The Greyhound is one of the most popular dog breeds.
Because of their poised, easy-going disposition and refined, elegant appearance, dogs of this breed enjoyed special success with the upper classes.
History of greyhound, interesting facts about greyhounds
Greyhounds belong to the group of hunting dogs. Unlike the husky, they can’t hunt in the woods, track and chase their prey for a long time. Greyhounds are good when hunting in the open countryside, where they can see the beast and, developing great speed, quickly attack it.
The long history of the breed’s origin cannot give an unequivocal answer to the question of the area where the greyhounds were first bred. Some researchers believe that the first representatives of this breed appeared in northern Africa, others provide evidence of the origin of the greyhounds in the Middle East.
However, most experts stick to the opinion about the origin of the greyhounds exactly from the Arabian region, the open spaces of which contributed to the formation of swift Arabian horses and the fastest dogs in the world.
Proof of this is the exclusive attitude of Arabs to dogs of this breed, although according to Islam the dog is considered a “not pure” animal. The Greyhounds could enter the master’s home, they were surrounded with affection and care and were valued as much as the horses. Not for nothing the greyhound, distinguished by its special ability to catch gazelles, was equaled in price to a good horse.
The Arabs gave the greyhound bitch the most comfortable place in the tent when she had puppies, and the mistress sometimes fed them with breast milk, just like her own children. The family treasured their greyhound so much that everyone mourned her when the dog died and even wore mourning for her.
As Islam expanded its influence on the culture of other nations, the benevolent treatment of the greyhound was passed on to the rest of the Orient. The Persians, in particular, were convinced that the greyhound Saluki was a gift from Allah. They called these dogs “el chor”, which translated sounds like “noble, noble”.
If the Orientals at first valued in the greyhound its ability to get food for the family, then later the swiftness, beauty, grace, and elegance of this dog began to attract the attention of the nobility. Hunting with the greyhound became an entertainment, a privilege, and a sign of etiquette among the high and mighty. Gradually the greyhounds are moving to Western Europe. Here they were brought as trophies by knights of the crusades. However, for the fast dogs, there is not enough space. Therefore, in Western Europe, the greyhounds were used for hunting mainly on the large estates of English lords. Nowadays English greyhounds are not so many participants, but the undoubted leaders of dog races.
If in Western Europe there was not enough space for greyhounds, the steppes and forest-steppes of Eastern Europe and Russia were quite suitable for hunting with these dogs.
It is rather difficult to answer the question about the time of the origin of greyhounds. Some researchers suggest that the history of the origin of these dogs goes back centuries, referring to the ancient images and drawings of a dog similar to a greyhound, found in ancient tombs and monuments even before our era.
If we analyze the ancient images of the defeated animals, we can note their large size. This is understandable: a large animal is a sufficient amount of meat. To chase a large animal was realistic with a more resilient tailed hunter. Hunting for fast-moving small animals was less promising in those distant times. Therefore, it was hardly necessary for a foot hunter of antiquity to go after his prey with a dog, developing considerable speed, but quickly getting tired.
Hunting on horseback is another matter. The high-speed greyhounds could be quite useful in such cases. That is why many specialists think that the greyhounds for hunting in the open spaces were bred after horses had been domesticated. There is an opinion that the need for dogs with a speed of about 60 km/h appeared at the time when the number of big animals decreased and hunters had to be satisfied with the smaller but fast running game. So as a result of purposeful selection the greyhound breed was formed – a frisky, sharp-eyed, and agile dog.
The appearance of the greyhound is fully adapted to the speed, the main quality of this dog. Despite a large number of bred breeds, all greyhounds are characterized by a slim slender body on long slender but strong legs, well-developed chest, muscular hindquarters, a bouncy back, and taut abdomen, and a narrow head with wide-set eyes. All greyhounds have strong muscles without a drop of fat, skin-tight to the body, and a thin light skeleton. They have excellent eyesight, thanks to which they can spot prey in the open space. Greyhounds rarely use their sense of smell when hunting. Only members of certain breeds can use their sense of smell to scare off prey for further hunting with a golden eagle. Most greyhounds chase animals silently. Fast running requires a lot of energy. Therefore, you should not waste it during the pursuit of barking as well.
Representatives of each greyhound breed are distinctive. They may have different colors and maybe smooth-haired or long-haired. Among the smooth-haired, the Azawakh is considered the most ancient representative of the greyhound, capable of stalking prey in the difficult climatic conditions of the desert. Arabs drive these greyhounds in the saddle and only when the game appears do they let the dogs go in pursuit.
Afghan greyhounds also hunt in the conditions of the heated desert and their distinctive feature is long beautiful hair.
The Spanish Galgo is considered a dog of aristocrats. It is a fairly calm, courageous, gentle dog in the world that knows how to get along with children. One of the most recognizable breeds among greyhounds in the greyhound – an elegant and noble dog, for which every European nobleman was ready to pay a considerable sum. Distinguished by the height of the dog Irish Wolfhound. His height at the withers often reaches 80 centimeters.
Russian wolfhound is famous for its unusual wavy and silky wool. In the 19th century, every wealthy landowner in Russia considered it a matter of honor to own a Russian Borzoi.
In good old England, Whippets were called “greyhounds for the poor. These small-sized greyhounds were used by the poor for poaching after the decree banning hunting on private lands was issued.
Each greyhound has a different history, behavior, and appearance. However, all these dogs are united by beauty, grace, courage, loyalty to their owners, and nobility. It is not for nothing that today greyhounds are highly valued all over the world as wonderful companions and loyal reliable friends.