Need a dog that lounges on the couch with you all day? Or do you want a dog that loves running around outside and going on jogs with you? How about a dog that does both! The Greyhound dog is the perfect companion for almost every family looking for a friendly, smart, and lovable pet.
Whether you want a couch potato or a playful pup, the Greyhound is the one-of-a-kind dog for you. You may have seen them on the race track. But after a few years, many of those athletic and loyal dogs are looking for forever homes. Read further to find out more about what makes the Greyhound the right fit.
The Greyhound is one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world. It’s hard to miss their long, lean bodies and even longer nose. They are a narrow dog that is built for speed, having virtually no body fat. With light legs and an immense amount of muscle mass, Greyhounds are notoriously speedy thanks to their double-suspension gallop.
Despite their athletic appearance, you can tell they are down for a few snuggles when you see their warm, soft eyes.
This breed is sometimes called the “racehorse of the dog world.” Their size only emphasizes this comparison. Male Greyhounds can range from 60 to 88 pounds and 27 to 30 inches in height. Females are a bit smaller but still have an imposing frame.
The American Kennel Club states that the Greyhound comes in two varieties: Racing and show, which have slightly different size requirements. Most racing Greyhounds are slightly smaller than their show cousins.
The Greyhound’s chest is deep and wide with well-sprung ribs. Their back is muscular and broad. Their legs are even more muscular. The American Kennel Club describes them as “long and powerful.” The Greyhound’s tail is also lengthy, tapering with an upward curve.
The Greyhound has a long and muscular neck. On top is a long and narrow head with a lengthy muzzle. Their ears are small, naturally thrown back and folded. When they are excited, however, this breed’s ears are semi-pricked. This gives them an alert expression, along with their bright and intelligent eyes.
This dog breed is known to have two speeds: Record-breaking sprinter and couch potato. Despite their natural need for speed, the Greyhound is quite snuggly and calm.
Many Greyhound enthusiasts compare them to a cat since they are calmer and more aloof than the average dog. They are most content hanging out on the couch next to their owners.
Like cats, this gentle giant is a bit reserved with strangers. They can even be described as timid. Greyhounds tend to be shy around new people, watching them from afar until they get used to the guest’s presence. But once they trust someone, Greyhounds are known to do anything to please their loved ones.
Even though the Greyhound is reserved inside, going outside can reveal an entirely new dog. They tend to chase any small animal they see, sometimes even just leaves and paper. If it moves, the Greyhound may take chase!
According to Dog Breed Info, 20% of ex-race dogs will have a strong urge to give chase. But with proper training, Greyhounds are known to be well-behaved on a leash. This dog breed loves going on walks with its owner and also makes a great jogging buddy. They really love being outside!
Greyhound puppies need a lot of exercise. This fact probably comes as no surprise when you consider the Greyhound’s need for speed. It’s very important to make sure they are only allowed to exercise in safe places.
No matter how much training a Greyhound puppy has been through, these dogs might impulsively start chasing the first moving thing they see. Always have your Greyhound on a leash or in a fenced-in area.
Even though adult Greyhounds love nothing more than to lounge around inside, it’s important to get them at least one hour of exercise a day. This can simply be allowing them to prance around a fenced-in yard or bringing them on daily walks. Greyhounds can go for one or two long walks each day, or two or three short walks.
While fast, the Greyhound is a sprinter, not a long-distance runner. If you want to run with your dog, start at just a mile and work your way up. Without conditioning, Greyhounds can get injured if they run for too long or too often. Older Greyhounds might not even want to go on a run. Instead, take them on easygoing walks with plenty of smells and sights. Always carry a water bottle when you bring your dog out on a walk.
Let your Greyhound dog rest for at least an hour after eating. Performing physical exercise before digestion is complete can lead to bloating, which may result in an emergency trip to the vet. Bloating is common in larger dogs, leading to twisted and blocked intestines. If your dog must exercise after a meal, consider a short walk on a leash.
Greyhounds are happiest when they know what is expected of them. You’ll quickly realize that this breed catches onto simple commands quickly. This dog will recognize “sit” and “come” almost immediately, especially when trained as a puppy.
But Greyhounds can be a bit stubborn and independent, meaning you will need a bit more patience to get this dog fully trained. Just remember to never harshly punish your Greyhound. They are sensitive dogs that won’t respond well to negative reactions.
Training Retired Racers
A lot of people adopt Greyhounds as adults. Bringing a retired racer into your home will require specific dog training techniques that help them adapt to family life. Some retired hounds don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a family. They will need time to get used to this new world.
Keep in mind that the Greyhound dog will often freeze when they panic. On the other hand, startled Greyhounds are known to bolt. Remember to train them in a fenced-in yard or with a leash.
As an intelligent dog, Greyhounds are sensitive to your moods. They may become stressed or nervous if they sense that you are upset. Negative actions on your end will frighten this sensitive dog, making them more likely to freeze up.
