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
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
£32969 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
£35000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Data Engineer is required to ...
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...