Greyhounds are affectionate, friendly dogs that thrive on attention and human companionship. They make terrific pets. Greyhounds do not usually make good watchdogs because they’re too friendly!
Most greyhounds are very tolerant of children. They are not as playful as puppies and usually walk away rather than growl or snap if children become overbearing. However, even a gentle greyhound has its limits; like any other dog, if they are tormented, they can become irritated.
Greyhounds are friendly, sociable dogs. They are used to sharing their lives with other dogs and most greyhounds enjoy the company of other four-legged creatures. Some greyhounds do not tolerate cats or small dogs, however, so it is important to “test” them around potential companions and introduce them slowly.
Greyhounds bound for the track spend nearly all their lives in the company of other dogs. The average greyhound litter is eight pups. Young greyhounds receive lots of attention and handling. As they approach their first birthday, their training begins, and they are taught to chase a lure. Track life follows a daily routine, with feeding in the morning, turnouts in the exercise yard, and nights in kennel crates. Greyhounds race every three to seven days, and most racing kennels have about sixty dogs. Most greyhounds have seen very little of the outside world. Houses, stairs, mirrors, and car rides are all new experiences for them.
Retired racers are usually between two and five years old when they become available for adoption. Occasionally, older greyhounds that have been used for breeding purposes become available for adoption. These purebred athletes enjoy many years of good health and can live twelve or more years.
Frequently, retired racers will have been in foster care with our adoption group and are housebroken before going to their new home. At the track, greyhounds spend a large portion of their time in kennel crates and are “crate trained,” meaning they won’t soil their crate. They have a general understanding that they are expected to do their business outside.
Greyhounds are usually 23 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 60 and 85 pounds. Females are usually on the smaller side of those figures, while males are on the larger side.
A leash assures the greyhound protection from disasters. Racing dogs have no fear of cars or other hazards in the outside world, and as history has proven, the greyhound is an animal born to run. When chasing a squirrel or even a leaf blowing down the street, they can quickly cover great distances and inadvertently become lost or hurt. Greyhounds are accustomed to walking on a leash and enjoy the exercise, as well as the attention they receive from people who pass by. Keeping your greyhound on-leash unless in a securely fenced area in a non-negotiable condition of adopting a greyhound.
Retired racers easily adapt to the lifestyle of their new owners. They love going for walks or just running after a ball in the yard. They can make good jogging companions after they have “worked up” to longer distance running. But, they are just as happy curled up on a soft bed in the living room!
Greyhounds are muzzled during races for two reasons: to help officials determine the outcome of a photo-finish and to protect them from injury during the excitement of a chase or when several dogs are confined in a small area.
The tattoo in a greyhound’s left ear is the litter identification number assigned by the National Greyhound Association. The tattoo in the dog’s right ear tells its age. The tattoo is made up of numbers representing its birth month and year along with a letter noting its birth order in the litter. For example, 28C means the dog was born in February 2008 and was the third puppy in its litter.
The term “sighthound” describes greyhounds and other dogs that have been born and bred to hunt by sight and speed. Unlike other dogs, they hunt more with their eyes than their nose. Sighthounds are also known as “gazehounds” and “coursing hounds.”
Greyhounds, like any other competitive athletes, have sleek, slender builds. Another reason they are trim is because they have little body fat. They are bred to be lean, racing machines. As a general rule, retired racers will be healthiest if they are kept within ten pounds of their track weight.
You will find a gentle, loving, pet that attracts attention wherever you go. Off-the-track life will be new to them, but greyhounds are intelligent and learn very quickly.