Greyhounds were bred specifically to compete in coursing games and races, a breeding process that has produced one of the fastest canines in the world. The greyhound combines very long and extremely powerful legs, a slim body shape, high spinal elasticity and a strong chest to achieve top speeds of up to 40 mph, meaning an astonishing 59 feet per second.
The reason greyhounds can travel at such amazing speeds lies in the huge hearts hiding in their deep chest cavities, their light weight and strong muscles as well as the extraordinary percentage of fast-twitch muscle which is more prevalent in the greyhound than in any other canine breed. Greyhounds have a much higher level of red blood cells than other dogs, meaning their bodies are able to move more oxygen faster from their lungs to their muscles, another feat which increases their speed on the track.
The typical male greyhound measures between 28 and 30 inches from the ground to his shoulders (the withers) and weighs between 60 and 88 pounds. The females have a height between 27 and 28 inches and weigh 60 to 75 pounds.
Retired greyhounds, former race dogs past their racing prime, are often offered up for adoption. Adopted greyhounds make excellent family pets, due to the docile and pleasant nature inherent in the greyhound. Although they are large dogs, greyhounds are happy to live in confined spaces - especially retired racing dogs who are accustomed to spending a lot of time in transport boxes.