Throughout history, the Greyhound has been the beloved dog breed of royalty and nobility. From the ancient Egyptians, who often mummified and buried favorite dogs with their owners; to the English nobility who enacted a law forbidding such a good beast for being owned by commoner mothers. Even the Bedouins (who as devout Muslims avoid dogs in general as supposedly unclean) have since time immemorial revered the greyhound (or its derivative or ancestor) so much that not only contact was allowed, but even the consumption of the game caught by said dogs. .
Fast-forward to today and it’s hard to believe that this breed of dog ever held such an esteemed position. Currently, over 100,000 Greyhound dogs are destroyed each year around the world, as a result of the cruel sport of dog racing!
In times past, a messenger who carried both good and bad news always delivered the good news first to lessen the effect of the bad news and thus increase his chances of living to see another day (hence the expression: Don’t shoot the messenger!) So, borrowing from that understated approach, this article will first tackle the Greyhound’s glorious past before covering its grim present:
This is a dog that stands apart from other dog breeds not only because he is the speed champion of the dog world, but also because he holds an unparalleled array of records including:
1. The world’s fastest dog over short distances: The Greyhound dog can reach speeds in excess of 40 mph (64 km/h)
two. It has the longest stride of any breed of dog while in flight. A dog is on record for having covered a distance of 30 feet (9.14 m) in a single jump. The greyhound sprint is described as a double fly gait which involves the dog at some point having all legs off the ground. When a dog is running, it first propels itself on its hind legs and then lands momentarily on its front legs before cantilevering while stretching forward on its hind legs (at which point, for an instant, all four legs are out of bounds). I usually).
This double-flight gait is extremely fast but also very unstable, which accounts for the many injuries racing dogs sustain. The cheetah, which is the fastest land mammal, has a somewhat similar sprint pattern that also involves all four of the cheetah’s limbs lifting completely off the ground at some point. However, the Greyhound is no match for the Cheetah, which can reach speeds of 70 mph (114 km/h) and maintain that speed for 3.5 miles!
Although the Greyhound cannot match the speed of the Cheetah, it is obviously not a slow trainer either and the reason why this breed of dog can reach such speeds (apart from its obviously aerodynamically enhanced morphological structure and muscle mass) is because it packs a lot of hemoglobin in your body. blood. Those elevated hemoglobin levels ensure the transfer of more oxygen to the tissues, which also gives the Greyhound dog’s blood a sludge (thick blood) quality. If the human heart tried to pump such a thick mixture of blood, it would most likely fail.
3. This breed of dog has the longest documented history of any breed of dog. Old drawings and records place them as a distinctive breed over 6,000 years ago.
Four. The Greyhound is the most expensive dog breed; It is not unusual for racing champion greyhounds to be priced at over $70,000!
5. The Greyhound dog is the breed most favored by royalty and aristocracy throughout the history of the dog. In fact, this breed of dog was considered so much the epitome of canine excellence that a law was passed in England in 1014, part of the Forest Laws, categorically forbidding commoners to own such a dog! Those people other than nobility who were allowed to own a Greyhound, such as Freemen, could only do so as long as the dog was deliberately mutilated if they lived within 10 miles of a royal forest.
Interestingly, royal houses used to employ select dog mutilators whose job it was to roam the countryside making sure that no one who was not noble or held a title from the king was in illegal possession of them who was not crippled. However, as the area of the great forests diminished, and with the growing importance of food sources for agriculture and domestic livestock, the role of the greyhound dog correspondingly diminished! Even so, the greyhound remained the favorite dog of the landed gentry, especially as the popularity of hare racing grew. By the 19th century, running hares had become a favorite pastime for the upper classes of England.
Origins and History
The greyhound is obviously an ancient breed dating back thousands of years. There are various references from many ancient cultures citing this breed of dog throughout history. Although many books about dogs state that they originated in Great Britain, this is highly unlikely. It would be more accurate to concede that this breed of dog in its modern form more closely resembles the dog that was selectively refined in genetic traits according to English standards.
Historical data tends to suggest that the greyhound evolved from the earliest sighthounds that existed in ancient Egypt. Paintings, decorations, and other artifacts from early Egyptian culture celebrate a dog very similar in appearance to the greyhound. In fact, several pharaohs are known to have had greyhound-like dogs. Some of the pharaohs included: Cleopatra (yes, the seductive femme fatale), Tutankhamun, Queen Hatshepsut, to name just a few. The greyhound also happens to be the only breed of dog mentioned by name in the Bible (Proverbs 30:29-31, King James version). Ancient Greek and Roman mythology is full of tales describing greyhound-like dogs.
