyhounds are known for chasing after small animals. It is also advised that they should be kept on a leash when walking because they are prey driven. However, when you they are in an enclosed space, they should be let off to run around.
To keep your Greyhound fit and healthy, they require a moderate amount of daily exercise of an hour a day. Rather than one long 1 hour walk, Greyhounds will benefit from a brisk, 20 minute walk with a 40 minute comfortable walk that includes bursts of running and chasing. They love chasing balls so make sure you have a stock of dog balls laying around.
While Greyhounds are known for being slim, fast dogs, they are surprisingly not usually hyperactive or overly energetic. After their two walks, you will often find a Greyhound sleeping on the sofa and relaxing all day. Mental stimulation and fun games will also make your Greyhound happy and satisfied throughout the day. While all dogs are different and have unique personalities, Greyhounds are not typically tough chewers but would rather a plush toy to cuddle up with after a long day.
Typical life expectancy of a Greyhound is between 10-13 years and while they are generally a very healthy breed they can present some health issues throughout their years. Common health issues of a Greyhound include Hip Dysplasia which can lead to arthritis, and Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Gas & Bloating which can lead to stomach torsion). Two such issues that can surface at an early age due to their rapid growth rate.
Other health issues of a Greyhound also includes Osteosarcoma which is an aggressive type of bone cancer and heart problems since they have a large heart in relation to their size. If you are adopting a retired racer, then some can present problems with their bones and joints in later years.
You should always ensure you are getting a Greyhound from a responsible dog breeder, which makes it less likely for them to inherit health conditions.
Would You Suit a Greyhound?
A gentle and patient demeanor, Greyhounds are wonderful, grateful breeds who will make your day with their goofy, lovable persona. While Greyhounds are not aggressive dogs, they can be sensitive to strangers, door bells and noises. Always be careful not to over exercise your Greyhound - just because they are an athletic breed this doesn't mean they require an extensive amount of exercise.
Very intelligent breeds, Greyhounds are easy to train with reward-based training. Sweet-natured than most might expect, Greyhounds have often been described as cat-like since they are more than happy to sleep all day after their daily walks. No matter their size, they will always offer plenty of cuddles to their owner!
Do you think a Greyhound will suit your lifestyle? Even if you are adopting a retired racer, Greyhounds are beautiful, kind hearted breeds who will always make you smile. Want to know more about dog breeds? Check out our previous Breed Profile on the Cavapoo.