Able to sprint at a speed of up to 45 miles per hour, the Greyhound has raced into the hearts of anyone who has been fortunate enough to welcome a member of the breed into their home. In fact, the greyhound is so beloved that the breed has its own pet holiday, National Greyhound Day which takes place on June 2 every year.
Fast Facts About Greyhounds
In celebration of these quick-footed canines, we’ve fetched a few fast facts:
A rescue Greyhound by the name of Feather was two years old in 2017 when she literally leapt into the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest jump by a dog– a whopping 75.5 inches!
The Greyhound is the fastest dog breed in the world! In fact, the breed is believed to be one of the fastest of all the animals in the world. (The cheetah tops the list.)
Although the Greyhound may hold the number one spot in the hearts of their pet parents, the breed lands in 132nd place on the American Kennel Club’s annual list of the most popular dog breeds.
Greyhound hood ornaments added a touch of elegance to Lincoln cars from 1927 until the 1930s, and hood ornaments featuring the breed also beautified Ford’s Model 48s and DeLuxe Fordor until 1936.
Visitors of Killeigh, County Offaly, Ireland might spot the bronze likeness of the famous Greyhound Mick the Miller. A champion racing dog in the 1920s and 30s, Mick would go on to grace the big screen with his role in the 1934 movie Wild Boy. Dog devotees can visit his birthplace, Millbrook House, and those who travel to England can pay their respects at The Natural History Museum in the market town of Tring, where his body is on display.
The international dog show competition Crufts awarded its first Best in Show title back in 1928 to a Greyhound named Primley Sceptre. The breed made its way back to the top spot in 1934 with Southball Moonstone and in 1956 with Treetops Golden Falcon.
In 2016, a Greyhound by the name of Grandcru Giconda represented the breed all the way to the top of the podium at the National Dog Show.
History’s first recorded Greyhound was found in artwork decorating the tomb of Amten in Egypt.
Did you know that the Greyhound spends three-fourths of its time in the air while running?
Long live the Greyhound! The average life span of the breed ranges from 10- 14 years.
A three-time champion of the Waterloo Cup (in 1868, 1869 and 1871), Master McGrath is Ireland’s most famous dog, and a sculpture of the Greyhound stands watch over a busy street in Lurgan, County Armagh.
Did you know that the Greyhound is the only dog breed mentioned by name in the King James version of the Bible?
There’s more than one Greyhound!
Did you know that there are eight breeds of dogs that are classified as Greyhounds? They are:
- Afghan Greyhound
- Arabic Greyhound
- Italian Greyhound
- Persian Greyhound
- Russian Greyhound
- Scottish Greyhound
- Spanish Greyhound
And there’s more than one Greyhound holiday!
Along with National Greyhound Day on June 2, there’s also National Adopt a Greyhound Month in April and World Greyhound Day on February 1, also known as World Galgo Day. The pet awareness day was chosen to draw focus on the Galgo, the Spanish sighthound left to die by the thousands at the end of Spain’s hunting season.
Greyhounds in the White House
Members of this beautiful breed have been barking buddies to several US Presidents, starting with the first to hold the title, George Washington! The father of our country was a pet parent to a Greyhound he named Cornwallis.
An Italian Greyhound named Le Beau was the first of the breed to live in the White House, when 10th President John Tyler was inaugurated.
The next Greyhound to take on the task of being First Fido was Rutherford B.Hayes‘ Greyhound, Grim.
The last Greyhound on the list is Woodrow Wilson‘s tail-wagging chum Mountain Boy, who was the 28th President’s pal with paws during his childhood.
Why was the name Greyhound chosen for this breed?
According to The American Kennel Club. it is thought by some that the word derived from an old British word for “dog,” either grech or greg, while others believe that the name was influenced by the Latin word for Grecian, Graius.
However, Greyhound may simply have been inspired by the breed’s most common coat color.
Greyhounds as team mascots
Perhaps inspired by the breed’s speed, universities in several states have chosen the Greyhound as their school mascot, among them:
- Indiana— C. Greyson Veritas, better known as Grady, was a 2-year-old retired racer when he was adopted by the University of Indianapolis with help from the Indianapolis chapter of the Greyhound Pets of America.
