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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2008
    Richmond, Virginia

    Default Retired Racing Greyhounds as Pets??

    I am a lurker on these forums, but I have a question that I felt COTHers would be able to weigh in on....

    I am currently looking at adopting a retired Greyhound and would love to hear from anyone out there that currently has one of these hounds. I have read some wonderful things about them, as well as some of the issues that cause concern. I am hoping to have for a relaxed dog that is good with travel, and comfortable around new people. I have no cats, small dogs, or children.

    Does anyone out there have some knowledge that they can share?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by mzw297 View Post
    I am a lurker on these forums, but I have a question that I felt COTHers would be able to weigh in on....

    I am currently looking at adopting a retired Greyhound and would love to hear from anyone out there that currently has one of these hounds. I have read some wonderful things about them, as well as some of the issues that cause concern. I am hoping to have for a relaxed dog that is good with travel, and comfortable around new people. I have no cats, small dogs, or children.

    Does anyone out there have some knowledge that they can share?

    Our vet has kept a couple of greyhounds for many years, they are his blood donors.
    If you are interested, you may ask your vet about using your dog to help other dogs thru giving blood, if he tests ok for it.

    They are delighful dogs, very gentle and our vet brings them to functions like Muttfest and any other we do with dogs and the public.

    I bet that you will fall in love with yours.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2003


    GREAT IDEA!!!! My sister has been adopting them for years with great success. They are quiet, well mannered, house trained and very sweet. Some of them may be a bit shy at first, since they don't always get much attention, but respond quickly. They are kind and gentle and really couch-potatoes. Most are good with children, some are ok with cats. She takes her to functions. They aren't really comfortable sitting for long periods because of their structure. Love toys and a comfy bed -- or yours! Good on a leash and around other dogs. They are clean, but do shed a bit. Most are just ideal pets -- and they need a home when they are done. You will enjoy having one, I promise! Some also are a bit confused on going up and down stairs, but no big deal. They are tons of fun and love attention. Hope you go for it!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA


    My best friend's parents have adopted multiple ex-racers over the years with no problems. Like ANY dogs, there is a difference in personality - some of them were much more 'greeters' and others were more homebody types, but as a general rule they always settled in quite well and were well behaved. I think the only trouble they really had is adjusting expectations initially - the greyhounds haven't been socialized in the way that's 'normal' for pets in many cases, so they may not really grasp the idea of playtime right away and that kind of thing. (This probably depends somewhat also on how much time the particular dog you get spends in foster care before coming to you - much like OTTBs needing some time to settle in and 'learn to be a horse' when they come off the track routine.)

    I think it's definitely worth checking into rescues in your area and seeing who they have who might be suitable for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2007
    often between a rock and hard place in Ky


    I looked into this a while ago and ended up having to give up. The adoption agency required a full 6 ft fence before they would even consider letting me adopt. They checked out my vet, my other dog and my references but upon the home visit the no fence no dog applied even when I told them I would walk them always on a lead and never leave them unsupervised but putting up a 6ft fence for over and acre was just not fesable for me at the time.

    The dogs seem sweet and I would still love to help one out but I was told you can never trust them off lead, their prey drive is too strong and once they run they are gone and can have a hard time finding their way back. I know have a Standard Poodle and love him to pieces.

    I understand the stringent requirements and that they are in the best interest of the dog but I just wanted you to be prepared for them.
    ___._/> I don't suffer from insanity.. I enjoy every
    ____/ minute of it! Member stick horse art lovers
    ';;;;;;; clique
    //__\\<-- Don't feed the llama!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2007


    Sighthounds are the BEST. Most of them are good at being couch potatoes, not high strung and yappy, rarely bark, but happy to sleep 8 hours a day after they've had their little burst of energy. Their temperament is generally very sweet and quiet.

    Whether or not they are "cat safe" or "small animal safe" depends on the dog. Most hounds have a high prey drive, if it moves fast, chase it, they're hard wired that way and that is why most rescue groups make you agree to always keep the dog on a leash unless in a safe, enclosed area. Some like kids, some don't, it depends on the individual dog. If you intend to adopt, be very VERY honest about your situation and your expectations so that they can match you with the appropriate hound.

    I love my hounds, I can't imagine having any other kind.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 8, 2004


    Many years ago I took in a retired greyhound when his elderly owner died. 'Chappy' was the dearest couch potato I ever had the pleasure to know. He loved soft places to snuggle in and he was wonderful with both our cats and our young children. They loved to walk him because he was such a gentleman on the leash.
    One day when I was walking him down our dirt driveway loose, my hyper TB mare started running. I got her off the track and she loved to do sprint starts on her own in the pasture, going from 0 to a flat out gallop just for fun. Chap saw that and off he went, matching her stride for stride around our front pasture. It was an incredible sight because they were running flat out just for the joy of it.
    I would highly recommend a greyhound. They have a gentle nature and they are incredibly sweet. A greyhound right off the track will need lots of patience and training, though. They do not know about things like stairs and other things you take for granted that a dogs knows.
    Good luck with your choice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000


    They make grateful and entertaining pets! Hope you have a big couch because your going to HAVE to share it with a greyhound! Airyfairy's advice is spot on.

