greyhound, breed of tall, swift, sight hound developed nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt. It stands about 26 in. (66 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs about 65 lb (29.5 kg). Its short, smooth coat may be colored black, white, or various shades of fawn, brindle, blue, or red. Known in England before the 9th cent., the greyhound was bred and raised by the aristocracy. In fact, for approximately 700 years it was illegal under English law for a commoner to own a greyhound. It was used to hunt small game, especially hares, and by the early 19th cent. the coursing of hares had developed into an organized sport. In recent years, with the invention by Owen Patrick Smith of the mechanical rabbit for use on a round or oval track, the racing of greyhounds has grown widely in popularity. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.