Greyhounds are renowned for being fleet of foot and for their gentle and loving hearts. This ancient breed has been used for professional dog racing since at least 1926. But with attention being brought to the dark side of racing Greyhounds, more and more of these dogs are adopted as rescue animals.
In support of these beautiful animals, we honor them with National Greyhound Day, which falls on June 2 every year. If you want to learn more about the celebration of the Greyhound, please read on!
National Greyhound Day
National Greyhound Day is June 2 every year. This annual holiday is held to appreciate the beautiful and athletic Greyhound and raise awareness for adoption.
In the U.K., the Greyhound Trust hosts National Greyhound Day every year as a way to educate the public on the history and plight of Greyhounds in the racing world.
A Little Greyhound History
Greyhounds are believed to be the oldest purebred dog breed, with prehistoric art depicting greyhound-like dogs chasing game. What is known for certain is that these hounds date back to Ancient Egypt roughly 5,000 years ago and were used by pharaohs for hunting and chasing wildlife. These dogs were considered an extension of the pharaohs. They were also regarded as divine and could only be owned by royalty until about 1700.
Greyhounds have also been honored in Greek and Roman mythology, and Shakespeare included them in “Henry V.” Every current purebred Greyhound today has lineage back to King Cob of England in 1839. They were recognized by the AKC in 1885 and are currently the 129th most popular breed out of 200 breeds.
The Fastest Dogs
What Greyhounds are known for is being the fastest dog breed. The fastest individual Greyhound is Shakey Jakey from Australia, who was clocked at 41.8 mph (67 kph) in 2014!
On average, Greyhounds can run 40 to 45 mph (64 to 72 kph) at their fastest but are also known to sustain great speed. They can run at 35 mph (56 kph) for about 7 miles (11 kph)!
Eight Dog Breeds Classified as Greyhounds
Eight dog breeds are related to the Greyhound, which means they are similar in appearance and quite fast.
Other Holidays That Honor Greyhounds
The entire month of April is National Adopt-A-Greyhound Month. This is becoming an essential time because Greyhound racetracks are being closed worldwide, which means more dogs need homes.
On September 24, 2023, is the Great Global Greyhound Walk, which is for all sighthounds anywhere in the world. In 2022, 10,620 sighthounds were walked in 29 countries. England had 4,000 dogs walked, and Australia had the second most with 1,763 dogs. These walks are designed to be social events for sighthound owners and to promote the adoption of these amazing dogs.
February 1 is World Greyhound Day (also called World Galgo Day), which is designed to call attention to the cruelty shown toward Greyhounds used for hunting in Spain. Spanish Greyhounds are often left to die in inhumane ways at the end of hunting seasons.
These holidays are not only to celebrate these beautiful dogs but also to raise awareness of the plight of the Greyhounds used for sport.
The End of Greyhound Racing?
An increasing number of countries and cities are closing down on Greyhound racing. But it is still technically legal in seven countries: Australia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S. (in eight states), and Vietnam.
Greyhounds are typically confined in cramped living conditions when they are not racing and suffer severe injuries while racing. It’s said that one dog dies every 3 days on a Florida racing track.
How Can You Celebrate National Greyhound Day?
The most meaningful thing that you can do is adopt a retired racing Greyhound. These dogs are still quite young, as most retire from racing when they are just about 2 to 4 years of age. Check out The Greyhound Project, which has a directory of Greyhound rescues in different countries.
If you already have a Greyhound, post pictures of your dog on social media, and use the hashtag #NationalGreyhoundDay. Talk about how wonderful these dogs are, and do your part to raise awareness of the necessity of adopting this breed.
Volunteer in person at a local Greyhound rescue group or any other animal shelter if you can, but there are ways of volunteering online. You can also donate some of your time and/or money to places like Greyhound Trust.
National Greyhound Day occurs every June 2. To celebrate, consider donating your time and money to a rescue organization, or talk about it on social media to raise awareness. You can also look into ways to help ban dog racing or the abuse of Greyhounds during and after Spain’s hunting season.
Best of all, if you have room in your heart and your home to adopt one of these dogs, the Greyhound is a gentle, noble, and sweet breed that will be a joy to have in your life.
Featured Image Credit: Akiko Campbell, Pixabay