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Many people are curious to know what Greyhounds are like. They may only know the breed from a glimpse of the dogs on the racetrack. Greyhounds are wonderful pets, and once in the home, their personalities blossom. Here are a few things you should know before you adopt a Greyhound.

Basic Facts

  • Most Greyhounds are 2-5 years old when they retire from racing. Occasionally, younger or older Greyhounds may be up for adoption.
  • Greyhounds typically weigh 50-75 lbs, but some Greyhounds may be larger or smaller. Females are usually smaller than males.
  • The average lifespan of a Greyhound is 12-15 years, so you can look forward to many years together after adoption.
  • With a shorter, less oily coat than most dog breeds, Greyhounds require minimal grooming, and are sometimes a good match for people with allergies.
  • Greyhounds are quiet! Many Greyhounds bark very little or not at all.
  • Have a favorite color? Greyhounds come in almost every color imaginable. There are 18 colors officially recognized by the National Greyhound Association, with countless variations of each one.

Greyhounds at Home

  • Greyhounds are bred to be sprinters, and require little exercise compared to other dog breeds. They prefer to spend most of their day asleep in bed.
  • Although large, Greyhounds make good apartment dogs. They're popularly known as 45 mph couch potatoes, and their gentle nature and low exercise needs mean they can adapt well to apartment living.
  • Greyhounds are affectionate, sensitive dogs who bond closely with their owners. Many do well as family dogs, though some prefer a quiet home without children or other pets. We evaluate our Greyhounds' behavior and personalities to help make the best possible match between our dogs and our adopters.
  • Though bred to hunt small game, Greyhounds can do well in a home with small animals. Our Greyhounds need to pass a test to help us determine if they are small animal safe before we place them in a home with cats, small dogs, or other small pets. Some Greyhounds may have what is called a high prey drive, and these dogs cannot live in a home with small pets. If you have small pets in the home, please let us help you select a small animal safe Greyhound.
  • Greyhounds spend much of their downtime at the racetrack in a large crate, and many Greyhounds enjoy having access to a crate at home. Crates can be a wonderful way to give your Greyhound a safe place all their own to sleep while you're away, or just when they need a little "me" time.
  • House training your Greyhound is usually easy. If you Greyhound has been fostered in a home, she may already be house-trained! Greyhounds who are crate trained often learn house training within a week or two.
  • Most of our Greyhounds have been raised to live life at the racetrack, and retirement can be a culture shock for them. Your new Greyhound may need help learning how to navigate stairs, tile or hardwood floors, and glass doors. Your Greyhound may also seem withdrawn or confused at first while acclimating to the new environment. It's best to bring your Greyhound home when you'll be able to stay with him for a few days, to help guide and reassure him.
  • If your Greyhound doesn't play at first, don't worry. She's trying to make sense of all of the new sights and smells, and the new routine. We are here every step of the way to help if you need someone to talk to or answer questions.

Keeping Your Greyhound Safe

  • Sighthounds are different from other dog breeds inside and out. Their metabolism and anatomy are unique, and you should be sure to choose a veterinarian who is familiar with Greyhounds' particular needs. Your vet should be familiar with Greyhound blood values and anesthesia sensitivities. More information on Greyhound health can be found at the Greyhound Health Initiative.
  • With thin coats, thin skin, and very little body fat, Greyhounds can become cold easily. Your Greyhound will probably appreciate having a warm coat for the winter (we have polar fleece coats we can send home with you), and may even be happy to wear booties to protect his feet from ice and road salt.
  • Because of their thin skin, Greyhounds can be injured very easily when playing with other dogs. This is why you will often see Greyhounds wearing muzzles when in groups. They aren't being mean to each other. Many owners find that it's just too easy for a tooth to snag on delicate skin during roughhousing to take a chance!
  • Like all sighthounds, Greyhounds are fast. They respond to movement, and may bolt when they see something that looks like prey. They are also notoriously bad at finding their way home again. For these reasons, Greyhounds should NEVER be allowed off leash outside unless in a securely fenced area.
  • Greyhounds CANNOT be left on a tether outside. They can reach speeds of 45 mph in three steps, and tying them outside puts them at risk of severe injury or even death from broken bones. If you plan to let your Greyhound roam outdoors, please only do so in a fenced area, for their safety.
  • Invisible fences are NOT RECOMMENDED for Greyhounds. Many Greyhounds will run straight through the boundary after a squirrel or a rabbit, and invisible fences don't protect your Greyhound from strange people or dogs entering the yard. The shock collars used to train invisible fence boundaries can also be extremely painful for Greyhounds because of their thin skin and coats.
  • Martingale collars and properly fitted harnesses are the best way to keep your Greyhound safe and secure on leashed walks. These are hard for Greyhounds, with their narrow heads, to slip out of. A regular collar will come right off over their heads.