It is not unreasonable to speculate that the ancient Greeks obtained their first specimens (or at least their progenitor) from Egyptian traders. In Greek mythology, their gods were often depicted as greyhounds. The Romans, in turn, probably first encountered these dogs through their interaction with the Greeks. However, it is equally possible that the Romans got their original hounds from the Celts, as well-regarded Roman authors Ovid and Arian often referred to the greyhound as a Celtic hound. However, whatever the origin of the Greyhound, what is known is that since its earliest affiliation with humans, this breed of dog has amazed mankind around the world with its speed and agility, most notably through sport. of the races. Hare running is an ancient sport practiced since the time of the Romans who probably exported it to Britain when they invaded.
Oddly enough, it appears that the Romans were much sportier than their modern dog-racing counterparts, with regard to the welfare of the dogs and hares involved in the racing event, as the following excerpt written by Roman Flavius amply illustrates Arrianus. (Arian) in 124 AD: “The true sportsman does not take out his dogs to kill the hares, but for the sake of the race and the contest between the dogs and the hares, and is glad if the hare escapes… whoever runs with greyhounds must not slip them fence the hare, nor more than a pair (two) at a time.“Simply put, no more than two dogs would be used in the chase and they would not be let loose too close to the hare!
The dog of many names
Over time, this dog has received almost as many names as the number of years the breed has existed (Okay… I’ll admit it’s a bit of a stretch, but you get the point.). In the English language alone, Greyhound has had at least 50 names. Unsurprisingly, there has been considerable debate about the meaning of the various names:
1. hound; the “grew” part of the word meaning “Greek”. A similar but variant school of thought posits that “Grew” was actually “Graius”, which still means Greek; Again, these Old English names tend to give credence to the dog breed originating from places other than Great Britain.
two. Greyhounds are certainly anything but grey, so the word is highly unlikely to reflect the color of the breed. Some believe that the “gray” in this dog’s name was once “gray” which meant beautiful.
3. great hound; another school of thought speculates that this hound was once known as the Great Hound (the name evidently reflects the dog’s exalted status in gentrifying society), but as time went on the term somehow morphed into “greyhound”. “.
The few examples above are a small sampling of the various names the Greyhound has been called at one time or another during history in some variation of the English language.
The harsh and unforgiving world of dog racing
It really is hard to imagine how such a highly exalted breed of dog could end up where it is today: euthanized by the thousands each year. This is even more shocking when you consider that at some point in Greyhound history killing one was a crime punishable by death (during the reign of King Canute). Today, however, thousands upon thousands of these hounds are destroyed each year, a good number before they have reached the tender age of 2 years!
The reason for this mass slaughter can be defined in 3 words: greyhound dog racing! Every year, the dog racing industry breeds several thousand dogs, far more than the number that actually compete. The reason for this overbreeding: ambitious dog breeders looking for that elusive but lucrative dog racing champion! Dogs that don’t make the cut are usually destroyed or, in some cases, actually subject to a fate worse than death!
The dog racing industry certainly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the mistreatment of animals. Since the inception of modern dog racing around the 1920s, the greyhound (and affiliated industry animals that act as live bait) have suffered unimaginable cruelty; There is no respite or second chance in this industry and the vast majority of dogs never live anywhere near their expected lifespan! Instead, most dogs suffer any of the following fates:
two. Experimented as a laboratory animal; the Greyhound’s superb physiology makes it an excellent laboratory candidate for cardiovascular research;
3. Sent abroad to countries like China where animal cruelty laws are extremely lax (to say the least); And let’s not forget that the dogs often end up at the dinner table there; Y
Four. It is used as fodder in commercial dog food (culled pets are often recycled as commercial dog food).
A very small percentage of lucky dogs eventually make the transition from shelters/rescue homes to permanent adoption! One only needs to do a quick search through online greyhound adoption centers to see how serious the problem really is. And perhaps the most tragic aspect of this tragedy is that this breed of dog is truly an affectionate, sweet-tempered dog that some have described as the “fastest couch potato.”