Sighthounds and greyhounds come from all over the world having started their lives in many different places. Just like Americans, we are all immigrants, settling in the United States from varied lands, cultures and birthplaces.

Did you know that the Egyptians valued their greyhounds so highly that the birth of a greyhound was second in importance only to the birth of a human boy?

Dating back to Ancient Egypt as family members, companions and hunting partners, greyhounds have had a rich heritage for well over 4000 years. Among the Pharaohs who loved greyhounds were Tutankhamen, Amenhotep II, Thutmose III and Queen Hatshepsut. Cleopatra, too, was a greyhound aficionado.

Explorers from Greece brought greyhounds back from Egypt. There, greyhounds became so popular that even the Greek hero, Alexander the Great kept one. It’s been told that his greyhound saved him from an elephant attack. Greek and Roman mythological figures were frequently portrayed with Greyhounds as companions. Most pictures of Diana, the Huntress, feature her with a greyhound.

In the Old Testament, Proverbs 30, verses 29-31, this flattering reference to a greyhound was by Solomon, the only reference to a dog breed in the Bible:

• There be three things which go well, yea,

• Which are comely in going:

• A lion, which is strongest among beast and

• Turneth not away from any;

• A greyhound; A he-goat also.

During the Dark Ages, a time of famine and disease, greyhounds were saved from near extinction by priests. During this period, ownership of a greyhound became the exclusive right of the nobility. In 1014 in England, King Canute enacted a law that no “meane person” could own a greyhound. Greyhounds were so highly prized that traveling noblemen would often present a greyhound as a gift to their hosts.

Greyhounds were also the first featured breed in English Literature. They are in the Odyssey, and Chaucer wrote about monks and greyhounds:

• Greyhounds he hadde as swift as fowels in flight;

• Of priking and hunting for the hare

• Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.

During the Renaissance, greyhounds were also a favorite of royalty, including England’s Queen Elizabeth I. They were the most common dog used in heraldry, and can be found on the coats of arms of Charles V of France and King Henry VIII. The famous artists of the day did not overlook the elegance of the greyhound; painters such as Veronese, Pisanello and Uccello immortalized the breed in many of their works.

Greyhounds were introduced in America in the late 1800s to keep down the rabbit population on farms. Neighborhood coursing competitions soon became popular among farmers and their hounds. In the early 1900s, the artificial lure was invented and greyhound racing was born. Greyhounds now spend up to 22 hours a day in two by four-foot crates. Those lives are a far cry from their cherished place, as loved family members, throughout history.

From their noble beginnings as revered dogs of royalty to their ignoble one of running for their lives, and now their new lives as loved family members, greyhounds and sight hounds have had a long and distinguished history.

Do come out and celebrate with the almost 200 humans and their well-loved, four-legged family members who will be coming to Kanab May 17-19, for Sighthound Shivoo. Hike with a Hound at Pugh Canyon on Friday, May 17, at 8 a.m. Visit Chalk & Talk and get up close and personal with a hound on Friday, May 17, from 9-11 a.m. on Center Street, while their humans try to render their gorgeousness in chalk on Kanab sidewalks. Laugh and point at the costumed parading hounds on Saturday, May 18, during the Parade down Center Street at 10 a.m. Cheer on a racing hound and his or her human during the Blur of Fur on Sunday, May19, from 9-11 a.m. at Kanab Elementary School.

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