17 Types of Sighthounds

Dog Russian Borzoi Wolfhound Head , Outdoors Spring Autumn Time
© bruev/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Kristin Hitchcock

Published: March 1, 2024

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Sighthounds are a group of dog breeds bred to chase things on sight. Think of dogs like greyhounds and whippets, which chase things that move. Unlike scent hounds, they do not use their nose to track prey. Instead, they use their vision for hunting and chasing their quarry.

These dogs come from all around the world. Despite looking very similar, these dogs aren’t always related. They have similar traits and appearances because they were bred for the same purpose.

1. Afghan Hound

Afghan Dog, Long Hair, Greyhound, Sight Hound, Saluki

These dogs have very long fur, unlike other sighthounds.

©xyom/ via Getty Images

Afghan hounds are known for their very long, flowing coats. They have a very regal appearance but require quite a bit of grooming. Their longer fur is often trimmed and brushed, so they’re a bit more work than other dogs out there.

These hounds were bred in the mountains of Afghanistan. They were made for hunting gazelle and other fast-moving prey animals.

Afghan hounds are independent thinkers and require experienced owners. They need consistent, careful training.

2. Greyhound

Greyhounds Greyhound Racing Dog Racing Racecourse

This breed is largely used for dog racing today, which is a controversial sport.

©Nipun Maduwantha/Shutterstock.com

Greyhounds are best known as the fastest dog breed, reaching speeds up to 70 mph. These dogs were bred to chase hares and other small game in Europe. Today, they’re mostly used for greyhound racing and as companion dogs.

Many companion greyhounds are retired racing dogs. These canines may be very fast but don’t require much exercise. Overall, they’re pretty low-maintenance, making them a good choice for busy owners.

3. Saluki

Saluki standing on a bridge

This breed also has some longer fur.

©Sarune Kairyte/Shutterstock.com

Saluki are a lesser-known breed that is associated with ancient Egyptian pharaohs. However, they may not be from Egypt. They likely originated from a Greek island or the Middle East, ending up in Egypt through trading routes. From there, the Egyptians used them to hunt gazelles and other animals.

They’re very gentle but also very active. Therefore, they do best in more active families. Saluki aren’t terribly good with children, either. They don’t always do well with roughhousing and rowdy children.

4. Whippet

Closeup of a cute whippet dog with a vest jacket outdoors with a blurry background

These sighthounds are much smaller than others we’ve discussed thus far.

©Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images

Whippets are small greyhounds, for the most part. However, they aren’t actually directly related to greyhounds, though they may look like it. They’re smaller overall and have a shorter coat.

They were also bred for hunting rabbits and other small prey. They were called the “poor man’s greyhound” as they were cheaper to purchase and care for.

These dogs are pretty affectionate and playful. Whippets are known for chasing squirrels, cats, and other small animals. Small, fast-moving objects aren’t safe with these dogs!

5. Scottish Deerhound

Tallest Dogs: Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is massive compared to other sighthounds, as they were bred to hunt very large game.


The Scottish Deerhound is one of the largest sighthounds out there. As the name suggests, they were bred for hunting deer and other large game in Scotland. Therefore, they had to be very large themselves.

Despite their larger size, they are very gentle. They are pretty active but more dignified than you might think. This breed can fit well into any home that’s large enough for them, especially if the family is more active.

They need quite a lot of space, though they aren’t hyperactive. They need room to move and exercise. Their sheer size can make them harder to care for than other dogs.

6. Borzoi

Old Borzoi

While these dogs are large, they aren’t the largest sighthound on this list.

©nemoris/iStock via Getty Images

Borzoi are nicknamed “Russian wolfhounds” thanks to their appearance. They look a bit like wolves, especially regarding their size. They were bred mostly for hunting foxes and similar animals, though. While they were used for hunting wolves occasionally, that wasn’t their primary purpose.

These dogs are known for their calm, gentle temperament. Despite their intimidating size, they aren’t aggressive.

7. Italian Greyhound

Playful Italian Greyhound on a couch with a chew toy

These smaller dogs have gained popularity in the last few years due to their smaller size.

©Akbudak Rimma/Shutterstock.com

Italian Greyhounds are one of the smallest sighthounds out there. Originally, they were bred as companion dogs for nobility in Italy. Despite still being called “sighthounds,” they have been companion dogs for a long time. They still have strong prey drives, though.

They’re playful and very affectionate. These dogs also like being lap dogs but need more exercise than your average toy dog. Therefore, they work better for active families.

8. Sloughi

A brown Sloughi dog (Arabian greyhound) stands on top of a sand dune in the Sahara desert of Morocco.

Also called the Arabian greyhound, these dogs are very similar to other sighthounds.

©Rosa Frei/Shutterstock.com

Sloughi are a very old breed of dog, originating from North Africa. They were utilized for hunting gazelle and other desert animals in the area. Like many sighthounds, they chase just about anything that moves. They have a very strong prey drive.

Sloughi are known for their loyalty and intelligence. However, they are also very independent, so they can be difficult to train. They tend to make their own decisions and not listen to cues and commands.

9. Azawakh

The dog breed Azawakh running on green grass

You might not be able to tell this breed apart from the Saluki, which looks very similar.

©Olga Aniven/Shutterstock.com

The Azawakh is a rare breed from West Africa. You don’t see them much outside of their home area. They have a very short, sleek coat and an incredibly elegant build. They look much like other sighthounds but are a bit larger.

