- Best for experienced dog owners
- Best with older children
- Low compatibility with small animals, good with other dogs.
- Toy to giant in size
- Medium exercise needs
- medium shedding
- low guard dog capabilities
- low to Medium ease of training
Sighthounds or Gazehounds are some of the oldest breeds in the world. Some have ancestors that can be traced all the way back to 6000 BC. They are primal dogs, full of instinct and drive. Sighthounds were developed to hunt game by sight. They would normally trot along side their owner until the game was seen and then they would run it down and kill it. Sighthounds can reach high speeds quickly, but can only sustain them for a short burst. Depending on the breed, they were used to hunt deer, rabbits, gazelle or wolves. Dogs like the Greyhound, Whippet, Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound, Borzoi, Afghan Hound and Saluki are all Sighthounds.
As a group, Sighthounds tend to be high strung and anxious dogs. Most are aloof and suspicious of strangers. Sighthounds are not what could be considered social dogs. They are affectionate and responsive with their own families. However, they are not big on constant cuddling and babying. Many Sighthounds tend to bond closer to one person in the family, above all others. They are sensitive dogs and do best in homes that are calm and quiet. Too much turmoil can make them skittish and even ill. Most are a little too sensitive to live easily with young boisterous children. They normally get along well with other dogs. However, Sighthounds that were used to hunt rabbits and other small game should be watched carefully around small animals, as it is instinctive for them to chase and kill them.
Sighthounds are usually easygoing dogs. They tend to be quiet and not given to a lot of ruckus or trouble making. They can be difficult to train and need a solid pack leader and lots of socialization to help them be confident stable dogs. They do not do well in a household that has constant emotional uproar. They are sweet natured gentle dogs who need an owner of similar disposition.
Sighthounds are active dogs. However, they do not require as much daily exercise as one would assume. The biggest thing they need is some time for unrestrained running. Unfortunately, this can be harder than it sounds for city dwellers that do not have access to a safe enclosed area. Sighthounds that hunted smaller game, such as rabbits should not be allowed off lead anywhere where they could run off or hurt another animal. Sighthounds are beautiful dogs. They have a reserved dignity and grace that many find very attractive. Those who are looking for a playful outgoing dog should look elsewhere.
Appearance and Grooming:
Sighthounds are athletic slender dogs with long legs and deep chests. Unlike other dogs, they have long heads. Their head type is called dolichocephalic and is more akin to wolves and coyotes than domestic dogs. This head type allows for better vision. Most sight hounds have minimal grooming needs. The only one that takes dedication is the Afghan Hound with his long coat.
As a group, Sighthounds are healthy dogs, not given to a large amount of health problems. However, they do have a sensitivity to drugs and should not be given any medication unless absolutely necessary. Many are also sensitive to flea repellents. Some of the short haired Sighthounds need protection during the cold winter months.