Frequently Asked Questions
Why do greyhounds wear muzzles? Are they mean or high-strung?
Greyhounds wear muzzles during a race for two reasons. 1) The muzzles enable race officials determine the outcome of a photo-finish race. A photo-finish race is one in which two hounds appear to have crossed the finish line at the same time. The muzzle, because of its colours and construction, allows the officials to use a photo and see which greyhound’s nose passed the finish line first. 2) The muzzles protect the greyhounds from injury during the excitement of the race, because greyhounds can be very competitive while on the track. Despite their competitive nature, greyhounds are usually very gentle and docile creatures in the home.
What has the life of a racing Greyhound been like?
Until they are adopted, greyhounds have spent almost their entire lives in the company of other greyhounds. When they are born, they are born into a litter, the average size of which is between six and eight. Young greyhounds grow up with their litter mates and they all receive attention and are handled as much a possible to familiarize them with people. As they approach the age of 12 months, their training begins and they are taught to chase a lure, to run on a track and to break from the starting box.
Track life is based on a routine – feeding in the morning, regular turnouts in the exercise yards to relieve themselves, and resting in individual kennel crates during the rest of the day. Dogs race every three to seven days.
How long do Greyhounds live?
Most healthy Greyhounds will enjoy a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
How big do greyhounds get?
Most greyhound males are between 26 and 30 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 55 and 85 pounds.
Females are usually slightly smaller, standing 23 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and they weigh between 50 to 75 pounds.
How old are Greyhounds when they retire?
Most Greyhounds begin their career at approximately 16 months and may finish their racing career between the ages of 2 and 4 years.
Can I specify the colour of my new dog?
Yes, you can indicate a preference for the colour of your new greyhound, but we feel that personality should be the foremost consideration in the selection of your canine companion. If you have strong feelings, i.e. dislike or like, about a particular colour we will try to honour your request, but it may increase the waiting time until the right hound is found.
What is the adoption process and how long does it take?
If you are interested in adopting one of these exceptional creatures you should fill out and mail the application or apply online. A representative will contact you for a home visit. The representatives will bring one of their own dogs to your home to evaluate the reaction of your family and current pets and the personality of a dog that would fit your needs. We will also go into more detail about the special needs of a Greyhound. If you choose to proceed with the adoption after this step, a dog will be selected for you. The entire process usually takes 1-8 weeks after your home visit but may take longer if you have a special request.
When can I let my Greyhound run loose when off my fenced property?
NEVER! Greyhounds are sight hounds and can see movement up to a half mile away. It is impossible to know what may catch their attention and cause them leave your property.
A greyhound should never be let off-leash unless it is a fully-fenced area. It only takes a second for a tragic accident. Greyhounds are accustomed to walking on a leash and enjoy the exercise.
Do Greyhounds make good guard dogs?
With few exceptions, greyhounds should not be considered guard dogs. In general, greyhounds don’t bark and tend to greet both friends and strangers in the same happy manner.
Are Greyhounds housetrained?
Most greyhounds have not been inside a house prior to being fostered or adopted. In the kennel environment they are turned out four or five times a day to relieve themselves, which means they’re trained to go outside and keep their crates clean (crate-trained). Walk them frequently at first, especially after meals, and they should quickly learn that they have to outside to relieve themselves.
Most greyhounds are easily housetrained, but you may wish to consider using a crate or an x-pen as part of the transition period to help them in this process.
What kind of pets do ex-racing Greyhounds make?
Greyhounds are affectionate, friendly dogs who thrive on attention and human companionship. As a result, they make wonderful and loving pets.
Are Greyhounds good with children?
As a general rule, greyhounds are gentle and reasonably patient with children – and they tend to walk away from situations that distress them. However, a greyhound is a dog, like any dog, and will have its limits, causing it to growl or snap.
No dog should ever be left alone (not even for just a second) with small children without adult supervision.
Are Greyhounds compatible with other animals? What about cats?
Greyhounds are very social, and usually enjoy the company of most animals, including other breeds of dog. Cats are something very new to greyhounds so extra time and patience may be required to properly train them. In fact, there is really only a small percentage of greyhounds that would not be considered small-animal safe, and should never be placed in a home with cats, small dogs or other small animals.
Are Greyhounds suited to apartment living?
Greyhounds are usually quiet and laid-back, and most would be excellent apartment dogs. However, like people, they do have different personalities and some may not be well suited for apartment living.
If you live in an apartment, your landlord will be contacted prior to placement of a greyhound with you.
Are Greyhounds “hyper”? Do they require a lot of exercise?
Greyhounds are not considered to be an energetic dog that requires a great deal of exercise. In fact, one of their nicknames is “40 mile-an hour couch potatoes”. However, like every breed of dog, they do require some daily exercise and we recommend that they receive at least 30 minutes of walking (on-leash) each day, unless you have a fenced yard.
One of the joys of having greyhounds is that they easily adapt to the lifestyle of their new owners, and many enjoy jogging. However, racing greyhounds are trained as sprinters and not long-distance runners. It will take some time to ensure your greyhound is used to long walks or jogs.
Can Greyhounds handle cold temperatures and snow?
Greyhounds are house dogs. They are comfortable where you are comfortable, and should not be left outside alone for extensive periods in any weather conditions.
It is recommended that your greyhound have a winter coat (at minimum). Raincoats and sweaters or light coats should also be considered for cool spring/fall weather.
Many greyhounds learn to love the snow, but be sure to check between their feet for pieces of ice, a build-up of snow and salt after a walk or their romp in the yard.
If I adopt a greyhound, what should I expect from him or her?
You can expect a gentle and loving canine companion, who with a little time and patience, will become a much loved addition to your family. However, you must remember that everything about its home environment is foreign, and it should be expected that your new hound will be confused and very curious by its new surroundings. Proper house manners and etiquette have to be learned, but because greyhounds are very intelligent, they will learn quickly.
Why is routine important to a Greyhound?
Routine is the norm for greyhounds both prior to and during their careers at the race track/kennels. As a result, greyhounds will adapt more readily and feel more comfortable is a routine is established and adhered to for feeding, relieving themselves and resting.
Does my dog need a special space in the house?
In the kennel, your dog has always had its own kennel crate where it felt safe and secure. There are a number of ways to accomplish this in your house. Using a large crate or having a special bedding area during the first few weeks will help the greyhound adjust at his/her own pace to the unaccustomed freedom of your house. Although many people feel uncomfortable about using a crate.
Greyhounds are quite at home in them. Indeed, using a crate can provide for a completely successful transition by affording the dog actual physical security when left alone during the adjustment period and thus preventing any possible damage due to separation anxiety. It also can eliminate any temptation to investigate the garbage. Another advantage to the crate is that greyhounds, like other dogs, instinctively will not soil their own living space. This makes crate usage a very effective tool in the housebreaking process.
What sort of medical care will my Greyhound need?
The best medical care is preventative in nature. Your hound should have an annual vet examination and be checked for heartworm and placed on heartworm preventative medication during the spring, summer and fall months. Sentinel, Heart Guard and Interceptor are all good heartworm medications – but you should discuss with your vet which is the best option for your hound based upon your lifestyle.
Each annual check-up should also include a CBC (complete blood count) as well as a urine and fecal sample. The results of these tests provide valuable information to your vet as they monitor the health of your greyhound.