Greyhounds are amongst the fastest dog breeds and they can reach speeds of 45 miles (72 kilometers) per hour. In just three strides, Greyhounds can be running as fast as 30 miles (48 km) per hour. Each year, millions of people around the world attend Greyhound dog races and place bets on the dogs. After Greyhounds retire from racing, many of them are adopted as pets.
Most Greyhounds available for adoption are 2 to 5 years old. The 2-year-old dogs probably were poor racers or suffered injuries that prevented them from racing. The 5-year-old dogs probably were talented racers. Most Greyhound adoptions cost less than 200 dollars and adopted Greyhounds usually live to be around 13 years old. Nobody knows exactly how the Greyhound got its name but many historians think the name came from the old English word “grighund” which means “hunting dog”.
In 1858 Greyhound owners formed the National Coursing Club of England. In 1882 the club required that dogs be registered and a dog could only race in public events if the club had its pedigree on file. Most of today’s Greyhounds are descended from these early racing dogs. The American Kennel Club accepted the Greyhound breed as a member of its hound group in 1885.
Owen Patrick Smith invented a mechanical lure in 1912. This motorized device moved in a circle around an oval track. Owen Smith’s invention marked the beginning of modern Greyhound track racing. Smith opened the first dog-racing track in 1919 in California. In 1926 the first dog-racing track opened in England, and then in Ireland and Australia.
Today about 55 Greyhound tracks host races in the United States. More than 25 million people attend these races each year. The length of Greyhound races varies but tracks are one-quarter of a mile (0.4 km) long. Most races last about 30 seconds. The shortest race is five-sixteenths mile (0.5 km) and the longest is nine-sixteenths mile (0.9 km). “U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes owned a pet Greyhound named Grim,” wrote Charlotte Wilcox in Greyhounds. THE END