Tips for the New Greyhound/Lurcher Owner

Why do you need tips?

Greyhounds and Lurchers (which are greyhounds bred with another breed) are
different from other breeds.

  • Body types: They have less fat and larger chests than other breeds. The large chests and small waists can
    mean they are more susceptible to a deadly condition called BLOAT. This can occur if they exercise too
    close to feeding. Their stomachs can twist inside their bodies and cut off blood supply leading to a very
    painful death. And usually there’s not time to get them to the e-vet.
    They also cannot tolerate heat and cold like other breeds.
  • Blood work: They have different blood work-ups and levels than other breeds. This is why greyhounds
    considered universal donors for all breeds of dogs. Their levels are VERY different and therefore a blood
    test can easily be misread by a veterinarian who is not experienced in working with greyhounds.
  • Anesthesia needs: Greyhounds needing procedures need to have vets who understand how greyhounds
    process anesthesia differently, and use only anesthetics that are safe. Also, they are very susceptible to
    hypothermia after procedures, also, and need to be monitored closely as they come out of anesthesia.
  • As sighthounds, they can see great distances. If they ever get loose, they run and run and then when
    they stop, they have no idea how to get home. They are not like hunting dogs. That’s why you can
    NEVER let them off leash unless they are in a fenced in area. And even then, if they are not familiar with
    the area, you may want to walk them around on a leash a few times so they can see where the
    boundaries are, and they don’t run through them. Safety first.
  • They are MORE in every way. They are one of the most loving breeds you can find. They easily fit into
    your family life, and they are perfect for people who want more than a dog. They are funny and quirky.
    They are smart. They are going to be your fast friend…Pun Intended.

General Household REMINDERS for the New Greyhound Owner.

Talk to your new dog a lot. Even read to it. Doesn’t matter what. Just insert their name every once in a while
and they will get to know you . If you decide to take your dog to some obedience training, make SURE the
trainer works with sighthounds.

Collars and Harnesses

Use only Martingale collars, because of the shape of your dog’s head. A regular collar can slip off. Always have a
collar with ID info on your dog, even at night. Consider using a good fitting harness for walks. It gives you much
more control and is safer for the dog.


NEVER EVER, EVER attach the leash to something stationary and leave your dog on it and walk away. They
will break their necks trying to follow you.


  • Know your dog. Are they prone to be skittish around traffic, or loud noises?
  • Be watchful for small animals – squirrels, cats, etc. Know your dog. Be especially watchful for dogs in the
    neighborhood who are loose and might attack your dog. It happens. It’s okay to carry a walking stick for protection.
    NOT SPRAY – Why? because of the wind! Spray can blow back on your and your dog, leaving you even more
  • Greyhounds can move backwards when startled and slip out of a collar. That’s why the martingale collar and a
    hand on the leash is so important.
  • Cell phones – CARRY ONE in case of emergencies, but stay off of it while walking. Pay attention to your dog. Talk
    to them. Watch what they may eat that might be harmful.

Food and Exercise after Eating

Never allow your dog to exercise in a rowdy manner after eating for about 30-45 minutes. Because of their
large chests and small abdomens, their stomachs can twist and they can get Bloat. BLOAT WILL KILL YOUR
Exercise before eating for crazy fun.

Heat & Cold

If you are cold outside without a coat, so is your dog. If you are warm, so is your dog. They have no body fat. No
long fur.
Avoid long walks in super cold and hot weather. Never leave them outside without your supervision from a
window or personally.

Do NOT take your dog for a “run”. They are short burst runners, and long runs can be dangerous.

Fences – Gates – Yards

  • Know your fence – are there gaps anywhere? Any protrusions that might scrape a running dog? TIP: Never
    teach your dog to jump because they could easily go over a fence. If they try to stand on their hind legs and
    put their paws on the top to greet someone, GENTLY say NO, or DOWN and just push them slightly away.

Keep a combination lock on your gate to prevent it being opened and left open accidentally. If you choose not to
do this, make sure you visually check the gate(s) to make sure a tradesman didn’t leave them open accidentally.

Go out with your dog into the yard, maybe walk it with them on a leash to start,so they know the boundaries
and you can see how they do. Then, as you know each other, they can go on their own.

Be vigilant for bunnies and squirrels BEFORE you let your dog out. Especially at night.

Be VERY CAREFUL if someone comes to your door. Never stand in the door and visit. Your dog could run out.

Entry Doors to House

You own a sighthound. They see things, they run after them. Also, they will follow you EVERYWHERE. You may
not see them as they are beside you as you walk out, or bring in groceries.
If you have glass and screens, use masking tape to temporarily place a big X on it so the dog will know there is
a barrier. You can decrease the X over time, but make sure they know the glass is a solid surface. Work on
Commands such as WAIT or STAY or BACK. Use them EVERY time you take your dog out, or you answer a
doorbell look for your dog before you open the door to let someone in, OR go out. Hang on to their collar.
Consider a baby gate and use it.
Baby gates are good inside because the dog can see over it. HOWEVER NEVER EVER shut your dog in a room
and close the door. They will be agitated and may do damage to the room. They can also act out on crates and
hurt themselves.
They are family members.

Car Rides

Establish a command for getting in the vehicle – Perhaps UP, or IN THE CAR.
If you use the back liftgate to load, make sure they don’t try to come out as it closes. Watch their tails! If you
load them through the back, secure the leash with a C Clip or something similar so they can’t come out the
back as it closes. VERY dangerous.

You can also have someone on the inside of the car hold the leash so they cannot bolt out while the door is
shutting. .
As you establish commands such as DOWN and STAY (Important), Have them do a DOWN, once in the car.
Then, STAY as you close the liftgate.
My dog follows commands but I still watch carefully. If use the back lift gate to load, I always take the dog out
through the side car door because there is less space for them to possibly jump out before I grab their leash.
Don’t move the car until your dog is lying down. Most ex-racers know this. Just wait a few moments and keep
saying DOWN, or LIE DOWN. Driving with a standing dog is dangerous for them as you start and stop and also
go around corners. They can slip and fall and could even break a leg.

Avoiding collisions with a playful dog!

Zoomies – That’s when your dog goes bonkers in the backyard or in a big room. Running in small circles inside or
larger ones outside.
Drive Bys – This is where they run right at you and you think they are going to hit you. Don’t move if they run at
you. THEY will veer off.

Sleep Startles and Other Stress

Again, learn what your dog might be afraid of or startled by. Never put your face next to a sleeping greyhound
in case they might sleep startle. Know your dog. (Greyhounds often sleep with their eyes partly open).
If your dog is asleep, talk to it as you walk up to it. Say their name until you are sure they are awake.
Are they jittery after fireworks? What startles them? Do you need a “safe space” for them? Know ahead of time.


Dogs left unattended or not paid attention to may act out…Some dogs like to chew things and some
do not. Get to know your dog well. Until you do, keep things they might get and chew OUT OF REACH. It’s just like
Examples: Pens, remotes, combs, magazines, batteries (deadly), anything small…keep it out of their way.
Check your counters for food items that are left out. Halloween or Holiday candy? Keep it out of their reach.