greyhound questions

Greyhound FAQ’s

Here are some of the many questions we often get about Greyhounds.  If you would like more information, contact one of our Representatives.

If you would like more information on Greyhounds and Adoption, please go to our Adoption Guide.

Is a Greyhound Right for You?

Racing Greyhounds are bred for speed, health, intelligence, and sociability. This makes them excellent house pets. They are clean, odor free, indoor dogs that don’t eat a lot nor require extensive exercise. Greyhounds are polite, eager to please and love to share life with you. Most Greyhounds are mild, gentle and quiet by nature. They are basically a quiet dog and will spend much of their time sleeping in the corner of the room or may even bid for part of the sofa, if allowed. They still need exercise, but not to the extent of many other breeds. They love to be with you, follow you around the house and many love to go for car rides.

Greyhound mixes can be very similar in temperament to racing Greyhounds, but often have a higher endurance level and may be higher energy, requiring more exercise than your typical retired racing greyhound. But they are still indoor dogs and love to be with you.

No! Greyhounds love to run, but retired racing Greyhounds usually do a few laps around your yard and then head to the nearest soft pillow to lie on.

Greyhound mixes can be a bit higher energy, but they still love to be with you and hang out.

Greyhounds do not require a lot of exercise, but just like you and me, they require daily exercise. A good 30-minute walk 3 or 4 times a week is enough to keep your Greyhound happy and healthy. A lot will also depend upon the age of your greyhound; the younger your dog, the more exercise he/she will need. Some of the greyhound mixes will require more exercise than your typical retired racing Greyhound. We will work with you to match the right Greyhound or Greyhound mix to your lifestyle.

Very few Greyhounds have been brought up around roads or cars and they have no road sense at all. They can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour in three strides. They will be gone before you can even blink. Greyhounds have also been bred for thousands of years to chase. The speed and chase characteristics of the greyhound are enhanced with the training the dogs receive at the track. Those years of instinct and training will kick in instantly should they see something (and they will see that squirrel long before you or I do). And no matter how much obedience training you may do with your greyhound, those years of breeding and training are not going to be wiped out if they suddenly see something move.

Greyhounds do not make good guard dogs. They are however good “watch” dogs. They will watch the burglar come in and go out and may even point out the cookie jar to them as they make their way around your house. Greyhounds have received a lot of handling by different people in their careers and thus are very gentle and trusting by nature and think everyone is their friend.

Greyhounds & Health

  • Racing Greyhounds are bred for health and speed.  They are not predisposed to genetic disorders like blindness, deafness, hip dysplasia, etc.
  • Greyhounds have thin skin, no undercoat, and little body fat to insulate them.  This means they need protection against the cold and the heat.   Because the greyhound's skin is thin, it can tear easily.
  • Greyhounds are also sensitive to certain drugs and chemicals.
  • Watch out for those long tails - they are prone to being trapped in doors.
  • When you adopt a greyhound he/she has had all his/her shots, been spayed/neutered, had their teeth cleaned if necessary, been micro chipped and been seen by a vet.  While generally healthy, you should be aware of certain things about greyhounds.  Because your greyhound has been an athlete, we do see some arthritis in greyhounds as they age.  Depending upon where your greyhound has raced, it may have been exposed to tick borne diseases or valley fever.  These are very treatable.
  • In order to keep your greyhound healthy, it is very important to keep your greyhound's teeth clean.  Talk to us about the options.
  • These dogs, like all living beings, are not free from terminal diseases.  We do see some cancers, particularly bone cancer, in them (as with all long-legged breeds). Our goal is to ensure that each greyhound that comes to us is given the best care possible and to provide you with the best information we can.  Opening your heart and home to one of these beautiful creatures can be a wonderful, lifetime experience.
Opening your heart and home to one of these beautiful creatures can be a wonderful, lifetime experience.

Greyhounds live to be 12 to 15 years old on average, barring any accidents or illness.

The greyhounds GPI receives are typically between 2 and 5 years old. Sometimes we receive younger dogs and we also periodically receive older greyhounds that have been used as brood moms or studs.

Greyhounds need a good quality dry kibble. Greyhounds do not do well on foods with a lot of fillers or a lot of table scraps.

Depending upon the activity level, metabolism, sex of your greyhound, and type of food you are feeding, they will eat between 3 and 5 cups of dry kibble a day.

