The Greyhound “Smiler” 

Greyhounds can be such goobers. For all their regal elegance,  this can be a hilarious breed loaded with expression and personality. They can lean into their people with affection while having the silliest expression on their face!

To a person unfamiliar with the Greyhound breed, however, being the recipient of a Greyhound grin can be unsettling.  Two rows of big white teeth can intimidate or even instill a bit of fear, and while Greyhounds – like all breeds – are capable of snarling, those goofy grins are not snarls. They are hallmarks of a dog that is feeling happy, playful, and friendly. When in doubt, it’s important to pause, and observe the rest of the dog’s demeanor and body language, before reacting. If the dog is stiff, showing a lot of eye in wide eyes, has tensed their mouth,  curled their lips, and wrinkled their nose, chances are good that the dog is showing cautionary body language and keeping a respectful distance is in order.

A show of teeth alone, however, doesn’t always mean aggression—it is important to consider the whole body and the context to understand what a dog is saying. When all else on the dog suggests that he or she is feeling “chill,” flashing the pearly whites is generally considered a common breed trait, so much so that there is a name for it: Greyhounds who grin are called “smilers.” Indeed, we’ve read that Greyhounds have a repertoire of smiles they “dust off” for different moods, and some of the craziest Greyhound smiles come when the dog is sound asleep.

Top photo by © Vitalij Geraskin | Dreamstime


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