The Sighthound is one of the oldest dog breeds, and it has existed since the Egyptian era. The Sighthound has evolved throughout history, and it has become popular all over the world.
As we said, the Sighthound is one of the oldest dog breeds. In fact, petroglyphs are depicting them from 10000-12000 years ago. The Egyptian Sighthound is the oldest breed recognized by the FCI and the AKC. This breed was also known as the Saluki, and it was admired by Alexander the Great in 329 BC. Another example to prove that Sighthounds have existed for a long time is the Irish Greyhound that has been present in the literature of the 5th century. The Spanish Greyhound and the Miniature Italian Greyhound are also old breeds.
These are the types of sighthounds recognized:
Long or wavy sighthounds:
- Borzoi (Russian Sighthound)
- Afghan Hound
- Saluki Hound
- Irish wolfhound
- Scottish Greyhound (Deerhound)
- Azawakh (African Greyhound)
- Spanish Greyhound
- Greyhound (English Greyhound)
- Polish Greyhound
- Magyar agár (Hungarian Greyhound)
- Miniature Italian Greyhound
- Sloughi (Arabian Greyhound)
The characteristic that all Sighthounds share is that they all have small heads and slender bodies. However, this breed is differentiated among its type by the various forms it acquires according to the country of origin. For example, the Afghan Hound is characterized by its silky and long hair, and the English greyhound stands out for its great speed. If it is well trained, it can reach up to 72 km/h.
The rough-haired Irish Greyhound is known as the giant of dog breeds. It may be 31 inches (80 cm) tall. The Polish Greyhound differs from others of its breed because of its strong and robust body build.
The Sighthound is a dog breed that has different behaviors depending on the type of Sighthound. In general, it is an independent, clean and intelligent animal, but the behavior of each Sighthound is different.
For example, the Whippet and the Miniature Italian Greyhound are sweet and friendly with their owner, even if they have been in the house only for a short time. On the other hand, the African Greyhound and the Saluki analyze their owners carefully to evaluate if they really deserve their loyalty, turning out to be cautious and shy.
These types of Sighthounds carefully consider whether to obey or not. The owner must show himself as a coherent, kind and trustworthy person. The other breeds are easy enough to train (by using only good manners), extremely hygienic, and almost telepathic: once they start to respect the owner, they will do it forever.
Because it was a chasing and hunting dog in the past, the Sighthound needs to run across wide-open spaces, whether on a beach or in a meadow. Their need to have fun and run can be fulfilled on race tracks, as long as betting is not allowed, thereby creating a healthy sporting activity.
This breed is endowed with physical strength, speed, and endurance. Thus, it is recommended that it lives in a house close to large open spaces (garden, park, etc.) and not in a 50 square meter house.
It is naturally very clean and respectful, but it requires specific and functional training techniques. It won’t be easy to train it in small spaces. It also needs at least one hour to satisfy its need for running.
Quiet walks on the beach, in the mountains, or the countryside are welcome and recommended for Sighthounds.
The Sighthound And Its Ancestor
The Sighthound can be used for different tasks thanks to its temperament. Its family loves it very much for its sweetness and calmness. If trained with firm and gentle manners, it will easily adapt to apartment life as well as outdoor life.
This breed has been linked for centuries as a figure present in court environments in Europe, holding the aspect of a servile dog. In these environments, it developed the elegance of a companion dog and the ability of a hunting dog. Its sharp eyes, speed, and developed sense of smell make the Sighthound an excellent chaser.
One of the most popular activities among the public is Sighthound racing, one of the sport disciplines related to canine competitions.
Sighthound: Relationship With Its Owner
As we have already mentioned many times, the Sighthound has a special temperament. It does not become immediately attached to its owner, but it is the owner who must win its admiration. Some more than others, some breeds must spend some time studying the human being before considering them their “owner”.
The ideal owner of a Sighthound should be collaborative in hunting because the dog wants to go after its prey without being “disturbed” by its owner. The owner should also be coherent in daily life because this will make the Sighthound respect and esteem you. Finally, he or she should be kind and offer a calm environment for his/her dog.
Sighthound: Health and Diseases
This breed is prone to some diseases. The most common disease is hypothyroidism. Sighthounds are characterized by a thyroid hormone level below the reference values used for other dog breeds. Symptoms of this disease include:
- Unexplained weight gain (i.e. without an increment in appetite)
- Intolerance to cold
- Dry, dull, brittle, and itchy coat
- Recurrent skin and ear infections
- Slow heart rate
- Behavioral changes: aggression, anxiety, compulsion, and seizures.
Other diseases that may affect Sighthounds are Osteosarcoma (a primary bone tumor), dental diseases, and skin acne on the chest.
Sighthound: Relationship with children
In general, Sighthounds love children. Their sweet and gentle character allows them to establish a long-lasting relationship with the little ones. However, parents should set rules.
This breed is known for its large size and speed; therefore, it is not advisable to leave small children alone with this dog, since a sudden movement of the Sighthound could harm them.
In addition, it is important to teach children the “dog language”. Although dogs cannot express themselves with words, they can do it with their body’s signals. It is good not to disturb the dog while it eats or sleeps. If you notice that it is growling or that its hair is standing up on its neck and its tail is in the shape of a hook, it is better to stop playing.
In these cases, parents should intervene calmly so as not to frighten the child or the dog and make the child understand what the Sighthound is expressing. In conclusion, if respected, the Sighthound is sweet, gentle, and can be an excellent friend for the youngest family members.
Sighthound: Relationship With Other Dogs
In general, it is advisable not to bring home a new dog abruptly when there is already another one. When the new dog arrives, you should monitor both the new and the old dog’s reaction to observe if there are signs of nervousness and to separate them if there are any violent episodes. At the beginning, dogs will go through a “getting to know each other” phase. New behaviors may appear after a few weeks.
To sum up, the encounter must be managed carefully, especially with small and agile dogs. If your dog watches the new one even when you are trying to distract them, it is advisable to use a specific muzzle for Sighthounds. You should also be careful in dog areas. It is advisable to take the first walks with your Sighthound on a leash so that it can explore the surroundings under control.
Sighthound: Puppies, Breeders and Price
There are Sighthound breeders in almost every part of the world, and the number of them depends on the type of Sighthound. Its price and rarity lie in the fact that it is an elite dog breed. It has been a companion dog that has lived in every continent with ancient civilizations.
For example, a sweet and affectionate Afghan greyhound may cost around 2900 dollars, about 2600 English pounds. Alternatively, the Miniature Italian Hound or the Irish Hound are cheaper. Their price ranges from 1200-1800 dollars (1000-1600 English pounds). The fierce and determined Polish Greyhound may cost around 1200 dollars (about 1000 English pounds).
Now that we have clarified all the most important aspects, you can go in search of your new 4-legged friend, who is surely waiting for you.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Sighthound is a special dog and to prove it, we will tell you some interesting facts.
Sighthounds usually tend to walk excruciatingly slowly, in an almost trance-like manner. When experiencing a trance, dogs slip into super-slow motion as they let a plant, table cloths, or curtain gently tickle their back. Dogs may remain motionless for several minutes enjoying the physical sensation of rubbing. There is no need to be alarmed. They are fine. It is advisable to wake them up with a gentle touch that does not agitate them.
Another unique behavior of Sighthounds is the so-called “statue syndrome”, which occurs in high-stress situations like when they are still adapting to life in their new family and new surroundings. It seems unconscious, petrified, staring into space: it is advisable that when the dog shows this behavior, you calm it with kindness and gentleness.