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Sighthounds are different breeds, which are characterized by their slim physique and an extremely low body fat percentage. 

The sighthounds originally used for hunting are excellent sprinters. Thanks to their loving nature, they are also excellent as family dogs.

History of the greyhounds

Sighthounds are among the oldest dog breeds in the world. They were already known several thousand years ago in Egypt, as drawings of them prove. In the Middle Ages, the possession of these elegant animals was at times exclusively reserved for the nobility.

Sighthounds were originally bred as hunting dogs. Their task consisted in pursuing and catching up healthy loot-animals, as for example hares and foxes, without its sense of smell on sight. Although their importance for hunting has decreased, greyhounds are still used as hunting dogs in some European countries today.

Sighthounds appearance and breeds

The term greyhound does not only mean a certain dog, but several breeds, which differ among other things regarding their body size from each other. 

Nevertheless, there are some characteristics that all greyhounds have in common. Beside long runs, above all the slim physique is characteristic for its appearance. In comparison with other dog breeds, greyhounds have a very low body fat percentage and a particularly pronounced musculature in relation to their total weight.

The life expectancy of greyhounds varies according to race and amounts to in approximately 6 to 15 years.

The FCI recognizes a total of 13 species that differ in their coat, size and appearance, and groups them into Group 10.

Greyhounds recognised by the FCI:

  • The long-haired greyhounds (section 1) include the Afghan, the borzoi and the saluki.
  • The rough haired greyhounds (section 2) include the Deerhound and the Irish Wolfhound.
  • The short-haired greyhounds (section 3) include the Azawakh, the Chart Polski, the Greyhound, Galgo Español and Italian Wind Chimes, the Magyar Agar, the Sloughi and the Whippet.

In addition to these "real" greyhounds, the FCI currently recognizes five other greyhound-like breeds, which it leads in Group 5. In addition to Cirneco dell'Etna and Pharaoh Hound, these include the Podenco Canario, the Podenco Ibicenco and the Podengo Português.

Greyhounds in the present

The importance of greyhounds as hunting dogs has strongly decreased. Today they are popular family and companion dogs, which not only convince with their elegant appearance, but also with their pleasant nature.

Sighthounds are considered to be extremely calm, sensitive and adaptable. In addition, the slender animals are very fond of children, which makes them a good choice for families.

Greyhounds in dog sport

Greyhounds are after the cheetah the second fastest land animals of the earth. The English Greyhound reaches a top speed of up to 70 km/h. 

It is therefore not surprising that greyhounds play an important role in dog sports. There their strengths lie particularly in short sprints, which they bring to full effect especially in the sighthound races popular in the Anglo-Saxon area.

Sighthounds diseases

Like many other dog breeds also greyhounds tend to some race-typical health problems.

The following health problems are common in greyhounds:

  • Greyhound barrier
  • Joint diseases
  • Tartar

The Greyhound barrier

The Greyhound barrier is a serious disease in greyhounds. It occurs approximately one to three days after physical exertion and is particularly common in untrained animals.

The Greyhound barrier leads to muscle damage in greyhounds, which can be seen in a stiff gait, loss of appetite and weakness. It can also cause circulatory collapse or even fatal kidney failure. 

Urine darkened by the myoglobin from the destroyed muscle cells is a first sign that a greyhound suffers from the Greyhound barrier. If this is the case, dog owners should not hesitate and consult a veterinarian immediately.

Diseases of the joints

Sighthounds need sufficient movement, whereby owners should always pay attention to the correct measure. But no matter how important the physical strain may be for the health and well-being of greyhounds, it is also a strain on the musculoskeletal system of the four-legged friend.

Problems with the joints are therefore not rarity with greyhounds and can mean for affected animals occasionally large pain and a substantial restriction of their mobility.


Greyhounds are among the breeds that seem to have above-average problems with tartar. Since tartar in dogs is not only an optical flaw, a thorough dental care is crucial for the dental health of greyhounds.

Greyhounds and anaesthesia

One of the special features that distinguish greyhounds from other breeds is their low body fat percentage. This can become a problem during operations under general anaesthesia.

This is because the dosage of conventional injection anaesthesia is calculated on the basis of body weight and part of the anaesthetic is temporarily stored in the body fat. 

Since this is not possible due to the lack of fat pads in greyhounds, the dosage must be correspondingly low or instead preferred to an inhalation anaesthesia.

In addition, due to their low body fat content, greyhounds cool down quickly under anaesthesia, which is why the veterinarian must closely monitor the body temperature of the four-legged friend during the operation.

The right diet for greyhounds

A diet tailored to the needs of greyhounds is of crucial importance. When choosing food, owners should avoid products with artificial additives and sugar and instead give preference to an easily digestible dog food with natural ingredients.

In addition, we recommend a dietary supplement with the following products for greyhounds:

  • Bellfor Fitness Powder provides active greyhounds with valuable amino acids and thus contributes to muscle maintenance and regeneration after exercise.
  • Bellfor Joints & Bones supports the health of the musculoskeletal system and can help to counteract problems with the joints.
  • Bellfor Dental Care Powder helps to prevent tartar and the associated dental problems and is therefore an ideal supplement for the daily dental care of greyhounds.

Whether Greyhound or Irish Wolfhound - the special Bellfor nutrition concept for greyhounds supports the health and well-being of your dog from an early age.

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