Your Greyhound will most likely remember negative interactions for a long time. Try not to punish them severely for bad behavior, instead, try encouraging good habits with plenty of treats and praise.
Running as Part of Greyhound Training
Make training approachable by including the Greyhound dog’s natural interests — running. Greyhounds love to chase things, so incorporate that into different training sessions. Make sure you are making yourself your dog’s focal point.
Do something silly or weird! Once your dog is focused on you, give them a reward. That could be throwing a ball or letting them chase that chipmunk. Or, have them race to another part of the yard.
The Greyhound is not a fan of repetition. Once you can’t keep their attention anymore, it’s possible you’ve gone through the same training exercise one too many times. If your Greyhound is doing something correctly, have them do it just a handful of times and move on to the next exercise. If it’s done wrong, go back and try a simpler exercise until they earn a treat.
Rewards are key to your dog’s training success. Always reward good behavior to reinforce it. Just make sure it doesn’t start becoming bribery. Keep the rewards unpredictable so your Greyhound remains on their toes. Training will become a fun game for your dog, and you will notice they want nothing more than to succeed.
Greyhound Health Problems
Greyhounds have a life span of 10 to 14 years with proper care and regular vet visits. This is a relatively healthy breed of dog that can live a long time with the help of a caring family. Always adopt purebred dogs from trusted breeders who can provide health guarantees.
Many people believe that Greyhounds are prone to hypothyroidism, leading owners to put them on treatment plans. But experts discovered this breed’s thyroid levels are naturally lower than most dogs. So, some medications can actually harm them instead of help! It’s important to bring your Greyhound to the vet to get a complete thyroid panel done.
Greyhounds have a high rate of bone cancer, which usually forms in one of their legs. It’s believed to be genetic, although it’s not quite clear why this is so common. Bone cancer is usually fatal, but Greyhounds can survive if the affected leg is amputated.
Another common Greyhound ailment: murmurs. Like other larger canine breeds, the Greyhound has a big heart. This leads to elevated blood pressure. Here are some signs of heart murmurs to look for:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Racing pulse
- Lack of energy and exhaustion
- Excessive panting
- A lot of coughing
If you suspect your Greyhound has a heart murmur, bring them to a veterinary cardiologist for an ultrasound immediately.
Retired racers have health risks that are not common to all Greyhounds. A lot of retired racers will have severe dental problems. They will need their teeth cleaned under anesthesia at a veterinarian’s office immediately if the problem hasn’t already been addressed.
How to Care for a Greyhound
Greyhounds can get cold easily due to their lack of body fat. You will notice them curling up in a ball in an attempt to stay warm in the colder months. Provide them with a designated blanket, allowing them to stay warm while cuddling in their dog bed.
On colder days, you should also give them a coat to wear during walks. Their skin is very thin, making it easier for them to become cold. Their thin skin can also lead to cuts and other injuries, so be aware of sharp objects in the home.
Something that may surprise some dog enthusiasts is the Greyhound’s tendency to sleep with their eyes open. This can make it difficult to know if they are sleeping or not. Since Greyhound dogs can be easily startled, just approach them gently and quietly if you’re not sure.
The Greyhound thrives in outdoor spaces. Giving them walks will always make them happy, but if you want to see a Greyhound at its happiest, watch them run around a fenced-in yard. Keep in mind Greyhounds can jump very high, sometimes up to six feet!
You’ll notice your Greyhound becoming hyper when they run back and forth around your living room or bedroom. Let them out and watch them bolt around your yard! Sometimes it will even seem like they are charging right at you — which is scary at their speed — but they will always turn at the last second!
Another great source of entertainment for Greyhounds are toys. Unfortunately, most toys will be chewed up in a matter of days. Still, toys are a great way to save your shoes and furniture from a Greyhound’s chewing habit. Some Greyhounds will even chew doors and cabinets. Providing them with toys that keep their attention will ensure your furniture and doors are safe.
Nutrition and Feeding for Greyhound
Like most dogs, Greyhounds love to eat! But Greyhounds are prone to bloating. To avoid this serious complication, feed your Greyhound two or three small meals throughout the day rather than one.
You may want to utilize an automatic feeder that feeds them at the same time every day. Once they have eaten, allow them time to rest. Exercise after a meal may lead to bloating.
The Greyhound is a tall breed of dog. If possible, have them eat out of a raised food and water dish. This will ensure they don’t get hurt or injured from bending over every time they eat.
Greyhounds can be a bit sensitive. Provide them with food devoid of drugs and insecticides.
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Coat Color And Grooming
Greyhounds have 18 recognized coat colors. They can be black, brindle, fawn, red, white, or even a combination of these colors. The most common Greyhound coat is brindle, which is tan or brown with black striping.
Other popular coat colors are black and red. You’ll even see Greyhounds with white coats covered in small spots, called “ticking.” It’s rare, but you might even see a Greyhound with a gray coat.
