Friends together in deep sleep
Photo above: One of my Whippets "Smarty" and my Italian Greyhound "Gucci ""knitted together" in deep sleep after a long walk running free on the beach! Home comfort is a must for all Sighthounds, not only for their mental health, (they NEED their owner's love and nearness), but also because they lack the protective fat layer of "ordinary" dogs and therefore feel the cold much more. They must also always lie on something soft (preferably the best sofa, chair, or your bed!)
Another fact about them is, that when you own a dog that can be several miles away in just a few seconds, you really need a good, mutual, loving and trusting "bond" between owner and dog - and what better way to achieve that than to have them live their lives right beside you? Sighthounds are exceedingly faithful and devoted. Sighthounds just love to be several!
Bo Bengtson wrote in his first very popular book about Whippets:
"They are like peanuts: Once you've tried one, you can't stop, you just have to have one more and one more..."!

Whippet Vibes Toscanini at one year
Here you can see some of the streamlined elegance which nature has created for speed performance, but which to our eyes gives an aesthetic beauty that has inspired many artists all through the centuries. They are truly "living works of art"!
This is my Whippet Vibes Toscanini at 1 year of age.
5 reliefs in stonewareSome of my stoneware: From the top left: Greyhound, (which has become my logo - can be seen as the background of this page!!!) Whippet, Italian greyhound and Sloughi.

What I write here is generally speaking for (nearly) all Sighthounds
I have to say NEARLY all, as there are exceptions to the rule: For example the lively Italian Greyhound, who today is not considered by many countries as a "sighthound and hunting breed" and who certainly is not so demure, quiet and unobtrusive as most of the others can be when they not chasing something!

Sighthounds are known for their speed and of course this shows itself in their their streamlined body form.
They are long boned, slim and elegant with very well developed and strong muscles.
One can liken them to highly trained athletes ready to compete in the Olympic Games, or ballet dancers where the body is top tuned to perfection. A layer of superfluous fat is of no use here! They all just love running like the wind and consequently, they have very good eyesight which they use more than other breeds.
They don't often go round with their noses to the ground to track down the prey - they survey the horizon and once they spot something moving - they go for it! (Although they have excellent noses too!)
However, they do not need more exercise than any other "sporty breed", despite what many think! Many are sprinter types who are quickly tired after a short race around at full speed!
They need the same exercise and to get out and meet other dogs just as any other active breed of dog - and they all just live for the joy of free running.

(So don't buy a dog type who loves to run and race around for a while each day - if you cannot fulfill this need that they have.)

Italiens are some of the smallest!
Photo above: A friend Tina with her two Danish bred "Italian girls" on a chilly day at a dog show!
Sighthounds are generally some of the oldest known breeds.
Most of them can trace their family tree right back to some of the first domesticated dogs. They were mainly developed to be fast running and to bring down the prey in full flight, kill cleanly and retrieve it or in some cases with larger prey, stay by it and hold it until the owners caught up. In this way they have always played a large and often vital role in obtaining extra food for their owners and in some countries, they still do!
O
nly the very cleverest and fastest at the hunt would have been bred from and so they have slowly developed to what they are today over thousands of years. Their body form is not the result of any kind of artistic appreciation on the part of the breeders, they were chosen for breeding purely from their performance. How well they hunted and brought down the prey was all that was important.
Different countries with varying climate, terrain and environment, plus different prey of all sizes and speeds and many other considerations, has resulted in a wide variety of breeds evolving in accordance to the local requirements. This is why they vary so much today, and you can see many different sizes and shapes, coat type and abilities.
Some are lightening fast sprinters rather like the Cheetah, as for example Greyhounds and Whippets, and some are slower but can "run all day" if necessary, as for example Sloughis and Salukis. 

An earthenware pot with Greyhound
Above an earthenware urn with running Greyhound, which I have made. It was raffled off to raise money for our local racetrack in 1999.


Some are (or were) used as watchdogs as well (the Azawakh in particular has a good degree of fierceness in it's nature and would protect its familiy to the death) and some breeds will even guard and herd the owner's domestic animals. Others, like the Italian Greyhound were used more for entertainment value and possibly for catching rats and mice in the home!
Some are long haired, wire haired or smooth, some are big and some medium and small - there is a breed for every requirement!
There are over 17 different breeds to choose from. Some are unfortunately now quite rare and you need to attend a dog show to see them.

A lovely Saluki from Kennel Feisal's
Saluki DKCH KLBCH KBHV95 Feisal's Qaaniy Qharim showing his pure streamlined elegance.

In England, in the Middle Ages, what started as hunting out of necessity to get extra food for the family, developed to a fine sport for kings and other royal and rich persons! The excitement and thrill of the chase grew to a regular royal sport with set rules and regulations, many of which survive to this day. Nowadays, coursing and hunting after living prey is forbidden in the most of Europe, (including here in Denmark), but luckily for our dogs, lure coursing and track racing has been invented since the turn of the last century.
These two sports use either a radio-controlled artificial hare running around on a metal railing on the inside of the track or an electric motor which winches in a long cord laid out in a zig-zag course over a field with natural grassy terrain and a "hare" of plastic strips tied on the end. The latter is more "natural" for the dogs as it emulates the natural zig-zag flight of the hare - and they LOVE it!

