SIGHTHOUNDS – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Updated on January 9, 2023

The sighthound, often called a gazehound, is a distinct breed of dog. Their moniker, “Sight,” implies that they have exceptional eyesight. They use their incredibly quick reflexes and sharp eyesight to catch prey like hares and deer, which move quickly.

Thanks to careful selective breeding, modern sighthounds are fully equipped to join humans on hunting expeditions. The sighthound’s superior peripheral vision surpasses that of humans by up to 270 degrees, thanks to its unusually wide-set eyes. Do not waste your time trying to sneak up on a sighthound.

It’s unusual for a dog to hunt using its sight, as canines normally don’t have the best eyesight, especially at long distances. To find game, most hunting dogs rely on their keen sense of smell and incredible stamina.

Due to their specialised vision, sighthounds can detect even the slightest movement in their prey and bolt in pursuit in a split second. On the other hand, if their prey wasn’t moving, they could be able to elude pursuit.

When it comes to speed, sighthounds have a distinct advantage: their bodies are aerodynamically designed for rapid movement. Each and every sighthound breed shares the same proportions, including a long muzzle, a narrow chest, and a lithe build.

It has a very distinctive body type that isn’t typical of most dog breeds, but which is instantly recognisable regardless of where you saw it.

WHAT BREEDS ARE CLASSED AS SIGHTHOUNDS?

  • Greyhound
  • Whippet
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Afghan Hound
  • Saluki
  • Sloughi
  • Borzoi
  • Irish Wolfhound

There are many more dog breeds that fall under the category of “sighthounds,” thus this is by no means an exhaustive list. The Lurcher is another dog that many people classify as a sighthound.

Eye-catching Lurcher

Lurcher, a Sighthound, is a Sighthound.
Despite its widespread acclaim, the Lurcher is not officially recognised by the Kennel Club. This dog is a hybrid of a sighthound and a Terrier or other herding breed.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SIGHTHOUNDS

The sighthound is a breed of dog that has been around for a long time, possibly even one of the oldest. It is believed that sighthound-like dogs have been around for thousands of years, and that they have collaborated with humans in hunting efforts ever since.

Having a long, stretched face (called dolichocephalic) and eyes set widely apart, the sighthound possesses exceptional peripheral vision in comparison to more flat-faced breeds like the Pug and the Bulldog.

People valued this type of dog so highly that they purposefully developed sighthounds with a physical build that made them excellent at long-distance tracking and hunting.

To humans, a long, narrow head on a dog is indicative of its prowess as a hunter. It was here that the longing for a sighthound first took root.

Seeing-eye Saluki

Seeing-eye Saluki
It is unknown which sighthound breed came first; some believe it was the noble Afghan Hound, while others think the Saluki or Greyhound came first.

One of the most popular and widely owned types of sighthound is the Greyhound. In Victorian England, where they first rose to prominence, the breed was primarily used for the sport of dog racing.

The Greyhound’s shape served as an inspiration for many breeds of sighthounds, including the diminutive Whippet. At one time, Whippets were known as the “poor man’s racehorse” because they were bred to be a more affordable alternative to Greyhounds.

Over the centuries, humans have honed the sighthound to make it a more effective working companion and competitive athlete.

While modern sighthounds look strikingly similar to their ancient ancestors, their purpose in life has shifted significantly. With less need for hunting, breeders have worked to improve these dogs’ dispositions so that modern dog owners can find a good match for their four-legged companion.

ALL ABOUT THE SLEEPY SIGHTHOUND

The characteristics of a sighthound are often described as swift, rapid, and nimble. Sighthound owners, on the other hand, tend to describe their pets as drowsy, languid, and relaxed.

These dogs have a serious problem with sleeping.

Most sighthounds don’t need too much exercise despite their fast speeds and racing backgrounds. For the vast majority of people, a daily stroll is all that is required.

If they spot anything they want to pursue, though, they may run halfway across the field before you ever notice they’ve disappeared. It’s incredible to see how fast some of them can go—up to 40 miles per hour! If you’re a dog owner, you know that as soon as you get back to the house, your active little sighthound goes straight to bed. In all likelihood, this slumber will last the entire day.

While most sighthounds are content to lazily curl up on the couch, longer-legged breeds like Salukis and Irish Wolfhounds struggle to adapt to small surroundings because they need room to run and play. The Irish Wolfhound is the largest of the sighthound breeds and the tallest dog in the world.

Sighthound of Irish descent

Sighthound Irish Wolfhound
A sighthound’s appearance alone is enough to garner attention because of how graceful and distinctive it is. They are more than simply a gorgeous face, though. A sighthound could be the ideal dog for you if you want a loving, low-stress pet.

They are well-suited to domestic life since they are respectful and mild-mannered, and their expressive eyes and boundless love will win anyone over in a moment.

ARE THERE ANY THINGS I SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GETTING A SIGHTHOUND?

You should be aware of these behaviours if you’re thinking about adopting a sighthound.

They thrive at hunting since it is what they were originally designed to do. However, this does indicate an exceptional hunger for prey. When your dog isn’t well-trained, they may disappear into the distance after becoming distracted by another animal.

You can run into complications if you have a sighthound and a toy dog in the house. A sighthound may mistake a smaller dog for prey, causing the poor animal to be chased indefinitely.

In the same way, sighthounds are notorious counter surfers, so it’s important to keep all food out of their reach. A tall trash can is also recommended, as even old garbage can be turned into a tasty snack. As most modern sighthounds aren’t employed in the hunt, their long legs and necks must find another purpose.

The Borzoi Is a Great Observer

Sighthound Borzoi
The sighthound may have trouble in extremely hot or cold climates. They are extremely vulnerable to the cold because they store very little fat on their lean bodies and have thin coats. A sighthound would rather be warm and dry inside than out on a wet and muddy run.

Sighthounds may be prone to a few annoying quirks, but their charming paw-sonality will have you forgetting about all that in no time.

Sighthounds are wonderful companion animals and a great choice if you’re looking to expand your family. Not only do they seem noble and regal, but their easygoing, friendly nature will have you falling in love with them at first sight. Just beware that once you have one, you’ll probably want more than one!

 

 

 

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