Pet owners love greyhounds because of their quiet, even-tempered demeanor. These wonderful dogs have a very long lifespan, considering their size, and they tend to enjoy good health for most of their lives.
If you’re wondering about the greyhound lifespan, you’ll be glad to know that they live fairly long lives. The average greyhound lifespan is about 10 to 13 years. That makes the greyhound one of the longest-lived big dogs. Some greyhounds have lived as long as 15 years, but this is not the norm.
To help you better understand why the greyhound lifespan is as long as it is, read on to learn more about the history of the greyhound breed and to find out how you can help your dog live as long as possible.
History of the Greyhound Breed
With cave drawings and Egyptian artifacts portraying the greyhound as far back as 8.000 years ago, the greyhound is among the oldest of all dog breeds. In England, greyhounds have long been associated with royalty. You’ll find this noble dog is the subject of many paintings and you’ll find him in English literature throughout the centuries.
This ancient breed probably originated in Egypt, and greyhounds have been prized dogs throughout history. Greyhound-like drawings appear on the walls of Egyptian tombs dating from 2200 BC. The Egyptians treasured these hounds, and their birth and death were recorded as if they were members of the family. Here’s an interesting fact – greyhounds were often mummified and buried with their owners for the trip to the afterlife.
This breed was greatly admired by many different cultures, and greyhounds are the only dog breed to be mentioned in the Bible.
Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I of England, President Rutherford B. Hayes and General Custer were all greyhound owners.
The origin of the name “greyhound” is a subject of much debate. Some believe that greyhounds used to be only gray in color. Others believe the name is Old English. That’s because “grei” means “dog” and “hundr” means “hunter.” This argument is strengthened by the fact that greyhounds did originate as hunting dogs. Another possibility is that the name is derived from “gre” or “gradus”, which would mean “first rank among dogs.” Finally, some believe that the name greyhound originated from “Greekhound” since the breed first arrived in England from the Greeks.
The greyhound is the quintessential hunter. Greyhounds were bred to hunt prey for thousands of years and they are the fastest of all dog breeds. Greyhounds can sprint at speeds of up to 40 or 45 miles an hour.
Today, greyhounds are bred for racing but they are becoming increasingly popular as family pets. They are not territorial and they seldom bark. Greyhounds are graceful and quiet dogs that are incredibly loving. Greyhounds love to be petted and rubbed and they enjoy the loving company of their human families. They make excellent house dogs because they are quiet, clean and very low key.
About the Greyhound Lifespan
Why does the greyhound have an average lifespan of about 10 to 13 years? Many factors contribute to the long greyhound lifespan. Even though these dogs are racers, they are known to be quite lazy. This is a low maintenance dog with low exercise demands, which means they have minimal stress in their lives. Combine that low stress with a hereditary lack of major genetic health problems that are often found in other breeds and you’ll get a dog that is quite healthy.
While the greyhound is a generally healthy dog, there are a number of medical conditions that can affect him. These conditions include:
- An abnormal response to anesthesia
- Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
- Minor heart murmurs
As long as they live in a calm, happy home where they are fed a healthy diet and given the daily exercise they require, they should live long, happy lives. Even the retired race dogs have the same long life expectancy.
To make sure that your greyhound lives a long, healthy life, feed him a healthy diet and make sure that he gets enough exercise. A greyhound doesn’t require much daily exercise – a nice long daily walk should be all he needs to stay healthy and happy.
The retired racing greyhound also lives a long life and makes a great pet for adoption. According to the New Jersey Greyhound Adoption Program, Inc., most greyhounds are retired from their athletic activities by the time they are 2 to 5 years of age. To learn more about retired racing greyhounds go to our article Greyhounds Get a Second Chance.