The history of the Greyhound is rather fascinating.
The greyhound has been the pride and respect of many great civilizations and is the only dog to be mentioned in The Bible.
Greyhounds are the oldest pure bred dog, dating back to the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Paintings inside the tombs of the Great Pyramids depict the greyhound.
Most valued by the Egyptian Pharaohs, adored for its speed, stamina, grace and loyalty, the greyhound rode upon his master’s camel, shared his master’s tent and wore the same amulets to ward off evil spirits. The only event more important than the birth of a greyhound in the master’s house was the birth of a son.
From Egypt, the greyhound migrated with the great camel trains and traders to other lands, to Russia, Greece and Rome – where they reached the far outposts of the vast Roman Empire, including Britain.
In Britain owning a greyhound was perceived as the domain of the noble. During the 11th Century, King Canute passed the Forest Laws that forbade peasants and freeman to own a greyhound.
A law passed during the reign of King Canute stated “No mean person can keep any greyhounds”. It also stated that the destruction of a greyhound should carry the same capital punishment as the murder of a man.
Elizabeth 1 was a keen enthusiast of the chase and ordered the Duke of Norfolk to formalize the laws of the leash and so, for the first time, the sport of coursing had a code of rules.
The modern day greyhound still retains all the traits that made it so treasured throughout the centuries. It has traveled a long way but the greyhound is still a loyal and gentle companion with an instinct to chase as strong as it was in the days of the Pharaohs.
The sport of chasing on a race track is a very recent development: It did not begin until O.P. Smith invented the mechanical lure in 1912 and so, eight years later racing was introduced at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Greyhounds currently race in many different countries around the world.