What You Should Know About Owning a Greyhound

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owning a greyhound

Have you ever wondered about owning a greyhound? Greyhounds make great pets, and they are suitable for any type of home including an apartment or condo.

Greyhounds have a very strong prey drive. If you have a yard, you will need a solid fence to keep your greyhound from chasing animals they might identify as prey, including rabbits, squirrels and cats. Because of its strong prey drive, a greyhound should never be allowed to run off leash except in a securely fenced area. If your greyhound were to take off after a small animal, you’d have a tough time catching him because of his ability to run so fast. Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed and they can run at speeds up to 40 to 45 miles an hour.

To learn more about greyhounds, read our article Breed of the Month: Why We Love Greyhounds. 

Although you may be drawn to an adorable greyhound puppy, you should also consider greyhound adoption. When their racing days are over, many retired racing greyhounds are abandoned, euthanized or sold to laboratories. But if they are adopted, these adult greyhounds can easily adapt to home life and give you many years of great companionship.

Adopting Greyhounds

The majority of greyhound pets in America are former racing dogs. You may be surprised to find out that there are actually more ex-racing dogs in homes than there are still on the track. There are approximately 120,000 Greyhounds living as pets in U.S. homes while only 55,000 greyhounds still race on the track.

Although there are a small amount of greyhounds bred for racing, there are very few non-racing greyhounds bred in the United States. Most families interested in owning a greyhound will adopt a retired racetrack dog because there are so many ex-racers in need of good homes.

What Are Greyhounds Like?

Here’s a fun fact about greyhounds. While they are known for their speed, the greyhound’s favorite pastime is actually sleeping. The truth is, they love to cuddle up on a soft couch, chair or bed and enjoy a nice nap. This is not a destructive dog. Greyhounds are very docile and quiet with a low indoor energy level.

The disposition of greyhounds is very loving and affectionate. Usually, the affection they feel for their family will also extend to strangers, but greyhounds can be aloof with some strangers.

Like all dogs, greyhounds should be socialized at an early age. That means your greyhound should be exposed to many different people, places, and situations. This will help to ensure that your greyhound grows up to be a well-rounded dog. When greyhounds are not properly socialized, they can become timid and they can have difficulty adapting to changes in their environment or their schedule. So take the time to properly socialize your greyhound.

Even though they are fast runners, the greyhound is a fairly low energy dog. Greyhounds require (and enjoy) a daily walk to help keep them from becoming bored. But keep your greyhound on a leash during a walk to prevent him from taking off after small animals.

Whether you buy your dog as a puppy or adopt him as an adult, you should begin training your greyhound as soon as you get him home. Greyhounds can have a stubborn streak and they are very independent. So you need to be confident and consistent in your training methods. Just remember that this is a sensitive breed, so you will do better with patience and training methods that use rewards rather than punishment. Treats work great as a training reward.

It is a common practice to muzzle greyhounds, especially if they had been working as race dogs. Greyhounds will nip at other dogs and can hurt smaller dogs and animals when their prey drive takes over. Rescues often recommend muzzling adopted greyhounds until they get settled into their new home. Then you should have a better idea of their temperament.

Taking Care of Greyhounds

Greyhounds have a short, smooth coat that is very easy to care for. It is also a very thin hair coat, which means your greyhound can get the shivers in cold or wet weather. Greyhounds have no fat layer on their bodies to keep them warm in the rain or cold weather. If you live in colder climates, you should have a warm coat for your greyhound to wear in the rain and snow. Also remember that the greyhound’s thin coat leaves him vulnerable to scrapes and nicks. A greyhound can be any color including black, fawn, red, blue, gray or white. Their coats can also be various shades of brindle.

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