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Greyhounds and their unique terminology

Greyhound in regal Sphinx position
Greyhound in regal Sphinx position
Linda Weber

Greyhounds are distinctive dogs to be sure, but this is not where it ends. There is a whole language surrounding Greyhound behavior that people in the Greyhound realm use when talking about their ex-racing Greyhounds.

Chattering – Sometimes you will see a Greyhound that looks like they are freezing because their teeth are chattering when it is a nice warm day. They are not cold but rather this indicates they feel comfortable around you and is an expression of love or acceptance.

Chipping – You have heard the saying with potato chips that “you just can’t have one?” Ex-racing Greyhound owners use this term to tell people that if you have one, another one is just a matter of time, just like eating potato chips. Explains why most Greyhound owners have more than one Greyhound. If you just have one, and go to a ex-racing Greyhound event, you will get the knowing looks and head nods that indicate it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Double Suspension Gallop – Describes the unique way Greyhounds dash. When they run, their legs gather under their body and then they stretch out so all four legs are extended in the air with no contact with the ground. It really is a beautiful sight, especially when frozen in stride in a picture.

Escaped Tongue Syndrome – Used to explain how the tongue lolls out the side of their mouth when they are sleeping or resting. Also called a Derp. Usually more prevalent when they are upside down. Actually kind of scary when you first see it, especially if they are upside down with their eyes open.

Helicopter Tail – When an ex-racing Greyhound gets excited, sometimes their tail wags in a complete circle, wreaking havoc with anything that might be near like small dogs, children and anything that might have been on the table.

Nitting – If an ex-racing Greyhound lightly nibbles on you, it is their way of showing you they think you are a bit of all right. Consider yourself lucky as not everyone gets to experience this.

Roaching – Most often, Greyhounds will turn upside down on their backs with their back legs spread and their front paws in the air. For all their gracefulness, this is the most embarrassing, oddest-looking thing that they do. Like the cat that licks himself right in front of your dinner guests.

Rooing – Unique sound Greyhounds make when they hear a siren or other barking dogs. When they howl they sound like they are saying “Roo.” When you get a group of Greyhounds together for a rooing fest, it can be cacophonous.

Sphinx Position – Because Greyhounds have a difficult time sitting because of their structure, they tend to lay down with their back legs supporting their body and their front legs out in front. Looks just like how it sounds. Also puts them into position to spring forth at a rapid rate so, don’t underestimate their speed from a supposed resting position.

Zoomies – Used to explain their running around a yard or house at break-neck speed and throwing in some tight turns. Greyhounds are sprinters so they gather speed up quite quickly and love to delight their owners with their antics.