The Longdog is a hybrid created by crosses between Greyhounds and any other sighthound breeds, including Salukis, Scottish Deerhounds or Whippets. The cross might be made with the intention of creating a dog with more stamina or greater agility. Depending on the cross, Longdogs are used to course rabbits, hares, foxes, deer and coyotes, and they have a weight range of 35 to 100 pounds.
Longdogs are found primarily in the American West or Rocky Mountain regions. They are not recognized as a breed, per se, being used solely for hunting. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering acquiring a Longdog.
Is the Longdog the Right Dog for You?
The Longdog has typical sighthound traits: he is calm, affectionate but not demonstrative, and loves to give chase. Because of his laidback personality, he’s not much of a watchdog and certainly not a guard dog. His size and appearance may be enough to scare off intruders, however.
Like the Greyhound, he can be satisfied with a long daily walk and the opportunity to run free in a large, safely enclosed area. He should always be walked on leash, or he is likely to take off after some small, furry critter.
Confine him to your yard with a fence that provides a visual barrier. An underground electronic fence that gives a shock when the dog crosses it is useless with a sighthound. He’ll blow right through that without a second thought. Don’t forget that the Longdog’s height of 24 to 30 inches and chowhound appetite make him the perfect counter surfer. Put food well out of reach if you don’t want him to help himself.
The Longdog is an independent thinker, but he can learn the basics of good dog behavior if you use positive reinforcement techniques, particularly food rewards. Begin training when he is young and still somewhat malleable, keep training sessions short and fun, and avoid harsh corrections.
The Longdog may have a rough or smooth coat. Weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and free of dead hair. Trim his nails as needed, and keep his ears clean and dry to prevent infections. Good dental hygiene is also important.
This is a house dog. It’s an unhappy Longdog who is relegated to the backyard with little attention from his family. And he’ll appreciate having access to the furniture or soft bedding to cushion his lanky body.
5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Longdog Puppy
- Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible.
- Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Longdogs aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Longdog can live to be 12 to 14 years old, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.
- Puppy or adult, take your Longdog to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
- Don’t ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site that offers many breeds and popular mixes, or that ships with no questions asked. If you buy a puppy from these sources, you’ll be more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.
- Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Health Issues Common to Longdogs
All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
That said, Longdogs are a pretty healthy breed. Because of their deep chest, they may be prone to gastric torsion. There are so few of them that it’s hard to say what health problems they may eventually develop, but a common one in large sighthound breeds is osteosarcoma. Other conditions to be aware of are a heart condition called cardiomyopathy and autoimmune thyroiditis. In the course of their work, Longdogs may suffer torn toenails, foot or muscle injuries, and heatstroke or heat exhaustion.
Pet Insurance for Longdogs
Pet insurance for Longdogs costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Longdogs are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Longdogs are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Longdog is when he’s a healthy puppy. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.