Greyhound , (canis venaticus), a species of dog characterized by a narrow and sharp head, a nose greatly prolonged, and with its plane passing with little elevation nearly to the occiput, long neck, deep chest, arched loins, abdomen much drawn up, and buttocks elevated; the stature is high on account of the elongated and slender limbs; the ears are small, pointed, and semi-pendulous; the tail long and slender, and in the original races fringed. Representations of the greyhound are found on the oldest Egyptian monuments. The permanence and peculiarities of the greyhound characters indicate that it arose from an aboriginal independent species, whose primitive seat was proba-ably in the extensive plains of western Asia, extending from Hindostan and Persia through Tartary to Russia, where now the largest breeds of the race exist, and whence they were carried by or followed man in his migrations into Egypt and Europe. The general colors are black, white, and slaty; the northern breeds have long and shaggy hair, while the southern are smooth or silky, from the effects of climate or from an original difference.
The largest and fiercest greyhounds have long hair, like those of the Deccan and Persia, the former of which is of a yellowish tan color, and the latter slaty or white, the hair of both being rather soft; the Arabian greyhound, variously crossed, is large and strong. The Russian and Tartar breeds are large, rough, usually white, black clouded, with long hairy tails; the Scotch greyhound is of the same breed, but, from a probable cross with a staghound, has an excellent nose and considerable sagacity, with great speed and endurance; the Irish greyhound, the largest dog of western Europe, and more than a match for a wolf, is considered of the same breed with the last, crossed in various localities with the great Danish dog, the staghound, and the bloodhound; the Grecian greyhound, still extant, and used in deer hunting, has a rather short and soft fur, slaty and white. Among the smooth-haired breeds are the Turkish, ashy, white, or brindled, with long hairy ears and very pointed nose; the Italian, small, elegant, very delicate, swift, and chiefly regarded as a lady's pet (there is a larger variety resembling this in the Barbary states); and the English greyhound, unrivalled in speed, beauty, and docility, used in the chase of the hare; the last is the most common in western Europe and in the United States. The lurcher (C. vertagus) was originally a greyhound, but, from mixture with other breeds and from want of care, has degenerated.