Everything you need to know about Sighthounds

Read time: 5 mins

13 Aug 2020

By Guest Blogger Debbie Humphreys, owner of Redhound for Dog's


What is a sight hound?

Sight hounds are a group of super speedy dogs that use their sight as a main sense. You are probably familiar with: whippets, greyhounds and Italian Greyhounds. Less known are Salukis, Galgos, Borzoi and Irish Wolf hound. A lurcher is a sighthound cross, can be whippet/saluki, whippet/greyhound or often greyhound/collie. All sighthounds have a distinctive shape, small head, deep chest and slim waist. All are built for speed and seeing them run brings pure joy to your heart.

Why choose a sight hound?

Amazing, kind, opportunist, sensitive, affectionate, funny, graceful, elegant, loving and loyal – just some of the words often used to describe sight hounds. They are clean lazy dogs that generally don’t bark and will happily live in the country or town. They don’t need tons of exercise, given an hour a day – with some off lead time is adequate but they will equally walk or run with you for longer distances. They shed very little hair and aren’t prone to health issues.

What you need to know before getting a sight hound

Many sight hounds are popular pets because of their easy going, lazy and laid back nature. But - be prepared to be loved in a way that you have never known & be ready to adapt your life to work around your dog! If you have your sights on a sight hound there are a few things you should know

  • They are terrible food thieves! You can’t leave anything out within reach and remember, they like to spend time on two legs – their back ones, and with long necks they can often reach to the back of the counter!

  • They will smother you with love and loyalty – they are the best companion dogs, which make them ideal if you are able to spend all your time with them – whippets especially are not good when left alone.

  • They are addictive – having one sight hound in your life will probably not be enough!

  • They can be fussy eaters and require a good quality diet as many have sensitive tummies – which makes Butternut a great choice

  • They need a very comfortable bed of their own or they will choose yours!

  • They will follow you EVERYWHERE including the bathroom! f your rules are – no dogs on furniture and no dogs upstairs then a sight hound might not be for you – I can only speak for whippets that have excellent powers of persuasion – as one of my customers so eloquently says:

“Beware the stare – those gorgeous eyes have Jedi powers and can make you do anything your whippet desires ie walk, food, treats, cuddles and your spot on the sofa! “

Personality types:

This varies from breed to breed, but in general a sight hound is described as the fastest couch potato you will ever meet.

  • Whippet – Boys tend to be calmer and lazier than girls, who are often very independent and busy. Cheeky, determined and needy but adorable with it!

  • Greyhounds – most have very loving natures and are happy to please, they are the gentlest of giants and will often lean into your legs when having a stroke.

  • Salukis – a stunning hound, but not one for the un-experienced owner. These amazing dogs are often very scatty, and have a strong prey drive with will mean off lead walks might be difficult.

  • Italian Greyhounds – the ultimate lap dog, they are like tiny whippets in looks but in character they are much crazier! They are a lot of fun, but not as robust as the whippet.

Fun Facts:

  • You will get a greeting from a sight hound like you haven’t been seen for 2 years even if it was just 5 minutes!

  • These dogs are champion sleepers and will snooze the day away like no other

  • They can reach speeds of 40 mph which is very fast for a dog!

  • They are not the easiest to train, as the attention span is low, but with high grade treats you will achieve the basics – sit, stay, down but don’t expect a roll over!

  • They hate the cold and wet! Expect to put a coat on your hound if you are reaching for your own! And be prepared for them to assess the weather conditions to see if it suits THEM to go out or not!

  • They love their own types and will recognise a fellow sight hound who they will greet happily but will often ignore other breeds

  • They can have a penchant to roll in smelly stuff – such as fox poo! BUT – they hate water and bathing!! Beware for attitude when you do have to bath them!

  • They like to dig, so if you have a precious lawn, you might need to relax the rules! Or install a sandpit area and train your dog to dig there.

  • You will need a tall bin as they will go through your rubbish like no other.

Health and Care

Insurance is advisable – most sight hounds have thin skin that is easily torn, and many are accident prone! General health is good, but greyhounds can suffer from painful and persistent corns which will need regular attention.

Where can I get one?

Whatever sight hound you choose please choose wisely. Look at your own life style; do you need to leave the dog for half the day? If so, a greyhound might suit better than a whippet, if you want a puppy research a good breeder, ask other whippet owners or look to the rescue centres, there are many more greyhounds and lurchers waiting for homes than homes there are available. BUT I warn you – they are addictive – having one is never enough!

Thank you to Debbie Humphreys, one of our wonderful Butternut Box Ambassadors for this guest blog post. Do check out her brilliant stylish hound attire, Redhound for dogs.