Greyhounds make wonderful pets, but knowing the greyhound's traits as a breed and understanding the background of a former racer are necessary when deciding whether one would be the right pet for you.
Race track surroundings are a greyhound's life since birth. Because the racing greyhound has lived such a very sheltered and regimented life, becoming a pet is almost like being "reborn". Even though most former racers are over two years old when they leave the track, most have not been exposed to daily sights and sounds commonly found in your home and surroundings. Car rides, toys, televisions, children, stairs, kitchens, street noises, and almost everything else you consider normal are all strange to a former racing greyhound. As a result, they will be curious, awestruck, and a little frightened as they enter their new lives. They need time to adjust to these new surroundings and each one does so at a different pace. With a little understanding and love, they adjust and blossom very quickly into loving and well-mannered pets.
Greyhounds enjoy being with people and other dogs. Most have spent their entire lives with other greyhounds and usually adapt very well to other dogs in the house. Most also get along well with cats and children. Greyhounds are docile and tolerant and make the best pets for quiet, gentle children who do not wish to engage in boisterous play. However, even a calm greyhound can snap at a child who hits, pinches, pokes or startles it. The greyhound is not a fragile dog, but cannot tolerate rough and tumble play by children or other dogs. As with all dogs, supervision is required until you are sure everyone is getting along. Greyhounds should never be left alone for more than 8 hours.
The greyhound is a low-maintenance dog. Their skin produces little oil so only a few baths a year are needed - unless you own a greyhound who loves to play in the mud! Using a grooming mitt a few times a week will keep your dog's coat in good condition. Monthly nail clipping and ear cleaning are required.
Greyhounds are already kennel broken when they arrive at our facility. They have been trained to go outside and keep their kennels clean. Walk them frequently at first and they quickly learn that their new home is the place they keep clean and that outside is where they go to relieve themselves.
Greyhounds MUST LIVE INDOORS and can NEVER be kept in a doghouse or garage. They differ from other breeds in that they have very little body fat and fine hair making them intolerant to extreme heat and cold. A warm dog coat is needed in the winter. Their thin skin and delicate build also means they cannot be exposed to rough and tumble play by both children and other dogs. Due to their boney body, they require a soft bed to sleep in.
To most people's surprise, greyhounds are not in continuous motion. They do require several outdoor excursions a day to relieve themselves and need a nice walk to stay fit. A fenced-in yard for romping is always nice, but not necessary. Expect your greyhound to dash down your hallway a few times a day to burn off energy and then spend the rest of the day storing up energy (usually on your couch!) for the next burst.
Greyhounds love to run and chase things. A greyhound that gets along great with your indoor cat or small animal may totally change once it gets outdoors. The chase instinct has been characteristic in the greyhound for thousands of years. For centuries they have been bred to chase without human direction and cannot be expected to change. No amount of obedience training will stop a greyhound in pursuit of an animal. Because of this, greyhounds can NEVER BE TRUSTED OFF THE LEASH except in a completely enclosed, fenced yard. Greyhounds also must NEVER BE TIED UP. They can reach speeds of up to 40mph in their third stride and could easily break their neck if they decide to bolt or run.
Good dental care is vital to your greyhound's health. Most greyhounds arrive from the tracks with dental issues and those are addressed by NGAP before they are adopted out. We cannot stress enough the need to maintain your greyhound's teeth by providing daily brushing as well as hard treats and chew toys. We also encourage professional dental cleaning at least once a year.
Males greyhounds are usually 26-30 inches at the shoulder and weigh 65lbs and up. Females are usually 23-26 inches at the shoulder and weigh 50-65 lbs. With proper care, they live to be 12 - 15 years old. Greyhounds rarely bark, generally are not territorial, and do not make good watch dogs.