The Greyhound is a breed of dog, a sighthound which has been bred for coursing game and Greyhound racing. Since the rise in large-scale adoption of retired racing Greyhounds, it has seen a resurgence in popularity as a family pet.
According to Merriam-Webster, a Greyhound is “any of a breed of tall slender graceful smooth-coated dogs characterized by swiftness and keen sight…of several related dogs.”
It is a gentle and intelligent breed whose combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, flexible spine and slim build allows it to reach average race speeds in excess of 64 kilometres per hour (40 mph). The Greyhound can reach a full speed of 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) within 30 metres (98 ft) or six strides from the boxes, traveling at almost 20 metres per second (66 ft/s) for the first 250 metres (820 ft) of a race.
Greyhounds are known for having “cat-like” personalities. They can be aloof and indifferent to strangers, but are affectionate with their own pack. They are generally docile, lazy, easy-going, and calm.
Greyhounds wear muzzles during racing, which can lead some to believe it is an aggressive dog, but this is not true. Muzzles are worn to prevent injuries resulting from dogs nipping one another during or immediately after a race, when the ‘hare’ has disappeared out of sight and the dogs are no longer racing but remain excited. In a study from 1982 – 2014 recording reports of dog bites, there was only one recorded greyhound bite on a human in 22 years.
Contrary to popular belief, adult Greyhounds do not need extended periods of daily exercise, as they are bred for sprinting rather than endurance. Greyhound puppies that have not been taught how to utilize their energy, however, can be hyperactive and destructive if not given an outlet, and they require more experienced handlers.