9 Types of Greyhounds | Temperament and Appearance

Perhaps you’ve always loved the idea of sharing your home with a graceful Greyhound. But did you know there’s more than one type to choose from? As well as the classic Greyhound, you can find their miniature cousins, the Whippet, and the Italian Greyhound. Greyhound types are also found hailing from Scotland to Persia and from Arabia to Russia. This noble breed has definitely made an impact all around the world.

Greyhounds date back to ancient Egypt, so it’s no surprise that their influence can be found in many other breeds. We’ve rounded up the nine types of Greyhound that you’ve got to choose from! Some are more popular than others, but they all epitomize the grace, elegance, and gentleness which we all know and love about the Greyhound.

Divider 1

1. Greyhound

two elegant greyhounds
Image credit: pfluegler-photo, Shutterstock

Of course, our list has to start with the Greyhound itself! This ancient breed can be traced back to the Valley of the Nile, around 2900-2751 B.C. Designed to scent and chase wild animals like hare and rabbits, the Greyhound is the fastest dog breed, reaching speeds of 45 miles per hour. They’re the original breed from which many other coursing hounds have taken their inspiration.

Temperament

Greyhounds are good-natured, gentle, and laid-back. When at home, you’ll most likely find a Greyhound relaxing in their bed or on the couch, these dogs transform into running machines once outside and off-leash. They are independent, which often comes across as a stubborn streak when training. They’re affectionate with their families but can be stand-offish with strangers.

Appearance

Perfectly designed for running, the Greyhound has a long, narrow, and aerodynamic head with a muscular and elegant neck. Their ears are usually folded back but semi-erect when a Greyhound is excited. They have long and muscular hindquarters, strong yet slender legs, and an overall appearance of elegance.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 27-30 inches
Weight: 60-70 pounds
Colors: Almost every color, including ticked and part-color coats
Lifespan: 10-13 years
Health: Overall very good. Breeders will scan for cardiac conditions, eye conditions, and Greyhound neuropathy. Owners should be aware of the risk of bloat and gastric torsion.


2.Italian Greyhound

italian greyhound
Credit: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock

If you want a Greyhound in miniature form, then the Italian Greyhound is what you need! It’s thought that this breed originated from the Roman Empire, and they have been prized as noble companions for at least 2,000 years. Famous as a status symbol during the Renaissance of Italy, the smallest Greyhound has always been able to charm its owners.

Temperament

Sensitive and intelligent, Italian Greyhounds simply adore their owners. They’re alert, playful, and energetic but also love to curl up and wait attentively while their owners are busy –– but don’t be surprised if they try to sit on your lap! They’re sensitive but also a little stubborn, so positive reinforcement methods work best.

Appearance

The Italian Greyhound looks very similar to their larger cousin, the Greyhound, but are slightly more slender in build. They should have elegant and graceful lines, with a deep narrow chest. Their skin is fine, and their hair soft and glossy, almost satin-like. They have a definite curve across their backs, dropping to the hindquarters. Their legs are long and muscled but very slender.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 13-15 inches
Weight: 7-14 pounds
Colors: Almost all canine colors (including with white markings)
Lifespan: 14-15 years
Health: Generally good, but breeders should screen for Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, hypothyroidism, autoimmune issues, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).


3. Spanish Greyhound or Galgo Español

Spanish Greyhounds
Photo credit: popovicmjeljica, Pixabay

The Spanish Greyhound is often called the Spanish Sighthound, or Galgo Español. Greyhounds have been recorded in Spanish history as far back as the year 100 A.D., and it’s thought that this breed is descended from the Greyhounds found in Egypt at that time. Traditionally used to hunt hares, Spanish Greyhounds might not be as well-known as some other greyhound types, but they make truly fabulous family pets.

Temperament

Spanish Sighthounds are kind and gentle dogs who will happily snooze the day away in a warm and comfortable spot. Once they’re out of the house, they enjoy the opportunity to show off their speed, as long as they’re within a securely fenced area! They usually get along very well with children and other pets. They have a reserved personality, so early socialization is important.

Appearance

Spanish Sighthounds look quite similar to Greyhounds at first glance, but in fact, their conformation is very different. They’re smaller and lighter, with a longer and more streamlined head. They’re higher in the loins than the chest and have a flatter muscle profile. Spanish Greyhounds can be found with two coat types, the smooth coat, and the rough coat.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 25-26 inches
Weight: 50-65 pounds
Colors: Any color
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Health: Very healthy, but can be sensitive to anesthesia.


4. Persian Greyhound or Saluki

a saluki dog in a meadow
Image Credit: Elisabetta Bellomi, Pixabay

The elegant and independent Persian Greyhound is better known by their other name, the Saluki. As one of the oldest known dog breeds, the Persian Greyhound can be traced back to 7000 B.C. Favorites of Egyptian Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, and the Ming Dynasty. Salukis might look delicate, but they’re built to withstand harsh conditions.

