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 current Victorian laws regarding greyhounds, they are not to be off leash except on private property. This law applies to all public spaces, including leash-free parks.
Do greyhounds have to be muzzled in public?
While in foster care, where feasible, GSN greyhounds are sent to GAP for their green collar assessment. This saves future owners the time and cost of sending their dog for assessment after adoption. Greyhounds that pass the assessment are not required to wear a muzzle in public places.
In accordance with the current Victorian laws regarding greyhounds, only those greyhounds wearing a green GAP identification collar are exempt from being muzzled in public.