There is nothing quite so beautiful as seeing a dog do something it was born to do. Like watching a border collie control sheep. Or watching a greyhound sprint. Greyhounds are fleet, elegant dogs who have been around for centuries. They appear in classic paintings and today, many of them still appear on the racetrack. Greyhounds ought to be one of the more highly recognizable breeds for their popular image and their distinctive shape, but I find myself always surprised by how many people think greyhounds are whippets (or vice versa).
The issue with using greyhounds for racing–apart from the fact that it seems like a rather inhumane life for such sensitive dogs–is that racers are often “retired” when they hit two or three years old. This means that you have a whole lot of greyhounds who need to be adopted. Thankfully, there are a ton of great greyhound rescue agencies, like the Virginia-area ones I’ve linked to below.
I find myself increasingly drawn to getting a greyhound for a second or third dog (maybe after we get our Aussie and German shepherd). Why? A few reasons spring to my mind. One, greyhounds make great indoor dogs. They are quiet and clean, almost cat-like in their movements and habits. Their fur is extremely short and velvety and requires very little grooming. Second, a mild-mannered and elegant greyhound would be an excellent foil to a high-maintenance Aussie and a super-athlete German shepherd. Third, there are hundreds of these gorgeous dogs who need to be adopted.
I can think of few cons to owning one of these beautiful dogs. I think I’d like to have a dog who could compete in obedience or agility with me, and for that reason, greyhounds wouldn’t be ideal. But after we’ve settled in a bit and I’ve gotten out my need to have a high-maintenance (read: herding) dog, I really think I’d love a greyhound.