Pet owners love their greyhound dog because of a quiet, even-tempered demeanor. Despite their size, they manage to maintain their health for most of their lives, which can often last up to 15 years.
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 and most recognized of all dog breeds. In England, the greyhound has long been associated with royalty. You’ll find this noble dog as the subject of many paintings and frequently referenced in English literature.
This ancient breed is believed to have originated with the Egyptians, who treasured these noble hounds, and recorded their births and deaths as if they were human members of their family. Greyhounds were even mummified and buried with their owners for the trip to the afterlife.
This breed was greatly admired by many different cultures; in fact, 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 known greyhound owners.
The origin of the name “Greyhound” is a subject of much debate. Some believe that greyhounds used to only be gray in color. Others believe that the name is derived from Old English, since “grei” means “dog” and “hundr” means “hunter.” This argument is strengthened by the fact that greyhounds originated as hunting dogs.
The Greyhound is the quintessential hunter, and has been bred to hunt for thousands of years due to its speed, which can hit 45 miles an hour.
Today, Greyhounds are bred for racing, but they have also becoming increasingly popular as family pets. Non-territorial, these hounds are graceful, affectionate, and quiet pets. Greyhounds love to be touched and show affection, and they enjoy the loving company of their human families.
About the Greyhound Lifespan
Why does the greyhound have an average lifespan of about 10 to 13 years? Despite their reputation as racers, this breed is known to be quite lazy, with a limited demand for exercise and lack of hereditary genetic health issues.
Despite the relative health of the breed, there are a number of medical conditions that can affect them.
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 retired race dogs have the same lengthy life expectancy.
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.
To learn more about greyhounds, read our article All About Greyhounds.