PUBLISHED ON: 16 February 2015
For centuries, the elegance and beauty of greyhounds has been immortalised in paintings where they stand proudly at the sides of kings and dukes as symbols of nobility and grace. Their agility and strength has seen them compared to Roman gods, and their history as trusted companions to humans dates back thousands of years.
These dogs are innately sensitive, affectionate and gentle – making them perfect additions to any family. And yet most of the thousands bred every year in Australia will never know the joys of human companionship.
Greyhounds are born companions. In their capacity to love, to suffer, to play, and to enrich the lives of those around them, a greyhound is no different to any other dog. They will relish in an ear-scratch or a tummy rub, play with toys, sleep on your couch/bed/lap at any given opportunity — and they will make you feel like you’re the most important person in the entire world, if you let them. Greyhounds are devoted, loyal, playful, sociable and affectionate – because, quite simply, greyhounds are dogs.
Athletes? Pfft ...
There’s no getting around it — yes, greyhounds can run fast. Really fast. In fact, they’re the fastest dog on the planet, and one of the fastest mammals. But mention the words ‘canine athlete’ to any greyhound rescuer and you’ll likely be met with a laugh. There’s a reason why they’re often described as ‘60km couch potatoes’ ... this picture illustrates it quite well:
Greyhounds love to sleep. In fact, they’ll sleep for up to 20 hours a day! They’re renowned for being incredibly lazy dogs, which isn't entirely fair as they’re actually conserving their energy so that they can play later (sometimes in their pyjamas). Their bodies may be built for speed – but the proportion of their lives that they choose to exercise is small compared to what is arguably their favourite activity: snoozing.
It’s for this reason, and their naturally placid and adaptable nature, that these dogs are regularly recommended as ideal for apartment living – in fact, they’re often better suited than many smaller, more active breeds.
Greyhounds are renowned for their gentle, trusting, and sensitive natures. Like most dogs, they make incredibly loyal and devoted companions to anyone willing to share their couch with them. And while these traits are generally very consistent in these dogs, of course every one of them has their own personality – which flourishes when they’re given the opportunity to be themselves in loving homes. Greyhounds rarely bark or growl (generally only when they’re telling you they want to play) and just like any dog, some of them are good with other animals, and some of them aren’t.
Proof that greyhounds can make wonderful friends to other animals (as well as humans!):
It’s far from natural for a greyhound to be aggressive. In fact one of the tragic aspects of greyhound racing is that these docile and sensitive dogs are encouraged to chase small animals and as we recently exposed alongside our friends at Animal Liberation Queensland, in some cases they are even provoked to attack and kill live animals. All in the hope they will run faster and thus win more money for their owners. Sadly, it’s often the dogs who simply refuse to ‘chase’ who are ‘put down’ – or simply ‘disappear’– because they are too placid to ever be considered ‘good racers’.
As the greyhound industry continues to decline -- it is our hope that more people will come to know these incredible dogs not as profit-generating ‘athletes’ — but as loving, devoted, and loyal companions for life.
Every dog deserves to know life as man’s best friend – and greyhounds are no exception. Learn more about fostering or adopting a greyhound today!