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Breed Information

What is a greyhound's life like before retirement?

A greyhound lives with its mother and littermates for the first 8 weeks of its life. After this, the puppy usually remains with its littermates on a greyhound farm, where it can practice running and chasing  to develop strong muscles. They also practice leash training, verbal commands, and squawker recall.

After a year, the greyhound is moved to a training kennel. Here they receive the majority of their race training. They live a very regimented and routine lifestyle and thrive on consistency. Greyhounds are turned out in large groups about 4 times a day and they are crated when they are not racing or training. After training, dogs begin racing (usually between 15 and 18 months of age). Most greyhounds race twice a week. Greyhounds retire at different ages, depending on their success. A greyhound must be retired by age 5. Some males are kept for studding and some females are kept longer for breeding.

Can greyhounds live outside?

No, greyhounds are indoor dogs. Greyhounds have short coats, thin skin, and little body fat. Therefore, they can have a hard time regulating their body temperature in extreme temperatures. Limit your greyhound’s outside time if there is very cold weather or very hot weather. If it’s cold outside and you plan to be out for a bit, then make sure your greyhound has a coat on. During hot weather, limit your greyhound’s outside time and try to take your longer walks in the early morning or evening.

How are greyhounds with children?

Many greyhounds get along well with children. Greyhounds are generally friendly and patient dogs. All dogs have their limits though and children must be taught how to respect their new greyhound. It’s important that children learn that the dog should not be disturbed when sleeping/resting or eating. Due to their thin skin, greyhounds especially dislike being pinched and/or grabbed. Younger children should always be monitored when they are with the dog. We work to profile all of our greyhounds and determine which dogs would be a good match for a family with children.

Do greyhounds get along with other pets?

Greyhounds are social dogs. They live with large groups of greyhounds throughout their racing career. They usually do well with other dogs.  If you currently own a dog, it is important for you to bring the dog(s) with you on your kennel visit. This will help us find a proper match for your family and monitor the dogs’ reactions.

Some greyhounds are able to live with cats and small animals. We call these dogs “cat trainable” – that means they did not get overly excited when exposed to a cat, but will still need to be closely monitored at home. “Trainable” is the keyword and the greyhound will still need time and patience to get to know your small pets.

Greyhounds are hunters and some have a hard time distinguishing between cats, small dogs, rabbits, squirrels, etc. A greyhound might be great with your small pets inside of your home, but keep in mind that this doesn’t mean it won’t catch an unfamiliar animal in your yard or outside.

Are greyhounds trained to potty outside?

Greyhounds are crate trained and are used to living in a kennel environment. Most greyhounds do not soil their sleeping area and know to use the bathroom outside. This usually makes the transition into housebreaking smoother.

We always suggest taking your new greyhound outside more than normal at first and positively reinforcing proper potty habits outside. Keep a close eye on your greyhound and don’t leave him/her unattended for the first couple of days. Accidents are less likely to happen if you are paying attention and ready to take the dog outside right away.

Do greyhounds shed?

Yes, greyhounds shed. They shed seasonally like most dogs, but they do not have a thick undercoat. So, it can be easier to maintain. They are also low-dander, which can work well for people with allergies. Their coats don’t hold a lot of oil, which helps prevent the doggy smell. They also don’t need frequent bathing. Your dog’s coat should become softer and shinier in the first year thanks to a soft bed and consistent diet. Greyhounds enjoy gentle brushing with a rubber brush or furminator.

Do greyhounds have special medical needs?

Most greyhounds are healthy dogs. They don’t suffer from common genetic problems you see in larger dogs such as hip dysplasia.

Greyhounds have differences in their blood test values compared to other dogs and they don’t metabolize anesthesia in the same way. This is why it is important that you find a greyhound savvy veterinarian and schedule regular exams. We can give you veterinary references. We also have medical reference cards at the kennel that outline normal greyhound blood test values.

Greyhounds are notorious for having bad teeth. Your greyhound will receive a dental cleaning by a veterinarian, before going home. You should have your vet examine your dog’s teeth yearly. Be proactive about brushing your dog’s teeth and maintaining good dental hygiene.

What is the life expectancy of a greyhound?

A healthy greyhound can live 12 to 14 years.

Why have I seen greyhounds wearing muzzles?

