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Amazing Greyhound Facts – Racing Dog Or Couch Potato?

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Here is a fun Greyhound fact. The Greyhound dog breed is both the fastest and the calmest dog in the world. How is that for irony? Right? We can begin telling the story of the Greyhound by revealing the biggest misconception about the breed. A lot of people think this racing dog is hyperactive and wants to run all day long. Wrong. These puppies love sleeping all day long.

What are some other amazing Greyhound facts you need to know? The puppy is one of the gentlest dog breeds in the canine world. Their inherently gentle demeanor makes them an ideal companion for children, other animals, and even cats.

Aggression has been eliminated from the breed. Bred to run and hunt in groups and with other dogs, they have not an ounce of aggressiveness and can function alongside other animals.

Breed ID

Origin: Ancient Egypt

Size: 28 to 30 inches

Weight: 65 to 70 pounds

Lifespan: 10 to 13 years

Group: Hound breeds


Breed Overview

Originally bred as hunting dogs to chase hare, foxes, and deer, they were always able to run fast. Sighthound breeds can reach between 35 and 45 miles per hour, making them the Ferrari of the canine world.

Greyhounds began as hunting dogs, but they made a name for themselves as part of racing dog breeds. The downside is that after their retirement from racing, a lot of them end up in shelters. And the sad part is that a retired racing Greyhound might be just four or five years old.

Nowadays, the dog also participates in other dog sports, including lure coursing, obedience, and agility. What makes them amazing family pets is their gentle demeanor, but also their grace and speed. People of all ages love them for their sweet and mild nature.

Contrary to the popular belief that they love racing, Greyhounds are couch potatoes. They are quite sensitive to weather and loneliness. This is not a dog you can leave at home for hours.

Instead, they crave companionship. Greyhounds are among the most sensitive dogs to separation anxiety.

History of the Breed

Nowadays, a lot of people associate the Greyhound breed with racing, athleticism, and speed. But that has not always been the case. Here are some fun Greyhound facts. Did you know the Greyhound is one of the oldest purebred domesticated breeds in the world? Their history dates back to Ancient Egypt and pharaohs.

Sighthound breeds of today are descendants of the ancient breed. Back in the day, Greyhounds were revered as gods, and only royalty was allowed to own them. You can see it nowadays as well. The breed is incredibly regal, and they demand and command attention, respect, and adoration from owners.

Greyhounds also appear in both Greek and Roman mythology. They are also mentioned in the Bible, making them the only modern dog breed to be mentioned there.

During the Dark Ages, they were saved by priests who bred them for noblemen. This was up until 1700 when to be a Greyhound owner, you had to be of nobility. Historical figures owned Greyhounds as well, including Christopher Columbus and Queen Elizabeth I.

As for the purebred modern fastest dog breed, the Greyhound can trace its lineage to King Cob, a dog that appeared in England in 1839.


When you look at Greyhounds, the first thing you notice is these noble dogs are big, skinny, and athletic. Males reach between 28 to 30 inches in height, all while weighing between 60 to 80 lbs. They have a very short coat, one that is easy to maintain. Greyhounds have a single coat, meaning they do not shed as much. Most sighthound dogs resemble the Greyhound.

But that comes with a downside. They are susceptible to weather. This is why you will see a lot of Greyhounds wearing jackets and sweaters in the winter.

Speaking of their fur, they are a dog breed with an extremely wide range of colors. There are approximately 30 recognized colors by The American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. Those include black, black brindle, red, white, red fawn, blue, white and blue, white and black, white and red, gray, and many more.

Here is another fun fact. These dogs are dolichocephalic, meaning their skull is relatively long in comparison to its breadth and they have an elongated muzzle.

Their build is large and muscular, displaying a strong-looking dog with a clear symmetry to its body. The neck is relatively long and slightly arched, which results in well-angled shoulders. Their chest is exceptionally deep, providing plenty of space for the heart and lungs, resulting in a deep rib cage. This is one of the reasons they can run as fast. Greyhounds have a higher oxygen capacity than most dogs.

Their front legs are long with upright, straight, and strong bones. Their skull, as we said before, is longer than it is wide, and comes with an elongated muzzle and powerful jaw.

When you look at their body, it is not surprising Greyhounds have a low, free gait, covering a large amount of ground with each stride. They also have a flexible spine, allowing the dog to gallop at full speed.



As we said before, the temperament of Greyhounds is often misunderstood. Most people think of a highly active dog when they think of Greyhounds. But that is not the case. These puppies are extremely calm. They have a wonderful temperament, praised for being friendly and non-aggressive.

Intelligent and independent, a Greyhound owner might tell you his dog is catlike in many ways. They do have a sensitive side and will react quickly to tensions in the home. When not treated properly, they can become shy or timid.

Of course, there are plenty of factors that can contribute to the temperament of the dog. The first one is genetics, one you cannot affect. But then training and socialization are something you can impact. Try to meet at least one of the parents before adopting a dog.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some general Greyhound personality traits:

  • Typically gentle and affectionate dog with a calm and quiet demeanor
  • Can exhibit a certain level of independence
  • While they crave companionship and enjoy spending time with their owners, Greyhounds appreciate having personal space
  • Can be reserved or aloof with strangers and take some time to warm up to new people. That is because of their sensitive side
  • As we said before, they are sensitive dogs that do not react well to changes. Greyhounds are prone to stress and anxiety in chaotic environments
  • Often described as having a good-natured temperament, they are friendly with other animals
  • They have zero aggression in them and are praised for their docile nature
  • While they can bark sometimes, they are not barkers


This might come as a surprise after everything we said about the fastest breed in the world. Greyhounds do not have a reputation for being easy to train.

You might think that a dog that craves companionship and has a gentle and docile temperament will be easy to train. But their overwhelming instinct to chase things might make obedience training a bit more challenging.

