What kind of pets do retired racing Greyhounds make?

Greyhounds are affectionate, friendly dogs who thrive on attention and human companionship and make terrific pets.  Raised with their litter mates, where they competed for affection, Greyhounds love becoming the centre of attention as household pets.  Greyhounds do not usually make good watch dogs.  Their friendly nature is not really very threatening.

Are they good with children?

More so than most breeds. They are not as playful as puppies, of course, being mature dogs, but they are very tolerant of children and will usually walk away rather than growl or snap if children become overbearing.  This is not to say that they can’t be tormented for long periods of time and still not growl or snap.  Even a gentle Greyhound has its limits.

How are they with other pets?

Greyhounds are friendly by nature and socialize well as a result of encounters with other Greyhounds in the racing kennel.  Many of our Greyhounds are wonderful with other pets, including small dogs and cats.  We test each one before they are placed in a home to ensure they will live happily together.

How old are retired Greyhounds?

The retired racers are usually between two and four years old.

What is their life expectancy?

These pure-bred athletes enjoy many years of good health. With proper care, they have a life expectancy of 12 years or more.

How much does it cost to own a Greyhound?

After the initial adoption fee, Greyhounds, like any other dog, should be given regular veterinary care. It costs about $1.00 a day to feed a Greyhound.

Are ex-racing Greyhounds already housebroken?

Frequently an adopted Greyhound is completely housebroken right from the start.  In their kennel environment they are turned out four to five times a day to relieve themselves. Therefore, racing Greyhounds are kennel-broken, which means they’re trained to go outside and keep their kennels clean.  Walk them frequently at first, and they quickly learn that their new home is the place they keep clean and outside is where they go to relieve themselves.

How big do they get?

Greyhound males generally stand 26 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 55 and 85 pounds. Females generally stand 23 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 50 to 75 pounds.

Do Greyhounds shed?

Yes, but less than most dogs. Their coats are short and sleek and don’t smell doggy for long periods between baths.

Why do they wear muzzles?

The Greyhound is a wonderfully unique creature blessed with both the ability to be very competitive and aggressive while on the track, yet on the other hand, a very loving and docile companion, living to please a beloved owner.  They wear muzzles while racing for two reasons: to help racing officials determine the outcome of a photofinish race, and to protect the Greyhounds from injury during the excitement of the chase.

Why do Greyhounds need to be kept on a leash?

A leash assures the Greyhound protection from disasters, such as barbed wire fencing, contact with wild animals, traps and poison.  Greyhounds have no fear of cars and other hazards in our world and as history has proven, the Greyhound is an animal born to run.  Greyhounds are accustomed to walking on a leash and enjoy the exercise, as well as the attention they receive from the people who pass by.

Do Greyhounds need a lot of exercise?

Greyhounds easily adapt to the lifestyle of their new owners.  Feel free to take your Greyhound walking or jogging with you as your exercise regime dictates.

Can greyhounds swim?

Many people believe that because of their structure and low body fat that they cannot swim.  This is not true.  Some greyhounds are excellent swimmers.  Never leave a greyhound unsupervised near any body of water, including a pool, until you are confident that it can swim and can safely get out of the water unassisted.

Aren’t all Greyhounds grey?

Not at all – they are come in many colours including brindle, black, brown, fawn, or a combination of these colours. The name Greyhound is not derived from the colour of the animal. The name originates from three possible sources.  The ancient Greeks may have called Greyhounds “Greekhounds” or may have named them “Gazehounds”, since they relied on sight rather than smell in hunting. Third, the name may be derived from the Latin Agre or Agradus meaning degree, which related to the principle and care in breeding.

Why are Greyhounds so streamlined?

Greyhounds are like any other competitive athlete.  During their racing career, they eat heartily (up to two pounds of meat per day), but burn off excess weight when they run.  As a pet, they eat much less, just three to six cups of dry food a day.

What has the life of a racing Greyhound been like?

Greyhounds spend most of their lives in the company of other dogs.  When they are born, the average litter size is about eight pups.  Young Greyhounds are given a lot of attention and handled as much a possible.  As they approach their first birthday, their training begins and they are taught to chase a lure, eventually progressing to a racetrack.  Track life is very routine – feeding in the morning, turnouts in the exercise yards to relieve themselves and retiring between races in individual kennel crates.  Dogs race every three to seven days.

What should I expect if I adopt a Greyhound?

Expect a gentle, loving pet who, with a little time and patience, will be a great addition to your family.  Because everything is brand new to the Greyhound, expect him/her to be somewhat confused and very curious.  House manners have to be learned, but Greyhounds are very intelligent dogs and learn quickly.

Does my dog need a special space in the house?

In the kennel, your dog has always had its own kennel crate where it felt safe and secure.  There are a number of ways to accomplish this in your house.  Using a large crate or having a special bedding area during the first few weeks will help the Greyhound adjust at his/her own pace to the unaccustomed freedom of your house.  Although many people feel uncomfortable about using a crate, Greyhounds are quite at home in them.  Indeed, using a crate can provide for a completely successful transition by affording the dog actual physical security when left alone during the adjustment period and thus preventing any possible damage due to separation anxiety.  It also can eliminate any temptation to investigate the garbage.  Another advantage to the crate is that Greyhounds, like other dogs, instinctively will not soil their own living space.  This makes crate usage a very effective tool in the housebreaking process.

Why is routine important to a Greyhound?

Because Greyhounds are used to having a daily routine in the racing kennel.  They tend to feel more comfortable in unfamiliar situations if a routine is established with regard to feeding, answering calls of nature and resting.  In a home situation, until you have established a workable routine with your Greyhound, you will need to take more frequent trips outside to avoid accidents.

What about feeding?

Feed your dog between four and six cups of dry dog food (kibble) each day. Gradually, as your dog seems to eat less and begins to gain weight, you can cut back to three to four cups of food a day.  A limited amount of table scraps or water from cooked vegetables also can be added to your Greyhound’s food.  A special treat might be a large, soft marshmallow.  Avoid rawhide treats!  Pigs ears, dog-safe toys, and cow hooves are OK.

What sort of medical care will my Greyhound need?

The best medical care is preventative in nature.  Your dog will need to be checked periodically for worms.  Your dog also should be checked annually for heartworm and placed on heartworm preventative medication.  Your Greyhound’s distemper/parvovaccination will be up-to-date.  Be sure your vet is familiar with the problems Greyhounds have with anaesthesia and if your dog’s teeth have a build up of tartar, consider having them cleaned.  Greyhounds are particularly sensitive to the chemical in flea collars.  For this reason, the only type of flea medication that should be used is sprays or powders containing PYRETHRIN AND PYMETHRINS.  As with any pet, regular veterinary check-ups are recommended.  Sentinel is a safe and useful product for all dogs and is recommended for retired racing greyhounds.  Please ask your vet about the advantages of using Sentinel as a preventative for heart worm and fleas as part of the routine health care for you new dog.