Are you thinking about adopting a new dog. Have you thought about a Greyhound? Do Greyhound make good pets? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” More here on adoption.
What are Greyhounds?
These are fairly large dogs with the males weighing between 65 and 80 pounds and the females 50 to 65 pounds. They stand between 27 and 30 inches tall. Greyhounds are considered “sight hounds” which means they were bred primarily to hunt by sight and speed rather than scent and endurance as with “scent hounds.” They are descended from southern wolf strains and are related to Afghans and Salukis. They work cooperatively with other hounds to develop hunting strategies.
They are also the fastest dogs on earth and can reach speeds of 45 MPH in six strides! I don’t think even a muscle car can do that! They possess long, powerful legs, a deep chest, flexible spine and a long, lean body.
They have short fur and also come in approximately 30 recognized color forms which include white, brindle, black, fawn and gray. Furthermore, they are dolichocephalic which means that their skull is relatively long compared to its breadth with an elongated muzzle. Greyhounds shed very little and have very little odor, even when wet.
Greyhounds possess keen eyesight. As a matter of fact, they have a 270 degree field of vision and can see objects up to a half mile away. Additionally, they have excellent hearing and sense of smell.
Although Greyhounds were principally bred as hunting dogs, during the 1920s, modern Greyhound racing started in the United States. It was introduced in England in 1926 and Northern Ireland in 1927.
We at Poocharama are very against the practice of Greyhound racing. This is because there has been evidence of systemic cruelty in this industry. This includes the killing of these wonderful animals when they are no longer able to race and the killing of puppies that are deemed unfit to race. As a matter of fact, some actually die while racing. Greyhounds that are bred for racing live their lives on a breeding farm. The cruelty of Greyhound racing is a whole subject onto itself so I will not elaborate further.
Greyhounds possess superior intelligence. Furthermore, they are sweet, calm, clean and gentle. They are usually unobtrusive, polite and they seldom bark. However, they often vocalize. They grumble, growl, yodel and whimper in order to communicate. On a funny note, they show their teeth as a smile. This is one of their common traits.
Greyhounds are typically not biters. They sometimes show affection by licking your hand, leaning against you or rubbing like a cat.
Contrary to popular belief, these are not high-energy dogs. In fact, they are rather the opposite. They are the ultimate “couch potato” and will snooze up to 18 hours per day (What a life!) They need daily walks and a weekly run. Although they are bred as sprinters, you can teach them to run alongside you while you jog.
When you are adopting a former racing Greyhound, remember that they have led a very sheltered, regimented life and their new life with you is a “rebirth.” Even though most of these dogs are over two yeas old, they haven’t been exposed to daily sights and sounds that are found in your home and surroundings. Thus, car rides, televisions, children and street noises will all be foreign to them. As a result they will be curious and perhaps a bit frightened in their new lives. They will need time to adjust to their new surroundings. However, with patience and love, they will.
As mentioned, Greyhounds are very clean dogs. Having lived in a kennel environment, they don’t like to soil their sleeping area and wait until they are outside to do their business. However, when first bringing your new Greyhound home, you should treat him in the same way you would a puppy by taking him outside every couple hours for the first week or so.
Greyhounds with other animals
Greyhounds love to run and chase things. A Greyhound who gets along well with another pet such as a cat may change when outdoors. Remember, these are sight hounds with a chase instinct. You cannot breed this out of them and no amount of obedience training will help. Therefore, when outside, they must always be on a leash.
Like all breeds, some Greyhounds are more compatible with some types of animals than others. Many will learn to accept other pets if introduced carefully and slowly. You must carefully supervise these interactions and you should always do it with a lead and muzzle on the dog. Greyhounds will generally get along with other dogs but here again, you need to supervise introductions.
Greyhounds with children
They get along great with children who know how to respect them. The nature of the Greyhound is one of acceptance and tolerance. However, they are not fond of being around children who are loud and boisterous. Furthermore, they don’t like “rough and tumble” play. It’s important to note that some Greyhounds will view children as a “pack member” instead of a small human and may vie for dominance or the attention of an adult human.
If you have children, it’s important that you reinforce appropriate behavior with them. For example, instruct them never to disturb a sleeping dog, an eating dog, pull their ears or poke them.
Greyhound health and maintenance
Greyhounds are generally healthy and live as much as 15 years. In comparison to other breeds, they have minimal health problems. Genetic disorders like hip dysplasia are rare in this breed. Tick-borne diseases can affect them because of their travels as racing dogs. Other ailments you will find in this breed are minor digestion conditions, bloat and Pannus (an eye condition you can easily control with daily eye drops).
However, they have unique needs when it comes to veterinary care such as unusual red blood cell and platelet levels and sensitivity to certain types of anesthesia. It’s a good strategy to find a veterinarian who has experience with Greyhounds and understands their unique health needs.
Greyhounds have very little body fat. In fact, it’s less than half of other breeds. Also, their skin is thin and their hair short. Thus, they are very sensitive to heat and cold. During cold weather, they are comfortable wearing a fleece coat. Even during the spring and summer months, you should provide them with a light jacket. You must never keep a Greyhound in an outside dog house because of their cold sensitivity.
I don’t own a Greyhound but on several occasions I have encountered them, either on the street or at my local pet supply store where adoption agencies have brought a group of them to show. In all cases, they have been gentle, quiet and affectionate. I absolutely love these dogs and have been thinking about adopting one or two myself. So, do Greyhounds make good pets? Yes!
We love comments so please leave yours below. If you have a Greyhound or know anyone who does, be sure to tell us about your experiences with these lovely animals!