Greyhounds are intelligent, sensitive, gentle and sociable dogs, who thrive on human companionship and readily adapt to life as a family pet.
Charli happily 'roaching'
Due to their calm and friendly nature Greyhounds are suitable for people of all ages, including seniors and children, and are wonderful therapy dogs for aged care facilities. Their coat is very soft and fine, and generally with an absence of doggy odour, making them an ideal inside dog.
Coming in all colours, Greyhounds are large, finely built, muscular dogs, standing approximately 62cm to 72cm tall, and weighing between 24 to 35 kilograms. Their normal life span is 12 to 14 years, and because of their low body fat, they tend to feel extremes in temperature.
The Greyhound is a member of the Sighthound group, a breed that hunt mainly by sight, and is capable of reaching speeds of 70 km an hour, being built for sprinting over short distances. Despite this, Greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise to keep them healthy and happy. A small yard with a daily on leash walk of 20-30 minutes is all they need, although they do love a fast "zoomie" at times in a securely fenced area. A typical day for a Greyhound is spent relaxing within sight of its owner, looking as if it is fast asleep, but usually totally aware of what is going on.
Greyhounds are normally very sociable with other dogs, some will even get along well with cats and other small furry pets, but as they are prey driven, it can take them a little time for to learn that "chasing" is no longer acceptable behaviour. They are however, very sensitive to humans, and often a simple verbal reprimand is all that is needed for them to understand what you want them to do.
FAQs - Common questions about Adopting a Greyhound
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Do greyhounds make good pets?
YES! It is surprising how easily a retired Greyhound can come from a kennel to a home and make themselves comfortable! Most dogs adapt very well to life as a companion. Living indoors is new to a greyhound, but they start learning about slippery floors and noisy vacuum cleaners in their foster home, but there you may need to continue assisting them in their new environment when they're adopted.
Whilst Greyhounds aren't usually obedience trained when they come into foster care, they are very well behaved, extremely easy to house-train, and walk exceptionally well on lead. As with any new pet, they will need to be shown your house rules, but normally they do settle in well.
You will know your new Greyhound is settling in once he starts to "cockroach" - rolling onto his back and waving his legs in the air. A Greyhound asleep on his back with one leg in the "flag pole" position is a welcome sight to a new family, as he is happy and feeling safe in his new home.
Are greyhounds fine with children and other animals?
Greyhounds are generally very suitable for homes with children, however, young children (especially under-fives) should never be left to play unsupervised with a dog of any breed and should be taught how to interact properly with their four-legged family member.
Greyhounds sleep many hours a day, and ideally should be provided with a safe and quiet area in which to sleep undisturbed. As with their own nap times, children need to be taught that dogs should not be disturbed during nap time.
Most Greyhounds are very sociable and suitable companions and playmates for other dogs. Some Greyhounds will even be suitable for adoption into homes with cats, although others would be far too excitable to be safe with them. Greyhounds have been bred to chase, and the instinct to chase is strong in some dogs, so the adoption assessment identifies this and re-homes each dog accordingly. All our dogs have been assessed as safe with small dogs and many have spent time in foster care with other dogs and a few have even been fostered with cats.
Do Greyhounds need a lot of exercise?
Definitely not. Most people have only seen Greyhounds as they race around a track chasing a lure. They see Greyhounds as dogs that require a lot of exercise.
However, many people don't realise that Greyhounds are sprinters, not stayers! Yes, they are sighthounds, and bred to run; however Greyhounds generally spend the majority of the day fast asleep on a soft bed and are happy with a short 30 minute walk.
Why is it recommended that greyhounds live as inside dogs?
Greyhounds have low body fat compared to other breeds, and a very short soft coat. Due to this, they feel the cold and heat more than other breeds, and it is important they are protected from the elements. A warm coat and a soft bed inside at night are important to keep your Greyhound comfortable. They can happily spend the day outside in most areas, provided they have a coat or shade and shelter as necessary.
Will my adopted greyhound be toilet trained?
Greyhounds are naturally very clean animals, and will not soil where they eat or sleep. Many racing Greyhounds have only lived in a kennel environment, and are taken out regularly for a toilet break. They do not get to choose when they go, or where they go.
Whilst in foster care, Greyhounds are given lessons in toilet training, similar to training a young puppy, so when you adopt your Greyhound they have the basics, but it may still be a work in progress. Be patient, as when the situation changes, your Greyhound has to work out the new rules.
The best way to "explain" what is expected is to have a regular time to take your dog outside. First thing in the morning, after meals, before bed are perfect times. In a racing environment, they are usually put on a lead to be toileted, so start off this way. You will get to know your Greyhound's toileting routines very quickly. Perhaps you have a specific area outside where you would like your Greyhound to go to the toilet, he doesn't necessarily realise this at first, but with encouragement and praise he will eventually understand. The easiest way to do this is to put him on his lead, take him to the area, and praise like mad when he does it. Treats work wonderfully as positive rewards.
