No one knows exactly when greyhounds came into the lives of humans. Sometime after the retreat of the last glaciers people discovered the advantages of dogs as hunting partners: fast, agile, strong dogs who could run down prey that left clumsy humans far behind.
Through subsequent millennia humans kept these useful dogs close to them, and learned to breed them selectively, developing a lean, graceful, swift dog of a sighthound type. Such dogs were bred in North Africa and Asia several thousand years ago and were probably the ancestors of modern greyhounds and Salukis.
After activists began to publicize the abuses of the greyhound racing industry in the early 1990s, state legislatures came under increasing public pressure to end greyhound racing. Twelve states and the U.S. Territory of Guam have recently done so, but there are still 18 greyhound tracks operating in 6 states.
As a breed, greyhounds are gentle and affectionate. Remarkably calm in temperament, they are nevertheless sensitive to the least physical or emotional discomfort. They seem heartbreakingly vulnerable to the brutal conditions in which they are raised and raced. Adopted greyhounds are ideal companions for the elderly, and many become therapy dogs in nursing homes.