Saturday, April 21, 2018
Hounds Education Frequently Asked Questions

Greyhounds & Their Adoption

These are some of the most common questions we receive about greyhounds and their adoption. The answer that we provide for each question is typical of the greyhound breed in general, but individual dogs can and will vary widely. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us, and we'll be pleased to provide you with the information you need.

How old are retired racers? How long do they live?
Greyhounds are usually 2-5 years old when they are retired, though sometimes we have older dogs available for adoption. The typical life expectancy of a greyhound is 12-14 years.

Alco, in foster with Linda LaFoone

How big do greyhounds get?
Male greyhounds generally stand 26 to 34 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 65 and 85 pounds. Females generally stand 26 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 50 to 65 pounds.

Do greyhounds shed a lot?
It seems to vary a lot from dog to dog. Some will shed an appreciable amount, others hardly at all. "Appreciable" means that when you use a curry comb, you can get loose hair off the dog. There is some thought (and anecdotal evidence) that lighter-colored greyhounds shed more than dark ones do! However, bear in mind that even a so-called "heavily shedding" greyhound would shed a lot less than say, a Dalmatian or a German Shepherd Dog.

What's the main difference between the two sexes?
Aside from size and weight (males obviously being larger), females tend to be more vocal, more animated, and more demanding when they want something. Males, however, are generally better with children, seem to be more easy-going, and they tend to be less pushy for attention.

Do greyhounds need more exercise than other dogs?
No. These dogs are mainly couch potatoes when they come off the track. Remember, they are used to running very fast for a short period of time, maybe 3 times a week. A greyhound is more of a sprinter than a marathon runner. They do need some exercise but not any more than other dogs. Mostly they will run around your fenced-in backyard for a few minutes before coming in for a nap.

Does my greyhound need a special place in the house?
During their racing career, your greyhound never lived anywhere outside of his cage and/or kennel. For this reason, your dog's kennel crate will be a source of security for him while he adjusts to your home. After a short transition period, your greyhound will be right at home in your house and will no longer require the crate. Beyond this transition period, greyhounds are like any other house dog.

Nacho (back) enjoying a sleepover with his brother Fox (aka Neko).

Will my adopted greyhound need housebreaking?
Greyhounds are originally kennel-trained. This means that they know not to soil their crate. At first, you will need to take your dog outside frequently while she learns to adapt to a regular housebreaking schedule. Within a short period of time, your dog will be housebroken. However, nothing is perfect, and you should expect that there may be a few accidents along the way.

What should I expect if I adopt a greyhound?
Because everything is new to the greyhound, expect him to be somewhat confused and very curious. House manners have to be learned, but greyhounds are very intelligent dogs and learn quickly. Things like going up and down stairs may take a little while for them to get used to. You should expect a period of adjustment. Not all greyhounds adjust as quickly as others. For example, some greyhounds may be more difficult to housebreak. Others may have a tendency to chew, and some may be extremely shy. A lot of patience and understanding is needed through this adjustment period. Greyhounds are excellent travelers and will enjoy taking trips with you. They are very sociable, so expect to meet new friends through your new pet.

Your Time, Commitments & Environment

A greyhound might seem like a perfect dog for you. However, you also need to consider whether or not you are an appropriate person for the dog. Please consider the following questions carefully and honestly before you begin the adoption process.

What are you looking for in a dog?
Greyhounds should not be looked upon as playmates. While some may excel at agility and flyball, these individuals are the exception and not the rule. Greyhounds are not watch dogs. They're more likely to knock the intruder over in order to lick them or even run and hide. Greyhounds are not retrievers, though they may get the ball once. Greyhounds are, however, loyal companions that enjoy going for walks, enjoy spending time with people, and most importantly, will love you and appreciate you for adopting them.

What are your work hours?
And are you willing to change them for a month or two? Can someone get home at lunch to let the dog out? If you're regularly away from home more than nine hours a day, you'll have to invest in a dog-walking service or neighbor to keep your new dog from bursting during the day. Even though greyhounds are much more tolerant than most breeds, they need daily attention and time.

