A GREYHOUND GLOSSARY


AIR NIT: When Amber was excited and happy, she chattered. It sounded like she was freezing to death, but that certainly couldn't be the case when she did it in the summertime! We'd come home and she'd be bouncing around doing her "I'm-so-happy-to-see-you dance," chattering away like she was using castanets. This "air-nitting" had nothing to do with Amber being cold--it was her way of telling us how glad she was we'd come home, or that we were playing with her, or were taking her somewhere.


BLUE: In almost any hound, "blue" designates a dark kind of steel gray coloring. Blue greyhounds are on the rare side, as are other blue variations (blue fawn, blue brindle). Topaz is a blue greyhound, complete with a beautiful silvery sheen to her coat. Perhaps because it's not seen all that often, people who see Topaz at GPA educational booths often comment that they like the blue color the best.


BRINDLE: A darker marbling (striping) on a different coat color. Comet and Jonesy are brindles.


COCKROACH: (Often described as "dead cockroach") A standard greyhound "reclining" position, where the dog is upside down with three (with one foreleg bent) or four of its legs in the air. It's hard to imagine how a dog that is as narrow as a greyhound could hold the pose, but they curl around (like a comma). This is a favorite position for tummy rubs. You know your greyhound is totally comfortable when you find them sleeping in this position. Almost every morning my first glimpse of Jonesy is of a cockroached, smiling hound, quite often with her tongue hanging out of the side of her mouth! It's guaranteed to start most mornings with a laugh.


EARGASM: Yes, this is a G-rated site! Most greyhounds love to get their ears rubbed. If you do it just right, you'll not only get the standard expression of bliss, but you'll get an assortment of moans and groans of sheer ecstasy from the dog.


FAWN: A tan coat color. It can range from an almost white through a fairly intense tan.


HAPPY-DOG DANCE: All you need to do is walk in the door, pick up a leash, or reach for a treat, and you're greeted to a happy-dog dance. There will be prancing feet, possibly spinning in place, and if you've got a rooer, you'll likely get that, too. Remember Snoopy's "Happy, happy, joy, joy!" dance in the cartoon shows? Just picture that, greyhound style, and you've got a picture of the happy-dog dance.


HAPPY TAIL: Greyhounds have long, boney tails. When they are happy (most of the time!) their lashing tail can cause damage to anyone or anything within range. Comet's furiously wagging tail neatly snagged one of the three kings from our nativity scene. Fortunately, super glue did the trick to return the king and his camel to their proper spot. Unfortunately, furiously wagging tails also can get damaged by hitting hard objects, cutting and sometimes breaking the tail and splattering an incredible amount of blood everywhere--you, the dog, floor, walls and ceiling. I'm very glad that we've never experienced the bad side of happy tail syndrome, and I hope I've not jinxed myself by saying that!


HELICOPTER TAIL: Some greyhounds don't just wag their tail back and forth like normal dogs, they'll whirl it in a circle--a full 360 degrees. When Topaz is really excited or happy, her tail whirls so much you'd think she was going to take off. It's quite a sight to see!


LEAN: Greyhounds are almost famous for leaning on you. I used to get in trouble when Amber would lean on my one side and Topaz would lean on the other. When one moved, I'd almost fall over! Comet gives a whole new definition to leaning. He'll sit down, lean against the end of the bed, and drape his head over it, so he conforms his shape to the shape of the bed. It's hard to describe--I need to get a picture of this.


NIT: Nitting is when the dog rapidly nibbles, using its front teeth, on someone. It appears to be an expression of affection, but depending on the body part being nitted, it can be painful!


PARTICOLOR: A white greyhound with spots of a different color.


RED: A coat color ranging from reddish gold, to almost orange, to a deep, coppery red.


ROO: This is singing, greyhound-style. If I ask Comet to sing, and encourage him along a bit by example, "A-roo-roo-rooooooo!" (and yes, my neighbors probably do think I'm quite insane ), he will generally reply in kind. You haven't lived till you've heard a group roo--several hundred greys rooing up a storm, as often happens during the Dewey Beach weekend. It sends chills up and down your spine. If you'd like to hear some on-line samples of rooing, check out The Roo Home Page


SIGHT HOUND: Dogs that pursue the prey they see rather than the trail they scent. Because they hunt by sight, greyhounds should never be allowed to run loose. If they were to go into pursuit mode, they'd not "see" anything but the prey they were pursuing. Being either leashed or within a fenced area is mandatory for the safety of any sight hound.


SITE HOUND: Any greyhound with a web page of its own.


SMILE: A greyhound smile almost looks like a snarl, except the top of the muzzle isn't wrinkled up. When Jonesy's really pleased about something or wants something (as in the picture, where you can almost read her thoughts... She's in the standard "dead cockroach" position [belly up with all four legs in the air]--"Hey, YOU! Why aren't you rubbing my tummy?"), she'll lift her lips and show her teeth in an action very similar to a human smile. If you don't know any better, a greyhound smile can be a bit scary to see since greys have some pretty impressive-looking teeth!


SPHINX: Recall the Sphinx in Egypt? Greyhounds will often assume the same position. It often will replace sitting for a greyhound, many of whom do not seem particularly fond of the standard sitting position.


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