History of the Breed

The origin of the greyhound is deeply rooted in ancient history. In fact, murals and paintings of dogs strikingly similar to today's greyhound existed more than 4,000 years ago. From the beginning, the greyhound was held in high regard in the Middle East and throughout Europe. Pictures of the early greyhound can be found etched on walls of ancient Egyptian tombs, and the Pharaohs rated them first among all animals as both pets and hunters.
The Arabs so admired the physical attributes and speed of the greyhound that it was the only dog permitted to share their tents and ride atop their camels. In early Arabian culture, the birth of a greyhound ranked second only in importance to the birth of a son.
In Persia, Rome and Greece, the greyhound enjoyed similar stature and is the only canine mentioned in the Holy Scripture: "There be three things which go well, yea, Which are comely in going: A lion, which is strongest among beasts and turneth not away from any; A greyhound; A he-goat also." (Proverbs 30:29-31.)

It is documented that the greyhound arrived in England over 3,500 years ago. Their link with nobility was established in 1014 when King Canute of England enacted the Forest Laws, which stated that only noblemen could own and hunt with greyhounds. In fact, greyhound racing in England was first established for the English nobility and could not be enjoyed by other citizens.

The Forest Laws were abolished in the 1500s by Queen Elizabeth I, who later initiated the first formal rules of greyhound coursing (the pursuit of hares), thus officially inaugurating the "Sport of Queens".

Greyhounds were first introduced to America in the 1800's to help farmers control the jackrabbit population. It was not long before competitions of greyhound racing was conducted by the surrounding farmers. This proved to be both an exciting event for the local population but also proved that the greyhound loved the chase and excitement of racing.

Greyhound track racing, as we know it today, began with Owen Patrick Smith's invention of a mechanical lure around 1912, which made racing around a circular track possible. The first circular track opened in 1919 in Emeryville, California. It helped pave the way for the development of the greyhound racing industry in America.

To watch a greyhound in action is comparable to watching any great athlete. The grace and beauty of this most noble animal is a sight to behold. At the end of the greyhound's career they adapt to the life of a loving pet with ease and have become the pet of choice among an increasing number of people.

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