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What is a Greyhound?

The cheetah is the only animal that can accelerate faster than a greyhound.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2014
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A Greyhound is an old breed of dog that is thought to be related to the Saluki, or Persian Greyhound, of Ancient Egypt. Greyhounds are sleek and long-legged and are sight hounds rather than scent hounds. Sight hounds follow their target with their eyes rather than by smelling their prey and following the scent like scent hounds. The Greyhound became known as a prime racing dog because of its speed.

Greyhound racing involves the dogs running through a racecourse pursing an object that resembles a rabbit. The object guides the greyhounds through the course and the first dog finished the racecourse wins. Only the cheetah has a faster acceleration than the greyhound and the greyhound's distinctive slim, yet muscular shape makes it a very fast, athletic dog breed. When running, the greyhound is airborne, with all four feet in the air, twice in every stride. This movement is known as the double suspension gallop.

Despite their name, greyhounds are not always grey in color. There are at least 15 recognized colors for the greyhound including solids and mixtures of brindle, red, black, white and blue. The deerhound, or Scottish Deerhound looks very similar to the greyhound, but is long-coated while the greyhound's coat is short.

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Surprisingly, because of their speed, greyhounds are not usually known for being energetic pets. They prefer to sprint rather than use their energy constantly. They need space to run, but cannot live outdoors since they have no undercoat and not much body fat. A greyhound should always be walked on a leash, since they instinctively chase animals on sight. Greyhounds are naturally sociable, but usually do best with older children and adults rather than younger children.

The greyhound breed has a tendency to become bloated easily and veterinarians often recommend smaller meals several times a day rather than one large meal. This breed is also susceptible to problems with the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that transports foods and liquids to the stomach. Some greyhounds may also be highly sensitive to medications including flea powders. Many vets caution against using any type of flea products or flea collars on greyhounds.

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