You also have to pay attention to their sensitive side. These dogs are anxious and stressed. Proper socialization will help.

The good news is that Greyhounds will do almost anything for a treat. They are visual beings and love to see things before they sniff them.

So, bring plenty of treats and some toys that will cater to their instinct to chase. While they are known for chasing small animals, their gentle nature makes them able to live in households with cats and smaller dogs.

Exercise Needs

As we said before, a common misconception regarding the fastest dog breed is that Greyhounds are hyperactive. But that is not the case with an active racer or a retired racer. Greyhounds love to live comfortably as apartment dogs and do not need a lot of space.

They tend to sleep between 18 and 20 hours per day, leaving little to no time for playing and exercise. One reason why we often suggest them as perfect dogs for seniors is their calm nature and low exercise needs.

While they are active, they enjoy sharp bursts, not prolonged sessions. Generally speaking, walking them two times per day for 20 minutes is more than enough.

Remember, they have a laid-back and lazy character. Greyhounds can easily adapt to living in a city and apartment.



Considered one of the healthiest dog breeds, Greyhounds are also prone to some diseases.

Now, it is important to note that not all dogs will get these diseases. But you should be aware of the potential health risks and issues with your Greyhound puppy. Their legs suffer often, so if possible, try to get health clearance from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and similar conditions.

That being said, here are some common Greyhound risks:

  • Hypothyroidism, a low level of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland, often resulting in obesity or lethargy. Greyhounds love to sleep, but if you notice signs of obesity, talk to your vet
  • Hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are common because of their history of running. Often, racers overrun and overexercise these dogs. And then when they are not useful, they throw them in shelters
  • Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone cancer that affects giant breeds. While the Greyhound is not a giant breed, it is quite large
  • Gastric torsion, or bloat, caused by sudden influx of gas and air in the stomach


As we said before, the Greyhound has a short coat. Their single coat requires little to no maintenance. They shed minimally. Brushing them once per week is more than enough. Sometimes, you can do with once per two weeks.

Because they have a single coat, they do not have blowout sessions two times per day.

Just remember, their single coat is sensitive to low temperatures. So, make sure to dress your Greyhound puppy during the winter.

Fun Greyhound Facts

  • They are the only breed of dog specifically mentioned in the Bible
  • Greyhounds are the fastest breed and the second fastest animal behind the cheetah
  • When they sleep, they often do it with their eyes open
  • Santa’s Little Helper from The Simpsons is one of the most famous Greyhounds
  • The American Kennel Club recognizes 18 primary colors and 55 different color combinations
  • They wear muzzles while racing to protect themselves from injuring
  • Most greyhounds are physically unable to sit
  • They have significantly more red blood cells and a bigger heart and lungs than any other dog breed
  • They have a universal blood type, allowing them to be used for blood donors
  • Greyhounds have stereoscopic vision, meaning they can see moving objects
  • They can see 270 degrees around them, a half a mile in front of them and behind them
  • They use their tail like a rudder while racing
  • The breed is specifically mentioned in 11 of Shakespeare’s plays
  • During a 30 seconds race, Greyhounds produce 100,000 watts of waste heat energy. That is enough to bring 600 ml of tap water to boil in 2 minutes
  • They burn 3.75 calories per pound of body weight when running. Some say they lose up to 5 pounds in a single race
  • When they run, they spend 75% of their time in the air
  • Cinderella May, holds the Guinness World Record for the highest jump by a dog, clearing 68 inches
  • The fastest recorded time of a Greyhound was Fanta, who topped at 50.5 miles per hour in 2013. Compare that to Usain Bolt, the fastest human, who has reached a top speed of 27.8 miles per hour
  • India has some breeds that are closely related to the modern Greyhound, called Combai or Kombai, Kanni, Mudhol Hound, Rampur Greyhound, and more


Celebrity Greyhound Owners

As we said in the beginning, back in the day, only nobility were allowed to have Greyhounds. They have captivated the hearts of some iconic people like Christopher Columbus, General George Custer, Cleopatra, and more. At least four US Presidents have owned a Greyhound, including George Washington, John Tyler, Woodrow Wilson, and Rutherford B. Hayes.

  • George Washington, the 1st President of the United States, named his dog Cornwallis, after General Cornwallis, one of the top generals during the American Revolutionary War
  • Some mythical and historic characters that are mentioned to have owned a Greyhound include Cleopatra, Odysseus, Pharaoh Amenhotep II, Pharaoh Tutankhamen, Queen Hatshepsut, Alexander the Great, King Canute, Elizabeth I, Louis XV of France, Prince Albert, and more
  • Prince Philip owned the winner of the 1968 Greyhound Derby
  • Al Capone, the famous American gangster, also owned a Greyhound
  • Some of the celebrity sports figures owners include Babe Ruth, Gale Sayers, Gary Dornhoefer, Jack Dempsey, LaTroy Hawkins, Steve Stone, Tony Stewart, and more
  • Actors and musicians who have owned a Greyhound include Betty White, Billy the Kid, Bo Derek, Brad Pitt, Cesar Milan, Charlie Watts, Charlotte Cornwell, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Jeanette Walls, J.K. Rowling, John Barrymore, Matt Groening, Maxine Feldman, Tea Leoni, and more

The Greyhound Bus Company

When we talk about the popularity and celebrity status of Greyhounds, we also have to mention the Greyhound Bus Company. Selling affordable bus tickets across the United States and Canada, the company decided to rebrand in 1957.

For that purpose, they wanted to use a real Greyhound as its mascot. They chose a three-month-old puppy, dubbed Lady Greyhound. She wore a rhinestone collar and tiara and made her first appearance in a commercial airing on the Steve Allen Show.

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