Temperament

Salukis can be reserved with strangers and still retain the independent streak that marks them out as an effective sighthound.  They will concede to some training but can get bored easily, so repetitive training sessions should be avoided. Gentle methods, like positive reinforcement are recommended. Salukis rarely enjoy games like fetch, but they can’t always resist the temptation to chase fast-moving objects like birds or squirrels!

Appearance

Salukis are grace combined with strength. They have long, narrow heads with long silky ears. They have a broad back with a clear arch over their loins, and their chests are deep yet narrow. Their paws are well padded, allowing them to effectively run for long distances over harsh terrain. Salukis can have feathered or smooth coats. They’re very clean and don’t have a typical doggy odor.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 18-28 inches
Weight: 40-65 pounds
Colors: Many different colors and patterns
Lifespan: 10-17 years
Health: No serious genetic illnesses, but can be prone to heart conditions, specific types of cancer, and autoimmune issues. Owners need to be aware of the increased risk of gastric torsion or bloat.


5. Arabian Greyhound or Sloughi

Sloughi standing in the garden
Image Credit: Bianca Grueneberg, Shutterstock

The now rare Arabic Greyhound is another ancient type of Greyhound, also known as the Sloughi. Pronounced “SLOO-ghi” these dogs were originally bred by the Bedouins and Berbers of North Africa. It’s thought they may have been introduced to Europe when Hannibal made his infamous crossing of the Alps.

Temperament

Sloughis are affectionate with their owners yet reserved with strangers. They can be described as aloof and dignified and don’t always appreciate overly dramatic displays of affection from people they don’t know or trust. They need a lot of exercise each day, including the ability to run free and fast off-leash. Their sensitive nature means gentle training methods are an absolute must.

Appearance

Sloughis are medium to large-sized dogs with a robust yet elegant appearance. Their heads are long and refined with medium-sized ears, they have a deep chest with a well tucked up belly, and their topline is mostly horizontal, graduating into a sloping croup.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 24-29 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds
Colors: Cream, mahogany, red, or sandy. Can have brindle markings or black masks
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Health: Generally very good. Breeders will screen for Progressive Retinal Atrophy and certain autoimmune diseases. Sloughis are also sensitive to anesthesia, vaccines, and worming medications.


6. Russian Greyhound or Borzoi

Borzoi
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Russian Greyhound or Russian Wolfhound is better known as the Borzoi. Their name comes from “borzyi” –– Russian for swift or fast, which these dogs most definitely are! They’ve been around since the 16th Century. These independent dogs love to run and need a safe and enclosed space within which they can reach full flight.

Temperament

Borzoi dogs are very sensitive and do best with owners who are experienced and sympathetic. They’re affectionate around their families but don’t enjoy having their personal space invaded. As with many other sighthound breeds, Borzoi can be selective about which commands they choose to obey. This can be misconstrued as disobedience but is really just their independent spirit!

Appearance

Borzois are elegant and agile, with a classic slightly curved back. They have narrow but extremely deep chests, contrasting with their tucked up yet muscular loins. Their coat is long and silky and can either be flat or have a slight wave.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 26 inches upwards
Weight: 75-105 pounds
Colors: Almost any color, including brindle and ticked shades
Lifespan: 9-14 years
Health: Generally healthy. Breeders should test for elbow and hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and heart issues. Can suffer from bloat. More sensitive to anesthesia than some other breeds.


7. Afghan Greyhound or Afghan Hound

An afghan hound dog walking on the lawn_raywoo_shutterstock
Credit: raywoo, Shutterstock

Some say that Afghans are the oldest purebred dog in the world; others say they represented canines on Noah’s Ark. This breed is thought to predate written history and have been a popular fixture of Eastern culture ever since. Even Mattel’s Barbie had an Afghan hound named Beauty! These dogs are the epitome of elegance and dignity.

Temperament

Afghan hounds can be aloof with strangers but are happy and playful when around their families. As with any sighthound, they have a strong prey drive and may not be able to resist the urge to chase small and fast-moving creatures. Afghans are independent and may not always respond to training commands.

Appearance

Afghan Greyhounds carry themselves with dignity and grace, with a high and proud head carriage, high hipbones, and a distinctive curled “ring” at the end of their tails. A defining feature is their long thick coat, made of fine and silky hair. The coat along their saddle is short, and everywhere else is well covered with long hair.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 25-27 inches
Weight: 50-60 pounds
Colors: Black, black and silver, black and tan, blue, cream, red, silver, and white. Can have brindle or domino markings
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Health: Generally healthy, but like other sighthounds with low body fat, they can be sensitive to anesthesia. Breeders should check Afghan’s hips, eyes, and thyroid. Can suffer from bloat.