How much time do you plan on spending with your greyhound?
If you answer is 10 minutes a day and a couple hours on the weekends, you're in the wrong place; get a cat. If you have time for 2 walks a week, yard time every day, and a couple of good long runs on the weekends, your dog will love you.

How much money do you expect to pay for a greyhound, and what are your expected costs over time?
Be honest with yourself. If your budget only allows for an extra $20 a month for dog expenses, this may not be the right time to get a dog. Realistically you can expect to pay about $225 for initial adoption, spay/neuter, shots, worming, vet check plus regular food costs of $50/month. Then there are the emergencies that happen (we figured in $25-50/month over the long term) and various dog toys and "stuff" of $25/month. Don't forget monthly heartworm and flea preventative as well. Additionally you might want to consider health insurance for your pet and dog training classes which can add an extra cost to your pet bottom line.

Two happy girls. Debbie was adopted by Dina and Dave Kimmel.

Who lives with you?
Children? Do they know about dogs? Can you teach them to respect one another? Spouse/significant other? Do both of you want a greyhound? Are both of you willing to take care of the dog? Roommates? How stable is your roommate? If he/she leaves, will you be able to handle the dog on your own?

How big is your house and yard?
Many greyhounds live in small apartments with no yard, but their owners are committed to 2-3 short walks and 1-2 long walks a day. Your level of commitment must be able to handle your living situation.

Is your yard fenced in?
It's an important question for you to ask yourself. Without a securely fenced yard, you must take your dog out at least four times a day to relieve him/herself, plus exercise walks. At the same time, even with a fenced yard, the dog will need exercise and attention from you every day (plus yard clean up). Invisible fencing should never be used with a greyhound.

Do you understand that greyhounds must always be kept on leash?
...except when in fully secure, fenced areas? Greyhounds have two important traits that make them greyhounds: the urge to chase and their speed. It's a part of their being, and it leaves no room for self-preservation. In 30 seconds, a greyhound can be running close to 40 mph, across streets, over fences, through woods. He might get hit by a car, get lost, or break a leg in a gopher hole.

Are you willing to put a coat on a dog in wintertime?
With an average of 5-10% bodyfat, these dogs are not exactly made for the freezing cold. So put your pride to the side, and get a nice warm snuggly coat for your hound, and be willing to dress up both of you in the winter (and sometimes fall).

Too tired to play ball. Ace (greyhound) and Nanook (German Shepherd) belong to Tim and Denise Fetting.

What other pets do you have?
Make sure to tell Greyhounds Only about the kinds of pets you have. We've heard it all: ferrets, cats, fish, birds, rabbits--even hedgehogs! We want to make sure you meet adoptable hounds that are more likely to be tolerant of smaller indoor pets. Remember--not even a cat-tolerant greyhound who lives with indoor cats can be trusted with any small animal outdoors. Ever. Rabbits, squirrels, cats, and sometimes even small dogs will be the subject of a greyhound's urge to chase.

How long have your pets been with you?
Introducing a new pet to a home is challenging enough. Trying to introduce a new greyhound while also introducing other animals such as puppies or kittens can be too much work for one family to handle. If you've just adopted a new animal you might want to consider given it time to settle into your home before also adopting a new greyhound. If you're not sure, please ask the adoption volunteer.

What kind of 'end' have your former pets met?
If you've left your dog at the pound or abandoned cats at your last apartment, you probably won't get a greyhound. If you've had extenuating circumstances, explain them to the adoption volunteer and get some ideas on how you might handle the same situation with your greyhound. We're interested in the long-term health and safety of the greyhounds!

Information on this page comes from the Greyhound Companies of Missouri, the Greyhound Project.

Make a Donation

Greyhounds Only is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. It is through the generosity of our donors and volunteers that we are able to rescue as many retired racing greyhounds as possible. 100% of each donation goes into fulfilling our mission whether it's providing medical care and space in our kennels or by supporting education and outreach to raise awareness about these wonderful dogs.