GREYHOUND, a kind of dog distinguished by great slenderness of form, length of limbs, elongation of muzzle, swiftness, and power of endurance in running. There are varieties differing in other less importaut characters, but these are common to all. They have also prominent eyes and very keen sight, but their scent is not acute, and they pursue their prey not by the scent, like the hounds (q. v.) properly so called, but by keeping it in view. Some varieties, however, as the Scottish greyhound, probably from being crossed with the staghound or some other of the hounds, combine superior powers of scent with the ordinary qualities of the greyhound. Greyhounds have the parietal bones convergent, not parallel as in the hounds. The face exhibits an al most straight line from between the ears to the nose. The ears are small and sharp, half pendulous in the varieties best known in Britain, but quite erect in some of those of other countries. The chest is deep ; the belly much contracted ; the paws are small ; the hair is long and rough in some varieties, short and smooth in others ; the tail is long and slender, curved up at the tip, and in the common smooth-haired greyhounds of Britain and the w. of Europe, is covered with hair similar to that of the rest of the body ; but there arc other varieties with a bushy tail. It is probable that the grey hound originally belonged to some of the wide plains of central Asia, or to the n of Africa ; it has been very long employed by man as a hunting-dog ; it is figured in the monuments of ancient Egypt, and has been common from the earliest historic times in India, Persia, and other countries of Asia, as it has been also in Greece, and generally throughout Europe. To the western parts of Europe, however, there is every prob ability of its having been brought from the east ; and old records show that a very high value was set upon it. It was long employed chiefly in the chase of deer ; and•on one occasion queen Elizabeth was entertained with the pleasant spectacle of "sixteen bucks, all having fayre lave, pulled down with greyhounds," which she viewed from a turret at Cowdrey Park, in Sussex, the seat of lord Montacute. The right to possess grey
hounds was a proof of gentility ; and the effigy of this dog often appears at the feet of monumental figures of knights in armor. The killing of a greyhound in the good old times was a felony, punished as severely as murder.
The smooth-haired variety of greyhound, present so common in Britain, and used for bare-hunting or " coursing, ' was imported from France, and improved by further importations from Greece, Italy, the n. of Africa, and India. The varieties previously in use were rough-haired, and same of them larger and stronger. The Irish greyhound, now almost if not altogether extinct, was large and powerful, so that whilst wolves existed in Ireland, it was used to hunt them. The Italian greyhound, is a very small and delicate variety, of gentle manners, well known as a drawing-room pet. Greyhounds do not, however, generally show the attachment to particular per sons so common in other dogs ; and although so long reduced to the service of man, are inferior to many other dogs in the degree of their domestication. Yet the Grecian and Turkish greyhounds have been trained to stop if a stick is thrown among them when in full pursuit of a doubling hare. A whole pack will thus be stopped, and then one, singled out, will pursue the game.
The fleetness of the greyhound is well illustrated by an anecdote, related in Daniel's Rural Sports, of a brace of greyhounds in Lincolnshire running after a hare a distance of upwards of four miles in twelve minutes—the increase of distance by turns not being reckoned—when the hare dropped dead.
Various etymologies of the name greyhound, have been proposed, than which none is more probable than that which refers it to the prevalence of a gray color in the breeds once most common. Another derivation is from Grecian. The gazehound, mentioned by old writers, is supposed to be the greyhoun, the name being probably given when a pure breed, hunting by sight alone, began to be introduced.