Greyhound Dog Breed Origin and History
Centuries of careful and selective breeding have yielded one of the most incredible breed of dogs, the Greyhound. Many people are familiar with the streamlined body and the incredible athletic skills of the Greyhound. These marvelous features do not appear to have changed much since the ancient times.
These marvelous features do not appear to have changed much since the ancient times. You will even find references to the Greyhound or Greyhound-liked dogs in art work, pottery pieces, and literature and even inside the royal tombs of the Egyptian Pyramids.
What is the exact origin of the Greyhound breed? No-one is really sure of this. There is a line of thought that this breed originated Africa, ancient Greece , the Middle East or even Turkey . However, it is widely known that the Greyhound breed has a bloodline that literally goes back thousands of years making it the oldest bloodline for dogs. In fact, Greyhounds have a bloodline that runs all the way back to approximately 4,000 years.
Greyhounds have been selectively and carefully bred throughout the years for their speed characteristic. The Greyhound is part of the sight hound breed which accounts for the Greyhound’s ability to see approximately half a mile away! Sight hound breeds are known for their uncanny, natural instinct to give chase. The Greyhound is known to travel as fast as 45 miles per hour in just three simple strides forward. The combination of the sight, incredible speed and instinct to give chase is the reason for the Greyhound’s popularity to be used specifically for hunting.
Many people are under the misconception that the name Greyhound would mean a grey colored dog. The closest color among the breed is the blue or steel colors. However, these are not common at all in the Greyhound breed.
One popular belief is that the name Greyhound actually came from the term gazehound that actually means sight hound. Other beliefs of the origin of the term Greyhound focus around various meanings or translations for the word Greyhound or for specific characteristics for the breed. For example, the Greek words Graius, gracillius mean slender or sleek which is a respected feature of the Greyhound breed. Another example is the British words, grech or greg which simply mean dog are combined with hundr which translate to hunter.
Ancestry of the Greyhound Breed When you study history, you will find that the Greyhound was an extremely valuable asset to the Egyptian Pharaohs. Cleopatra and the King Tutankhamen respected and admired the Greyhounds for their speed, natural grace, beautiful elegance and intense loyalty. It was not uncommon for the Pharaohs to have their Greyhounds mummified and placed next to them in the Egyptian Pyramid tombs as well as sections of the tomb walls proudly displaying carvings of these well respected dogs.
In modern times you hear the expression that our pets are part of our family. This philosophy was very dominant in the Egyptian culture. The birth of a Greyhound pup was celebrated and considered as important as the birth of a second Egyptian son. When a Greyhound would die the entire family would go into a period of mourning where it was not uncommon for them to shave their heads, fast in honor of the passed dog and cry in mourning.
The Middle Ages was a difficult time for Greyhounds and humans. Devoted priests realized the importance of the lineage and they helped to protect many Greyhounds from disease and famine and then later bred the dogs for the noblemen. Without these priests, it is believed that the Greyhound line might have possibly died out.
Approximately in the year of 900, the Greyhound breed was raised to equal value of humans when the King of Wales ordered punishment for the malicious death of a Greyhound to be the same punishment as that of the human counterparts. This punishment was death. During this time the ownership of a Greyhound as a family friend was very popular among the British.
The majority of Greyhounds today are not used or bred for racing. These creatures still have grace, elegance and speed. They get along well in families, even with children. Due to their extreme loyalty, once you have gained the trust and respect from a Greyhound, they make an excellent family pet that will provide years and years of love, devotion and enjoyment for the entire family.