A wide variety of fun facts about greyhounds are likely to amuse and educate fellow dog enthusiasts. This fascinating breed has been referenced in ancient cultures, owned by famous historical figures and is the second-fastest land animal on Earth. One fun fact is that greyhounds rely on their sight to hunt, rather than their sense of smell.
Greyhounds are one of the oldest purebreds still in existence. They're mentioned in ancient Egyptian history and the only breed of dog named in the Bible. Their speed and ability to see nearly half a mile made them desirable in Egypt for hunting rabbits feeding on crops. Contrary to their name, grey is not a common color for the breed.
Greyhounds are faster than any other dog breed, which makes them a prime choice for racing. When a new greyhound is born, the right ear is tattooed with the birth date and the left ear with the litter number -- markings that allow owners to track a dog's racing record. Many retired greyhounds find a new career as household pets.
The greyhound, which can reach 45 mph within a few steps, is second only to the cheetah as the fastest land animal on Earth. One reason greyhounds run so fast is their slender body makeup -- an average of six percent body fat, long legs and a thin torso. The way greyhounds use their legs is unique: when they're in a full stride, all four legs are off the ground, which means less friction with the terrain they cover.
Man's Best Friend
The familiar saying of "a dog is man's best friend" has historical evidence to support the claim. Alexander the Great's favorite dog is believed to have been the greyhound. Around 500 B.C., greyhounds were depicted on the face of coins. Greyhounds also have been part of more modern history -- in 1493 they became the first European dogs in the New World. General George Custer is said to have 14 greyhounds.