Greyhound facts

Frequently asked questions

What qualities make a racing greyhound a good pet?
They are loyal, friendly, funny, affectionate, gentle, quiet, clean, loving, sensitive, trusting, good natured and generally very lazy.
What’s the most important criteria in adopting a greyhound?
We strive to match the right dog with the right family. Providing pertinent truthful information about your lifestyle and family make-up, answering questions regarding pets, children, etc, is extremely important in helping us find the right greyhound for you. We happily adopt to almost any situation – our main concern is that you are a responsible caring person who will look after an ex-racing greyhound for life.
How long will it take for an adult greyhound to get to like his adopter?
Greyhounds are generally very friendly and thrive on human companionship. Bonding is usually established within a few days, and getting used to a new environment and routine may take a few weeks. The older dogs tend to be better mannered from the start, while the younger dogs are generally more curious and active. Some dogs are naturally nervous and may take longer but usually a dog is at home within days.
Is a racing greyhound difficult to housetrain?
At the kennels, greyhounds are accustomed to being let out of their kennels several times a day to relieve themselves and explore the paddocks. Because of this, a similar routine in a new home makes housetraining relatively easy. Initially it is a good idea to take them out every hour and immediately after meals or sleep. When the adopter employs patience and common sense, the greyhound’s natural cleanliness will assist in the process. If you work for a full day then – like any other dog – it would be a good idea to have someone come to let the dog out at lunchtimes. Alternatively, a companion animal can stop the dog becoming lonely. The companion animal doesn’t have to be a dog – but I’d recommend another greyhound as they look better! A dog door opening onto an enclosed garden or yard can also be used.
What ages are available and what is the life expectancy?
Most are between two and five years of age, but they can range from 12 months to 12 years!. The adaptable, stable, and loving nature of the greyhound predisposes it for an easy transition to a companion dog regardless of age. Generally, younger dogs will be somewhat more active, and older dogs will be quieter and well mannered. The average life expectancy of a former racer is 12 – 15 years.
What is the size of a greyhound?
Greyhounds normally are between 24 and 29 inches at the shoulder, and weigh between 50 and 80 pounds. Females are usually smaller than males.
What are the colours of a greyhound?
Greyhounds are black, brindle, blue (grey), fawn, white, and a combination of these colours.
How can I find out about my adopted greyhound’s racing career?
The simplest way is to enter your greyhound’s racing name (or eat tattoos) at You can obtain a copy of his racing history by sending a £5 cheque made out to “The Retired Greyhound Trust” to the GBGB, Twyman House, 10 Bonny Street, Camden Town, London NW1 9QD with his earmarks and racing name. Videos of his races, where known, may be obtained from GREYHOUND VIDEOS, 24 Park Lane, South Harrow, Middlesex, HA2 8NB for some stadiums.
Are greyhounds good with children?
If a child becomes overbearing, a greyhound will usually walk away rather than snap or growl. However, every dog has its limits. Greyhounds are gentle by nature, most are fine with children, if the child has been taught respect for animals. Many adoption groups are hesitant to place any breed of dog with young children (usually under fives), unless there are specific assurances that parental supervision over both child and dog will be provided at all times. Children need to give any pet their space, this means keeping away from pets while they are asleep. Calling them to wake them is best.
Are greyhounds good with other dogs?
Greyhounds are friendly by nature and can socialize well as a result of their exposure to other greyhounds at the racing kennel. But they have never seen other shaped dogs. They often need time to adjust to other breeds of dogs, especially small ones. Very “keen” dogs (that is with a high prey drive) may need supervision for a considerable time. Most greyhounds will quickly become accustomed to other breeds. Taking the dog to the local pet socialisation classes will speed the process. Initially it is a good idea to muzzle the greyhound in new situations and introductions until you are completely satisfied that he will react correctly. Also, common sense must be used during the introductory period with regard to food, treats, and toys. All greyhounds are given a muzzle when they go home.
Are racing greyhounds compatible with cats?
Some retired racers are naturally cat safe – these are often very young and normally slow runners. Some retired racers can learn to live harmoniously in a home with a cat quite easily. Others eventually learn, even then the dog is sometimes not safe with cats he meets outside the home. Caution should always be used until all animals are completely comfortable with each other. This can sometimes take several weeks. It is important to follow the instructions given at the time of adoption. Some greyhounds are always “keen” and are not compatible with cats. Completely “cat safe” dogs are sometimes available but are always in demand. A considerable commitment is needed during this time.
Why do greyhounds have to be kept on lead or in a fenced area?
Greyhounds hunt by sight and can see movement hundreds of yards away. Their instinct is to run after what he has seen, mindless of any dangers around him. They are often out of earshot and sight before you realise! Responsible owners never allow their dogs to run loose, regardless of breed, unless the dog always returns immediately when called. They are as reliable as other dogs, of course greyhounds are very fast and can catch most small animals on the run. To start with a muzzle can be worn (they are used to these and this is normal for them) until your greyhound has learnt what is expected. Once your greyhound has become used to you and less keen you may be able to let him off the lead. However greyhounds are used to being walked on the lead and are perfectly happy with this.
Can greyhounds be obedience trained?
Many former racers have earned obedience titles. All training must be done with a light, encouraging hand. Positive reinforcement and food rewards are the best incentives for training. Spending time working with and training your greyhound also help the bonding process, and should be an enjoyable time for both of you. Some greyhounds enjoy agility classes which are also fun. It is also an excellent idea to enrol your new greyhound in socialisation classes as this can shorten the time required for him to be familiar with other breeds under controlled conditions and will give you an idea of how well he is likely to react to full blown obedience courses.
Are greyhounds hyperactive?
No! Really they are very lazy and much prefers lounging about with the family. The greyhound is a sprinter so short bursts of exercise is what they like. Their time at the kennels is spent lazing in their kennel with short trips to the paddock – or sprint schooling – or going to the track for a grading trial or an actual race.
Do greyhounds need a lot of exercise?
They enjoy exercise, but two thirty minutes walks are enough to keep them healthy. Longer walks are always enjoyed. If you intend long jogs or several hours of walking you may need to build up to this just as a person would.
Do females make better pets?
No! Males and females make equally good pets. The females are generally more independent, and the males are somewhat more affectionate. All have their own characters.
Have greyhounds been abused?
Generally speaking the answer is NO! During a dog’s racing career happy fit dogs will race well, whereas ill treated ones won’t run so well. A trip to a race meeting will show you that greyhounds love to run. Most are happy just to have taken part in a race. Some though, are known to sulk if they lose! Under GBGB rules the dogs are examined before and after a race by a vet. This is not to say that abuse never happens – as in all walks of life abuse does happen – but systematic abuse does not. All GBGB training kennels are examined regularly – twice by a vet and once by a racing steward each year so abuse should be picked up. It is obviously against GBGB rules to abuse greyhounds – anyone found doing so could lose their licence for life.
What about switching to home-life?
Many things in your home will be new to your greyhound, such as, stairs, hoover, TV and telephone to name a few. I’ve found with my own greyhounds that going upstairs was fine but coming down was another matter! Commonsense is needed in these situations, putting a lead on your greyhound and guiding downstairs once or twice does the trick. Exposure to new things , gradually, will ease your greyhound into homelife.