Greyhounds are an ancient breed of dogs, known as sight hounds. Similar breeds are seen in Egyptian pyramid drawings. Greyhounds have herding ancestry and possible relationship to other English/Celtic breeds like Wolfhounds and Whippets
By the 18th century, farmers used dogs to limit populations of rabbits and hares. Because of speed, farmers often casually raced their dogs. In the early 20th century, the mechanical lure was invented which led to the development of dog racing tracks and pari-mutuel betting on dogs. Until the mid-1980’s when adoption groups began forming, most greyhounds were killed when their racing usefulness had ended.
Greyhounds are clean, short coated dogs. Typically they are 25-30 inches tall at the withers with females weighing 50-65 lbs; males 70-85 lbs. The average life span is 10 to 14 years.
Greyhounds do best in a quiet, calm environment. They usually fare better with respectful children 8 years and older. Most greyhounds do fine with other medium to large breed dogs. Some can live peacefully with toy dogs and cats or other small animals.
Wikipedia has an extensive article about Greyhounds, well worth the read.
1. You know what you’re getting when you adopt an adult dog: Regardless of breed, adult dogs make good adoption choices. When you adopt an adult dog, you get to see the adult personality and temperament. The temperament a dog has as an adult is often different than what you would have seen in the same dog as a puppy. You know exactly what size the dog is going to be.
2. Adult dogs require less work than puppies do: As cute as puppies are, they are a lot of work. Aside from having to be housetrained, puppies teethe, chew, and need much more exercise and attention than adult dogs.
3. Retired racers are great housemates: Retired racers are low-maintenance. They require minimal grooming; their exercise needs are low to moderate for a dog of their size. They’re compliant and have a personality that helps them adapt quickly to a new lifestyle. Most Greyhounds are naturally laid-back, well mannered, and sensitive. Plus, they’re intelligent and respond well to the right training methods.
Since Greyhounds are not common in the general public, as are Labrador Retrievers, or Poodles, and apart from seeing the picture on the side of a passenger bus, most people have no inkling of what Greyhounds are all about. This leads to some bizarre misperceptions in how people view these wonderful creatures.
To attempt to defuse some of the mystique and mythology around Greyhounds, we have assembled some of the most common erroneous perceptions about Greyhounds.
MYTH Because greyhounds are fast, they are hyper.
FACT Nothing could be further from the truth. Greyhounds are laid-back, quiet dogs, that have earned the well-deserved name of 45 mile per hour “couch potatoes”
MYTH Greyhounds need lots or exercise.
FACT Most Greyhounds are satisfied with a 15-20 minute walk once or twice a day and, an occasional off-leash run in a secure, enclosed area.
MYTH Being super athletes, they would love to be a jogging or hiking partner.
Can cats and Greyhounds live together successfully? Some Greyhounds have extremely high prey drives that make then incompatible for living or interacting with any small animal. Generally, about half of all Greyhounds can live successfully with cats. Cats certainly present a different energy/smell to the newly homed Greyhound. There are some safeguards that must be taken.
A much higher number of Greyhounds do fine with small dogs, maybe 20 pounds and under. Most Greyhounds seem to recognize that a toy dog is still a dog, be it Chihuahua, Pom or Yorkie. Still, precautions need to be taken with the small dog as well.
First, all of our dogs are cat tested. This means that we have leashed and muzzled the Greyhound to be tested, taken it to a home with a confident cat that is used to living with dogs, and observed the Greyhound’s reactions. Upon seeing the cat, a Greyhound with a high prey drive cannot be distracted from looking at or even trying to go after the cat. The dog may stare intently, lick its lips, drool, bark, have body quivers or generally seem to be highly responsive. Usually these dogs fail immediately and are deemed “not cat tolerant” A Greyhound that “may need work” to live successfully with a cat may have some of the same responses, but can be distracted. It may go back to focusing on the cat. A “cat tolerant” dog may be excited or curious upon first seeing the cat, but then usually will go on exploring the new environment. It may go back to the cat and sniff again, but generally can be distracted. A few Greyhounds may actually be frightened by the cat and try to get away. This does not necessarily mean it is cat tolerant. MOST GREYHOUNDS HAVE NEVER SEEN A CAT BEFORE TESTING.
While Greyhounds are not aggressive dogs, most have not been raised around children and might not have ever seen a child. Some may be nervous with small children, others may mostly ignore them and still others will relish the company of children.
Usually, respectful children about 8 years old and up do fine with Greyhounds. Younger children and toddlers should be carefully supervised with your Greyhound as well as any other breed of dog or other pet. Very young children (2 and under) should never be left alone with a dog (in fact, this rule should apply to all dogs, not just Greyhounds). The following rules not only apply to your own children, but grandchildren and neighbors as well.
During the first few weeks of your dog’s home life, a child and Greyhound should not be left together unattended.
A child should never jump on a Greyhound. They are not rough and tumble dogs nor do they have cushioning body fat. Nor should a child pester or taunt a dog that may want to be left alone.
A child or adult, for that matter, should never touch or disturb a sleeping Greyhound. They often sleep with their eyes open and may have a startle response, called sleep aggression, and could snap or bite.