    We had a whippet- next size down from a greyhound- who was as kind and faithful a hound as one could ever keep for companionship.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006


    We had a female greyhound when we owned a small farm in Kansas. I kept her in a privacy fence area when she was unsupervised but was able to have her off leash when she was supervised with us.

    I think they are great dogs around horses. She went hacking with us and would trot right behind the horses or right beside, we did have to wait at water jumps because she wanted to cool off by getting in - up to her neck!

    She never chased a horse, even when we had foals. They rarely bark either.

    Ours loved smaller dogs such as our JRT mix, her best buddy. She did fine with cats, and I have a friend who has one now that is great with cats. Some are not,

    I think they are a great dog, just select one carefully that suits your situation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 10, 2008
    Southern by the grace of God

    Default I Loved our greyhounds

    I loved our greyhounds. We have had 2, but at different times. They were both very different, but special dogs in their own way.

    The first greyhound was, Shine on Bubbles, or "bubbles." Great dog. Very loving and loved to be lazy. But you can always count on him doing his morning laps around the farm before settling in the shade for the day. He got along well with all the animals, dogs, horses, cats. The cats did peak his interested but none of our cats were harmed by him. He hung around the neighborhood too (we had no leash law) and our dogs often visited up and down the streets. He died after a long, wonderful life, he had gum cancer. the vet said it was all those years eating raw meat. When we had to pull the majority of his teeth out, he got really depressed and the best thing for him was to let him go. He was the friendliest dog and loved to try and be a lap dog. He came to us because my father, who worked in vet clinics, was making a call at a vets and felt an animal nudge him, and low and behold it was Bubbles. I think i was 12 when he came to live with us.

    The second greyhound was beautiful, heidi. She was not very social, I think it was due to the track up bringing. She tried, but you could see she wasn't sure about humans being friends thing. But she came to love all of us and the other animals. The cats were never in any danger of getting hurt but they were always aware of heidi. She was with us for a few years. She died with our jack russell terrior. we don't know exactly what happened, but we had a train behind our house, and one day my father couldn't find either heidi or the jack and went up on the tracks. There he found both animals dead, but with heidi laying on top of the jack- so we like to think that something had happened to Rosie and Heidi wouldn't leave her.

    we had an invisible fence put in after that.

    We have lowered our numbers in dogs that we owned, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for greyhounds. Last year, while I was out of town working and had my mom visiting, there were greyhounds for adopting, and although it would not have been easy, my mom was very close to adopting a 3rd greyhound.

    They are great dogs, and will love you when given the chance.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
    williston, sc usa


    I have had retired and AKC greyhounds for many,many years - I have done alot of traveling with them, around the US and to Europe, living in apartments and on large farms.

    Simply put - they are the coolest dogs, funny, affectionate and big enough to be protection.

    Hope you decide to get one......or two !
    Perfection is not attainable, but when we chase perfection, we can catch excellence - Vince Lombardi

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2004
    Barboursville, VA


    My greyhound, Enzo, is the greatest dog ever for me. The only thing I would change about him is the smell.. He has some of the worst gas and breath of any animal I have ever had. I've tried different foods, supplements, etc with no change in the smell. BUT he is awesome and I'd trade off the smell for such a great dog again any time.
    Literally, he will sleep for hours on end if you leave him alone or if you want to play, he will run around for hours. He passed both his Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog tests.
    He certainly didn't understand normal dog things and activities when I got him, but he tries to play now... The other dogs run and chase the toys/balls and he will run with the dogs.
    He never bothered my cats or any other animal at all... It's almost like he has done his job and doesn't feel the need to chase anything at all.
    Enzo loves trips in the car... He will hop in and go to sleep and you will never even know he is in the back seat. He's wonderful on a leash. I have only had him run off one time when he didn't come back as soon as I called him... But he was following other dogs, not running off on his own. I've never had him run off by himself for any reason.
    Like others have said, really a quiet dog... Though he will howl when emergency vehicles go by with sirens on. I've only heard him bark probably 10-12 times in 4+ years.
    I got Enzo from Project Racing Home in NC. They were awesome about finding a dog that matched what I wanted. The hardest part was going to look at Enzo and seeing all those huge sweet eyes staring at me looking for a home.
    Good luck with your choices!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2004

    Default Greythounds!

    I foster dogs for a rescue and we sometimes get stray greyhounds from the pound. I have fostered 4 in the past year. They are wonderful! My fence is probably only 4 ft and none of them has ever tried to jump it. They are more likely to park themselves by the door wanting back in. The rescue I foster for is not specific to Greyhounds but they don't have any fence requirements.

