Adopting a retired greyhound

Has anyone ever adopted a retired greyhound? I have wanted to adopt a dog for a couple of months now, but don’t want to take the decision lightly. I have gone to the shelter so much, and wanted to bring them all home, but I just can’t know that when I get them home if they’ll be a good fit for me.

From what I’ve read, a retired greyhound would be the perfect dog - not too hyper if given proper exercise, laid-back among children and other pets, willing to curl up on the sofa and let me get my feet warm underneath him/her on the foot of the bed.

If you have a greyhound, I would really appreciate your advise.


Paging Jonathan Chance

Nate has a pair and they’re lovely. Convinced Moi and we need to adopt some when we’re ready. Then we got adopted by three cats and a cairn terrier.

Hey, tdc, long time no see! waves

A friend of mine had one – lovely dog. You do need to make sure they don’t get cold (she had a little coat for hers for bad weather), but other than that they don’t require any unusual care, I don’t think.

My sister has adopted 2 greyhounds. Max was very skittish around men he didn’t know, but once he warmed up to you, he was your friend for life. He lived a good long life with her before cancer got him. Otto is smaller than Max and much friendlier. He’d never been in a house before Sis got him, and learning to go up and down stairs was a challenge. But he’s adapted nicely.

She lives in a row house in East Baltimore, and her back yard is a concrete postage stamp, but she and her roomies can take him walking in Patterson Park, which is only 3 blocks from home. And for as big as he is, he curls up in a little ball to sleep. Frankly, if she could afford it, I think she’d get another, but vet bills for one dog and 2 cats have maxed out her budget.

Anyway, I would recommend you find a local greyhound rescue group and talk to them, meet the dogs, get an up-close and personal look, then decide.

Some friends of mine adopted 2 greyhounds, and they’ve been great.

One thing that you should be aware of is that racing greyhounds are often poorly socialized and haven’t had much of a chance to be puppies. For both of my friends’ dogs, this meant that as adults they went through a second “puppy” phase - with hyperactivity, obsessive chewing, and the like. However, they quickly settled down and became obedient and friendly dogs.

I don’t know if this is common, but the greyhound I knew best wasn’t very good at playing with other dogs. She was friendly, but in her mind any positive interaction led to “Let’s race!!!”. Someone’s ankle-high lapdog would approach her, they would sniff noses, and she’d be ready to race the little fluffball. She always looked so confused when the other dogs wouldn’t keep up.

However, she was a delight to be around and grace personified. Go for it.

Lady Chance and I have had retired racers since 1994 or thereabouts. That’s a lot of sleepy dogs, frankly! We have also spent quite a bit of time doing greyhound events, placement work, and educational shows.

I have found retired greyhounds to be excellent house dogs. It’s a myth that they need a lot of exercise. Mostly they like to hang around the house and kick back. They’re capable, though, when they’re young, of astounding physical acts. It’s a treat to see.

Ours have been good with our cats as well as other dogs and our then small and now bigger children. We’ve never had an agression problem or even growling. These are dogs that have been trained, from the minute they’re born, to do anything a human says, regardless. The only one I’ve known who was a little skittish and prone to biting or nipping had been pretty severely abused by a prior owner and was still recovering from that.

I’d be glad to answer any other questions you have, either here or via private message. Spreading the word is part of the gig.

Property of two greyhounds chiming in.

We adopted our first back in '03 and I think this is going to be my breed for life. These guys are mellow, loving, snugglebugs whose greatest character flaw is forgetting that they are not lapdogs. There are a few things to keep in mind getting started, though.

Some problems you may have with an adoptee will depend on whether or not they’ve been exposed to household life before you get a hold of them – if you’re getting a grey more or less right off of the track or out of the kennel, everything about his new home is going to be a completely new experience. Be especially careful about stairs and sliding glass or screen doors. A dog that’s been in foster care for a while should have a much easier time adapting. Also, some greys have a higher prey drive than others, so be sure to let the agency know if you have any cats or pocket pets in your household; my guys are pretty low prey-drive, but even they give the cats that steady look that says they’re thinking about it now and then.

As a breed, greyhounds don’t have that many health issues. Their teeth have a tendency to tarter up pretty badly, so you need to keep on top of that. They are at risk for bloat, but you can lessen the odds of that by not feeding just before or just after exercise and by not letting them bolt down their food. They’re also sensitive to anesthetic, so you’ll want to be sure your vet knows what he’s doing.

On the whole, though, they’re great dogs and easy keepers.

And now the obligatory pictures:



Pretty much what Anduinel said. My parents adopted one, and several of my friends have also. The ones I’ve been around seem almost oddly docile (unless they see a bunny in the back yard), and have made surprisingly good house dogs; perfectly happy to spend the day snoozing on the couch.

All of the above. They’re lovely dogs.

Never had a greyhound, but our neighbor has one she keeps, and supplements her pack by rotating through foster dogs one at a time. So, at any given time, she has Charlie alone or with a temporary buddy.

All of her fosters are track dogs, with varying degrees of familiarity with family life. They’ve all been gentle, careful giants, even-tempered and well-behaved. Some are skittish for a while; even Charlie sometimes moves behind his mom when strangers approach.

The cons as I understand them: greyhounds are physically sensitive. They’re bony and need to sleep on sufficient padding so they don’t get sore, and their skin is comparitively easily torn. They are gazehounds, bred to chase fleeing prey on sight, and not all of them adapt to living with other small animals – greyhounds are generally not killers, but they can go after cats, and of course rabbits and rodents aren’t safe around them. If they DO go for a small pet, they will be fast, of course. But that’s worst-case.

