ADOPTING A RETIRED GREYHOUND
Greyhounds are one of the most unique looking dog breeds out there. Their soulful eyes and long bodies are more deer-like than dog, and for good reason! Greyhounds are built for speed. They’re the champion sprinters in dogdom, and everything in their DNA tells them to run.
Beyond their physicality, they’re very sweet dogs too. Gentle in nature and very good-tempered, Greyhounds are beloved by many. They’re bred to race, and when they’re retired, they’re content to cuddle and nap their day away. Many retired Greyhounds are sadly put up for adoption once they can’t run anymore. So, we want to help those poor doggos and outline just how you can adopt a retired greyhound, and what to expect when you do.
All About Greyhounds
Here are the first three things you need to know about Greyhounds:
- They’re fast
- They will take off
- They need a FENCED yard
The Greyhound is a sighthound, which means they chase game (prey) based on their sight instead of by scent. If they see something they want, they will take off after it — retired or not! That’s why leashes or harnesses, and tall fences are a requirement. After all, good luck catching this sprinter on foot — Greyhounds clock in at 35 mph!
When they’re not sprinting, they’re likely napping or cuddling up next to their owner. They love affection and are very gentle when asking for it. Some are more independent than others and just prefer to come to you when they need them, while others demand cuddles and naps right then and now.
When they’re not hunting or running for the sheer joy of it, Greyhounds are gentle and docile. They’re social and can be enormously charming. Some have said they’re the “cats of the dog world” because they’re so elegant, lazy, and aloof.
If you’ve ever seen a Greyhound with a muzzle on it’s face, don’t panic. That doesn’t mean they’re a mean dog breed. During a race, the dogs kick up a lot of dirt and rocks, which can hurt their nose and eyes very easily. Without a muzzle, the dog wouldn’t be able to run safely.
So the muzzle isn’t a bite or bark deterrent, it’s for their protection. In fact, Greyhounds are notoriously quiet breeds. They usually only bark when they need to tell you something, like if they have to go outside.
What About Retired Greyhounds?
There are certainly misconceptions about what retired Greyhounds are like. They’re not bursting with energy and running all over the house 24/7. It’s usually quite the opposite, actually.
Greyhounds are incredibly adaptable dogs who adjust well to household living and make fantastic family pets. They are notorious couch potatoes who enjoy a good nap with their humans as much as a run around the backyard — they don’t often get riled up by that either!!
They do well in apartments, and don’t require any more exercise than other dogs of the same size. Even though they’re retired though, they do need exercise and will still chase anything that chases their eye — assuming they’re not content on the couch, that is.
Are they Good with Families?
Yes and no. Greyhounds are usually quiet, gentle, docile, and compliant. If you’re looking for a watchdog, choose another breed. They blend well into families with well-mannered children. However, retired Greyhounds aren’t normally socialized to be around other dog breeds or animals. We don’t recommend introducing a Greyhound to your family if you have other, smaller pets. They are hunting dogs and will more than likely view them as prey at first.
A lot of them also never had the opportunity to be a puppy. They may need to act out some puppy behavior, like chewing, which they typically quickly outgrow. They are anxious to please and can be trained to standard obedience commands with patience and consistency.
Most Greyhounds do not know how to sit, climb stairs, or play games either, only because they have not yet learned. This is not neglect from their past owner! Retired Greyhounds were bred for a specific purpose — racing — and they love doing it. It just means they didn’t have a typical life as a normal pet. It’s not a sad thing, it’s just a new thing!
Greyhounds have a short and light coat. They shed lightly, but they do shed. Regular brushing will keep their loose fur down to a minimum.
It’s important to keep them inside a lot too. They’re Not suited to handle the cold because they have no fat layer on their body. They are literally all muscle. Because of this, they also need soft and padded areas to lay down, as hard surfaces hurt their joints.
Good news! Retired racers are free of many of the inherited ailments that plague other breeds. For example, hip dysplasia is virtually unheard of among Greyhounds. Their average life expectancy is longer than that of most large breeds — 12 years or more.
If they were injured during a race, it was likely their face, or joints. Elbow, ankle/wrist, and knee braces are often used to support their legs if this is the case.
Where (And How) to Adopt a Retired Greyhound
If all of this sounds like a Greyhound is right for you, then there are many organizations you can turn to in order to adopt one. These include national organizations, such as:
- The Greyhound Racing Project
- Grey2K USA Worldwide
- Heartland Greyhound Adoption
- Greyhound Pets of America
For a list of Greyhound adoption organizations by state, visit the National Greyhound Association’s adoption page.