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Journey of the Greyhound

by Robert

A Brief History

Greyhound lineage, extending from ancient times to the present, depicts an ever-evolving journey. Their images have beenCalvin immortalized by artisans and artists for thousands of years. One d the earliest renderings, dating back to 6,000 B.C., was found in a temple painting inside the ancient city of Catai-Huyuk in what is now modern-day Turkey. From medieval times throughout the Renaissance, Greyhounds were a popular subject matter for painters, and to find them depicted on canvas with kings and noblemen became commonplace. Ancient Egyptians worshiped them, inscribing their image on the tombs of Pharaohs some 3800 years ago. Coins dating back to 500 B.C. have been found engraved with what scholars believe to be a Greyhound. Books, such as the Bible and Homer’ s Odyssey, brought Greyhounds into the realm of great literature. The multi-faceted history of Greys spans countless countries and cultures many centuries before coming to America.

But this vast history is not without it’s ugly side. In medieval Europe, for example, Greyhounds were brought close to extinction The sweeping famines that marked this era killed thousands. In 1014, a law both arbitrary and cruel marked the Greyhound as a breed only to be owned by the upper class. Under the “Enactment of Forest Laws,” only nobility and freemen could own a Greyhound type dog. Anyone outside this distinction was required to maim their dog by cutting off toes or severing li3aments. This debasement, which spanned nearly four hundred years, was implemented to prevent the common man from hunting in any “royal” forests. Only through the diligence of devoted clergymen did the breed survive.


Because of its ability as a hunter, the speed and dexterity of the stately Greyhound led to the sport of coursing. Some historians believeMarcey that coursing developed in ancient Greece after observers watched two Greyhounds chasing a rabbit on an open field. Nevertheless, by the mid 17OOs, rules were developed where the Grey’s speed, agility, and endurance became criteria in judging a coursing dog’s performance. In time, the sport spread throughout Europe and into the heart of America.

Greyhounds were often bred with other dogs in an effort to maximize their qualities and make them better suited for various climates. In turn, and over several generations, this helped create many other wonderful breeds of sight hound Included in this family are Whippets, Italian Greyhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Salukis, Afghan Hounds, Basenjis, Borzois, and Pharaoh Hounds. Even the powerful Rhodesian Ridgeback, most noted for it’ s fierce hunting instincts, shares common lineage with the modern-day Greyhound All of these wonderful hounds are now recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

During this time, a man known as Lord Orford set out to improve on the Greyhound’s physical features. He wanted a smoother coat, and in his efforts bred the Greyhound with a Bulldog. After seven generations of selective breeding, his methods achieved success. The resulting breed became the most popular in all of coursing, and it is from this line that today’s Greyhounds are derived. /p>


From coursing came modern day Greyhound racing. In the early 1900s, a man by the name of Patrick Smith invented the artificialArny lure. This was nothing more than a two dimensional image shaped like a running hare. In time the sport grew, and Greyhound racing became a favorite pastime for many Americans. By 1991, Greyhound racing had reached its peak. Bringing in revenues in excess of $3 billion from betting, breeders and track proprietors changed their view about the Greyhound They became more of a commodity than a living, breathing animal In turn, the longevity of a racing dog’s life became inextricably linked to it’s ability to generate profits--a losing dog pays no dividends. Dog lovers and special interest groups have been exposing the underside of Greyhound racing for the vast two decades. Mass graves have been found filled with slaughtered Greys that have had their ears cut off to thwart authorities’ attempts to identify the owners. Illegal puppy-mill rings, where Greyhounds are produced in mass amounts and treated as disposable, are still being uncovered. There have been--and still are—-horrible incidents reported on retired racing dogs starving to death, suffering from untreated sores and wounds, infested with internal and external parasites, and more. Even winning dogs may find themselves kept in cages and muzzled at all times. Under such conditions, they live a sorrowful and meager existence.


We aim to train the ex-racer to the best of our ability so that the public may better understand the amazing characteristics represented by this breed. Most importantly, we hope that through our deeds we can create a loving environment, a welcome home, and a better life for these beautiful dogs.