By Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian)Dr. Sergey Uhanov Last updated: 21st March 2024



Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian) Dr. Sergey Uhanov
Last updated: 21st March 2024

The fastest dog breed, the Greyhound is a strong, docile, loving, and faithful companion. Its distinctive S-curved body, long angular face, and smooth, shiny coat give it a regal appearance loved by enthusiasts all over. Its narrow head gives it 270-degree vision, unique to this breed, and perfect for long-distance coursing. Despite its sporting history, this is a leisurely dog, content to lie all day on the couch beside its owner.

This ancient breed likely gets its name from the Old English “greghund.” “Hund” is an earlier form of the word “hound,” but the meaning of “greg” is unknown. Historians believe the color of its coat may relate to its name, with gray being a popular color in the past.

Greyhound Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesEnglish Greyhound
CoatSmooth, fine, and short
ColorBlack, fawn, brindle, red-brown, white, blue-gray, or gray
Breed typePurebred
Group Hound
Life expectancy10-13 years
HeightMale – 28 – 30 inches
Female – 27 – 28 inches
WeightMale – 65 – 70 pounds
Female – 60 – 65 pounds
Litter Size1-12 puppies
Behavioral Characteristics Affectionate, intelligent, athletic, calm, and gentle
Good with children Yes
Barking Tendency Low; they are usually quiet unless threatened or suspicious of strangers
Climate compatibilityLow: The short coat and low fat content make it unsuitable for extreme heat or cold
Apartment compatibilityHigh
Do they shedThey shed very little
Are they hypoallergenicNo
TrainabilityModerate; they are sensitive and need gentleness
How much do they cost$800 – $4,000
Competitive Registration Qualification/InformationAKC, UKC, FCI, RKC
CountryAncient Egypt

History and Origin

Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds, with evidence dating back nearly 5,000 years. The earliest mention was in the Tomb of Amten, belonging to the Fourth Dynasty between 2,900-2751 B.C. First developed in Ancient Egypt from sighthounds, these dogs were used to hunt and course fast and agile prey such as hares and foxes. Gradually, this breed spread to the Roman and Greek Empires and reached the rest of Europe during the Dark Ages. They were prized for their incredible speed, running forty miles per hour, the fastest of any land animal after the Cheetah. Due to this, Greyhound racing developed as a sport practiced all over Europe for many centuries. They have been part of aristocracy and culture since their inception, featuring in numerous artworks such as those by Veronese and Desportes and contemporary literature by stalwarts like William Shakespeare.

British colonists and Spanish conquistadors brought them to the Americas, using them to hunt coyotes and jackrabbits in open prairies and deserts. The AKC first added this breed in 1885, with the first coursing race in 1886. Greyhound racing also became extremely popular in America in the 1920s, with thousands of dogs being exploited and abused by their race owners. It is banned in most states, and most pet Greyhounds are retired racing dogs.

Temperament and Personality

Greyhounds are friendly, docile, and quiet. They are great with children and make ideal family dogs. They do well with other dogs which are non-aggressive. However, be careful around smaller animals, as their coursing instincts might make them give chase. Unlike their hunting origins, they are great apartment pets, happy to laze around, and do not require much activity. Despite their large size and muscular build, their timid nature prevents them from being good watchdogs or guard dogs.

They are sensitive, and leaving them alone can cause social anxiety. Their independence can make them appear aloof, but they warm up quickly to strangers. The best environment for them is a calm and quiet house with plenty of space for lying around.



This breed is bred for sprinting, prone to short bursts of energy between lounging around on the sofa all day. Moderate exercise for an hour, including thirty-minute walks daily, is adequate. You must allow them to run around regularly despite their laziness for proper health. They are great at activities like agility, scent work, lure coursing, and chasing a tennis ball and make great jogging partners. Their intelligence and docile temperament make them excellent candidates to be trained as service dogs for physically disabled people, providing mobility assistance.


Their short, sleek coats do not shed much. Regular brushing and weekly rubs with a hound glove or damp cloth are enough to keep them neat and clean. You must check their ears regularly for wax build-up or infection and brush their teeth often to prevent plaque accumulation. They have fast-growing nails, so ensure you trim them on time, as long nails can be uncomfortable.

Health Concerns

Greyhounds are generally healthy but can be susceptible to health problems like GDV or bloat, hypothyroidism, neuropathy, hip dysplasia, cardiac issues, eye conditions, and osteosarcoma, a type of cancer. They are also sensitive to barbiturate anesthesia since their livers cannot fully metabolize them. Also, avoid pesticides containing pyrethrin for flea collars and treatments to prevent sensitivity.


This breed requires a calorie and protein-rich diet. The recommended amount is two-and-a-half to four cups daily of good quality dog food for males and one-and-a-half to three cups for females. Divide this into two meals to prevent overeating. Up to five pounds of weight gain is standard after retiring from racing. Still, you must closely monitor your pet’s weight and consult your veterinarian while making its diet plan.


Greyhounds are sensitive and respond well to gentle and calm owners. Their hunting pedigree makes them independent thinkers, and an owner who understands this and trains them accordingly will have a well-adjusted, quiet, and well-mannered dog.

Socialization: Early socialization is vital to help your pet adjust to children and other animals. Enrolling it in puppy kindergarten, taking it to pet-friendly spaces, and inviting people and other pets into your home are great for polishing social skills. It is easy to housetrain. Crate training is advised, and you should stick to a schedule for going to the bathroom.

Provide plenty of play and exercise and keep training sessions short to prevent boredom. Its intelligence and independence can make it stubborn. The best training is done with positive encouragement, praise, and rewards.

Obedience: Its high speed makes it challenging to keep up with, so teach it a recall command if it goes running after prey. It might have problems with the “sit” command. Instead, it balances on its tail.

Leash: Always keep your Greyhound leashed while outside, as its strong prey drive will make it disregard instructions and give chase. Off-leash play is allowed in a small enclosed yard, but ensure the fence is high enough to prevent jumping over it.

Interesting Facts

  • It is the only dog mentioned in the Bible, in Proverbs 30:29-31.
  • Greyhound Buses are named after them after one of the drivers told the Greyhound Bus company founder, Carl Eric Wickman, that the gray buses looked like the dog.
  • Many historically influential people owned this breed, including Queen Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, Prince Albert, and General Custer.
  • It even appeared in “The Simpsons” as the character “Santa’s Little Helper.”


1. What is the difference between a Greyhound and a Whippet?

Whippets are a more miniature version of the Greyhound. The Whippet was bred from Greyhounds in England, and thus, they have a lot of similar features, such as long, narrow heads, slender bodies, and large, round eyes.

2. How does a Greyhound differ from a Borzoi?

The most significant difference is that the Borzoi has a long double coat requiring much more grooming. Otherwise, they have similar characteristics, like thin bodies and slender snouts.

3. How is a Greyhound different from a Galgo?

The major difference lies in their build. Greyhounds are typically larger and have a lighter body to allow for racing. Galgos, on the other hand, are meant to be long-distance runners, thus having a heavier, sturdier build with longer bodies.

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