Sighthound Breeds Guide

Blink and you’ll easily miss a sighthound flying past you. Rather than being a singular breed, sighthounds are a whole group of breeds renowned for their speediness, slenderness, and superb vision. It’s likely that some of your favourite breeds fall into this category as there are roughly 28 different sighthound breeds, ranging from the well-known Greyhounds to the lesser known Tazy. We’ll cover what it takes to be a sighthound, what it takes to look after one, and all the different types and crosses in between.

What is a sighthound?

A sighthound isn't an individual breed but a collection of breeds characterised by their incredible sight and speed.

How many types of sighthound are there?

There are roughly 28 different sighthound breeds, and a few extra crossbreeds. We say roughly because there's no formal list and The Kennel Club recognises different breeds vs e.g The AKC

Here are all the different breeds and crosses:

Afghan Hound

Irish Wolfhound

Agar

Scottish Deerhound

Kangaroo hound (cross)

Azawakh

Italian Greyhound

Mudhol Hound

Silken Windhound

Longdog (cross)

Borzoi

Laikadi

Patagonian Greyond

Sloughi

Lurcher (cross)

Chippiparai

Kanni

Polish Greyound

Taigan

American Staghound (cross)

Chortai

Kombai

Rajapalayam

Tazy

 

Galgo Espanol

Levriero Sardo

Rampur Greyhound

Whippet

 

Greyhound

Magyar

Saluki

Xigou

 

 

Appearance

Obviously each breed has its unique traits, but on the whole sighthounds are characterized by their slender and aerodynamic bodies. They have a unique body type with a low store of body fat and protruding bones which makes them all the better for running. Just check out this speedy Gonzalez...

However, it does also mean that those unfamiliar to the breeds can wrongly mistake them for being underweight. This is understandable as for other breeds like Bulldogs, protruding bones can be a sign of malnutrition, but for sighthounds this is simply a matter of physiology. You may equally find Sighthounds in jumpers pawfectly appropriate to keep their tum tums warm. 

Of course there is such a thing as a sighthound being too skinny which a trained eye can spot from a lack of muscle or bones protruding too much. 

Here’s what some of the most popular sighthound breeds look like:

sighthound

Putting the "sight' into Sighthound

The final Sighthound superpower is in their name, their sight! Also known as gazehounds, these breeds have developed incredible vision to help catch prey. Their narrow noggins give them a better field of vision, especially to the sides, and means they can actually watch two directions at the same time. They've also developed special retinas known as the "visual streak", which is common amongst hunting dogs. This adaption makes it easier for them to spot movement in their periphery vision, aka that little bunny hiding in the undergrowth. 

Temperament

The specific temperament of each breed varies, however on the whole sighthounds are renowned for being the speediest couch potatoes around. It’s a common misconception that sighthounds are 24/7 bundles of energy. The reality is that whilst they definitely need at least an hour of proper exercise per day, their absolute favourite activity is snoozing. Ideally on a comfy sofa!

greyhound on sofa

The key is quality not quantity when it comes to exercising them. They’re high speed, short distance sprinters who prefer a shorter, more intense spout of exercise. Make sure to involve plenty of enrichment activities into their playtime too, as they need plenty of mental stimulation. That being said, they don’t have the longest attention span, so when training you’ll want to equip yourself with some extra tasty dog treats

Sighthounds make great family pets and have massive hearts with lots of love to give. No, literally, their hearts make up a larger percentage of their total body weight than other breeds! This means they can build incredible bonds not only with us hoomans, but other four-legged members of the family too. Due to their strong hunting instincts we'd recco avoiding pairing them with toy breeds or other small pets ... if you get our gist...

Feeding sighthounds

When it comes to feeding sighthounds, they’re not as easy-going as some other breeds.

Firstly, sighthounds can be a touch fussy when it comes to dinner time, particularly as puppies and teenagers. This means it can be a tad tricky maintaining their ideal bodyweight. To combat this, opt for a good quality and balanced diet with a high nutrition density. If your sighthound is especially fussy, here are a few tips for dinner time:

  • Lightly soften dry dog food with hot water to give a textural twist (make sure it’s cooled before they eat it)
  • Try dry food, wet food, or different combinations of the two to get it just right
  • Make meal times fun by hiding dry food in puzzle games so they have to “hunt” for their dinner 

Secondly, they’re known for their delicate tums, so opt for a food that’s specifically designed for sensitive doggies. Avoid any added sugars, salts, artificial additives, and preservatives, and as an extra bonus opt for recipes with extra gut-friendly goodies like pre or probiotics.

If you're looking for sensitive dog food, why not give our gut-friendly range a try with 15% off your first order using the code: SIGHTHOUND15

whippet

Finally, the biggest problem for sighthounds, especially greyhounds, is dental disease. This becomes even more common in older doggies, so as seniors you may want to switch to a wet dog food which will be easier for pooches missing a tooth or two to eat, or you can soften their biscuits with water.

5 fun facts about sighthounds

  1. If your sighthound does catch something, don’t expect them to bring it back. Their approach is chase, catch, kill … perhaps for the best.
  2. Greyhounds are the speediest sighthound, reaching speeds of 45 mph!
  3. Sighthounds have especially huge hearts relative to their body size, making up 1.18 to 1.73% of their body weight! (for hoomans it’s only 0.45%)
  4. Sighthounds generally spend about 18 hours a day sleeping.
  5. Many sighthounds are intolerant to certain types of anaesthesia due to their unique metabolisms

Whilst you're here why not check out:

  1. What to Do When You Can’t Walk Your Dog
  2. Can dogs eat cheese?
  3. How to Calm a Panting Dog

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