Like many breeds, Greyhounds come with their own community and culture (some would say cult) – and vocabulary. I wrote about some of these terms in my earlier posts. Let’s take a closer look at some of those “Greyhound-isms”.
Bald Thigh Syndrome (BTS) or Bald Butt is a typical issue in racing greyhounds. Multiple potential reasons have been proposed, from hereditary inclination (much like hairlessness in certain men), to a hormonal irregularity, rubbing on crates or stress. Greyhound-pattern baldness (as it’s known in veterinary literature) refers to little or no hair on the underside of the chest, rear end and backs of the thighs. Some think that Greyhounds lose the fur on their "behinds" as a result of the bedding placed in their crates and/or from the transport to and from the tracks. Sometimes this hair grows back once the hound has settled into their “furever” home (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) but often this baldness remains for their whole life.
This is a Greyhound adopter thing. There’s a well-known saying among Greyhound owners… “Greyhounds are like potato chips, you can’t have just one” and considering what great pets they make, it’s understandable. Often, greys are happier with other dogs too, so the situation lends itself to “chipping”. Have you heard the saying “If there’s room on the floor, there room for one more!”? Check out these cute chip clips http://bit.ly/GreyhoundChipClips
“Derping”, also called “ETS”, escaping tongue syndrome, usually happens when the dog is upside down roaching, but can also happen while lying down and most often while sleeping.
Many Greyhounds are Drama Queens (regardless if they are male or female). The Greyhound Scream of Death (GSOD) will curdle your blood and make you come running to see who is getting killed. This can happen for numerous reasons: an actual harmful injury (you stepped on their foot) or it is a dog who “thinks” it is going to get hurt (their leash is dragging behind them or a leaf fell off the tree during a walk and landed on them). Check your hound over, if no injuries, just know you have a Diva.
This describes some greys' tails when they're especially happy. The tail moves in a circular motion, instead of side-to-side, resembling the movements of a helicopter rotor. Watch out for breakable knick knacks, which can become casualties of this tail movement. Sometimes the movement is so vigorous that the tail is in danger of being damaged!
With their thin fur and low body fat, Greyhounds often appreciate some extra protection from the cold, especially when they are inactive. So there are various items of clothing for houndies. One of these is a flannel or knit pajama-type garment to wear indoors. When going outside, heavier coats, slickers, snoods and even booties may be called for. Also known as: jams
Martingale Collars are the ideal solution for dogs that may try to back out of their collars or need to be reminded not to pull. Any dogs whose head is smaller around than their neck needs a collar that will not easily slip off. The martingale has a loop that tightens when the leash is pulled. It is a lot gentler than a choke chain but enough to prevent the collar constantly falling off. Side note: some Greyhounds may still be better off with their leash attached to a body harness instead.
If you have ever paid attention to a Greyhound’s profile, this term is self-explanatory. They have loooong, needle like noses, with a pointy end, all the better to greet you with.
When a Greyhound is very happy, and loves their “person” they may nibble at their arm or side (or any available skin) with their front teeth. This is called “nitting” or “nittering”. Think of it like the Greyhound’s version of purring. A variation is “chattering”. When some greys are happy or excited, they may chatter quite loudly, clicking their teeth together as though they were cold. You may see a greyhound do this at meal time or when their people come home. Air snapping is similar to nitting but instead of nibbling at your skin, they snap at the air. Scientists may call this overflow behavior – being overstimulated by happiness or excitement, this action releases excess energy, but I still prefer to think of it as purring!
Sometimes Greyhounds can have a silly way of lying on their backs with their long legs pointing out at weird angles. Not all Greyhounds do this, but if yours does, that means he is happy and trusts you. It’s called “roaching,” after the resemblance to the appearance of a dead cockroach. If they are roaching with one front leg straight up in the air, that is a “flagpole”.
Not all Greyhounds do this, but if yours does and you are not prepared, you are in for a surprise! Greyhound lovers call it the “Roo”, but it is a type of hound howl or bay. It is also called “singing” or “siren”, maybe because sirens have been known to set off the behavior. The most common time it occurs is when a group of Greyhounds are together. It just takes one to start it off, then most follow, joining in “ArooooooooOOOOOO”. It is a basic means of communication for dogs, most likely confirming companionship. They do not use this sound to find each other, nor to alert that they are on the trail of game. To me, it was one of the highlights of the Reunion picnics the local group had (and hopefully will have again soon). You can find clips of examples on You Tube. If you play one with the sound up, it will most likely prompt your houndie to join in if they are “Roo-ers”.
These two terms are related: ear scritches (rubbing the dog behind the ears, or even in them) often causes a blissful moaning, a.k.a. EARGASM.
Who doesn’t love an adoring companion? Your Greyhound follows your every move, attached at the hip. This is closely related to LEANING: leaning is their version of a Greyhound hug. It's a show of affection and trust. Many people find this endearing, but if you would like to have your pup be a little more independent, check out our blog on the topic of Velcro Dogs
Zoomies are all about excess energy and happiness. This could be speeding around the yard in circles, figure eights, or spinning in place. They break out spontaneously; inside or outside, depending where the mood strikes them.
If I have left out any good ones, please mention them in the comments!