Greyhounds as pets
Contrary to what many people think, most racing greyhounds are docile, quiet, even-tempered, and adore the company of people and other animals. Greyhounds are friendly, affectionate dogs who thrive on human companionship and usually adapt very quickly and remarkably well to retirement. If left up to them, you will have a 70 pound lap dog on your hands. They do not require large amounts of exercise. A daily walk and good diet are sufficient. Our adoption process ensures that the greyhound we select for you will complement your individual lifestyle. All you add is love!
We try to answer the most common questions about greyhounds below.
What is the life expectancy of a greyhound?
Greyhounds are generally healthy and as a rule are not predisposed to some of the problems such as hip dysplasia that other large-breed dogs are known for. Our dogs are generally 2 to 5 years old and with proper care, have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
Do greyhounds shed?
Yes, but very little compared to most breeds. They are low dander and many people with allergies find themselves able to tolerate this breed. They do not require constant bathing or daily grooming.
How are greyhounds with children?
Because greyhounds are gentle by nature, most are fine with children provided children are taught respect for animals. Greyhounds are very loving with their human companions, but they also have a highly-developed sense of personal space, and children must be taught to respect that. That being said, the overwhelming majority of greyhounds do great with children.
How are they with other pets?
Our program tries very hard to choose a dog that will fit into your family. We test each ex-racer with cats and we also test with other dogs (non-greyhound) for safety and compatibility. Although certain small animals, such as rabbits, look a lot like a racing lure, there are greyhounds who live in homes where these animals are also family pets.
How much do greyhounds eat?
Greyhounds typically eat between two and four cups of dry food a day, depending on their normal weight.
How much exercise do they need?
Probably the most common misconception about greyhounds is about how much exercise they need. They enjoy, but don’t require, moderate exercise. In most households the experience of a brisk walk is enough to keep both the adopter and adoptee in good shape. In reality, greyhounds are very much couch potatoes in the home and enjoy lounging with the family. Contrary to popular opinion, greyhounds are not hyperactive animals. Keep in mind that a greyhound race is a sprint, not a long-distance endeavour, and that the greyhounds sleep a lot between races. Greyhounds like to run, but they don’t need to run. Most are quite happy with several outings per day to relieve themselves, with one longer walk for exercise.
Do greyhounds homes need large gardens?
Because of their great adaptability, greyhounds do well in modest size apartments, townhouses, and homes. A fenced garden or patio area ensures your greyhounds safety.
Do greyhounds make good guard dogs?
No, generally speaking greyhounds do not bark and are happy to see all visitors. They can be intimidating because of their size, but they are not aggressive toward people and therefore do not make good guard dogs.
Are greyhounds house-broken?
Greyhounds may never have been in a house; they have spent most of their lives in a kennel. That is why we say they are kennel trained. They are accustomed to keeping their crates clean and they are housebroken very quickly. If you think of your greyhound as a puppy, you can succeed in quickly housebreaking your new companion.
Why do greyhounds have to be kept on a leash if they aren’t in a fenced area?
Greyhounds are sighthounds; they can see the movement of a squirrel up to half a mile away. Since they are the second-fastest land mammal (second only to the Cheetah) and are capable of reaching speeds of up to 45 mph within three strides, an off-leash greyhound who sees movement in the distance and decides to chase it will be in the next county before you can say “Come back!” Greyhounds do not know to fear roads and cars, and will run out in traffic at full speed with no thought of personal danger. It is absolutely crucial to keep your greyhound on a leash at all times if not in an enclosed area.
How well do greyhounds walk on a leash?
Greyhounds are trained by their handler at the track to walk on a leash. Like all dogs, they benefit from reward-based training.
Why do I need to use a “greyhound-savvy” vet?
There are many facets of the medical care of greyhounds that are different from those of other breeds. Greyhounds are particularly sensitive to anaesthesia, they have different thyroid panel measurements, etc. It is important to be sure that your veterinarian is experienced in treating greyhounds.
Can I keep a greyhound outdoors?
A greyhound does not have the undercoat of fur that other breeds have, and feels heat and cold much as humans do. We place greyhounds as house pets, which means the house…not a patio, the garage or a utility room. Greyhounds are indoor dogs. Their coats are short, making them very neat from a housekeeping standpoint, but their short coats don’t offer protection from heat or cold.
What does it cost to adopt a greyhound?
Kerry Greyhound Connection asks for a donation when you adopt a dog. This partially defrays our cost of spaying or neutering the dog, getting dental work done and giving all vaccinations. Kerry Greyhound Connection is a non-profit organisation which, although receiving some funding from the Irish Greyhound Board, depends on public donations and fund-raising to continue its work.
Will my greyhound be neutered before I adopt it??
Yes, all of the greyhounds we place are neutered, wormed and vaccinated.
What should I expect if I adopt a greyhound?
The number one answer to this question is LOVE. Greyhounds are very loving and sensitive creatures. Unless your greyhound has been previously placed in a foster home, everything is new to them. Expect them to be somewhat confused and very curious. House manners have to be learned, but Greyhounds are very intelligent dogs and learn quickly. Things like going up and down stairs may take a little while for them to get used to. You should expect a period of adjustment. Not all Greyhounds adjust as fast as others. A lot of patience and understanding is needed through this adjustment period. Greyhounds are usually excellent travellers and will enjoy taking trips with you. They are very sociable and attract a crowd where ever they go, so expect to meet new friends through your new pet.
What does your program look for in approving an applicant who wants to adopt an ex-racing greyhound?
We look for a long-term commitment, a willingness to listen, financial stability, and a safe and loving home. We feel the dogs deserve this.
A Final Note
Ownership of a pet is a full-time job. You must be willing to make compromises. If you are expecting the greyhound to fit into your lifestyle, you are setting yourself up for failure. The most important thing for you to do is to take charge and be the one in control. Even a shy dog will adjust more readily if it is taught basic rules, but all it may require is a change in tone of voice. A more dominant dog may require more vigorous control techniques. That means being firm and consistent and giving lots of positive reinforcement and the best reward of all, your love!