AKC Hound Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Greyhound is the fastest dog in the world and can reach speeds of more than 40 miles per hour. Pictures and remains of dogs from the Greyhound family have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Brought to England by traders before 900 AD, the Greyhound has historically been used for hunting and later for racing. Today there are two main types of Greyhound: National Greyhound Association (NGA) Greyhounds are used primarily in dog racing and are bred exclusively for speed, while AKC Greyhounds are show dogs and companions, and are bred to conform to the AKC standard. In the past after retiring from a racing career, Greyhounds were often destroyed. Now Greyhound adoption groups, track adoption programs, and racing Greyhound owners select the most even-tempered, gentle racers for placement into homes, with excellent success. Many retired racers become wonderful pet companions.


The Greyhound is a sleek, contoured dog built for speed, with a deep chest and muscular back. The head is long with almost no stop, and the muzzle tapers. The small rose ears are folded back. The neck is long and graceful. The front legs are absolutely straight. The feet are hare-like. The hindquarters are very powerful and muscular with an arched loin. The long tail is carried low and has a slight upward curve at the end. The short, smooth coat comes in all dog colors. Shedding varies. AKC Greyhounds tend to be about 10 to 20 lbs. heavier than NGA Greyhounds.

Key Facts

  • Height:  26 to 30 in.
  • Size:  Large
  • Weight:  65 to 70 lbs. (male); 60 to 65 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  May take some effort to find
  • Talents:  Hunting by sight, watchdog, racing, agility, lure coursing, and therapy dog


The Greyhound has less body fat than many other breeds and, therefore, is sensitive to cold, so Greyhounds should sleep indoors; and some appreciate a sweater if they must go out in cold or inclement weather. Highly sensitive to drugs, including some anesthetics and insecticides, the Greyhound requires non-barbiturate anesthetics. Discuss this with your veterinarian before any surgery. Exposure to certain drugs that are fine for other breeds can be fatal to Greyhounds. Do not use flea collars. May be prone to bone cancer and bloat. They also have easily torn skin, and can damage their toes and legs running hard. Ex-racers do not necessarily know how to tell their masters when they need to relieve themselves, so they should be let out regularly when first adopted. They are generally crate-trained, which can help with housebreaking. The Greyhound requires daily walks, and appreciates several good runs per week, especially when young. Mature Greyhounds can do well in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. Extremely fast. If a Greyhound starts off after a squirrel or cat, you will not be able to catch him. Never let a Greyhound off leash except in a completely enclosed, fenced area. All Greyhounds have a powerful chase instinct, and will take off after just about any small running creature. Some also have a strong hunting instinct, which makes them unsuitable for homes with small non-canine pets such as cats or rabbits. Greyhounds can be tested (muzzled and leashed) with a cat under conditions that are safe for both animals for these two drives. Adoption groups usually test dogs before making them available.


Sensitive, sweet, and loyal. Intelligent, but can be willful. Though they may be reserved with strangers, Greyhounds are very affectionate with those they love and trust. Many Greyhounds do well with considerate children of any age. When raised from puppyhood, socialize well at an early age to prevent timidity. Generally quiet and docile when not hunting or racing, some Greyhounds make excellent therapy dogs. The Greyhound has a powerful chase drive, and may also have a strong hunting instinct. Ex-racers tend be very pack oriented because they have grown up with other dogs (non-racers may have this tendency as well). Greyhounds enjoy comfort and will make themselves at home on furniture if permitted. Be clear and consistent about the rules.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Fairly friendly with strangers
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance:  Low
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other dogs; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness:  Not generally dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Not a barker
  • Indoors:  Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner:  Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Very little grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Short coat
  • Shedding:  Average shedder
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A good jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  Does OK without a yard
  • Climate:  Prefers warm climates
  • Longevity:  Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Greyhound Breed Standard

Greyhound Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Greyhound

Greyhound Gifts