Sighthound breed is known to have amazing qualities that make them exceptional among various dog breeds.
Some of these qualities are:
He’s naturally inclined to appreciate the finer things in life, like warmth and comfort.
He is generally quiet and calm, unobtrusive and stoic.
His affection and play are delivered with grace, passion, and sincerity.
You might find a sight hound hard to live with because he’s:
He is not cut out for harsh conditions, great endurance, invasiveness, or rough play.
A Flight Risk:
He has a keen eye for prey and the instincts to hunt it down with sudden swiftness.
Doting on you or following your directions (particularly, “Come”) is often not his top priority.
Sighthound Breed History
The world’s very first sight hound was a natural dog with a hunting advantage.
This original dog—a landrace existing in Africa many thousands of years ago that we now know as the Basenji—was a keen hunter that gradually developed into many of the extreme sight hunting breeds we know today.
These first hunting companions were favored for their speed, as well as for their ability to acutely perceive prey at a distance.
As they were fine-tuned for their attributes, the shape of their bodies began to change in critical ways.
Their increased range of peripheral vision and incredible speed resulted in greater hunting success, which in turn caused the structure of their heads to change significantly:
The dogs gradually developed dolichocephalic skulls (long and narrow heads with eyes positioned close together), giving them a far wider range of vision (up to 270°, versus the 250° field of view of most dogs).
With succeeding generations, legs became longer and chests became deeper, further enabling these masterful sprinters and agile chasers.
By the time early civilization arose in ancient Egypt and the Middle East, the world had its first true sight hounds in the form we know today—long and lean from head to tail.
Mankind had also embraced the idea of indoor canine companions, so sight hounds began to appear at the side of Egyptian nobility, and to be buried alongside them honorably in
The value of these impressive animals as hunters and partners to humans in ancient times is irrefutable, as they were depicted in early art in caves and tombs.
In the Middle Ages in Western Europe, while large guardian breeds of dogs patiently protected flocks in the fields, sight hounds were increasingly used and bred for hunting the wolves that threatened livestock.
By the ninth century, wolves were such a problem for humans that there were officially appointed wolf hunters in England and France.
The louvetiers, as these men were called, were tasked with keeping wolf populations to a minimum, and sight hounds were an invaluable asset to them.
In this way, the sight hound evolved as a creature of two extremes—one a sudden sprinting hunter and the other a quiet, reserved indoor companion.
Though the dogs were powerful and capable hunters in the woods and fields, humans found that sight hounds were not particularly hardy and lacked long-distance endurance for the hunts.
Away from the hunt, sight hounds maintained a gentler character that ensured their continuing popularity among the elite and noble classes.
Today, given their intact predatory instincts, sight hounds are far from ideal candidates for off-leash adventures.
But they are still among the most charmingly refined and enjoyable companions for indoor lifestyles.
They are as content to lie at the foot of your recliner today as they were at the thrones of ancient rulers thousands of years ago.
Given the occasional opportunity to follow his natural instinct to run at top speed or course an unsuspecting rabbit through a field, a sight hound is a highly agreeable dog, well suited to the expectations of many pet owners in the modern age.
Sight-Hound Breed Upbringing
If you find yourself in the position of rearing a sight-hound puppy on your own, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
A more-the-merrier approach to socialization (with both people and other animals) could potentially create negative, overwhelming experiences for your dog.
And a sink-or-swim philosophy regarding all of the stimulation of the modern world could put your refined fellow over the edge.
He will need to be socialized while respected as the dog that he is—royally reserved compared to many other modern dog breeds—rather than expected to be like his more gregarious and demonstrative wildling cousins.
If pummeled by a sweet Labrador puppy in play group, your sight
hound may be aghast, and decide that all other dogs are horrifically dangerous ruffians.
Nor will he learn to love children via exposure to your toddler nieces if they manhandle him like a doll on Easter Sunday.
The upper-class standing he carries in his DNA is almost palpably apparent as he appears offended by many common behaviors exhibited socially by humans and dogs.
Be very deliberate about your dog’s experiences, and take it slow, until he concludes his world is a tolerable place.
If you protect him from the rudeness of others throughout his early months and beyond, he’ll be gracious and patient with you.
Also, do acclimate him, pleasantly, to those invasive and uncomfortable necessary evils that inevitably arise at groomers and vets in the years to come.
His one great genetic temptation to lose all poise will arise when
he has the opportunity to hunt. In those first months of life, you should expose him to smaller creatures—dogs, cats, bunnies, and other critters—under controlled circumstances in order to introduce them as social counterparts rather than something to hunt.
You will want to prevent any opportunity to chase other pets, as this behavior quickly reinforces itself as his calling in life.
Teach him, instead, that the awesome toys you provide are the logical outlet for his natural drives, and get him hooked on games with inanimate objects that satisfy his instincts.
Build in a strong “Come!” behavior at an early age, as well, to maximize your chances of getting him back if he slips his collar to chase a squirrel in the park.
Interests and Hobbies
Your sight hound loves the lifestyle of the gentleman. He can spend inordinate amounts of time lying around in his castle, easily resting in the comfort of warmth and good company.
He is just as jolly to rise for the afternoon walk or run on the green before returning for refreshments on the veranda.
He appreciates his provisions with few complaints or agitations, provided he’s given the chance to routinely stretch his legs and show off his athleticism within the confines of his estate.
He is not overly ambitious about his interests. He is naturally social and amicable, especially within his trusted circle.
Cuddling together, playing with toys, and simply enjoying each other’s company are all generally satisfying to him.
On the other hand, he enjoys his personal space and independence when his companions are otherwise engaged. Composed and undemanding, he is far less dependent than many other dogs.
His independent side can become suddenly apparent should he spot something desirable at a distance.
Then you may witness the power of temptation as he flies off into the sunset after some real or imagined target, and feel invisible as you hopelessly call after him.
He loves nothing more than the rush that comes with the all-out stride. It is your task to find those safe places where he can enjoy the greatest of all treasures—the freedom to run at top speed.
At the risk of sounding snobbish about it, I would suggest that you might want to consider private or home schooling for your sight hound. He can be a bit out of place on many playgrounds, depending on the company.
Your sight hound can easily become a target for canine thugs or bullies, as well as a walking invitation for uninvited molestations by well-meaning humans, since he is unthreatening and somewhat passive in character.
You don’t want him to become unnecessarily defensive or fearful if he feels overwhelmed by unsolicited attention and interactions with others. Teach him that you will ensure his safety and not leave him to fend for himself.
Working with him individually gives you a chance to focus on building a tight bond, which you most definitely need.
Though naturally agreeable, your sight hound was not bred for cooperative endeavors outside the home, but rather valued for his natural instincts and abilities.
He was never meant to obediently follow your directions in order to accomplish a specific goal.
At the end of the day, your sight hound will be pleasantly self-directed, with only minimal inconvenience to you most of the time.
Invest time in establishing consistent and predictable, well-managed routines in your daily life together; and set him up for success with the right collars, leashes, fences, games, and schedules.
As well-mannered as most sight hounds naturally are, you will have little need to “get him under control” and are unlikely to encounter the same level of disruptive behaviors common in other kinds of dogs (such as excessive barking, jumping, or chewing).
A little bit of training and a lot of good management, one-on-one, with clear, controlled expectations, will go a long way in facilitating learning moments for your sighthound breed that can make a difference for years to come.