Is Adopting a Greyhound Right for You?

Photo by Kevin Lowery | www.kevinlowery.com

Photo by Kevin Lowery | www.kevinlowery.com

As an experienced Greyhound owner, I will be the first to tell you that there is a lot to celebrate about this breed. My Greyhound, Figs Kazaam (Kazzy), was a beautiful, brindle fellow that lived with us from his 5th through 9th year. His untimely death from bone cancer was heart wrenching. However, his ability to overcome his fear of anything novel along with his sweet disposition will forever stay with us.

Most people have heard the adage, Greyhounds are giant couch potatoes. I can attest that there is a lot of truth to this statement. This breed doesn’t require the amount of exercise that many assume it would. They are sprinters on the track, not long distance runners, and that makes all the difference. A couple of outings a day, perhaps to run at an enclosed park or a long walk around the neighborhood, is plenty of exercise for most of these dogs. When they use the term “retired Greyhound”, they mean it!

These are large dogs. Their height is usually somewhere between 25 to 30 inches and they weigh in between 50 and 85 pounds. They take up quite a bit of space in the house. Our rescue group brought a Greyhound out to our house in order to show us just what we were signing up for. That was a really good idea. My husband and I were both taken aback at the size of these dogs.

Greyhounds are typically crate trained but not house trained. This requires a bit of basic potty training in the beginning, but most pick it up pretty quickly. Greyhounds have a very limited understanding of how the outside world works. Their life was spent at the track. Experiences with different types of flooring, staircases, swimming pools (they will walk right into one…not understanding the boundary), young children, and a lot of quick changes in the environment can be unsettling for them. Don’t assume that they have been exposed to the daily trappings in a home. Most adjust just fine. Just take is slowly…and help them learn to love new (novel) items and experiences.

Physically speaking, they don’t have much fat on their body and can be susceptible to cold or excessive heat. They should never be kept as an “outside” dog and most organizations require that they be kept inside. There are collars made specifically for a Greyhound (wide martingales). However, harnesses work well. They should never wear any type of prong, choke, or e collar. (Of course no dog should ever have these on anyway!).

Some of the rescue groups may have restrictions with regards to potential adopters. There are groups that may not allow adoptions to homes with small children or cats. Others take each situation individually and on a case by case basis.   There is usually an adoption fee which pays for any shots, spaying or neutering, and a dental cleaning. Their teeth often need a bit of help due to the soft diet they are fed on the track.

Once adopted, it may take a bit of time to readjust their schedule. Greyhounds usually get up at the crack of dawn…..so unless you are quite the early bird, you may need to push their morning wake up time back. If they have been in a good foster program, then a lot of these issues may be resolved by the time adoption occurs.

The Greyhound will always hold a special place in my heart. They are a regal, gentle, loving breed. While built for speed, their true gift is their ability to segue from athlete into loving companion and perfect pet!


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Positively Expert: Amy Weeks

Amy Weeks, M.A. (VSPDT, CPDT-KA, CAP-1, CGC Evaluator, Family Pet Paws Presenter) is owner of “Amy’s Canine Kindergarten”, a dog training company based out of Tampa, Florida which provides in-home and group training as well as bite prevention presentations.


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  • Virginia Smith

    I adopted a 10 y/o brindle greyhound named Howler. I was his second home so I didn't have the adjustment issues. He was the sweetest, goofiest guy. Sometimes he would do silly things just to make me laugh. I only had him a couple of years, but I'd do it all again.

  • Rhonda

    The first paragraph describes my experience with my Greyhound, Andy. The only difference was that I adopted him when he was 2 1/2. He succumbed to bone cancer 7 years later. He was just a wonderfully sweet, friendly and loving dog. Gone way too son.

  • murray

    My next dog will be a greyhound. It won't be for several years because my two pups are only seven yrs old but I fell in love with greys a few years back.

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