Greyhounds are the oldest breed of dog with references dating back thousands of years. Greyhounds were painted on the walls of the Egyptian pyramids and are the only breed of dog mentioned in the Bible. Ownership in England until the 16th century was restricted only to nobility.
Members of their family are Afghan Hounds, Borzois, Ibizan Hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds, and Whippets. Fringe members include Basenjis and Rhodesian Ridgebacks (which hunt by sight but do not share a physical resemblance) and Italian Greyhounds (which share a physical resemblance but don't hunt at all).
Their Greyt AncestorsExcerpts from the book The Complete Book of Greyhounds by Julia Barnes
Mick The Miller
It was by good fortune that the sport’s first superstar was arguably its finest ever. In 1929 Mick The Miller was bought from Ireland for 88 guineas. Such an enormous sum ensured that Mick The Miller became a household name literally overnight with the coverage of his sale hitting (England’s) evening’s paper. His debut in the 1929 Greyhound Derby – the sport’s premier event – fueled the fire when Mick set a new national record of 29.82 for 500 yards. Mick went on to win the Derby and hit the headlines again when sold for 2,000 guineas. He held the public’s imagination for another two years, winning the Derby for a second time in 1930 and losing a re-run final in 1931.
Racing from 1944-1947, Flashy Sir earned the reputation of being the world’s greatest greyhound. Many will make the same claim to fame for him today. So well respected was Flashy Sir that when the Greyhound Hall of Fame came about, Flashy Sir joined legends Real Huntsman and Rural Rube as the first 3 inductees. In his first year and half of racing, Flashy Sir won twenty-five of his first thirty-two races, including a streak of 18 straight. By this time, Flashy Sir had earned such a reputation that tracks paid his owner NOT TO RACE the greyhound. 'He could go around dogs in a race if the rail was blocked, and had exceptional high early foot which carried him into a long lead. Few greyhounds have been able to overcome him once he got to the front.'
If ever a greyhound deserved the honor of Dog of the Decade for the 1960s, it would be Miss Whirl. 'Like everyone else who saw her run, I felt she was the smartest Greyhound of that time,' said owner Ralph Ryan. 'They would go watch the re-runs the next day, and it looked like she could see trouble in front of her and dodge it.'
...In 1967 she won ten more races at Orlando including her third Central Florida Derby title. After she lost three straight races to Irish Tray, rumors that she was washed up began circulating around the track. What followed was one of the most amazing parts of her career. She posed a twelve-race win streak. At Tampa that autumn she won three of her first four starts, the last two BY 11 LENGTHS. On November 11th she won her last race, career win number 115, and came off the track with a hip injury.
Her career record was 115-40-29 in 232 starts. It was the most wins by any Greyhound in the United States at that time. She also became the sport’s all-time money-winner with earnings of $108,000. That record stood for nearly a decade. Miss Whirl continued to win races through her offspring. One of her sons, Axe Maker, broke many of his mother’s win records in Central Florida.
It is doubtful that any Greyhound has enjoyed as much success in a single year as did Downing in 1977. Before Downing had enough starts to win a Grade A race, his owners entered him in the $115,000 Hollywood World Classic. Downing met the challenge impressively with a win. The 1977 World Classic was being promoted as the Super Bowl of racing at that time. Downing's victory not only made national TV news, in which millions saw the replay, but internationally known magazine Sports Illustrated carried an in-depth feature. An injury forced his retirement in 1978 when he was syndicated as a stud dog. "No sire of the eighties gave the sport more impact-sons to carry on the family's name than Downing," said Gary Guccione, in "Great Names in Pedigrees Vol. II." Leading the way was Perceive who would join his dad in the Hall of Fame. Perceive was a three-time All American. Downing's cross with Irish bloodlines became legendary: Some of his offspring that became great track stars are Swift Kick, Fallon, Havencroft, For Real, Bold Footprint, Understood, Nicky Finn and Barry Lyndon. Downing was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
"What made Dutch Bahama such a good greyhound was his intelligence," said owner Herb "Dutch" Koerner. He was born in January of 1982 - a big white boy with fawn patches. Koerner's dogs are treated like first-class athletes. Their early training begins at about 3 months when they are walked on leads daily to get them used to being handled by humans. Dutch Bahama had great racing ability and his offspring may earn him the billing as one of the greatest studs that ever lived. Many of his puppies set track records, won stake events and captured numerous other laurels. Offspring Allegis was selected as an All-American and was a member of an All-World Team. Offspring Swedish Episode also was an All-World Team member. He was inducted into the Greyhound Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1991 Dutch Bahama was the second ranked sire overall, the number three ranked sire for sprinters, and the top ranked sire for distance dogs in the Greyhound Review Sire Standings. A year later he was the top ranked sire overall, runner-up sire among sprinters and top-ranked distance producers.