Greyhounds in History


Animal anthropologists generally agree that the Greyhound is one of the seminal canine breeds from which virtually all domestic dogs descend. They are thought to be the oldest breed, and can be traced back over 8,000-15,000 years to early cave drawings and decorative artifacts. The Egyptians worshipped Greyhounds as a god and frequently showed them on murals in the tombs of kings. In old England "You could tell a gentleman by his horses and his Greyhounds." Old paintings and tapestries showing hunting feasts frequently included Greyhounds.

Legend has it that Cleopatra had coursing Greyhounds, and they are the goddess Diana's hunting hounds. Modern history has been replete with famous Greyhound owners including Frederick the Great, Prince Albert, and Generals Von Steuben and Custer.

The derivation of the term Greyhound is unknown, but has nothing to do with color. One possibility is that it is from old English gre-hundr, meaning dog hunter or high order of rank. Over the centuries, Greyhounds have traveled with explorers and generals, adorned the suites of kings and queens, appeared in fine art and literature, and been the focus of major industries in both Europe and the United States.