Greyhounds as Pets--Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of pets do ex-racing Greyhounds make?

Greyhounds are affectionate, friendly dogs that thrive on attention and human companionship. They make terrific pets. The dogs were raised with their littermates--not separated at six weeks of age as is the case with most domesticated dogs. During their youth they were handled often and competed for affection--resulting in a hound that loves being the center of attention. They are not effective as "watch dogs" since their friendly nature is non-threatening.


Are they good with children?

The best situation is placement in a household where the children are at least school-aged.  Each family is evaluated carefully to assure a good fit.


How are they with other pets?

Greyhounds are friendly by nature and socialize well due their previous lives and interactions with other Greyhounds during their youth and at the racetrack.  Dogs that are similar in size and temperament to Greyhounds are a good bet for an easy integration into the home.  Most breeders are vigilant to watch for aggressive tendencies and will not continue bloodlines if the puppies and young adults show aggression.  This is a practical idea since a good amount of congeniality is required at the racetrack as dogs are "turned-out" together on a regular basis.  A retired racing Greyhound has not been introduced to cats or small dogs.  Preliminary testing can be done to see how the Greyhound responds to cats and/or small dogs.


How old are retired racing Greyhounds?

Most retired racers are between two and five-years old.  Brood Mommas are older since they have raced and then went on to produce puppies for racing.


What is their life expectancy?

Purebred athletes enjoy many years of good health.  Their life expectancy is estimated at 12-14 years.


How much does it cost to own a Greyhound?

After the initial adoption fee, as with any other breed of dog, routine veterinarian care should be factored in as well as feeding costs averaging about $2 per day.  Greyhounds' coats are sleek and short, so they remain sweet-smelling for long periods between baths--grooming a Greyhound is a negligible expense.  Regular brushing with a hound glove is very enjoyable to a Greyhound and keeps their skin in good shape.  Many believe that Greyhounds' coats have less odor than other breeds.


Are ex-racing Greyhounds housebroken?

A Greyhound's "crated" life at the track is conducive to easy housebreaking since they are accustomed to being "turned out" to relieve themselves during the day.  It's easy for them to understand that "inside" is their home and outside is the proper place to relieve themselves.  Similarly, Greyhounds that have not raced but were bred to race have this same sense instilled in them as they are either "schooled" to race or as puppies where they live with their littermates in a shelter that is located on their run.  This early and continued management instills a sense of keeping their sleeping area clean and free of waste products.  It's a great consideration to realize that a young Greyhound pup understands the concept of living in a clean environment and respecting the pack.


Do Greyhounds require a lot of exercise?

They do well with regular, brisk walks and will often spontaneously jog or sprint around the yard. Greyhounds require a fence that is in good repair and five to six-foot tall. They are not "jumpers", in most cases. If they have Saluki in their bloodlines--all bets are off! Persons who adopt a Greyhound must consider that the dog is expected to remain indoors most of the time due to their delicate skin and lack of body fat.  Greyhounds must be leashed and not allowed to run loose in an unenclosed area. The hounds are capable of running 45-mph and since they are sight hounds if an object of interest is spotted--they may take off in hot pursuit oblivious of cars or other dangers.  They can go quite a distance at this speed and would encounter many dangers along the way.


What size are Greyhounds?

Average heights for males are 26-30 inches at the shoulder and weighing 65-85 pounds.  Females average 23-26 inches tall and tend to weigh 50-65 pounds


Do Greyhounds shed?

All dogs shed and if a person has severe allergies--they may or may not be able to live with a Greyhound.  Allergies can be triggered by the dog's coat or dander. Some believe that if the dog's hair is close to the same pH of human hair--this might prevent allergic reactions.  One site on the internet listed Greyhounds among several breeds that were deemed less likely to cause an allergic reaction. 

Keep in mind, that Greyhounds can demonstrate excess shedding if they are undergoing a change in life circumstances or with seasonal changes.


Do Greyhounds dig?

All dogs are prone to digging--but the powerful and large Greyhound can dig a larger and deeper hole than a Chihuahua! Installing a sandbox might curb their enthusiasm for the flower beds and garden.  Also, dedicated gardeners might consider a fence or barrier to prevent the heartaches of damage from an intent digger.


Do Greyhounds bark?

There are very few breeds of dogs that do not bark.  Barking is one of the dog's means of communication.  An internet listing of quiet dog breeds did include Greyhounds...