Greyhound Breed Profile

Lifespan

  • 10 to 12 years

Size

  • Males weigh between 30 to 40 kg and stand 65 to 75 cm at the shoulder.
  • Females weigh between 25 to 35 kg and stand 60 to 70 cm at the shoulder.

Characteristics

  • They come in a huge variety of colours and colour combinations.
  • Greyhounds have thin skin, a light coat and little body fat. This means they don’t cope well with temperature extremes.
  • They have a long neck and head, small ears usually folded back but erect when attentive.
  • The back is long and muscular with an arch over the loin, deep chest and narrow waist giving the greyhound its distinctive silhouette.
  • Their legs are long and powerful and their feet have well knuckled toes.
  • Greyhound tails are long and curved and are usually kept down.


Temperament

  • Gentle, affectionate, trusting, intelligent, good natured and friendly.
  • Having been bred to hunt, race and live together without fighting, they are generally well socialised with other large dogs but need to be assessed for sociability with small dogs (particularly fluffy ones) due to instinct and training.
  • Some greyhounds are cat tolerant and can live harmoniously with other animals.
  • They do not make good guard dogs as they tend not to bark much and don’t get overly protective of property.

Grooming

  • Greyhounds are very clean dogs and are almost cat-like in their grooming routine.
  • They have very little odour, shed little and only need to be bathed occasionally.
  • Having no undercoat, greyhounds are less likely to trigger people's dog allergies than other breeds with more hair.

Exercise

  • Greyhounds are sprinters and exert great bursts of speed over short distances. They tire very quickly and are not suited to pursuits that require endurance.
  • They are the second fastest land animal on the planet (behind the Cheetah) and can run at speeds of up to 65-70 km per hour.
  • Greyhounds have a unique double suspension gallop, more cat-like than dog or horse-like. This means there are two periods when all four feet are off the ground. This gait assists speed.

  • In pet life they require no more exercise than any other breed of dog and short daily walks will keep them healthy.
  • They are generally very lazy and like to sleep up to 20 hours a day if given the chance – they need to conserve their energy for that explosive rush of speed that pet greyhound owners like to call "zoomies"!

Physiology

  • Greyhounds have a larger heart and higher blood pressure than other breeds of dog.
  • Their blood is extra rich in oxygen carrying red blood cells and they have about 4% more blood than other dogs. The special qualities of their blood makes greyhounds highly valued as canine blood donors.
  • Their body weight is made up of 16% fat which is less than half the amount of other dog breeds of similar size.
  • The high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibres in their bodies aids speed, not endurance.
  • Greyhounds run and hunt using their sight (60%), sense of smell (20%) and hearing (20%). Other dogs use their senses differently depending on what they were bred to do.

Health

  • Due to centuries of selective breeding, greyhounds have very few inherited health conditions.
  • The most common breed ailments are digestion related and they can be prone to some forms of bone cancer.
  • Some greyhounds can be fussy eaters and they are generally not prone to overeating and becoming overweight.
  • They can have sensitivity to certain drugs (including some flea treatments) and anaesthetics.
  • A pet greyhound is generally slightly heavier and not as well muscled as a racing dog.