Because of their short, smooth coat, Greyhounds are easy to groom. Simply brush them weekly with a hound mitt or brush. This will remove their dead hair and distribute skin oils, keeping their coat shiny and healthy. It will also reduce shedding. Brushing ensures that fur doesn’t envelope your floor, clothing, and furniture. Without an undercoat, you will notice that Greyhounds don’t smell as bad as fluffier dogs.
Greyhounds need basic care that all dogs require. This includes trimming their nails every few weeks. Greyhounds are sensitive when it comes to handling their feet, so always be very careful and gentle. If you hurt them in the process, they may act out when you attempt to trim their nails in the future.
The Greyhound is known to develop periodontal disease. Aside from annual cleanings at the vet, you will need to brush their teeth to keep them free of dental problems.
Children And Other Pets
Greyhounds are often raised along with other Greyhounds, especially ones that grew up racing. But sometimes, people are concerned that Greyhounds might not be the best fit for homes with small dogs and cats due to their powerful urge to chase. But most Greyhounds can live quite harmoniously with other pets, no matter the size. You can often find them cuddling with cats, small dogs, and even bunnies. It’s all about the proper socialization of your dog at a young age.
Keep in mind that this friendship can only be completely safe indoors. Some Greyhounds might give chase if they are in the backyard with other pets. The Greyhounds with a tendency to chase — even inside — should be put in homes without other animals.
The friendly and reserved Greyhound is also a great companion to family members of all ages, including children. But, it’s very important to supervise their interactions. Greyhounds are not a fan of roughhousing and can get fed up with children who pull on their tail, scream, or get too aggressive. Some breeders will not adopt Greyhounds to families who have children under four years old.
Most racing Greyhounds are ready to retire at four years old. Some are even up for adoption at two or three years old. Because of their short career, Greyhounds are always in need of homes. Consequently, there are a ton of Greyhound rescue groups focused on taking former racing dogs and placing them in loving homes.
- National Greyhound Foundation: Greyhound racing has been banned in Florida, and all tracks closed at the end of 2020. This means thousands of Greyhounds need homes. NGF focuses on Greyhounds with special needs who may be harder to place.
- GreySave: This Southern California rescue focuses on finding homes for Greyhounds from the Caliente racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico. They also help Greyhounds in local animal shelters.
- Hound Savers: This organization finds homes for Greyhounds and Greyhound mixes from the tracks. They have 3.5 acres of land for Greyhounds to freely explore and exercise while waiting for a forever home.
- Fast Friends: Fast Friends is one of the few rescues that place Greyhounds in foster homes. This gives Greyhounds the chance to experience family life for the first time, preparing them for a family post-racing.
- The Greyhound Project: This non-profit gives Greyhounds a home and also provides information through their magazine, Celebrating Greyhounds.
The National Greyhound Association not only helps families find Greyhounds from trusted breeders but provides meetups for current Greyhound owners. The National Greyhound Association states that it’s “devoted to the welfare and stewardship of the breed.” You can also find out more about Greyhound racing and see some videos of past races.
The Greyhound Club of America is the national breed club for Greyhounds within the American Kennel Club. It provides education on this unique breed, as well as bringing members together for various events. This includes agility, obedience, dog shows, and just good old fashion get-togethers.
More About This Dog Breed
Greyhounds can run up to 45 miles per hour! It’s no wonder people love watching them race, whether it’s on a track or just in their backyard.
The Greyhound is one of the oldest purebred dogs in the world. The first records of this breed appeared about 8,000 years ago during the time of the Pharaohs in Egypt. They were actually revered as gods, meaning only royalty had this interesting dog by their side. The Greyhound is the only breed of dog mentioned by name in the Bible. First bred for hunting, people started to see entertainment potential as well.
Greyhound dog racing is an organized, competitive sport. Greyhounds will usually race around an oval track using an artificial lure to encourage them. Greyhounds will usually race twice a week, doing either a spring race (550 yards) or a distance race (usually 660 yards). It’s become quite common to bet on Greyhound racing, especially in Australia, Macau, Mexico, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In these countries, it’s viewed quite similarly to horse racing, with people betting on the outcome.
However, many animal rights and animal welfare groups are critical of commercial racing. This backlash has led to the formation of many Greyhound adoption rescues and movements, getting over 95% of the retired dogs in the United States into forever homes.
The Greyhound is a classic breed, many refer to it as a dog like no other. Often described as a big cat, you’ll find this dog happily lounging on the bed or couch throughout the day — sometimes even sleeping with their eyes open! Despite their speedy past, the Greyhound is content going on walks or racing around a fenced-in backyard, making them perfect for any family who wants to spend outdoor time with their dog. Independent, intelligent, kind, and shy, it’s no wonder that rescue groups have no trouble finding homes for these special pets.