The greyhound is a lithe, sleek graceful dog that has been a companion animal for more than 2,000 years.
Although the breed is valued for its speed and spurred on to even better performance by greyhound racing supplements, once racing dogs are retired, they make docile house pets.
Contrary to popular belief, these aristocratic dogs are quite content to lounge around, unless they are triggered to run by quick-moving prey. The greyhound is part of a group of dogs called sighthounds, or dogs that are visually triggered to chase prey.
The American Kennel Club describes the Italian greyhound, the smaller cousin of the racing greyhound, as a loyal and affectionate dog that loves attention and would like nothing more than to be snuggled in your lap.
But the greyhound is indeed a regal dog, and was often depicted as a pet in Renaissance paintings including some by Giotto, Carpaccio, Memling, Van Der Weyden and Bosch. Mary, Queen of Scots, Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great were said to be fans of the breed.
The sighthound breeds’ ties to the Renaissance period have inspired a partnership between several rescue and performance groups and Renaissance fairs and festivals around the United States. For example, the Hounds of East Fairhaven non-profit educational reenactment group participates in North Carolina and Georgia Renaissance festivals, educating patrons about the role sighthounds played in history and promoting adoption and responsible dog ownership.
Colorado Greyhound Adoption partners with the Colorado Renaissance Festival to find homes for greyhounds and raise money and awareness, and Florida’s Friends of Greyhounds sets up a tent at the Ren Fest in Broward County.
If you enjoy watching the beauty of greyhounds as they race, spurred on by greyhound racing supplements, consider contacting your local greyhound adoption organization and taking one of these sleek Renaissance beauties into your home as a loyal companion once his or her racing career is finished.