We thought we would do a Thursday Thirteen on the greyhound breed this week, so here we go.
- Greyhounds are the oldest know breed of dog, and we are the only breed mentioned by name in the Bible (Proverbs 30:29-31, King James Version). The breed is about 4000 years old.
- The Arabs so admired the physical attributes and speed of the greyhound that it was the only dog permitted to share their tents and ride atop their camels. In early Arabian culture, the birth of a greyhound ranked second only in importance to the birth of a son.
- The greyhound arrived in England about 3500 years ago, and in the 11th century, it was declared that only nobility could own one. This law was in effect for over 5 centuries.
- Greyhounds can run at a speed of up to 45 mph. By our third stride, we are going full speed.
- The greyhounds that race now are bred to be sprinters. We have short, quick bursts of speed, but we also tire out very quickly.
- Racing greyhounds race every third day. The rest of the time, they are kept in kennels and are turned out 4 times a day. Because of this, it can be relatively easy to house train a retired racer.
- There is a misconception among most people that greyhounds are very hyper and require a large yard to run around in. We only have a front yard, and I tire out after about a minute of hard playing. I did play a bit more when I was younger, but not much. My brother, Hunter, was the king of playing chase at the end of the bed. He would race from corner to corner and do lots of quick turns. Mom also knows of a greyhound that lives on a houseboat.
- Greyhounds typically start racing between the ages of 18 months and 2 years. Males and females compete against each other. The males have larger muscles, but are bigger and heavier, so the smaller, lighter females are an even match for them.
- Greyhounds stop racing when they don't win a certain number of races in a certain period of time (usually 3 - 6 months). Because of this, there are a large number of greyhounds that are "retired" at around 2 years of age. Most greys that race never win.
- A greyhound must retire when they are 5 years old. If a greyhound makes it to 5 without an injury, they are often used for breeding for another year or two.
- A greyhound is bred to be streamlined. Even our ears are shaped in a way to channel the air away. They are said to look like rosebuds. (Mom will get a good picture of mine soon).
- Greyhounds are typically healthy dogs. Unhealthy dogs are slow dogs, so a lot of the diseases that are common in other breeds due to selective breeding do not tend to show up in greys. The biggest health problems associated with the breed are thyroid problems and cancer. We also come in all coat colors and patterns. The rarest color in a greyhound is Blue (or gray) due to an "old wives tale" at the tracks that they are unlucky. Most blues never make it to the track. We also do not have hip problems because our hips are shaped more like a humans. This helps us run faster.
- While the greyhounds that race are being more closely monitored, and the instances of abuse are not as commonplace, there are still 10s of thousands of greyhounds being destroyed every year when they outlive their usefulness as a money maker. We make wonderful pets, and really love to lounge around with our humans. We are called Velcro dogs because we will follow our humans from room to room. If you know of anyone who is looking to adopt a dog, a greyhound makes a great choice, and about 75% are cat and small animal friendly.
Thus ends our PSA for today. Mom will try to get some video of me playing. We have some of me outside at dusk, but I blend into the yard too much, and I am so fast, it is hard to get good shots of me.