- Maryland— Loyola University Maryland
- Massachusetts— Assumption College
- New Mexico— Eastern New Mexico University
- Pennsylvania— Moravian College
- South Dakota— Yankton College
Stars who Have Helped Greyhounds in Need
- Jean-Claude Van Damme: The Muscles from Brussels once promoted the option of Greyhound adoption while raising funds for the animal rights group Animals Australia.
- Twiggy: The fashion icon is a role model for helping to raise awareness of Retired Greyhound Trust, a registered charity with branches in England, Scotland and Wales.
- Over the years several stars have made their opposition to Greyhound racing known, including Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Pierce Brosnan, Ellen DeGeneres, Peter Egan (Downton Abbey), Annette Crosbie (Calendar Girls, One Foot in the Grave), Ricky Gervais, Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter), Andrea Corr of the pop group The Corrs and Pauline McLynn (Shameless). If you are interested in joining the effort to end dog racing, visit GREY2K USA Worldwide. Founded in 2001, the non-profit is the world’s largest Greyhound protection organization.
- Did you know that Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor once held an eBay auction benefiting California Greyhound Adoption Promotion and Greyhound Rescue?
The Greyhound as a symbol of Greyhound Lines Bus Company
From the late 1950s to 1970 the Greyhound Lines bus company was represented by an actual Greyhound! The first to take on the role of mascot was Steverino, a name which reflected the fact that the Greyhound commercial in which she appeared aired during The Steve Allen Show.
Later dubbed Lady Greyhound, the famous four-legger even had her own fan club. Before her retirement, the first Lady Greyhound attended charity events across the country, acted as a symbol for World Animal Day in 1961 and helped to raise awareness of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Two Greyhound pups took her place in 1964, following the first Lady Greyhound’s lead by attending charitable events until 1970. Although Lady Greyhound is no more, fans of fidos can still spot one of the famous Fidos in the 1966 Disney flick The Ugly Dachshund!
A shrine to a special Greyhound
Venerated as a saint for several centuries by some French followers of the Catholic faith, in the 1200s a loyal Greyhound named Guinefort— found with a bloodied mouth in a child’s nursery next to an empty crib — was slain by his distraught master.
As the dog lay dying, the truth came to light that the canine had killed a snake that would have taken the life of the baby.
Heartbroken by their hasty action, the family buried the brave Greyhound in a well, which they turned into a shrine.
Although never officially recognized by the Catholic church, as late as the 1930s worried parents in the region of Lyon with an ill little one would visit the shrine to pray to the four-legged patron saint of children.
Famous Pet Parents of Greyhounds
Bo Derek — The actress, whose love of dogs led her to launch her own line of pet care products, was once a proud pet parent to a Greyhound named Ivory.
Hunter Hayes — The multi-platinum selling country crooner adopted Cole, a retired racing dog, with help from the Nashville chapter of Greyhound Pets of America.
JK Rowling — in 2007 the Harry Potter author adopted Sapphire, a Greyhound from Greyhound Rescue Fife in Scotland.
Prince Albert — Named after the Greek goddess of the dawn, Eos accompanied the then-future husband of Queen Victoria from his home in Germany to his new life in England. Becoming a much loved member of the monarch’s fur family, the image of Eos was captured on canvas by the prominent British painter Sir Edwin Landseer:
Charlie Watts — In 2020 The Rolling stones drummer and his wife Shirley adopted a greyhound who had been rescued from the racing industry by Forever Hounds Trust. (Shirley is a Patron & supporter of the animal charity.)
Jane Wiedlin — The Rock and roll Hall of Fame inductee has been a pet parent to several rescue dogs, including greyhounds Peanut and Geordi Laforge (named after LeVar Burton’s character in Star Trek: The Next Generation). The rhythm guitarist for The Go-Gos is a staunch animal advocate who has helped many rescue organizations over the years!
Adopting A Greyhound
If you would like to welcome a Greyhound into your heart and home, there are rescue organizations across the country which are dedicated to finding forever homes for members of the breed.
To find a Greyhound adoption agency in your area, visit The Greyhound Project, which offers a directory of US, Canadian, European and Australian Greyhound rescues.
Potential pet parents can also search for adoptable Greyhounds online at: