- Height: 24 to 30 inches at the shoulder
- Weight: 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.
The Longdog has typical sighthound traits: he is calm, affectionate but not demonstrative, and loves to give chase. Because of his laid-back 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 may blow right through it. Don’t forget that the Longdog’s height of 24 to 30 inches and chowhound appetite make him counter surfer extraordinaire. 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.
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, bony body.
Other Quick Facts
- Common crosses to get Longdogs are Saluki and Greyhound, Scottish Deerhound and Greyhound, and Whippet and Greyhound.
- Sighthound crosses bring in certain traits that may improve the dog’s hunting ability. For instance, the goal of a Saluki/Greyhound cross would be to create a dog with the endurance of the Saluki and acceleration of the Greyhound. That of a Greyhound/Whippet cross would be the speed of the Greyhound and the agility of the Whippet.
The History of the Longdog
People have been crossing types of dogs for millennia in the attempt to achieve a certain look, temperament, or working ability. That’s how many well-known purebreds, including the Affenpinscher, Australian Shepherd, Black Russian Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Doberman Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, Leonberger, and more, originally got their starts.
But crossing two breeds over and over does not a breed make. A breed is a group of animals related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics. To achieve consistency in appearance, size, and temperament, breeders must select the puppies with the traits they want and breed them over several generations for the traits to become set.
Crossbreeds such as the Longdog have become popular over the past 10 or 20 years as people seek out dogs that are different from the everyday Yorkie or Poodle or that they think will have certain appealing characteristics. For instance, it’s often claimed (falsely, by the way) that crossbreeds are hypoallergenic or have fewer health problems or will carry the best traits of each breed.
Unfortunately, genes aren’t quite that malleable. Genetic traits sort out randomly in each dog, so without selecting for certain characteristics over many generations, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best of each breed. And no matter what his breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less allergenic or intelligent or healthy.
Whatever his breed, cross, or mix, love your dog for what he is: a unique, special, and loving companion.
Longdog Temperament and Personality
Sighthounds and sighthound crosses such as Longdogs tend to have similar temperaments: They are usually quiet in the home, affectionate but not clingy, and love to chase any moving object, especially if it is furry. They can get along with other pets such as cats and small dogs if they are raised with them, but be smart and don’t forget about the strong chase instinct this dog likely possesses. Even if they seem to be best friends, vigilance is warranted. Longdogs do best in homes where they will be safely confined to a yard and walked on leash unless they are in a place where they can run without fear of being hit by cars.
Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at 8 weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see their puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Longdog, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
What You Need To Know About Longdog Health
All 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 include a heart condition called cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism. In the course of their work, Longdogs may suffer torn toenails, foot or muscle injuries, and heatstroke or heat exhaustion.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live good lives. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Longdog at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of diet and exercise to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Basics of Longdog Grooming
Depending on the parent breeds, the Longdog may have a long, rough or smooth coat. In most cases, weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and free of loose hair.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every couple of weeks. Remember that sighthounds are extremely sensitive about having their feet touched, and do your best not to cut into the quick, which is extremely painful.
Good dental hygiene is also important, especially with Greyhound crosses. Some Greyhounds are prone to periodontal disease. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Finding a Longdog
Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Choosing a Longdog Breeder
Finding a good breeder is a great way to find 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. She is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with, and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps she takes take to avoid those problems.
Longdogs are generally used for hunting and are rarely found as pets. They are not recognized by any kennel clubs. Find and talk to people who hunt with them if you are interested in acquiring one of these dogs. You may be able to find a breeder through the North American Lurcher and Longdog Association.
Avoid breeders who seem interested only in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Quickie online purchases are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the crossbreed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The cost of a Longdog puppy varies depending on the breeder’s locale and whether she has obtained health clearances on the pup’s parents. The puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
And before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Longdog might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dogs of your dreams. An adult Longdog may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.
Adopting a Dog From a Longdog Rescue or Shelter
Longdogs are uncommon and it is unlikely that you will find one at a shelter or through a rescue group. If you live in the Western United States or some other area where Longdogs are common, though, a shelter is worth a shot. It’s possible that a Longdog may have lost his home because of an owner’s death, divorce, or changed economic situation.
Here are other ways to possibly locate a Longdog to adopt.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com can have you searching for a Longdog in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Longdogs available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Longdog. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Most people who love Longdogs love all Longdogs. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. Search online for Longdog rescues in your area. The North American Lurcher and Longdog Association may be able to help you locate the perfect companion.
The great thing about breed rescue groups is that they tend to be very upfront about any health conditions the dogs may have and are a valuable resource for advice. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Longdog home with you to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a pup. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Longdog, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with puppy lemon laws, be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, a breeder purchase or a rescue, take your Longdog to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.