Traditionally, these dogs were kept by nomadic tribes to hunt antelope and other small game. Like many sighthounds, they are reserved and independent. They aren’t the easiest dogs to own and need plenty of training and socialization. Experienced owners are best.

10. Magyar Agar

Cute Magyar agar dog lying on the grass

These sighthounds look similar to greyhounds, but they have a slightly different coloration.

©Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images

This Hungarian sighthound is rarer than most. These dogs look like the average sighthound but have a distinctive spotted coat. They’re incredibly athletic, so they need a lot of exercise. They hunted hares and foxes in Hungary, using their speed to outrun them.

They’re very energetic, intelligent dogs. Therefore, experienced owners often have an easier time with them. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, which requires a considerable amount of time and effort. They can easily be a bit much for less experienced owners.

11. Cirneco dell’Etna

the puppy cirneco is standing on the sand

These dogs stand apart thanks to their very large, upright ears.

©undefined undefined/iStock via Getty Images

This breed is a small sighthound from the volcanic slopes in Sicily, Italy. They’re smaller than many other breeds, as they were primarily utilized to hunt rabbits. They were built for rugged terrain and are very durable despite their smaller size.

As you’d expect, they are very alert dogs. They have a strong prey drive and will chase just about anything. While they are loyal, they have independent personalities. They were bred to function independently, not necessarily follow commands.

These dogs retain a lot of their activity needs today, so they tend to play more than lay around.

12. Xigou

World famous Terracotta Army located in Xian China

Ancient Chinese nobles loved this ancient breed, but they are much less popular today.

©dndavis/iStock via Getty Images

The Xigou is an incredibly rare dog from China. They have slowly gone extinct with the urbanization of the country and the government’s strict laws regarding dogs. However, they were originally used for hunting rabbits, like many sighthounds around the world were.

These dogs also have a keen sense of smell, unlike many other sighthounds. Therefore, they were able to smell and see their prey. While these dogs aren’t very popular now, they were popular throughout China’s history.

Some experts claim that these dogs may be the ancestor of all sighthounds known today. However, they have also been mixed with many other sighthounds in modern times, including greyhounds.

13. Silken Wolfhound

Borzoi puppy on pink background

This breed was bred to be a smaller version of the Borzoi, more suitable for companionship in the modern world.

©Olha Haletska/iStock via Getty Images

The Silken Wolfhound is a very new breed, especially as far as sighthounds are concerned. They were developed in the United States in the 1980s to make a smaller, companion-sized version of the Borzoi. They share many traits with the Borzoi but are smaller and have more companionable traits.

They’re best known for their long, flowing coats. They require a decent amount of grooming each day, making them higher maintenance than other breeds. Despite their smaller size, they are still very active. Therefore, we recommend them for more active owners.

While this breed is more popular than some others, it is still harder to find. Only a few breeders specialize in this breed, so you typically have to wait on a waiting list for some time before a puppy becomes available.

14. Longdog

Arabian Sand Gazelle in natural habitat conservation area, Saudi Arabia

This breed was bred to hunt gazelle and similar prey animals.

©Matt Starling Photography/Shutterstock.com

The Longdog is known for its long legs and very slender build. It is another sighthound originating from Africa. They have incredibly long legs, even for a sighthound. As you might expect, these dogs were utilized for hunting antelope and other large game in Africa.

They’re extremely challenging to train, as they were never designed for obedience. Instead, they are very intelligent and pick up on things quickly. However, they make decisions and do not listen to their owners well.

We recommend them for experienced owners only if you can find them. They’re a rare breed, as they were overtaken in popularity by greyhounds and other sighthounds.

15. Rampur Greyhound


This breed was designed for the harsh conditions of India’s mountains.


The Rampur greyhound is from India and looks like a greyhound. However, they have a distinctive brindle coat. They share their athletic nature with other sighthounds. They are also a bit larger, as they were bred to hunt wolves and jackals on the Indian subcontinent.

They’re very courageous and intelligent. However, they require a lot of care. Their athletic nature requires tons of exercise and plenty of mental stimulation, too. We recommend them specifically for experienced owners. They aren’t the best choice for new dog owners.

16. American Staghound

Painting by Jean-Baptiste Oudry: A Deer Chased by Dogs (1725)

This breed was specifically bred to hunt deer in America, though it never gained much popularity.

©tiJean-Baptiste Oudry / Public domain,

The American Staghound was originally developed in the United States in the 19th century. They were bred to hunt deer and similar large game in North America. While they are a newer breed, they are very rare. While they were bred to be specialized, they never really took off.

This breed is very active and intelligent, like other sighthounds. They require an experienced owner who can provide them with all the necessary exercise and training. They can be a lot for some owners to handle.

17. Kaikadi

Magnetic Hill is a gravity hill, the famous place located near Leh, Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

This is another breed that originated in India, where is specialized in hunting in harsher conditions.


The Kaikadi is a rare sighthound from India. They have a spotted coat, but they look like other sighthounds otherwise. This breed has very short fur, like a greyhound. They were bred for the mountainous regions of India, where they hunted boar and other large game.

Like most sighthounds, they are very intelligent. However, they aren’t necessarily the most obedient. They can be territorial, so they require plenty of socialization. Otherwise, they can be aggressive. An experienced owner is recommended.

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About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

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