I have often wondered why most greyhounds are so perfectly formed when they are so inbred.
If you look on the GreyhoundData website, you will find that most English Greyhounds are related within a few generations. I haven’t found many that I am not related to!
In fact, many of the greyts I talk to are cousins of mine, if not first cousins, then second or third. I have found two half sisters and some aunts and uncles too.
But we are all perfect and run like the wind.
Lots of pedigree dogs seem to have common health problems, which is due to breeding in certain features to make them fit the standards set out by dog show ideals. Most breeds look quite different to how they did 100 years ago.
For example British Bulldogs now have much flatter faces which can cause breathing problems, Dachshunds have very long low bodies and can have back problems, and German Shepherds can develop hip problems.
This only seems to have happened since dogs started being bred for a particular kind of look, instead of for their working abilities!
Could this dog still do his original job of baiting bulls? Not that we would want him to of course! But could he?
Greyhounds are a little bit different. We are still working dogs and bred for speed! It doesnt matter what we look like as long as we can run fast, and so we haven’t changed much over the centuries.
Maybe this is the difference. We have a very small gene pool, like a lot of pedigree dogs, but instead of crossing big eared dogs with big eared dogs to make even bigger eared dogs, which is pretty stupid anyway, (because how does having bigger ears make you hear better), they breed in speed and physical ability.
This has to make sense doesn’t it? To breed healthy dogs with healthy dogs?
Of course greyhounds do have some problems, many of which are caused by the racing environment they are brought up in, and there are some medical conditions that only we get. But these are not normally life changing, with the odd rare exception.
Corns for example. Only greyhounds and greyhound cross lurchers get them. I had one, as I described in one of my blogs. Also bare bum syndrome, which seems quite common! There is an illness which causes us to lose our toenails, which is unpleasant, but can usually be treated.
But mostly we are a healthy bunch and free from deformities, and we are all beautiful just as we are. I really hope that never changes.