Greyhound 101 – The Basics
It really doesn’t matter whether you’ve seen a greyhound in the flesh or not, you probably know exactly what this fine breed looks like. The iconic hound is famous for their aerodynamic build, which epitomizes speed, as well as for their narrow head, long legs, and an incredibly muscular rear end.
We’ve all seen the breed in commercials and movies, but few people truly know the nature of the greyhound. Their quiet dignity and independence are remarkable, which is why they are often compared to cats. As soon as they go out of the puppy stage, greyhounds become calm and quiet, moving lightly and gracefully like a shadow. The greyhound might very well be the last breed you would expect to topple your lamps or behave as couch potatoes.
Even though they need a safe, enclosed area in which they are allowed to sprint all-out a couple of times a week, they are built for speed rather than endurance. This means that they don’t really require that much exercise. What the greyhound is most famous for is the fact that they are the fastest breed in the world. How fast, you wonder? They can outrun a horse in a sprint, and a horse can sprint pretty darn fast. However, unlike horses, they explode into their powerful driving gallops for a short time, and will be content to sleep for the rest of the day.
Greyhounds are a sensitive breed and they won’t take too kindly to harsh words or treatment. In fact, they will react very badly. So, mind your tone and approach when you interact with them – they prefer peace and quiet, as well as soft-spoken owners. They don’t do well in environments with frequent tension or loud noises. While they are friendly toward other dogs, greyhounds are politely reserved with strangers. They prefer leaning against their owner’s leg rather than approaching people they don’t know.
Be on the lookout for smaller dogs and cats when you take your greyhound for a walk. Their natural instinct will order them to chase anything smaller than them, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since they were primarily used as hunting dogs for small game. If you acquire your greyhound from a Rescue League, a society that specializes in the adoptions of ex-racing dogs, your dog will have been carefully prepared for life with cats.
Greyhounds are the epitome of nonaggressiveness, and they will probably freeze when challenged or attacked. They are also touch-sensitive, reacting with fear when touched unexpectedly. Docile as they are, they have to be trained with a very light hand and much more praise than correction.
People looking for a quiet dog would do well to adopt a greyhound since they don’t bark very often. What they take delight in, however, is stealing and hoarding food and toys, a harmless habit that will do them great good and won’t cause too much of a hassle for you.
If you want to adopt a greyhound, there are a couple of things you have to take into account. The first thing is that even though greyhounds don’t need to run for miles every day, they MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy. Otherwise, they will become restless and bored, which will result in unwanted behavior.
Greyhounds need access to a large fenced area. It has to be fenced because they are independent dogs that like to explore their surroundings. If you happen to have a dog club in your area, get your pooch involved in lure coursing – this is an appropriate outlet for the full-speed galloping behaviors that are “hardwired” into their genes.
We already mentioned that greyhounds tend to chase other, smaller animals, but you really need to pay special attention to this type of behavior. Most people do not realize just how fast and agile they are, or how strong their instincts to chase and seize fleeing creatures are.
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