    I had never been around Greyhounds before and assumed they might be highstrung like a Thoroughbred race horses. Nope. At least not the ones I've had. They would run around (a joy to watch!) and then they were done. Plop, on the couch.
    They are so graceful when they run but around the house they are kind of clumsy. They do have somewhat fragile skin. They do get skin tears easily. Some actually had pressure sores from lying on the cement floor of the pound. They don't have a lot of hair so they really need to be indoor dogs. They can be sensitive to cold and heat.

    I would recommend Greyhounds wholeheartedly. Like everyone has said they are sweet and gentle. Some may have issues to deal with but they are worth the effort.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2000


    Two members of my family have adopted greyhounds that had raced. Both were very sweet, friendly dogs who were great in the house and with people.

    One dog was fine with other animals, the other had a very strong prey drive when it saw a smaller animal in motion. Nothing would stop that dog when that happened.

    Good luck.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 26, 2009
    Stroudsburg, PA


    My sister adopted an ex racers years ago through First State Greyhound Rescue. He's an incredible dog but you do need to give them their space and time to come around. Once they do you will never regret your choice! He comes here often for "play dates and sleep overs" and my dogs love him just as much as I do. They can certainly have health issues because the breeders don't care about that, they are only looking for speed and are never thinking about their future after racing. Right now, Stratton is 8 and he's going to have to have a lot of teeth removed as a result of the diet he had when he was a racer but all in all he's been pretty healthy. You should definitely get a vet who is experienced with them as well since there are some drugs they can't tolerate. I really hope you decide on one as they are true sweethearts!
    The one good thing about repeating your mistakes is that you know when to cringe.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006


    I've known several, including one who came to work with an office-mate for five years. I haven't met one yet I didn't like. My observations:
    -They are remarkably quiet and mellow. Unlike the labs and goldens I know, very few of the greyhounds are prone to knocking people over with enthusiastic rough housing. They run wildly for a few minutes when given the chance, then go home and go to sleep.
    -The ex-racers tend to have an adjustment period, like an off the track horse. They lack certain skills and social graces you expect from an adult dog. Negotiating stairs. Figuring out how not to get trapped under the kitchen table. Housebreaking. However, the ones I've known have all been delightful once they figured out how to be pets.
    -None of the ex-racers I've known were trustworthy off leash. The ones raised from puppyhood as pets or hunting dogs had recall as reliable as any other dog.
    -They get cut up pretty easily. Their skin is thin and tears easily.
    -They have so little fat and such a quick metabolism that it's easy for a vet to goof up on medications or anesthesia.
    -Prey drive varies. About half the greyhounds I know live with cats. Two are completely untrustworthy around any small creature. They are obsessed to the point where you have to constantly watch for squirrels on walks, lest you be dragged out into the street in front of a car. At the opposite extreme, I knew one who was scared of rabbits. Really!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005


    They do have fragile skin - just like EllieMaeII said. My girlfriend has had 4 of them. She found she couldn't let 2 of them play in the yard as they would end up with cuts from running and playing- had to have them stitched up on occasion.

    But they are so sweet - and like everyone said - one nice walk, and they are on the couch for the day!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 1999
    Midland, NC, USA


    The one we had was very mellow and affectionate, obedient, wonderful dog. Except you could not have her near small animals that moved fast (she gleefully killed a whole litter of kittens) or EVER let her off a leash unless in a securely fenced area. Out in the open all commands stopped working! They are great 'apartment' dogs despite their size, they love to just lay around.


  19. #19
    annsea Guest


    I've had many retired greyhounds over the years and now share my home with six of them. They are the most amazing dogs! I have a fenced yard that is just outside the kitchen door, so it's really easy to let them have a nice safe run if they want. I had one who would do laps just like he was back on the track but for the most part, they sniff around, do their thing and then want to come back inside.

    FYI, if you do fence an area for them, I would strongly recommend against invisible fencing. If they see something outside the "fence" - that irresistible squirrel, for example, their hard-wired prey drive kicks in and they will go right through it. And you also can't control what comes into the fenced area! Similarly, I would

    Similarly, I would be sure to keep your hound on a leash. I learned a lesson with my first greyhound, Willi. Since he was always at my side, I took him outside to play catch (most won't retrieve, but Willi would). The first couple of times, there was no problem. Then one morning, he decided that exploring the great outdoors was far more fun. I was able to catch him but only because he trotted off (didn't do his 40 mph run) and then stopped to relieve himself! From then on, they are all either on a leash or in a securely fenced area when we go outdoors.

    Carp's post is excellent. Great points. Here's a link to an article that you might also find helpful --

    Just remember that they are all individuals, some outgoing, some shy, some cuddly, some not so -- but each has a special gift to bring to your life.

  20. #20
    Tinypony Guest


    Echoing what everyone else said.
    Best. Dog. Ever.

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