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Polish greyhound: nature, care and the most common diseases

Polish Greyhound | photo: wikipedia

Polish greyhound is one of the five recognized by the FCI breeds of our native "production ", next to the Polish hound, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Polish Hound and Tatra Sheepdog.

The Polish hunting spaniel, which is allowed to participate in exhibitions and registered in the Polish Kennel Club, also has its roots in Poland, but does not appear in the registers of international organizations.

The Polish Greyhound probably comes from Asian Greyhounds and was originally used for hunting, and you had to have a special permit to own it.

The main hunting targets of these dogs were birds from the Great Bustard family, which include the largest modern flying birds - their body length reaches 102 cm, weight 16 kg, and the wingspan is over two meters.

In addition, they were also irreplaceable in hunting foxes, deer or wolves, and these hunts were repeatedly presented in paintings by famous painters such as Juliusz Kossak or Jan Piotr Norblin.

Greyhounds chased the prey fiercely and stubbornly, killed it, but did not bring it to the hunter, which was the hallmark of their work.

The origins of the breed's existence date back to the 12th / 13th century, and the crisis that almost led to their extinction, to the period of World War II.

Ultimately, these greyhounds were rescued by breed lovers, in particular Stanisław Czerniakowski, who initiated their modern breeding, and officially Polish sighthounds were recognized by the FCI in 1989.

According to the FCI classification, the Polish Greyhound belongs to group 10.

  • Polish greyhound character
  • What Polish sighthounds look like?
  • Care
  • Disease Polish Greyhound
    • Dilation of the stomach with twisting
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy
    • Hypersensitivity to anesthetics
    • GREAT
    • Patellar dislocation
  • For whom the Polish Greyhound will be an ideal breed of dog?

Polish greyhound character

The Polish Greyhound is a distinguished, balanced and restrained dog.

He gets attached to the guardian, usually one person, and is a bit distrustful of strangers.

He has the makings of a good watchdog and has a strong territorial instinct.

Like all greyhounds, they like to run and chase, especially those that run away from them, which is why these dogs are great for off-road bait races these days.

They are also happy to chase their prey outside, so it is safest to unleash them in a fenced area or paddock.

They are not aggressive or offensive, but when provoked, they can bite back.

They require training and experience in leading from the person with them, and although they are skillful and punitive, they can also be independent and stubborn.

What Polish sighthounds look like?

The silhouette of the Polish Greyhound is strong, muscular and does not have such elegant shapes as other shorthair greyhounds.


The height at the withers of the male dog is 70-80 cm, the height of the female is 68-75 cm.


The body weight of an adult individual is approx. 40 kilograms.

Breed description

  • The head is characteristic of the group - long and narrow. For these greyhounds, the standard provides several important proportions of this body part, which are:
    • the ratio of the length of the skull to the muzzle, which is 1: 1,
    • the ratio of the length of the head to the height at the withers, which is 36-38: 100 for bitches and 37-39: 100 for males,
    • the ratio of the head width to its length, which is approx. 38: 100,
    • the ratio of the circumference of the muzzle (in front of the eye sockets) to the length of the head, which is 80: 100.
  • The cerebral skull is flat, the stop and supraorbital arches are poorly marked.
  • The muzzle is strong, tapering towards the tip of the nose, but rather blunt at the end.
  • Nose truffle large and protruding beyond the lips, below the topline of the muzzle, black or dark.
  • Jaws strong and lips dry and far open, they may form a slight fold. Scissor bite, but a pincer bite is acceptable.
  • Almond-shaped eyes, expressive and alert, depending on the color of the coat.
  • Medium-sized ears with a soft pinna can be worn differently - angled forward, backward, close-fitting, erect.
  • The neck is long and muscular, rising from the slightly marked withers to the front.
  • The back is straight, slightly arched at the lumbar region which is broad and strong.
  • Chest deep and moderately broad, with a long sternum and well sprung ribs.
  • The belly is tucked up and the rump is long, muscular and gently sloping.
  • The tail is set low, carried fully extended at rest, crescent-shaped when in motion.
  • Forelegs narrowly spaced, straight, muscular and lean. The rear ones are slightly set apart, parallel.
  • Feet tightly closed with well arched toes.
  • Smooth and springy movement with long steps. The hind legs can be placed converging, which is a characteristic feature of this breed.


The coat is short and springy, the hair may vary in length on different areas of the dog's body - longest on the underside of the tail and back of the thighs, longer at the withers, shorter at the sides and shortest on the sternum and limbs.

Virtually all colors are allowed, but individuals without brindle are preferred.

The edge of the eyelids and the tip of the nose should be dark.

In light-colored dogs, the nose and eyes may be lighter in color.


Due to the fact that it has a short hair, the care of a Polish Greyhound is not the most time-consuming.

As dogs shed, we have to comb them anyway, ideally we do it once a week.

We bathe the dog when necessary and try not to do it too often. The rest are basic treatments, i.e. periodic inspection of the ears, claws and teeth, to which we try to get the pet used to from early childhood.

Disease Polish Greyhound

Polish sighthounds are a fairly healthy breed, not burdened by genetic health problems, or at least there is not enough research and statistics that could clearly assign them a tendency to specific diseases.

