Frequently Asked Questions About Greyhounds
What kind of pets do retired racing greyhounds make?
Greyhounds are affectionate, friendly dogs who thrive on the attention and human companionship and make terrific pets. Raised with their litter mates where they competed for affection, greyhounds love becoming the center of attention as household pets. Greyhounds usually do not make good watchdogs; their friendly nature is not very threatening.
Are Greyhounds good watchdogs?
Probably because of their laid-back, non-aggressive nature, Greyhounds do not make particularly good watchdogs. In fact, many owners have never heard their Greyhounds bark! Most Greyhounds love visitors and would not distinguish between those who are invited and those who are uninvited and unwelcome.
What is the life expectancy of a Greyhound?
These purebred athletes enjoy many years of good health. With proper care, they have a life expectancy of twelve years or more.
How much does it cost to adopt and care for a greyhound?
A nominal adoption fee helps to defray the expenses ESGAO has incurred on behalf of the dog: spay/neuter procedure, vaccinations, dental cleaning, medical testing, etc. Caring for a greyhound costs on average $800-$1000 per year including their food, treats, toys, and routine medical maintenance like dental cleanings and vaccinations.
Do Greyhounds need a lot of exercise?
Greyhounds are the fastest breed of dog for short distances, but they are sprinters and don't have a lot of endurance. A retired racer is quite content to be a "couch potato" and spend most of the day sleeping. Therefore, they require less exercise than many breeds, and much less than breeds such as the Dalmatian or the Labrador Retriever. If your yard is large, a Greyhound could get all the exercise it needs there. If you have a smaller yard, a couple of weekly walks and an occasional run in a fenced neighborhood ball field will keep most Greyhounds happy.
Are retired racing greyhounds already housebroken?
While racing, greyhounds are "kennel broken," which means they are trained not to relieve themselves in their living area. They are clean dogs by nature and would prefer to relieve themselves outdoors when given a choice. These two factors, combined with specific advice from a trained ESGAO representative at the time of adoption, lead to an easy transition into life as a house pet.
What kind of grooming do greyhounds require?
Greyhounds' coats are short and sleek, so they stay sweet-smelling for long periods in between baths. While frequent bathing is unnecessary, these dogs do seem to enjoy (understatement) the occasional brushing with a hound glove.
Do Greyhounds shed?
All dogs shed, and the amount that Greyhounds shed seems to vary from dog to dog. Some Greyhounds shed like any other short-haired breed, others hardly at all. Some people think that lighter-colored Greyhounds shed more than dark ones do. However, even a Greyhound that sheds comparatively heavily would shed much less than a Dalmatian or German Shepherd Dog.
Are Greyhounds good with children?
Many books on dog breeds describe the Greyhound as being too "high-strung" for children, which is entirely false. Most Greyhounds have a very quiet, calm disposition and are good with well-mannered children. However, any dog of any breed that has not been raised around children must be watched carefully, and all interaction between dogs and children, no matter how trustworthy the dog or the children, should be supervised by adults. Most Greyhounds have never seen children before leaving the track, and because very young children can behave unpredictably and in ways that are frightening or threatening to dogs, we generally do not recommend placing Greyhounds in homes with children under the age of 6. Again, exceptions may be made depending on individual circumstances.
Are Greyhounds good with other dogs and cats?
Although they do not know other dog breeds, it does not take them long to learn that these too are dogs, and they normally get along fine with them. Greyhounds should be carefully introduced to cats and very small dogs, as at first glance they look very similar to the lure they were trained to chase. There are ex -racing Greyhounds that live with birds, cats, rabbits, ferrets...it simply depends on the dog. It has been estimated that 70% of retired racers have no interest in chasing cats, 20% can be trained to live safely with cats, and 10% should not live in a home with cats. However, it’s important to remember that even if you have trained your Greyhound not to chase the family cat indoors, it may still chase the neighbor's cat, or even your cat outdoors. ESGAO prefers to place dogs that fall into the 70% category in homes with cats.
Why do Greyhounds need a fenced yard?
Greyhounds are basically like all other dogs, but because of their training and racing career, they have some unique characteristics. They are sighthounds (also called gazehounds), meaning that they hunt by sight rather than smell. As hunters, they work cooperatively with other hounds and develop strategies of pursuit spontaneously during the chase. This natural instinct is reinforced in Greyhounds by training to chase lures (usually mechanical but sometimes live). Greyhounds are not vicious predators, but they do chase things that move by nature. They are sprinters and can run up to 45 miles per hour for very short periods (the average speed on a dog track is generally in the 30's). Some retired racers love to run; others take retirement very seriously and move as little as possible. Likewise, some dogs have a strong prey drive and chase squirrels and other small animals at every opportunity, where others would not give a cat a second glance. Even those dogs with a fairly healthy prey drive can be taught not to chase the family cat or Chihuahua. However, it is important to know that a dog responding to the ancient call to chase will probably be oblivious to its owner's calls to come. This is why a Greyhound can never be allowed to run loose except in a securely fenced area. Even Greyhounds which have been through obedience training should never be trusted off leash in an unfenced area. Potential adopters who do not have fenced yards should be prepared to take their Greyhound for a minimum of four on-leash potty walks and at least one longer walk (for exercise) daily, and will need to find a safely fenced area where the dog can run off-leash about once a week (or more or less, depending on the individual dog).
Does electronic (‘invisible’) fencing work with Greyhounds?
No, electronic fencing is not suitable for use with Greyhounds. A Greyhound in pursuit of a small animal will run right through an electronic fence. Electronic fences also do not keep out stray dogs, stray cats, raccoons and other wildlife, or teasing children. Electronic fences are also useless when there are power outages, unless there is a backup power source in place. Enough dogs have turned up in shelters and pounds wearing their electronic fence collars to convince us that electronic fencing is not a safe, reliable way to contain most dogs. We make exceptions to the fenced yard requirement for the right homes, but we will not place dogs in homes with electronic fencing.
If they aren't aggressive, why are Greyhounds muzzled when they race?
Greyhounds are typically very excited immediately before and after and during a race, and may nip at other dogs running near them. Muzzles are also used to help determine the winner in a photo-finish race. Owners who get together to run their retired racers in fenced areas often muzzle their dogs to prevent excitement-induced bites, especially if the dogs don't know each other.
All the retired racers I've seen look too skinny. Shouldn't they gain more weight after they retire?
Generally, they should gain about five pounds after they retire, depending on the dog's build. Greyhounds should always look lean; two or three ribs and vertebrae should be visible. Unlike other dog breeds, a Greyhound with even a thin layer of fat covering its ribs is overweight.
What is tattooed in greyhounds ears ?
US dogs have three digits and one letter in the right ear and a max 6 digit number in the left ear. The number in the left ear is the litter number. All pups of one litter have the same number. The right ear contains the birth month and specifies the pup in the litter.
Right Ear Tattoo:
The first one to two digits encodes the month of birth. In this example, it is the eleventh month, or November. The last digit encodes the year of birth within the past decade. In this example, '4' indicates that the birth year was 2004. Finally, the letter encodes litter order. In this example, 'B' indicates that this greyhound was the second oldest of the litter.
Left Ear Tattoo:
The five digits encode the litter registration number of this greyhound and is the same for all pups of this litter.