As previously stated, Greyhounds will not soil where they sleep or eat, but if they don't understand exactly where they are supposed to go, they may think a room that they don't usually enter is the correct place. If this occurs when you don't actually "catch them in the act", just ignore it and clean up afterwards. Do not use anything ammonia-based to clean the area, as this acts as a magnet because urine has a lot of ammonia in it, and therefore the same smell.
There is no point in chastising a dog after the event, as the event has passed in their mind and they have no idea what they are being chastised for. If you catch them in the act, then a stern "NO" or "AAGH", and then leading them straight outside will produce better results. They are extremely intelligent animals, and so much want to do the right thing for you.
As they have not ever been able to signal when they want to go to the toilet, but have to wait until taken, they may at first have trouble letting you know when they "need to go". They will quickly understand which door they are taken out, and if they need to go, will usually go and stand in front of this, patiently waiting for someone to notice. If you can have a doggie door, so much the better, but not always practicable.
Sometimes, even well toilet trained pets of all types may have a "slip up" in their toileting. This is usually because of something happening in the environment; something that can be causing stress in their lives, so if this does happen, try and work out if anything has changed in their day to day life. Occasionally it can be something like a urinary tract infection, which makes them urinate more frequently, so if there is any evidence of this, then a vet's opinion should be sought.
As with any questions or concerns you have with your dog, if you have trouble establishing appropriate toilet routines, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to provide some extra advice.
Can greyhounds be exercised off leash?
In accordance with the Victorian laws regarding greyhounds, they are not to be off leash except on private property. This law applies to all public spaces, including Off-leash parks. Note: There are a few 'Slipping Tracks' around outer Melbourne which greyhound owners can access (on application) for off-leash running of greyhounds.
DON'T PUNISH THE GROWL - by 4Paws University In the modern world of dog behavior - we now know that aggressive displays are a normal, natural, NON-VIOLENT form of communication. Growling is a dog's way of saying "stop," "stay away," or "go away."
Once a person stops whatever behavior triggered the growling or gives the dog more space, the dog will stop growling. A healthy dog will not escalate once the interaction ends. They don't need to. They were able to communicate their discomfort and we listened. Dogs don't bite when a growl will do. Since my job requires me to regularly walk into homes with dogs that have bitten or a high risk for biting, I am always appreciative of dogs who communicate so clearly, letting me know that I screwed up and missed signs of the dog's growing discomfort. Growling is valuable information that I can use to develop a better training plan and prevent the dog from biting in the future. Growling is not the problem. Growling is the SYMPTOM of the problem. Punishment won't address the reason the dog is growling to begin with. It doesn't change the dog's discomfort when being pet, groomed, or handled by the vet. If we don't address the dog's discomfort, we aren't changing behavior. Claiming that punishing a dog for growling will cure aggression is like claiming that Nyquil is a cure for colds. The symptoms are suppressed, but it's not a cure. And if the symptoms are caused by something more serious, like pneumonia, suppressing the symptoms could be dangerous. Left unaddressed, the underlying cause for the growling can develop into something much more serious. A dog that doesn't growl before biting. And a dog that bites once without warning is far more dangerous than a dog that growls 1,000 times without biting. Growling PREVENTS bites. Not every dog will escalate to biting. Some may growl and then walk/run away. Some may inflict an inhibited bite without causing injury. Some might inflict a muzzle punch. Or any combination of these avoidance/escape behaviors. However, good training involves a fair amount of risk assessment. And if we punish a dog for growling, we are increasing the risk of a bite. Depending on how serious that bite is, we could be gambling with the dog's life. "BUT MY DOG NEEDS TO RESPECT ME!" Do you believe that punishing a dog for growling communicates your leadership? Imagine you're sitting in your car, waiting for a friend to return from the bank. A person approaches your car and sits on the hood. You roll down your window and say, "Hey, get off my car!" The person responds by pulling you from the car, then screams at you and pins you to the ground. Do you find their reaction totally rational? Do you now have great respect for that person? Did you learn that you should let people sit on your car whenever they want? When one dog growls and another dog stops and moves away, that IS "pack behavior." If their goal is to attack, they attack. Dogs use growling to avoid violence, not start it. "WAIT, SO I JUST HAVE TO LIVE WITH IT???" Absolutely not! Your choices are not limited to punishment or ignore the problem. The solution is to first determine what caused your dog to growl, then use behavior modification techniques to decrease their stress and increase their tolerance to that situation. IF YOUR DOG GROWLS: - STOP. If your dog growls at you, stop what you're doing. If your dog growls at someone else, remove him or her from that situation immediately. - EVALUATE. What happened right before your dog growled? Is there something you can do to temporarily prevent putting your dog in that situation? - CALL a qualified behavior consultant to help you develop a behavior plan so you can learn how to increase your dog's tolerance for these situations in the future. Check iaabc.org and ccpdt.org for certified behavior consultants near you. A dog that growls is a good communicator. Punishment takes away their ability to communicate. A dog who can't communicate is a very dangerous dog.
Note: GSN works with Underdog (in Melbourne) for issues with our greyhounds and recommend their trainers for behavioural issues. http://underdogtraining.com.au/