When considering the adoption of any dog, it is only responsible to find out as much as you can about that breed to see if it is truly the right fit for you! There are several good books out there on adopting a retired racing greyhound. Here is a quick list of the breed’s characteristics:
Breed Temperament: Greyhounds are gentle and affectionate dogs. They also tend to be very quiet and not given to barking. Because of their friendly nature, they do not make good watchdogs or guard dogs. Contrary to popular myth, retired racing greyhounds are not “aggressive” or “hyper”. They have short bursts of energy and then tend to sleep the rest of the time, giving them the moniker of “45 MPH couch potato”! Because of this, they make the ideal breed for the older person and apartment dweller. Some greyhounds are more “keen” than others, and look towards small dogs and cats as prey. Many others enjoy their smaller canine and feline companions, living peacefully together! Be sure to fill out your adoption application completely with all your pets listed, so GO can match you with the perfect grey for you!
Grooming & Coat Care: Greyhounds have short coats and need very little grooming. They tend to be a good dog for people with allergies (especially the darker coated greyhounds, which generally have an even harder and smoother coat and shed less than the fawn and white guys). Because of their short hair and little body fat, greyhounds must wear coats in the winter to protect themselves from the cold.
Exercise: Greyhounds require less exercise than most breeds their size. A few walks per week or a romp in a fenced area will satisfy most greyhounds.
Adaptability: Before going to their forever homes, greyhounds coming from the track are put into special GO foster homes, where they learn to navigate stairs and are acclimated to the real world and sounds of a household! They are an intelligent breed quick to learn these new skills. Greyhounds are tested to see whether they tolerate cats, other dogs, and small children. Incoming applications are matched to dogs in foster care or those coming up from Florida. If you have any questions, contact your GO representative!
Age at Retirement: Average retirement age is between 2-5 years old. Sometimes younger dogs that show no inclination to race retire out of training even earlier, before setting foot on the track. On the other side of the spectrum, brood matrons and studs also need homes when they are too old to safely produce puppies anymore, usually between 9-11 years old.
Life Expectancy: Greyhounds are quite healthy as a breed and can live into their teens.
Special Characteristics: Greyhounds are sight hounds, and will chase rabbits, squirrels, cars, kids, bikes–anything that moves! It is ESSENTIAL they ALWAYS be kept on leash or in a securely fenced area. Due to their natural instinct to chase it is ESSENTIAL that they NEVER be “tied out”. They could easily break their necks. Greyhounds are also very sensitive to chemicals, so no traditional flea baths, dips, or generic flea treatments for them! Be sure to use gentle and/or herbal shampoos and safe, vet-recommended flea treatments, such as Frontline or Advantage. Greyhounds are also sensitive to anesthesia–GO will provide you information to give to your vet, if they are not greyhound-savvy.