Gorgeous Greyhounds!

Snooty Leggy Longbois!

 

Noodle horse, longboi, short giraffe and the 70kmph couch potato. These are all some of the less dignified nicknames for the elegant, graceful and sometimes goofy greyhound!
These majestic dogs, from the tips of their whippy tails to the tops of their long snouts, are rapidly becoming one of the most popular breeds to have as a pet!

 

Their name alone uses to conjure up images of snappy, panting muzzled rockets, racing down the track, but thankfully nowadays, people care more for the breed than the sport or indeed, the sometimes unsavoury history behind the breed’s name.

 

The name greyhound has nothing to do with their coat colour at all and is in fact, derived from the Old English word “grighund,” hund meaning hound. The meaning of the term “grig” is not totally clear although it has been spotted in reference to dogs in Old Norse texts. As if you needed any more proof that the breed is an ancient one, the greyhound is the only dog mentioned by name in the Bible AND the first identified greyhound bones were found in Tell Brak, modern day Syria, almost 4000 years ago!

 

Greyhounds, despite the colour being in the name, don’t just exist in grey. They come in a huge range of colours, from fawn, black, cream, blue and brindle! Currently there are 30 recognised colours at present although a lot of greyhounds are a mix. In the greyhound community, most colours have their own unique nicknames, for example, black and white patterned dogs are often affectionately referred to as “cow hounds!”

 

Some people may have misgivings about taking on a greyhound, given how big they can get. Males average around 40kg although I have encountered one particularly stocky fellow who tipped the scales at a whopping 58kg! They can grow very tall due to their long limbs, and frequently hit heights of 30-35 inches tall, ground to shoulder.

 

Their physiology is astounding, with greyhounds able to hit top speeds of 77kmph! For comparison, a lion can reach 80kmph! Greyhounds have extra flexible spines, which allows them to run in a form known as a “double suspension rotary gallop.” This is their fastest running gait, and the term means that all four feet are off the ground during both the contracted and suspended phase of each full stride. In short, they fly through the air for a split second with each stride!

 

Their unique ability to run at these speeds with such grace and determination has led to them being used as a form of entertainment for centuries, with racing and hare coursing for example, dating back to the 17th century.
Sadly once they are no longer able to earn their keep, many greyhounds in Ireland are abandoned or surrendered. It’s no secret that Irish rescues, shelters and pounds are bursting at the seams with greyhounds and other sighthounds such as lurchers, whippets and salukis.

 

Thankfully in recent years, a huge push in awareness about the breed has opened up people’s eyes and adoptions of greyhounds have been on the rise. Previously only considered a high energy sporting dog, people are now learning of the true personality of the greyhound.

 

They are gentle natured, generally very quiet, great with children and are extremely affectionate. In fact, another common nickname for greyhounds are “Velcro dogs” because no matter where you go, they’ll follow, which can make for a slightly awkward bathroom visit!
For first time owners, they are a dream breed due to their easygoing nature and relaxed attitude. If they were any more laid back, they would be flat, and they frequently are!

 

Despite common misconceptions, they are not hugely energetic. Greyhounds will get bursts of energy called “Zoomies” for 15-30 minutes and then are happy to collapse into a leggy pile on the couch and catch a quick nap. After all, they can sleep for up to 18 hours a DAY, making them ideal companions for apartment living! Most greyhounds are happy with one good walk a day or else two shorter walks.

 

With the breed’s exposure in the media, they are only increasing in popularity! Notable greyhound lovers include musician Trent Reznor, American YouTuber Jenna Marbles, Simpsons creator Matt Groening (Santa’s Little Helper, anyone?) and throughout history, this beautiful breed has long been a favourite.

 

Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Queen Cleopatra Thea and Pharaoh Tutankhamen all raised and loved their greyhounds. And as if you needed another opportunity to see how beloved these dogs were in past times, Diana, the Roman goddess of the Hunt, is rarely depicted without her loyal companion – a greyhound called Lelaps whose name meant “storm wind.”

 

From Syria 4000 years ago to our couches today, greyhounds will forever be loved!

 

Рby Peigí Conneff
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