But the ones I’ve seen seem more like deer than dogs, pacing gracefully around the parking lot with our neighbor, stopping to politely touch noses with my friendly little pit bull, and then moving on. They do have a reputation for being relaxed and easygoing in the house.

I’ve seen a few at the dog park playing. It’s interesting that there’s sort of a hierarchy of speed among dog breeds.

There is a little white terrier of some sort who is quite fast despite his short legs. He plays with my pit bull Simone, who is faster than he is when she feels like running, but he’s a lot smarter than she is about the chase, and eludes her by cornering around obstacles. I thought Simone was fast until I saw the German Shorthair Pointers letting it all hang out. But they in turn were blown away by the Hungarian Vislas. Those dogs love to run – they come to the dog park and they just fly up and down the length of it, lean red rockets, and they go at it longer than other breeds.

And where does the greyhound rank in this tale? Sometimes it’s hard to say, because they often just watch the other dogs run as if it’s beneath them to actually do it themselves. Or maybe the dog park isn’t big enough for them to get up to full speed.

One day I saw a Visla running with a mixed pack of other dogs. He was just plain faster then all of them, and enjoying it, pulling away every time after they got close at the turn. He was just a streak as he galloped.

Then a greyhound took an interest in the chase, and pulled up beside the Visla. He was keeping up, but he wasn’t even galloping, just moving in a long, easy, ground-eating lope.

So I can’t tell you how fast greyhounds are from my dog-park experience, because I’ve never seen one have to go flat-out. Partial speed is enough for them to overtake everyone else. :slight_smile:

My brother owned three, and fostered a couple more. They are very elegant looking dogs in person, though I think that they look rather odd in photos. My brother got his from a rescue society. They were all very loving pets, who could not believe their good fortune in being pets, rather than being money making machines. He kept his hounds inside, for the most part, because their coat is so very fine and short that they sunburn very easily, and can’t control their temperature very well. Their activity levels varied, but they all were content to lie on the dog rug (a very well-padded sleeping bag) for most of the day, with a walky every day, and some sprinting around the backyard every day.

Greyhounds are tall enough that even when they’re on all fours, their noses are at countertop level…which means that you should probably keep anything that you don’t want eaten put away.

Mine aren’t that excited about meeting other dogs either – they’re both stand-offish around any dog that doesn’t have a sighthound body type. They’re not aggressive or fearful, just weirdly indifferent, as if there just seems to be a part of them that doesn’t accept that anything non-greyhound, non-cat, or non-person can really be worth playing with. I chalk it up to growing up around nothing but greyhounds and people.

Some of the gazehounds are real snobs. Salukis are like that… to a saluki, there are “other salukis” and there are “lesser beings” :D.
I think you’re right about recognition of body type being the key point. My dog isn’t a sighthound but his breed looks notably different from other breeds. When he sees another one, he lights up in a totally different way.

I think it was mentioned earlier, but another reminder that b/c of lack of body fat, greyhounds and anesthesia don’t mix well. Make sure you have access to a vet that is experienced with the breed - ask around before adopting.

And enjoy! :slight_smile:

For the owners out there, would you say greyhounds would be a good dog for a first-time dog owner? Or do you need to be more experienced?

I would have gotten a greyhound if I didn’t have cats - I decided I’d never feel really safe about it and got a different shelter dog instead. If it weren’t for the cats I’d get a greyhound in a heartbeat, though.

In general, yes. Greys are clean, sensitive, generally quiet, require pretty much the absolute minimum of grooming, and take up surprisingly little space for their size. As mentioned upthread, they do not need a great deal of exercise and they’re FAR less active than most hounds – mine have about thirty seconds of sprint or one long walk in them a day, then they want back on the couch, please. Track life makes them very easy to housebreak and they’re used to being handled by people.

But I can’t stress enough that a potential adopter needs to let the rescue agency know what his situation is and allow them to guide him toward a suitable hound. There’s a night-and-day difference in what an owner will have to cope with between a five-year-old rebound who’s been in foster care and a fourteen-month-old right off of the track. Likewise, if you think the agency you’ve chosen is trying to guilt you into take on more dog than you can handle, ask to meet another hound. Look elsewhere for your adoptee if they persist in trying to sell you on a dog you have reservations about. I haven’t heard of this happening often, but some rescuers can be overzealous in trying to place the dogs in their care and it rarely works out well for the adopter or the dog.

Thank you all so much for the advise! I spoke with the adoption agency today,Greyhound Adoption of Ohio I set up a meeting to go to their facility and play with the dogs.

I did let them know that I have two cats. The cats are used to dogs - I frequently dog-sit my dogs-in-law for weeks at a time when their mom travels for work, and they get along fine, but I am concerned about the ’ high-prey’ things I’ve heard and read. From what the gal at the adoption agency told me, they can match me with a fostered dog that isn’t ‘high-prey,’ and gave me advise as to how to acclimate them all to one another.

This agency seems to be very concerned about the people who want to adopt their dogs, have not pressured me in anyway. They phoned my vet to make sure I’m taking good care of the animals I have now, and insist on a home visit before I can take home a dog. I view this as a great sign that I will be matched with a grey that will be a wonderful addition to our home.

Thanks again for the advise! You guys are great.

I have a question - I was told they can be difficult to house-break since they spend so much time in a kennel - is that true?

My cousin had one. You had to be very careful. He would try to get out of the gate . If he did he was a blur. You could not catch him. He would come back when he was hungry.