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The Danish Kennel Club logo

Whippet Vibes Evening Silver
This is my Whippet Vibes Evening Silver "Smarty" at about two years.



A Saluki relief
A Saluki relief showing the characteristic flying trot




.

Two show greyhounds doing lure coursing in Denmark.






An Afghan hound showing off it's wonderful fur coat.






How whippets like to sleep: Completely covered up!

Since 1886, we in Denmark (where I now live), have also been able to show our dogs at various dog shows all over Europe. Denmark is a member of the FCI (Fédération Cynologique International) with DKK (the Danish Kennel Club) established in 1897, as the Danish representative organization or mother club for Denmark.

Myndeklubben (The Danish Sighthound Club) is a special breed club under the DKK.
The FCI have laid down standards for each and every breed and at authorized dog shows, qualified judges pick out the dogs that are the most correct examples after the particular standard applying to that breed.
It is great fun to visit a dog show and can be recommended especially if you are thinking of buying a dog but are not sure which breed is right for you. If you come to a show you can see what catches your eye and have many good chats with owners and enthusiasts and gather advice from anyone who has the breed you are interested in.
It is always a good idea to take one's new little Sighthound to puppy training, obedience, agility and any other kind of doggie activity as sighthounds benefit greatly from this. 
However, not all are entirely suited for advanced obedience and it takes a very clever and understanding (and patient!) owner to achieve top marks with a sighthound, but it CAN be done.
However, if you aim to be constantly amongst the elite, then you had rather choose another breed! Rather take one of the many other breeds who just live to follow our every wish and command!
Sighthounds are not so keen on being ordered around and get quickly bored and then go stubborn and play up or tease, especially if they can't see any purpose in the exercises.
They are quick to understand what we want and learn, but repetition bores them and they loose their concentration.

Sighthounds still love it best when they are running around or chasing something. They like high levels of excitement for short periods of time.

Sighthounds are surrounded by strange myths - at least they are in Denmark, where they are relatively unknown. For example, it is said that they have no brains! Particularly Afghan hounds have to live with this absolutely stupid notion. Nothing could be further from the truth! Maybe because their heads are relatively small in proportion to their bodies? But head size and form is just a refinement of their streamlined design for maximum speed. A large head would slow down a swift runner. But head size has no bearing on intelligence - otherwise all little dogs would be very stupid indeed! In fact Sighthounds are extremely intelligent, so intelligent that they think for themselves and that's why they don't ALWAYS do as we say!
They have to be able to think independently, because running as fast as they can, brings them in seconds many miles away from their owners and so they have to be quick thinking and make intelligent decisions (often working several together) that would benefit a successful hunt and also return safely to their owners again.
As you can imagine, the owner can be left miles behind out of sight or earshot. Hence their independent spirits - they are used to smartly deciding what's best by themselves. Good owners learn to trust in their dogs.

Over the centuries, Sighthounds have not only had to be clever enough to think for themselves, but also be true, loyal and devoted companions to their owner. So they have a little of the cat's independent mind - which just adds to their attraction! It's lovely owning a dog that is not just a slave to our every whim and constantly panting for attention, wanting new orders and commands all the time, but instead one with a brain that works intelligently all by itself!

Some Sighthounds, (they vary greatly, even from within the same litter), can be very "wild and crazy" in their youth and a little too full of beans, often seriously trying the patience of the owner in the start. Some can also be very destructive in the home. Some can be hard to keep under control as their owners would wish.
Plenty of free run exercise does help! A well exercised dog is a good and well behaved dog! But once mature, they are calm, composed and quiet peace-loving types that like to be lying very near you, preferably in the best armchair and as close to their owners as possible.

You hardly notice them, even when you have several! (Mature animals, that is!) The American expression: "couch potato" just must have been invented to describe a (mature) Sighthound!

They also possess a very special charismatic charm. They are not like "ordinary" dogs, as only a sighthound owner understands, because it's hard to explain. They are just not hanging around getting in the way and under one's feet all day, demanding constant attention and needing a lot of discipline and training. (Apart from the Italian Greyhound!)
They just want to be a devoted companion - after a quick "burn-out" at high speed for a while each day! Give them few sweet words and the odd petting and they are happy just to lie and keep an eye on things. Talk to them a lot and they quickly learn all that you say to them without the big training effort - although of course EVERY dog benefits from going to classes.

Whippets and other Sighthounds just love to run, but not everyone lives near suitable wide open spaces - with preferably no wild animals around or trees and stones or busy roads where they could come to harm like dog parks and other enclosed areas - or beaches. They just love the chance to be a bit wild, which is after all, what they were once bred exclusively to do!
And we love the thrill of seeing them "fly"! It is vital that they can run free every day.

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My e-mail: janetfm@sighthound.net