Pet of the week: The greyhound
Saturday 28 May 2011
All animal lovers will be aware of the plight of the greyhound. Although many owners of racing hounds take their responsibility towards the breed seriously, some are not so thoughtful, and will discard dogs once they are past racing age (typically about three to four). Their placid nature makes them ideal pets for a happy life in retirement.
The greyhound breed has been around for a long time – some sources reckon up to 4,000 years. The noble posture and unmistakable silhouette of the greyhound are thought to have provided inspiration for the dogs of the Pharoahs seen in ancient hieroglyphics.
Sight and flight
Greyhounds are "sighthounds", meaning they hunt using their eyes, not snouts. This genetic disposition is what has made them such successful hunting dogs, and though hare coursing is now banned in the UK, lure coursing, in which a fake "hare" is used, continues as a way of training pedigree dogs.
Keep on running
Long legs, a deep chest and a flexible spine allow the greyhound to fully extend its body when running, reaching speeds of up to 40mph. They burn a lot of energy in short bursts, so only need two or three 20-minute walks a day to keep them in shape.
Coats of many colours
Soft, short and smooth, the hair on a greyhound is easy to maintain and they're less likely to cause allergies. Coats come in many colours – black, white, fawn and brindle (a salt and pepper/ashy appearance) – but there is no breed standard colour.
Meek and mild
Greyhounds have a lovely temperament, are affectionate and will get on well as pets, forming strong bonds within the family and even rubbing along just fine with cats. Despite the "prey drive", which forces them to chase squirrels, they can be trained to recall.
It may look cruel, but it is advisable to muzzle greyhounds. It was traditionally done to stop them nipping each other after a race, now it's common practice. For more info, contact the Retired Greyhound Trust on 0844 8268424, retiredgreyhounds.co.uk.
Life & Style blogs
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 3 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...