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Greyhound Dog Breed

History Of Greyhounds: Part 1


The bloodline of the sleek and beautiful breed of Greyhound date far back in mankind's history. In fact, Greek historians during the years 100 A.D. used to write about how Greyhounds were proudly owned by true sportsmen, whom would race their dogs with hares, while most other dogs were used to hunt them.

Yet the Greyhound's roots are known to reach further beyond this point in history. There was a time when the dog was unleashed to provide meat for the survival of humans by chasing after fleeing flocks of game in the lands of North Africa and Arabia.

Greyhounds were trained to bring this meat back to people for all to share in eating, including the dogs. And since chasing prey for mankind's survival was the main use of the Greyhounds, breeding them produced yet faster and faster dogs.

Did you know that the Greyhound dog was used as design on ancient tomb drawings? In fact, dogs of the Greyhound form were depicted on the tombs of Ancient Pharaohs over 3,800 years ago. The beauty of the Greyhound, one of four things "comely in going" was recorded by Solomon in Proverbs (30: 29-31).

The value and use of the Greyhound back in those days was so vital, that they were rarely sold. On occasions the dog would be given as gifts to visitors that ranked of high importantance in social levels. The Persian Greyhounds, also called the "Saluki", were presented to caravan traders. These caravan traders spread greyhounds to the rest of the world.

Eventually, this breed of Greyhound found its way to Babylon, Afghanistan, Russia, Greece, Rome, and Britain. Because of the different climates and terrain, the Greyhounds bred into different sub-types. For example, in colder climates the thin skinned Greyhound were bred with other native breeds to obtain a thicker coat. This produced dogs that still had the ability to hunt at fast speed in the winter time.

There became a breed of Greyhound that most resembles our current look of the dog breed known as sighthounds. The quintessential sighthound is the Greyhound of today. In fact, the sighthounds of Greece, Rome and Britain are the breed that most resemble today's Greyhounds.

By the Saxon times, the Greyhounds in Britain had ranked very high in value to the commoners. These dogs had the ability to both help hunt to feed the family and offer the people nobility for the sport of the chase.

Interestingly enough, the year 1014 marked the beginning of a 4-century-long stage of the Greyhound history. It was known as the "Enactment of the Forest Laws". This meant that serfs and slaves had no rights to own a Greyhound dog.

Under the Forest Laws, the Greyhound dog breed were only to be owned and raised by free men. And those who did own a Greyhound dog living near the royal forests had to have their dogs lamed by having three toes off of the paw chopped off or by having the dog's knee ligaments severed.

What was the point for this cruel and unusual practice of mutilating the Greyhound? Well this law was introduced to prevent a commoner from hunting game for food at the expense of royal sport.

Go to the History Of The Greyhound Part 2

Back to the Greyhound page

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