Q - Aren't greyhounds "hyper"?
A - Quite the opposite. Being that
Greyhounds have been breed for millennia to give a quick burst of blinding
speed, they really have very little stamina and don't need much activity to
be happy. Think of that fast cat, the Cheetah. The Cheetah can run for only a
short distance at 60mph, and spends the rest of the day lounging around.
It's the same with Greyhounds, only they tend to lounge around whether they
get any exercise that day or not! That's why they're nicknamed "45 m.p.h.
Q - Do I need a huge, fenced yard?
A - A fenced yard is ideal, of course,
mainly as a convenience for the owner who otherwise has to walk the dog on a
leash 4 or
more times a day. But it is not absolutely necessary if you are committed to
dog walking and understand that Greyhounds can not, under any
circumstances, be let off leash unless in a securely fenced area. As for
exercise requirements, many Greyhounds would be happy if their only exertion
was to go from the couch to the food dish, but regular walks and the
occasional run in a fenced field are recommended for their health. They do
love to run when given the opportunity, and it's breathtaking to see. PSGA
requires fences when there are children in the home under the age of 10.
Fences must be a minimum of 4 feet in height.
Q - Aren't they "wild" when they
come off the track?
A - Absolutely not. The trainers are
sure to handle and socialize the dogs from a very early age - it makes them
easier to deal with on a day to day basis. Greyhounds are very attached to
their people and will happily accept as much attention and affection as they
can get. The term "Velcro Dog" is often applied to Greyhounds fresh from the
track. They never want to let you out of their sight! Because they've spent
their lives in the constant company of 40 or so Greyhounds, they tend to
have good doggy social skills too!
Q - Why are they so skinny? Will
they ever fatten up and look "normal"?
A - Once again, those 8,000 years of
breeding come into it. Greyhounds are made for two things - hunting and
running very, very fast. Therefore they have excellent eyesight (full focus
at 1/2 mile) and a body that has eliminated all attributes not needed for speed. One of the
unnecessary attributes is fat. Greyhounds have hardly any body fat, and
that's the way they're meant to be. At their ideal weight the back 3 ribs
should still be visible and a slight protrusion of the hipbones is evident,
though the spine should not appear as a bony ridge. The sleek, streamlined
shape and defined muscles of a healthy Greyhound are evidence of his/her
highly specialized nature and should be admired!
Are Greyhounds good with children?
This is a bit of a "hot-button" issue. It's
impossible to make a blanket statement and say that ex-racers are good with
children, but it's hard to say they're not because there are many families
with kids and Greyhounds doing just fine. Our experience here
at PSGA is that families with very young children (under 7 or 8) should probably
consider adopting a more goofy, uncomplicated dog such as a retriever, or
else wait to adopt a Greyhound until the children are older and can
understand how to respect the dog's space. Greyhounds have opinions and
aren't afraid to express them, especially toward a little person that they
do not perceive as an authority figure. If a child is annoying them
it's not uncommon to hear a growl or a bark, and if that's not respected (or
corrected by an adult) then it can progress to a snap. Annoyances
can range from physical pain (tail pulling, eye poking) to just bothering
them while they're resting. Serious bites are extremely rare, but
most parents understandably won't accept a large dog growling at their
child(ren), and the #1 reason for returns is the child factor. Greyhounds
can be tolerant of kids, but they are rarely, if ever, a "kid's
Q - How old are the retired racers?
A - Greyhounds recently retired from
racing are usually 2 to 5 years old. The younger dogs may not have
run well, may have been injured, or may have belonged to a kennel that's
closed - for the season or permanently. Many of the older dogs are retired because
they're just no longer fast enough to keep up with the youngsters. Considering that the
average life expectancy is 12
to 14 years, a retired Greyhound could be with you for a long time. We also
sometimes have to find new homes for previously adopted dogs who have been
displaced for a variety of reasons.
Q - Are there any health problems
specific to ex-racers that I should be concerned about?
A - Racing Greyhounds are a
healthy breed. Genetic problems such as hip dysplasia are almost unheard of,
because a racer who is physically inferior simply won't be bred. Only the
best of the best are allowed to produce puppies! The most common health
issues particular to racing Greyhounds: Tick-borne diseases and worms (all
curable with proper medication), racing injuries resulting in arthritis or
tendonitis in their later years, and the soft diet
that the dogs are fed during their racing life can result in teeth that are
old before their time. Also, Greyhounds have delicate skin and tend to
"tear" more easily from sharp objects than most dogs.
Cancer is no more common in Greyhounds
than any other breed, but they do tend toward bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
from which long-term survival is rare.
Ready to start the adoption process?
For more information or
other questions, please contact a PSGA