8.Scottish Greyhound or Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound
Image Credit: Jamie Hall, Shutterstock

The original purpose of the Scottish Greyhound or Scottish Deerhound was to course red deer in the Scottish Highlands. No one knows exactly how long the breed has been in existence, but it’s certainly at least since the 9th Century. These rare dogs are closely related to the Irish Wolfhound and are one of the tallest breeds of dog.

Temperament

Deerhounds are very sensitive to stress, so they need to live in a household where this is kept in mind. They don’t enjoy being left at home all day and can develop separation anxiety. They are quiet and dignified around the house, but it’s vital that they’re allowed plenty of opportunities to run freely off-leash each and every day. They have a high prey drive, so they shouldn’t be let off-leash in the open.

Appearance

Scottish Greyhounds look similar to Greyhounds in terms of outline, they’re just larger and more substantially built! They have strong necks, long heads with pointed muzzles, and high-set but small ears. Their wiry coat is low-maintenance and has a slight fringe across the legs, and they have compact feet and powerful legs.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 28-32 inches
Weight: 75-110 pounds
Colors: Blue-gray, brindle, gray, gray-brindle, black, black brindle, and blue. May have white markings
Lifespan: 8-11 years
Health: Overall very healthy but like any sighthound can be sensitive to anesthesia and at risk from bloat. Breeders should test for Factor VII deficiency and heart disease.


9.Whippet

Whippet lies on the hay_Liliya Kulianionak_shutterstock
Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

The graceful Whippet was bred as a smaller version of the Greyhound, cheaper to feed and easier to house. Revered by coal miners in the North of England, they earned the nickname “poor man’s racehorse” due to the popularity of races between these lightning-fast dogs. Whippets were first registered with the AKC in 1888 and have been well-loved ever since.

Temperament

In the house and on leash, Whippets are calm and composed, but let them off their leash (in a fenced area!) for a run, and you’ll soon see how fast they are! Whippets are affectionate and loving and can happily live in an apartment if they’re well exercised. They do have a mischievous streak, so training sessions are needed so you can channel that mental energy somewhere productive.

Appearance

Whippets look very similar to a Greyhound, just slightly smaller in size. Their bodies have the signature inverted “s” shape of a sighthound. Their legs are sturdy yet slim, their chests deep, and their waists very thin. They have a long and elegant arched neck. Their ears are small, with a fold in them when alert, and folded along the neck when the Whippet is at rest.

Vital Statistics:

Height: 18-22 inches
Weight: 25-40 pounds
Colors: Almost all canine colors, including with white markings or dark face masks
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Health: Usually good, but breeders should screen for cardiac disease, deafness, and eye disorders.

Divider 8

Is a Greyhound type right for you?

So many different types of Greyhounds to choose from! From the tiny and delicate Italian Greyhound to the large and wiry Scottish Greyhound, there’s plenty to love about this charismatic breed. Whichever type you choose, Greyhounds all need a specific type of home in order to thrive.

Training Considerations 🎾

These dogs were bred to work independently from their human handlers, so they can sometimes come across as stubborn or uninterested in training sessions. The reality simply is that they’re more than happy to think for themselves, and if commands become boring or repetitive to them, these dogs may simply ignore you and entertain themselves instead! Many owners love this characteristic, but it does mean they can be better suited to an experienced home. They’re also sensitive, so positive reinforcement training will work best.

White greyhound running on beach
Image credit: Zita Ile, Shutterstock

Greyhound-type breeds all still retain a strong prey drive, so sometimes simply can’t help themselves but follow their instinct to chase if they see a fast-moving object. Neighborhood cats, wildlife, and small pets are all prime targets! While they can live happily with certain cats, you need to be very careful about how you introduce them, as well as managing their interactions on a day-to-day basis. All greyhounds need plenty of opportunities to run free and fast, but this needs to be in a securely fenced area –– for everyone’s safety!

After they’ve been well exercised, your Greyhound will be more than happy to snooze the rest of the day away in a warm and comfortable spot.

Health 🏥

In terms of their health, Greyhound-type dogs do have a few specific requirements that need careful management. Their low body fat means they’re particularly sensitive to the effects of anesthesia, vaccines, and worming medications. Always discuss the dosages of these carefully with your vet. Their deep chests also put them at a higher than average risk of bloat or gastric torsion, so care needs to be taken not to exercise them close to feed times. Owners should educate themselves on the signs of bloat and should never hesitate to call the vet as an urgent case if the dog presents any of them.

Divider 3

Wrapping it Up

The elegant, gentle, and dignified nature of Greyhound-type dogs is what makes many of us such dedicated enthusiasts of these breeds. With their ancient heritage and kind personalities, Greyhounds are easy to love! If you’re the owner of a specific type of Greyhound, we’d love to hear more about your precious pup in the comments below.


Featured Image Credit: Danita Delimont, Shutterstock