Sight Hounds

Picture of a Sighthound

Sight Hound Dogs - General  Information

These wonderful, also known as Gazehounds as their gaze focuses on the horizon seeking game, specialise in hunting their quarry by sight rather than scent. It wasn’t until the mid 1500's that hounds began to be classified according to their purpose, i.e. sight hounds, scent hounds, etc.



Information about Sight Hounds characteristics

Sighthounds have distinctive characteristics, features and traits which are perfect for their purpose. Sighthounds have extremely good vision. They also have a long jaw and lengthy neck which assists them in sighting their quarry.

Their lean muscular body, deep chest and long powerful legs essential assets when following any fast and agile prey.

Sighthounds are elegant dogs - long, lean and almost regal in their general looks, many were owned by Pharaohs, Emperors and Royalty

Sighthounds have distinctive feet with elongated middle toes that make the foot appear longer and helps with their firm footing. Their long stride, powerful chest and lungs and agile bodies make it possible for sight hounds to chase and kill their quarry.

Information about Sight Hounds and Hunting

As implied by its name the Sighthound has been bred to chase a quarry predominantly by sight but it can also use its sense of smell, or even its hearing. Sighthounds, also referred to as Gazehounds have exceptional eyesight, combined with the speed and stamina necessary to catch the intended prey once seen, typical examples being the Greyhound and the Whippet.


Dog photograph


Characteristics and features of Sighthounds have been introduced and strengthened by breeding from animals who already demonstrated the desired traits. Breeding for appearance was only introduced in the 19th Century. Before this time Sighthound dogs and puppies were bred to increase useful abilities and traits helpful for the duties they were intended for. Thus, the various Sighthound breeds were initially introduced to help man according to specific requirements such as::

  • Hunting and running down large and small quarry
  • Flushing out and Driving game

In this day and age only a few Sighthounds still undertake these tasks, but nevertheless, they still harbour the skills and characteristics that made the original Sighthound breeding programs successful.

Many of the Sighthounds were kept in packs, in outdoor kennels. Any dogs and puppies belonging to the Sighthound breeds require a significant amount of exercise as they have high stamina levels suitable for hunting quarry. The fastest of the sighthounds can reach speeds of over 40 mph (60 km/h).


Bay Dogs

Sighthound Dogs - Specific Breeds - Information
To discover more about the specific Sighthound breeds, their origins, history, temperaments and characteristics please follow one of the following links:


Sight Hounds

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