Unbeknownst to most, the Greyhound is one of the world's oldest and most historically referenced breeds. Dating back over 4000 years, the Greyhound features notably in the hieroglyphics of Egypt's ancient pyramids and in visuals and engravings of the time. Principally bred for laterally racing and coursing across the continent of Europe, historical analyses of DNA suggests that the true origin of the Greyhound derives from Celtic mainland Europe in the 5th and 6th century BCE. Greyhound rescue and adoption began on a large-scale in the 20th century, especially in North America where the breed experienced a resurgence in popularity as a family pet and companion.
Whilst being one of the world's oldest canine breeds, it is by far the fastest on the planet. Easily recognised by its lean yet muscular build and elongated muzzle, the Greyhound has a disproportionately large heart, a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle and a flexible spine for changing direction at full speed. A Greyhound's fur is extremely short, maintaining a fine condition, and commonly recognised in colour variations of white, fawn, blue (grey), black and brindle. Due to 20th century large-scale rescue, there are currently more retired Greyhounds living in the home than there are still racing.
Contrary to popular belief, the Greyhound is an amiable, relaxed and gentle breed, with a quiet temperament that enjoys regular human contact. The Greyhound is neither aggressive nor highly strung, but docile and dependable towards its owners. Compatible with children and other house pets when introduced to them gradually, the breed is low maintenance and makes a great addition to any home setting. Whilst there are discrepancies across gender, the average Greyhound will weigh between 24-30 kg, with a life expectancy of approximately 12 years when shown appropriate care.
Typically the Greyhound is a healthy, long-lived breed, however its unique physique makes it susceptible to certain health complaints. Greyhounds do not have undercoats and are subsequently more vulnerable to skin sores and irritation; they are particularly unsuited to the use of insecticides, particularly those that are pyrethrin-based. The Greyhound's lack of undercoat and general body fat makes the breed susceptible to extreme temperatures, so it is essential they are always housed indoors.