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Sighthound Lovers Trivia/Fun Facts:

- Some sighthounds appear to be closely related to the primitive dog group, such as the Pharaoh and Ibizan Hounds to name a couple.  Many sighthounds seem to have origins from areas in southwestern Asia.

- Sighthounds are known for their keen sight; most were once used to chase down and hunt prey.  But did you know that when they run, they often see better far away than up close?!

- The long muzzle, almond shaped eyes and a special wide foveal region across the retina of the eye is what gives sighthounds a wider range of sight.  A sighthound's field of vision is around 270° where as other dogs with shorter muzzles and more round shaped eyes will have far less range of sight.  The best sighted average dog breed would have only up to 250° field of vision; a human's is only 180°.

- The Saluki and Afghan Hound is thought to be the oldest of all the dog breeds.  The Greyhound and Pharaoh Hound are not far behind them in age.  The Saluki and Afghan Hound are 2 of 14 dog breeds said to have DNA that is similar to that of a wolf.

- Greyhounds, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds (as well as a few other sighthound breeds) are great for people with allergies.  Due to their short coat and skin type (which produces less dander) they do not usually affect people with common dog allergies.  Furthermore, they do not drool or have the typical doggie odor about them.

- Saluki's were originally developed in the Middle East by nomadic tribesmen to hunt gazelle.  Although the Islamic religion of the area says dogs are "unclean", exception was given to the Saluki and it was known as a "holy dog".

- Greyhounds are the second fastest accelerating animal on Earth; the first is the Cheetah.

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Afghan Hounds were originally bred in the mountains of Afghanistan as hunters and guard dogs.  They are known in their homeland as the Tazi or Baluchi Hound.  This independent hound is best known for its long silky coat, but it actually comes in three varieties; short haired, fringed and the long haired coat that is most popular in the Western World.  Because of its long coat, the Afghan became a popular show dog.  However, as a companion/pet the coat is not normally kept as long, but they can still be a little high maintenance. 

- The Afghan Hound was once referred to as "the Noah's Ark dog" by hunters in Afghanistan. 

-In a 30 second sprint a Greyhound's body can produce enough heat to boil a cup of water.

- Irish Wolfhounds are the largest sighthound; considered one of the "giant dog" breeds, it is the biggest and one of the strongest of all in this category.  The average height of an Irish Wolfhound is about 30-38 inches tall at the withers (shoulders) and they normally weigh in at about 90-150 pounds.  As their names suggests, they were originally breed in Ireland to hunt wolves.  Irish Wolfhounds have a rough, shaggy coat; their build is similar to a Greyhound, but more muscular and their head is not as long.

- The Irish Wolfhound nearly died out in the 19th century when the wolf was wiped out in Ireland and the UK.  The breed was saved by a British Army officer, Captain G.A Graham.

- Scottish Deerhounds, originally breed in Scotland to hunt deer, are also in the giant category.  They are quite similar to the Irish Wolfhound and both breeds are often confused for one another.  But they have distinctive differences in appearance (the Deerhound looks like a rough coated Greyhound) as well as height/weight.  The Irish wolfhound is noticeably larger; the Scottish Deerhound's average weight is 75-110 pounds and the average height of 28-32 inches would be a bit shorter than the Wolfhound as well.

- The Irish Wolfhound and Scottish Deerhound are two of the largest sighthounds and considered "giant dogs"; though they are gentle giants and usually make good family dogs.

- The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthound family.  They are thought to originate from Greece, not from Italy.  They are said to get their Italian name from Italian aristocrats they became popular with.

- Italian Greyhounds are a toy breed and often found in the lap of their owners when not sleeping burrowed under blankets.  They are lovingly known as an iggy or an IG for short.  IG's love to run just as much as their Greyhound and Whippet cousins, and they are quite fast despite their small size.  Some have been clocked at speeds of 25 mph in a full sprint!

- Most sighthounds are expert sprinters, but many usually do not do well as long distance endurance runners. 
However there are some that do fine in this regard.  One of these such hounds is the Afghan Hound which is known for it's endurance and agility as well as speed.