Greyhounds grow up wearing muzzles and they are used to them. They have thin skin that can easily tear open and become a vet emergency.  Therefore, we muzzle the greyhounds when they are outside together. They like to play and nip and may hurt each other accidentally. Also, when introducing greyhounds to new dogs or other animals, we will muzzle the greyhound for safety purposes.

We will send you home with a muzzle for your greyhound. After the initial transition period, most people do not muzzle their greyhounds at home. A muzzle is handy to have the first few days because it can prevent your new greyhound from eating, swallowing, or chewing items that can be harmful or damaged. You can also use it to help introduce your greyhound to cats and other small animals.

Adoption and Care

Do greyhounds need lots of exercise?

Many people think that because greyhounds are racers that they need lots of exercise. Greyhounds have earned the appropriate nickname “45 mph couch potatoes.”

Your greyhound will need an average amount of exercise and normal leash walking. We recommend a walk before breakfast, one before you leave for work, mid-day, early evening, and one more before bed.

Greyhounds do like to run, but they usually have short bursts of energy and then take a long nap! Greyhound races are less than a minute long, which doesn’t build a lot of endurance.

Can I jog with my greyhound?

Maybe! Greyhounds are great sprinters, but they are not known for their endurance. Greyhound races last about 30 seconds. Your new jogging buddy will have to work up to longer distances. Start with shorter walks and slowly build up distance and speed. Greyhounds can overheat easily. Make sure you keep tabs on the weather and don’t overexert your hound.

Do greyhounds have to be crated?

We recommend crating because it helps maintain some consistency in the dog’s new life. Initially, your new greyhound may have varying degrees of separation anxiety when you leave. Crating the dog in the beginning will eliminate accidents, most chewing destruction, and any other mischievous activity that may be rooted in nervousness and insecurity. A crate can provide a place where the dog feels safe in your absence.

We can give you more crate tips during adoption counseling. We have also included extensive information about crating in our Adoption Guidebook.

What kind of food should I buy and how much should my greyhound eat?

Buy high quality dry dog kibble that lists meat as the first ingredient. Grocery store brands tend to be full of sugar, corn, and fillers that can cause a greyhound to have constant diarrhea, gas, and weight gain. Do not feed cooked bones. Do not leave your greyhound alone with rawhide chews as they can be a choking hazard. You can also call us if you have questions about food.

A greyhound generally needs to eat between 3-4 cups of food daily. We suggest breaking this into two meals (one in the morning, one in the evening)

Overweight greyhounds are unhealthy greyhounds and overfeeding can shorten their life. Your greyhound should have just the tips of his hipbones barely visible and the outline of a couple of ribs.

Can greyhounds be allowed to run off leash?

No, greyhounds should always be kept on a leash. Greyhounds are sighthounds and they can easily lock their attention on to small animals or other interesting things.  They are not “street smart” and do not understand cars or traffic.  They can reach speeds up to 45 mph and catching a loose greyhound is very difficult.  By the time they slow down and stop running, they can be far from home.  It is not worth the risk.

Greyhounds can run off-leash in completely fenced-in areas.  Due to their speed and ability to break the barrier, invisible fencing is not recommended for greyhounds.

Can I use a retractable leash when walking my greyhound?

No, we do not recommend retractable leashes. If you drop the leash, it may frighten your greyhound and he or she can run off. You also have less control with a retractable leash. If your hound sees something of interest, you want to be in complete control to prevent your dog from getting loose or from you being pulled/injured.

We recommend a standard 6 foot leash.  You can buy these at any pet store.

How long does it take for a greyhound to bond with its new family?

Your greyhound will begin bonding with you within the first several days at home.  It will take some time for your greyhound to fully trust you.  Trust will be built as your greyhound becomes more comfortable with home life.  The timeline will be different for each specific dog.  It can take a few months for your greyhound to let his or her full personality shine. Playing, walking, and spending time with your greyhound will help build a strong bond. Maintaining a predictable and consistent schedule can also help your greyhound feel more at home.

My greyhound has a weird name. Can I change it?

Many of our greyhounds don’t know their racing name. It is perfectly acceptable to rename your greyhound. Stay consistent with it and your greyhound should know its new name after a couple of weeks.

For more information about greyhounds and greyhound adoption, please see our Resources page.

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