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Old 01-19-2013, 05:20 PM
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Default Sighthounds?

Does anyone want to tell me about sighthounds? Yes, I know that is a really broad term that includes many dogs, but I don't know enough about them to single out a breed I want to hear about. I absolutely love how majestic they look, yet know nothing about them. How are they with other dogs, shedding, and energy wise? How about training wise? I've heard they are pretty low-medium energy, but I'm unsure of how correct that is.

So basically tell me anything about Sighthound breeds.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:23 PM
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I've always said that if I ever need a slower breed I'd look for a rescued racing greyhound. All the ones I've met are true to the "40 mph Couch Potato" description and super great pets. I know many of the ones I've met are also therapy dogs.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:00 PM
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I love the thought of adopting a retired racing Greyhound, but sadly Crystal has a complicated relationship with other dogs so taking in another adult dog would be too complicated with her. With Crystal, we are basically limited to puppies.

(She is ok with all puppies and dogs she has known since puppyhood, big or small, but is fear aggressive towards strange female and/or larger dogs. She is ok with all small dogs.)
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:23 PM
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Ahhh, I love sighthounds!

I only have lots of experience with whippets and rhodesian ridgebacks, but have spent some time around most other sighthounds besides the much rarer ones.

They definitely range a lot in energy from lower (retired racer) to pretty high (Ridgebacks). The pet/show bred ridgebacks I've known have been more of a medium-high range, and the whippets for the most part, medium energy.

They can be a little bit independent or stubborn, like most hounds, but approaching it right they can definitely be very trainable. They are typically pretty soft dogs, it will break their hearts if you raise your voice at them. My boss's whippet was counter-surfing in front of me and I said "XENA!" quite suddenly and she ran to her bed and wouldn't look at me for two days. They're not all THAT sensitive, but they are definitely not like a terrier or something where you can be really intense and loud and pushy and it doesn't phase them.

With other dogs, they're sometimes iffy. They almost always have a pretty high prey drive, so small dogs/cats can be an issue. Lots of them are ok with small dogs/cats in the house, but outside, like at a dog park, if they see a tiny dog bolt, they'll go after it. They need to be leashed in open areas, ALWAYS. But I've seen a lot of them do fine with other dogs, large and small.

All the ones I've known have been pretty low shedding, but they've all been bathed fairly often and blown out, plus fed high quality food.

It's a big group. They range from the more common, typical pets, such as whippets/greyhounds/ridgebacks, Borzois, which from what I've heard/seen are highly biddable but BIG, to less common dogs like Salukis and Sloughi which are way more independent.

Oh, Basenjis are another one I've some experience with. They're also a bit aloof, and less typically easy to train, you've got to get creative with them. They're popular apartment dogs. They're quite, clean, catlike. Some don't care for other dogs in their face, but mostly they're fine with them being generally around.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:09 PM
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Thanks for all the information!

I'd have to say the ones that I find most aesthetically pleasing to me have to be either Borzois or Salukis. They have to be my favorite, but again, I know nothing about them personality wise, so I can't really say I enjoy them. My friend has a whippet x terrier mix, and that is basically the extent of experience I have with them.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:19 PM
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I love sighthounds I have spent a lot of time with AKC Greyhounds. Sighthounds are generally speaking, good, lazy house dogs that love to run as fast as they can (and love to chase down prey). Some of the more primitive ones such as Salukis, azawakh and even Pharoah hounds are be fairly independent. The more "developed" ones though, like Greyhounds and Whippets respond extremely well to positive training. I raised a Grey puppy and she learned things very fast and honestly, was pretty easy to train. However, they are really sensitive dogs. They don't tolerate rough handling or force training very well and it can be really easy to turn them off of things training wise. Whippets for example have potential to be awesome flyball and agility dogs. And some are! But for the ones that are, there's others who were promising to start but...just didn't pan out. IME that is often because things didn't go quite right one too many times and they got turned off of the activity. Training really needs to be very upbeat, positive and fun with them or they will become...sad.

I think most sighthounds are relatively good or at least tolerant with other dogs. They are generally aloof, friendly or shy towards people, not really prone to guarding. Except Azawakh, which can be very guardy. IME Greys definitely can have resource guarding tendencies and can in general be protective of their space when resting. Startle aggression is a concern with them around small kids. I'm not sure how much of an issue that is with the other sighthound breeds. The Greys I knew lived with young kids and it went ok but some did have those tendencies. I have known more than one retired racer returned to rescue for that reason though.

There's some breeds in the AKC sighthound group that aren't truly sighthounds. They're pretty easy to pick out because they don't look like sighthounds Those breeds IME don't have sighthound temperaments. Not that they aren't worth considering, they're just different.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:39 PM
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The 'upbeat' and 'fun' training methods you said was best for sighthounds seems like it would be... well, fun! I understand completely with a dog getting turned-off of something because they get it wrong one too many times. I'll keep that in consideration.

By startle aggression, would it be like they were sleeping and you accidentally scared them when they were asleep? There are no small children in this house, so ability to live with small children isn't an issue.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrystalGSD View Post
By startle aggression, would it be like they were sleeping and you accidentally scared them when they were asleep? There are no small children in this house, so ability to live with small children isn't an issue.
Yes that is exactly it. If they are asleep and are startled, they might snap. They don't all have the issue but it's worth mentioning because I don't think a lot of rescues talk much about it.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:02 PM
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I have mainly experience with Greyhounds. Adopted my first when I was 18 and have had them ever since. Also fostered one Afghan Hound and 3 Italian Greyhounds.

I have had 2 Greyhound puppies and the rest retired racers and a few senior that lost their homes.

They are generally pretty calm indoors, but do benefit from regular exercise and being able to run full speed is the best.

Puppies are NON stop go go go go energy. Into everything. Greyhound puppies are jokingly called Landsharks. If it can go in their mouth, it will and will not come out the same way it went in!

Training can be done. They can do agility or obedience, but are not as easy as say a Doberman to train. I find retired racers are just naturally pretty obedient and don't require a lot of training if you just want a pet. I have never done any formal obedience on my hounds. As long as they come when I call them, that is about the only command I'm big on.

Most get along with other dogs and many will get along with cats and other pets. Mine live with a cat and she is indoor/outdoor and they have no issues with her.

Shedding varies a lot between dog. Some with the bunny rabbit fur type coats shed more than the shorter/slick coats.

Some retired racers do have sleep aggression. I had one that was pretty severe, but I adopted him as a senior and I learned really quick when he sank his teeth into my forearm not to touch him while sleeping. But most are just fine. Out of about 25 I've had thru my house, only Linus was the one with a bad issue. The rest have all slept in my bed with me. Ronon would die if he couldn't be in my (or his in his mind) bed.

They also vary from very friendly with strangers, to very shy. Ronon would love it if no one ever touched him besides me again in his life. Joey is friendly and loves people.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleron View Post
Yes that is exactly it. If they are asleep and are startled, they might snap. They don't all have the issue but it's worth mentioning because I don't think a lot of rescues talk much about it.
Ah, ok, I'll keep it mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitewave View Post
Puppies are NON stop go go go go energy. Into everything. Greyhound puppies are jokingly called <b>Landsharks</b>. If it can go in their mouth, it will and will not come out the same way it went in!
The bolded part reminded me of German Shepherds. Everything is in their mouth, and the mouth everything. They aren't called landsharks for nothing, ahaha. But yes I've dealt with extremely mouthy dogs, so I don't think it'll be an issue.
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