- The Greyhound is the fastest of the sighthound family and dogs in general.  Greyhounds, can run at speeds up to 45 mph (70 km/h).  Greyhound owners will tell you that they seem to have only 2 speeds; fast and off.  They are often lovingly referred to as "40mph couch potatoes" as they are often found lounging around the house most of the time.

-The Ibizan hound's origins are in and around the Mediterranean.  Their colors are varied red and white markings, they can have either wire haired, long, or smooth coats, and they have distinctive prick ears (as does the Pharaoh Hound).  The Beezer as it is often nicknamed, is usually good with children and makes an great family pet.

- Did you know that a Greyhound (a female named Cinderella May) currently holds the Guinness World Record title for highest jump cleared by a dog?  She completed the 68 inch jump in October 2006 at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals.

- The Whippet gets its name from an old expression "whip it" meaning to move quickly.  Whippets are very similar to Greyhounds only smaller; the breed is thought to have come from cross breeding the Greyhound and a Terrier breed.  They were once referred to as "The Poor Man's Greyhound".

- Though it is fairly common that most sighthounds rarely bark, the sound of their bark is often surprisingly loud/deep for their size.  This is because of their greater lung capacity; which also aides in their ability to run as fast as they do.  Of course some dogs may prove to be the exception to this rule.

- The Pharaoh Hound is one of questionable origin.  Some believe they have Egyptian origins, while others say they have Maltese origins.  The Pharaoh Hound (aka - Kelb tal-Fenek - The Maltese Rabbit Hound) is of such high regard in Malta that they declared the breed the National Dog of Malta in 1974.  A silver coin with the hound's likeness was minted there in 1977; a stamp with a Pharaoh Hound on it was issued in 2001.  One of the few things suggesting it's Egyptian origin are some ancient
tomb carvings depicting what is believed to be a descendant of the modern Pharaoh Hound.

- Silken Windhounds are one of the first American bred Sighthounds.

 

Famous Sighthound Owners/Sighthounds In History

- Actor John Barrymore, (father of Drew Barrymore) is said to have always kept a few greyhounds as pets.

- Todd Trainer (drummer for the band "Shellac") has an Italian Greyhound named Uffizi;
the dog is featured on one of the bands' albums called "Excellent Italian Greyhound"

- Jane Wiedlin (of Go-Go's fame) has had Italian Greyhounds and retired racing Greyhounds.

- Sigourney Weaver has two Italian Greyhound's named Petals and Bacci.

- Queen Elizabeth is said to have owned a Greyhounds.

- Captain of the Titanic, E.J. Smith, owned a Borzoi named Ben.  There is a famous picture of him and Ben on the deck the ship; Ben was not on the ship when it went down.

- Bo Derek, (known for her role in the 1981 film Tarzan The Ape Man) has owned Greyhounds and is an advocate of adopting retired racing Greyhounds as pets.

- The cartoon series "The Simpson's" the family has a mischievous retired racing Greyhound called "Santa's Little Helper" that Bart rescued from a race track.

- Greyhounds are the only canine mentioned by name in the Bible (Proverbs 30:29-31 KJV)

- Many ancient Egyptian royals were said to have owned greyhound type dogs.

- Images found in ancient Egyptian tombs have depicted what is believed to be Greyhounds, Pharaoh Hounds and Salukis.

- The mythical Roman Goddess (of the hunt) Diana is often pictured with a sighthound or two at her side.  Here are some examples:
"Diana" by Alberto Vargas
"Diana the Huntress" by Gaston Casimir Saint-Pierre
"Diana the Huntress" by Orazio Gentileschi
"Diana the Huntress" by unknown French artist
"Diana" by Henry George Holiday

- In the 1930's some models of Lincoln automobiles had a Greyhound hood ornament.

- Zeppo Marx, of the famed "Marx Brothers", owned two Afghan Hounds named Asra and Omar.  It was these two that started Pride's Hill Kennel, that was located in Massachusetts.

- Charlie Chaplin is said to have owned a Borzoi.

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*Have some fun or interesting tidbits about your sighthound breed to share?
Know of any other celebrity sighthound owners we don't?    Let us know!


*Information taken from various sources online and otherwise.*

*If linked images belong to you and/or are copyrighted and you wish them to be
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