Retired Racing Greyhounds

Considering getting a retired racing greyhound? Here are some things you should think about first.

Before you get ANY dog, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I certain that I do not want to get a dog mainly to enhance my self-image for others?
  • Am I prepared to pay for all necessary food, housing, supplies and veterinary expenses for this dog for the next 10 to 15 years?
  • Am I committed to keep this dog for its entire life, even though that may mean nursing it through poor health and caring for it during its eventual old age?
  • Am I prepared to teach this dog proper manners through gentle positive reinforcement training techniques, involving obedience classes and regular socialization, so it can be a well-behaved member of my household?
  • Will I be home on a regular basis to give the dog lots of attention during my non-working hours?
  • Can I accept that my home will not be perfectly clean and neat, and may have crates, dog hair, dog toys, or other dog messes visible at any time?

If you can not honestly answer YES to ALL of the above questions, stop now and go buy yourself a stuffed animal.

You’re not ready to get a dog of any kind.

If you CAN answer yes to all the questions above, here are some greyhound-specific things you should know before you rush out and apply to adopt a greyhound.

Reasons TO adopt a retired racing greyhound:

  • Greyhounds are fairly quiet–most rarely bark at all.
  • Greyhounds make great companions for cuddling –they have the nickname of “45mph couch potatoes”
  • Greyhounds are clean, short haired, low odor dogs who shed less than many dog breeds
  • Adult Greyhounds are calmer than many other breeds, once they adjust to a new home environment
  • Greyhounds are very healthy and relatively long-lived compared to most large breeds, living an average of 12-14 years
  • Greyhounds are very soft-tempered, intelligent dogs who are easy to train for basic obedience and other dog sports, using positive reinforcement methods
  • Greyhounds tend to attract a lot of attention, so you will meet new people every time you take your dog out in public.
  • It’s easy to find greyhound-knowledgeable help & answers if you need it—subscribe to the Greyhound-L internet discussion list, where the nearly 3000 members can answer almost any greyhound question. To join, send a note to: listserv@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM. Be sure to leave the subject line blank. Type the following command in the body of the message: subscribe GREYHOUND-L yourfirstname yourlastname (substitute your real name here)

Reasons NOT to adopt a retired racing greyhound:

  • Don’t adopt a greyhound just to “save” one. If you really, truly want a dog, then consider adopting one, but don’t adopt one simply out of pity. It’s a living, breathing dog, not a political cause.
  • Don’t get a greyhound if you want a watch dog/guard dog—most greyhounds are not good guard dogs
  • Don’t get a greyhound if you want a dog who roughhouses with you and plays fetch nonstop–greyhounds are usually more reserved in nature and don’t normally play rough and rowdy with humans.
  • Don’t get a greyhound if you expect a dog that is immediately outgoing and playful—some greyhounds take months to unwind enough to feel comfortable in their new homes. Patience is a MUST when adopting a greyhound.
  • Don’t get a greyhound if you don’t have time to help it acclimate to its new home, house train it, teach it to climb stairs, avoid picture windows, learn about pools, slippery floors, glass doors, other pets, children, etc.—many retired greyhounds have never seen or done these things prior to leaving the racing environment
  • Don’t get a greyhound if you insist that your dog must live outdoors– they can’t handle being left outside in extremely hot or cold temperatures, and must be kept as indoor dogs
  • Don’t get a greyhound if it’s vitally important to you that your dog goes on walks with you off-leash–greyhounds have strong instinct to chase running animals and other moving objects, and it’s impossible to train this instinct out
  • Don’t get a greyhound (or any dog) if you don’t have time to give the dog several hours of attention every day–it’s not fair to any dog to be left home alone all day while you work, and then again all evening while you go out socializing.
  • If you don’t have a fenced yard, don’t get a greyhound if you aren’t certain that you can commit to taking the dog for several leashed walks every day, even in nasty weather, even when you are sick.
  • Don’t get a greyhound if you put great emphasis on the landscaping in your fenced backyard. A greyhound’s feet tend to tear up sod and flower gardens as they run and play.
  • Don’t get a greyhound (or any dog) if you aren’t willing to commit to keeping it for the dog’s entire lifetime.