Among the diseases with a predisposition there are mainly those to which breeds related to them are predisposed, and they include, first of all:

Dilation of the stomach with twisting

Due to their deep chest, Polish sighthounds are predisposed to gastric twist.

This disease is when the stomach is dilated as a result of the accumulation of large amounts of food or gas.

Dilation occurs most often as a result of too fast and greedy intake of food "all at once", so the risk of its occurrence is greater in animals fed once a day.

It may also be accompanied by a twist, which is an emergency.

Enlargement manifests itself:

  • anxiety,
  • belching,
  • drooling,
  • enlargement of the outline of the abdomen.

When turning, the dog tries to vomit unsuccessfully, has a poor heart rate, tachycardia and pale mucous membranes.

Immediate help is needed in case of a stomach twist, as the worsening circulatory and respiratory disorders can lead to shock and death of the animal.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heart muscle disease in which we observe a decrease in the thickness of its walls, which leads to a weakening of the systolic and diastolic activity of the heart.

The consequence is general circulatory failure.

DCM can be asymptomatic even for several years, because the body's compensatory mechanism is high and allows for the maintenance of normal circulatory functions for a relatively long time.

In the advanced stages, it appears:

  • cough,
  • exercise intolerance,
  • fainting,
  • pulmonary edema and / or ascites.

The diagnosis of dilated heart disease is possible thanks to the echo of the heart, which enables the thickness of the walls and the interventricular septum of the heart muscle to be measured.

Only pharmacological treatment - diuretics, vasodilators or antiarrhythmics selected depending on the stage of the disease.

In greyhounds, we can also deal with physiological heart murmurs, which are not a sign of disease, but rather an individual feature.

Hypersensitivity to anesthetics

Among the drugs intended for anesthesia of dogs, the most common among greyhounds is hypersensitivity to thiopental, as a result of the low activity of cytochrome P-450, which is responsible for the metabolism of many medicinal substances, including barbiturates.

Its slow action makes thiopental stay in the body longer and, when administered in a standard dose, it may cause reactions in the form of cardiopulmonary depression, hypothermia and even death.

In veterinary practice, therefore, drugs from this group, as a higher risk, are not routinely used in anesthesia in greyhounds.


Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is the term used to describe a whole group of hereditary eye diseases that involve the progressive degeneration of the retina in the central part (CPRA) or over the entire surface (GPRA).

The degeneration of the suppositories and stamens leads first to impaired vision in the dark and then during the day.

In the course of the disease, pupil dilation, retinal vessel atrophy and retinal thinning occur.

The diagnosis of the disease is based on an examination performed with the use of an electroretinograph.

It allows for the assessment of the receptors' reactions arising in response to stimulation with light stimuli.

Since it is an incurable disease, sick dogs and carriers should be there excluded from breeding.

Patellar dislocation

Patellar dislocation is the dislocation of the patella to the lateral or medial side of the femoral block and may only occur in one or both limbs at a time.

The essence of the predisposition to prolapse of the kneecap is anatomical deformation, which consists in not aligning the axis of the quadriceps and patella muscles in one line and the axis of the femoral block, as is the case in a normal knee.

When the quadriceps muscle is strained, the system consisting of the muscle, the patella and the patellar ligament is straightened and the patella is then moved beyond the block.

The most common reported symptom is a sudden "temporary " lameness that disappears when the kneecap "snaps " into place.

In the clinical examination, the kneecap is noticeable during passive flexion and extension of the limb.

There are four degrees of severity of changes:

  1. Rare lameness and dislocation of the kneecap under pressure.
  2. Temporary lameness.
  3. Permanent lameness - the kneecap can be adjusted manually, but it falls out spontaneously.
  4. Permanent lameness - the kneecap is constantly outside the pulley and cannot be adjusted.

Mild cases can be treated with physiotherapeutic procedures, and advanced conditions require surgery.

Since the Polish Greyhound is as if it were not a Greyhound, we can expect slightly different morphology or blood biochemistry parameters, such as.:

  • greater MCV,
  • higher hematocrit and creatinine concentration,
  • lower platelet count,
  • lower levels of thyroid hormones.

For whom the Polish Greyhound will be an ideal breed of dog?

Polish sighthounds are not very popular, even in our homeland, and at the moment in the register of the Polish Kennel Club there is only one kennel offering puppies of this breed, so getting a dog with a pedigree may not be that easy.

When thinking about Greyhounds, keep in mind the primary purpose of these dogs and the specific character traits that make them not a breed for everyone.

Polish Greyhounds are rather not recommended for novices, but experienced people who will be able to put together this stubborn man with patience and consistency.

Even though they are savvy and intelligent dogs, their instincts and independent actions sometimes win, so they can be relentless and fierce in their actions.

They were determined and persistent in their hunts, so this is also what we can expect from them when they chase something that will interest them.

There are no major contraindications for keeping them in an apartment, providing the right amount of traffic.

When deciding on a greyhound, it is worth taking advantage of its racing potential and preparing it for competitions that are becoming more and more popular in Poland, or doing sports yourself, enjoying the company of an energetic companion.

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