Greyhound History

By | November 15, 2004

With the ability to run a speed of forty-five miles per hour, the Greyhound has sped its way through time and history records from past to present. Cave paintings in France show that Greyhounds have been in existence for perhaps as long as 15,000 years, with earliest known bones of dogs to 12,000 B.C.

The dogs natural talent to run led to the sport of coursing in Rome around the first century AD. When the Greyhounds entered into Europe they had centuries ahead of them to be owned by only royalty and to be otherwise was a crime worthy of death. Greyhounds are the only bred type to be mentioned in the bible.

In Egypt the birth of a Greyhound was second in importance only to the birth of a son. The importance of their Greyhound are seen in the death of a Greyhound the entire family would go into mourning. Greyhounds were for the upper class of Egyptians and the favorite Greyhound were mummified and buried with its owners.

During this time Greyhounds had done coursing and luring but had not taken a part in the sport of racing. It was not until 1876 in England that they first raced.

Greyhounds were first introduced to America in 1800’s to help farmers control the jackrabbit population. It was here that the farmers would bring their Greyhounds together to race as an local event.

According to the National Animal Interest Alliance, the first Greyhound track opened in California in 1919. In the years following, tracks sprang up in 19 states. By 1990, Greyhound racing was the 6th largest speculator sport in America with $3.4 billion wagered annually. As of 2002, dog racing was illegal in 34 states, including California.

It has been stated that each year in the United States over 16,000 retired racers begin their new career as pets. This is one of the most important part of Greyhounds history.