A sighthound is surely a favorite dog breed among dog lovers. This breed of dog is quite different from other breeds. Generally, dogs are known to have a strong sense of smell, but sighthounds are different. They do better with their sight than smell. A sighthound specifically hunts by sight and speed rather than scent.
Also known as gazehounds, sighthounds are hunting canines. They are very agile and have great endurance for long runs. There are numerous characteristics of this dog breed that give it an advantage over other breeds. When chasing their prey, sighthounds use their hawk-eye to track down their spoils. Their thin bodies and long legs allow them to run long distances.
Because sighthounds are hunting canines, people may ask, “Would sighthounds make good family pets? Are they more suitable for hunters?” To answer these questions, we will take a look at the benefits of having a sighthound. But before we delve into that, let’s take a look at some of the qualities of sighthounds.
Characteristics of a Sighthound Dog
- Sighthound dogs are the highest class of the canine breeds. They are listed among the oldest breeds on the planet. Some sighthound breeds have been in existence for at least 5,000 years.
- Sighthounds hunt down their prey using their sight and do not rely on smell. Therefore, they can chase prey without needing to track its scent.
- These breeds are agile and have an enviable endurance for long runs. This is why they are referred to as athletic dogs by most owners. Their flexible backs give them an advantage in chasing prey and running fast.
- Sighthounds have a lean body with long, thin legs. They have narrow faces with sharp heads. Their eyes are always pointing forward.
- These breeds do well with outdoor activities. Although they relax when indoors, they need daily exercise. Keeping them indoors for too long is not good for them.
- Most sighthounds can run at a speed of 40 miles per hour or more. However, when kept at home as pets, they are very docile. You will find that they enjoy lounging on the couch with you just as much as running.
- They are fast-moving dogs with strong muscles that do not fail them when they are chasing prey.
- The elegant look of sighthounds, their physical agility, and speed make them the best choice for a hunter. They are also the perfect pet if you enjoy being active and outdoorsy.
Breeds of Dogs Categorized as Sighthounds
There are many breeds in the category of sighthounds. They include:
- Afghan hound
- Hungarian Greyhound
- Ibizan hound
- Irish Wolfhound
- Italian Greyhound
- Pharaoh hound
- Polish Greyhound
- Scottish Deerhound
- Silken Windhound
Sighthounds are some of the fastest dogs of the canine world. Their existence spans across centuries. Mostly hunting dogs, sighthounds have a knack for chasing prey, running long distances, and outdoor exercise. Sloughis are one of the oldest sighthounds. They have existed for at least 5,000 years.
The greyhound is also an old breed of sighthound, and it is the most popular breed. Many other breeds of sighthounds have similar features to the greyhound.
When kept as household pets, sighthounds require a certain level of exercise to keep fit and stay energetic. As the owner, it is your responsibility to maintain a healthy level of exercise for your dog. While most sighthounds require a great deal of exercise, there are exceptions. The Afghan hound, Irish Wolfhound, and the Saluki do well as indoor pets with little to no exercise.
Who Can Have a Sighthound Dog as a Pet?
Any dog lover can have a sighthound as a pet. These breeds are quite popular for their ability to adapt to an indoor lifestyle. They can be kept in an apartment as a lovely pet. While these hunting canines have been mostly used by hunters as working dogs over the years, they perform excellently as domestic pets.
Before you choose a sighthound as a pet, there are some things you should know in order to determine if it is the right dog for you. First, most sighthounds have prey drive which can only be tamed by subduing them with intense, daily exercise. This means once you own a sighthound as a pet, you may want to establish a daily exercise routine with your dog. They don’t do well in cages. It would be helpful to have a porch, balcony or yard where they can roam a little.
Sighthounds are playful. Due to their intrinsic nature of running after prey, they may chase various moving objects in your home or on walks. Hence, your sighthound dog can take off suddenly when they see a moving object or even when your kids are playing around. They will not purposefully try to harm anyone. However, if you have a toddler or another pet that runs around the house, your sighthound may instinctually chase them.
Sighthounds require adequate exercise and proper training. It’s important to consider how much time you have available before choosing this breed as your pet. Nevertheless, they are fantastic companions to their owners and can be great friends to your kids.
What Is It Like Living With a Sighthound?
When considering adding a sighthound dog as a member of your family, you should know these breeds have chase instincts. They may enthusiastically chase anything that moves without listening to your commands.
Generally, sighthounds are lovely dogs that are easy to care for. They have an attractive skin coat that is easy to maintain. These dogs can be gentle, quiet and playful. They do well with kids, especially during play time.
Sighthounds form an emotional bond with their owners and family. This bond may not be expressed with the affection and tail-wagging that other breeds exhibit. Nevertheless, sighthounds are loving pets. They may not get along well with strangers or other people outside of your family.
Just like other breeds, sighthounds love comfort and derive pleasure from regular grooming. Rubbing their coat with a grooming glove makes them happy and more attached to you. Unlike other breeds, sighthounds do not crave food unless they are hungry after a vigorous exercise.