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How old are retired racing Greyhounds?

Typically 2-4 years of age.  They begin their racing career at 18 months and are usually retired by the age of 5 but most don’t make it that long.  Occasionally, we have also received older females (7-10) that were used for breeding stock.


How long do Greyhounds live?
With proper nutrition, annual check-ups, regular dental cleanings, and annual vaccinations, a greyhound can live to the ripe old age of 12-14 years – much longer than many other large breeds.
 HOW MUCH DO GREYHOUNDS EAT?

3-4 cups a day for a typical female, 4-5 cups for a typical male.
 

ARE GREYHOUNDS GOOD WITH CHILDREN?

Older children and greyhounds can be wonderful companions and best friends.  Smaller children need to be monitored when with any breed because they simply don’t understand the need to respect a dog’s space.  Families with young children (under 5) are strongly encouraged to read Child-Proofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons..


WHY DO I SOMETIMES SEE GREYHOUNDS WEARING MUZZLES?
Greyhounds wear muzzles when they race to protect one another from snapping.  Running to win is the only purpose in life for a racing greyhound and they become very competitive at that time.  Therefore, when we get our retired racers together for a fun-run or play group, it’s necessary to muzzle them when they are running and playing.  Muzzles are also recommended when introducing them to small animals for the first time.
ARE RETIRED RACING GREYHOUNDS MEAN SINCE THEY’VE BEEN SO ABUSED?

First of all, not all greyhounds have been abused.  However, any abuse is too much abuse.  No, these dogs aren’t mean.  If anything, some may be timid at first, but most are extremely affectionate and silly.  Every dog is different but most adjust to their new environments and bond with their new owners readily and quickly.  Most greyhounds will walk away from confrontation rather than be involved in it.  Some greyhounds are territorial about their beds.  This is because they aren’t used to sharing their space with others.  Therefore some of them may grumble or even snap if someone or something tries to share its bed.

 
DO GREYHOUNDS NEED A LOT OF ROOM TO RUN?
Again, because of the lifestyle they have grown accustom to, they don’t require lots of room to run.  A standard-sized residential yard is ample for a greyhound to exercise in – the important thing is that the yard be enclosed with a safe and secure fencing.
 

WILL A GREYHOUND STAY IN MY YARD AND COME WHEN I CALL IT?

As much as we would all like to think that our greyhounds love us too dearly to run away…sometimes they will!  Greyhounds are “sighthounds” by nature: they are stimulated by sight and that sense is very keen.  They have been bred for centuries to chase.  Given those two facts, it is unrealistic for us to think we can break this instinct.  Greyhounds love to run and need to have some boundaries in place.  A new greyhound can be overwhelmed by the wide-open space of a backyard and given the chance to take off, they probably will.  Greyhounds have lived such an isolated life at the racetrack that they don’t know what cars are or to look out for them on a street.  We can NEVER trust our dogs out of a fenced area without a leash.  Ask yourself, “Is it worth risking their lives?” 
ARE GREYHOUNDS GOOD WITH SMALL PETS?

Most greyhounds are good with small pets.  Because of their previous life at the kennel, greyhounds are naturally social with most other canines.  Toy-size dogs and cats can be of concern – every greyhound’s “prey drive” varies and there is no way to be sure until the dog is tested.  All pets should be introduced with the greyhound wearing a muzzle until you are very confident that all is safe.
 

ARE RETIRED RACING GREYHOUNDS VERY “HIGH STRUNG” OR “HIGH ENERGY”?

Contrary to what many people believe, greyhounds are usually very laid back.  They have spent their life in a kennel environment, being “turned-out” in a pen 4-5 times a day and running a race every 4th day.  Other than those times out, they live their life in a 3’x4’ wire cage.  They are used to laying around and that’s what they usually do when adopted into a home.
 

ARE THEY HARD TO HOUSEBREAK SINCE THEY’VE ALWAYS BEEN IN CAGES?

Because they have been “crate trained” at the track (they know not to soil their own beds) they are actually easier to housebreak than, say, a puppy.  Greyhounds are kept on a very strict schedule at the racetrack and are let out at least 4 times a day.  Keeping them on a schedule is helpful in housebreaking, as is positive reinforcement.  When they eliminate outside, give them lots of praise.


 GREYHOUND BODY LANGUAGE?

While this might surprise you, Woody the Greyhound is actually smiling in this picture!   Many Greyhounds actually smile in this way when they are happy, or excited, or in Woody's case, trying to be adorable as he begs for shrimp treats :)  Just because your Greyhound is showing you his teeth, this does not necessarily mean that he is angry.   Similarly, a Greyhound's ears are constantly changing position but they are most commonly held back against his head.  While this might be a sign of aggression in many breeds of dogs, it is the status quo for the average Greyhound.  Especially when you are first getting to know your dog, you will want to pay attention to all of his body language to figure out how he is feeling. 

For a more complete discussion of Greyhound Body Language, visit here.  


AN IMPORTANT NOTE:

Please remember that these statements are generalized.  No one can guarantee any breed of dog to be cat-safe, housebroken, quiet, etc.  Each dog has its own personality and traits.