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 mothers and litter mates for up to a year, they learn human and and canine affection, as well as dog behavior. 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?

Greyhounds are clean dogs by nature and would prefer to relieve themselves outdoors when given a choice.  While racing, greyhounds are "Kennel trained," or “Crate trained”, meaning, they will not potty in the kennel if allowed to go outside regularly.  The foster family works with the retired greyhound to teach it how to ask to go outside.  An ESGAO representative will be able to provide information on the dogs within our care.

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.

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?

Most Greyhounds have a very quiet, calm disposition and are good with well-mannered children. However, any dog of any breed 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. 

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 5. Again, exceptions may be made depending on individual circumstances.

Are Greyhounds good with other dogs and cats?

Many greyhounds have no interest in chasing cats, or can be trained to ignore the cat.  We will “cat test” our greyhounds before pursuing adoption.

Greyhounds get along with most dogs. However, not all dogs will get along.  We will assist or teach you how to introduce and evaluate the greyhound’s temperament with your pet.

There are Greyhounds that live with dogs, birds, cats, rabbits, ferrets...it simply depends on the dog. However, it’s important to remember that even if your Greyhound does not chase the family cat indoors, it may still chase the neighbor's cat, or even your cat outdoors.

Why do Greyhounds need a fenced yard?

Greyhounds are sighthounds (also called gazehounds), meaning that they hunt by sight rather than smell. Greyhounds are not vicious predators, but they do chase things that move. They are sprinters and can run up to 45 miles per hour for very short periods. This is why a Greyhound can never be allowed to run loose except in a securely fenced area.

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. 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. 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 daily. Most greyhounds will prefer at least one longer walk (for exercise) daily. Until you determine your greyhound’s activity level, we suggest you find a safely fenced area where the dog can run off-leash about once a week.

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.

All the retired racers I've seen look too skinny. Shouldn't they gain more weight after they retire?

Generally, they can gain  two to 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 tattoo order. In this example, 'B' indicates that this greyhound was the second of the litter to be tattooed.

Left Ear Tattoo:

The five digits encode the litter registration number of this greyhound and is the same for all pups of this litter.

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2052 Warren Rd
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Phone: (440) 973-6412
esgao.org@gmail.com
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