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Greyhound head portrait outdoors.
Ekaterina Krivtsova/Shutterstock

Best known for their lightning-fast speed, Greyhounds are independent, gentle, and noble dogs. Recognized as a breed by the AKC in 1885, these sighthounds need plenty of exercise but are also happy to lounge around the house with their families. 

The more you know about the Greyhound, the easier it is to appreciate their speed and intensity.  Lovers of the breed appreciate all of these traits and know that when treated with kindness and care, the Greyhound will be the sweetest of lifelong companions.

Greyhounds Were Used for Thousands of Years to Chase Game

The Greyhound is a perfect example of form following function. This ancient breed was used for thousands of years to chase (course) game for long distances over a variety of terrains. They’re sleek, powerful, and well-muscled. They have a long, aerodynamic skull, and the pads on their feet act as shock absorbers.

Greyhound running in a field.
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They’re Considered the Fastest Dog Breed 

The Greyhound is a sighthound, which means they chase game based on their sight instead of by scent. They’re known for their agility, endurance, and extraordinary speed. Naturally, Greyhounds excel at lure coursing. Their natural instincts kick in, and they’re as enthusiastic chasing an artificial lure as they are chasing live prey. 

Greyhounds Have an Incredible Prey Drive 

An important attribute for sighthounds like Greyhounds is the ability to hunt independently. They may be miles ahead of the hunter and must be able to course without interruption. The flip side of this is that training can be a challenge. Be patient and consistent, and try to maintain a sense of humor. 

They Can Be a Gentle and Sweet-Tempered Companion 

There’s an entirely different side to this magnificent breed. When they’re not hunting or running for the sheer joy of it, Greyhounds are gentle and docile. They’re social and can be enormously charming. There’s something almost catlike in their grace, elegance, and touch of aloofness. 

Greyhound laying down on a dog bed outdoors.
©everydoghasastory -

Greyhounds Are Happy to Stretch Out on the Sofa, Too 

Despite their athleticism and speed, the Greyhound can spend a lot of time lounging around or napping. He doesn’t need to be in constant motion like terriers, for example. However, they’re more likely to be interested in watching you go about your day from a distance rather than climbing up into your lap. Think of it as if they’re saving up their energy for the next great run. 

Cheetahs Are the Only Land Mammal Faster Than a Greyhound 

In addition to being the fastest dog breed, Greyhounds are one of the fastest animals, period. In fact, Greyhounds have been clocked at more than 35 miles per hour, with the world record sitting at 41.83 miles per hour. In comparison, Cheetahs can run an average speed of 40 miles per hour, with a top recorded speed of 64.3 miles per hour. 

They Barely Touch the Ground When Running 

From their narrow, aerodynamic heads to their narrow, hare-like feet, Greyhounds are perfectly constructed for high-speed pursuit. When they’re running, they can spend up to 75% of the time in the air.

Greyhound head portrait outdoors.
Ekaterina Krivtsova/Shutterstock

Greyhounds Typically Need Higher Calories Than Some Dogs 

With all that running, Greyhounds typically burn more calories than more sedentary breeds. Like all dogs, it’s important that they eat a high-quality dog food appropriate to their age. 

They’ve Been Depicted in Art Through Many Centuries 

The first knowledge of the Greyhound comes from the Tomb of Amten in the Nile Valley, dated between 2900 and 2751 B.C. In the thousands of years since, Greyhounds have been an object of fascination for artists, poets, and royalty. The breed has been depicted on Greek vases, Flemish tapestries, and in Italian paintings.

Greyhounds Can Be Very Affectionate

While they’re best known for their independent spirit, the Greyhound’s mild and sensitive personality makes them a great companion. These sighthounds are very affectionate with their families, though they tend to be reserved with strangers. 

Related article: The Skinny on Sighthounds: Understanding Sighthound Size
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