Sighthound Lovers Trivia/Fun
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
popular show dog. However, as a companion/pet the coat is not
normally kept as long, but they can still be a little high
- 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.
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
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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
"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
- In the 1930's some models of Lincoln automobiles had a
- 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
- Charlie Chaplin is said to have owned a Borzoi.
*Have some fun or interesting
tidbits about your sighthound breed to share?
Know of any other celebrity sighthound owners we don't?
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*Information taken from various sources online and otherwise.*
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