Greyhounds are naturally lean and have a very low body fat content (about half that of most other breeds). They need to be kept lean in order to be healthy. If you cannot see the ribs or feel the hip bones on a Greyhound, they are too heavy.

Children & Greyhounds

A greyhound’s gentle, loving personality makes many of them compatible family members for those with children. While we have had great success with greyhounds and children, including babies, we have had situations where snapping incidents have happened. Remember, no dog (any breed) likes to be scared or surprised by active small children.

If you have young children, consider the following:
  • Dogs and children should NEVER be left alone together. Even the most tolerant dog cannot stand up to badgering or harassment. Kids are kids and dogs are dogs.
  • Children are loud. This can confuse dogs. It’s common for dogs to associate loud noises with trouble.
  • Many greyhounds are returned from families with children. “The dog snapped or nipped at my child.”  There is a reason.   Adults can read body language, kids can’t.
  • Families are busy and need to understand it is a job/project to bring a dog into the family. To bring a dog into your home from our kennel with small children and a busy household is going to be an adjustment and work for all.
  • It is not a matter of “Child-Proofing your Dog” but also “Dog-Proofing Your Child.” You need training, the children need training, the other parent needs training and the dog needs training. It is a team effort. As in raising children, the dog requires consistency in training.
Please read our GPI document Children and Greyhounds

Please work closely with our adoption representative who will help you pick a greyhound suitable for your environment.

Cats & Greyhounds

We either take the dog to a home with a cat that is cooperative and remains in the area with the dog, or some of our volunteers bring their cat(s) to the kennel office area, where we bring each dog to meet the cat. During “cat testing”:

A handler maintains control of the leashed dog.

The dog always wears a standard greyhound muzzle, with a muzzle guard and is leashed (the muzzle guard allows us to let the dog sniff the cat if we feel comfortable with that).

We hold the cat in our arms, put him on the floor, and also encourage him to jump off furniture to see if there is a different reaction to movement.

Testing results indicate only the response observed with that particular dog, with that particular cat, in that environment, and with a limited amount of time – every cat and every home can be different to that dog.

Greyhounds can react very differently to an outdoor cat than an indoor cat – a dog that lives with an indoor cat may chase an outdoor cat or chase their indoor cat if that cat is allowed outside.

Take great caution when bringing the dog home regardless of the testing result.

No it does not. We have seen many greyhounds that are absolutely fine with cats inside that are not ok with cats outside. Always use caution with greyhounds and outside cats.

No means the dog should not live with cats Yes means the dog passed our cat testing. How they will do in your home with your cat(s) will depend upon the individual dog, individual cat, and your willingness to work with the dog and cat.

No, cat testing does not assure that a dog will be able to live with cats. There are many different personalities and breeds of cats and many different dog personalities. The same as with people, not all people get along, and neither do all cat trainable dogs get along with all cats. So, it is important, especially at first, to treat all dogs going into homes with cats as if they were not cat trainable. Take precautions at first and then once you are comfortable with the dog and cat together, slowly reduce or relax the precautions.

No it does not. We have seen many greyhounds that are absolutely fine with small dogs but they are not ok with cats.

This is usually true, but not always, so do not assume anything. We have seen some greyhounds that are fine with cats that are not ok with small dogs.

Greyhounds & Separation Anxiety

A racing Greyhound has been raised in a bustling kennel and racing environment that requires extensive handling and they crave human company. During their racing careers they have never been alone as there are always people and other dogs around 24/7. While not all greyhounds suffer from separation anxiety, some greyhounds get nervous and afraid if left alone by themselves. A Greyhound must learn by experience that you will return, and being alone in the house is safe. If frightened, it can result in destructive behavior.

To minimize difficulties, never put your dog in a separate room when you leave. If he normally has the run of the house, give him the run of the house when you leave. Also, don't ever ever lock the dog in the basement, garage, bathroom, or laundry room when you leave; it will think it is being punished and they are sighthounds and need to see out. You want to change as little as possible for the dog when you leave.

Putting him in a separate room emphasizes that something different is going on and may make him think he is being punished. Don't make a big deal of leaving or returning; make several "false starts" in leaving. Start by leaving your dog for a few minutes and gradually work up to longer periods. Surprisingly enough, most incidents of damage by dogs with separation anxiety occur shortly after leaving. Soon your dog will feel secure alone in the house and will not cause problems. If you are having difficulty, consider using a crate. After he settles in, a well-adjusted dog should be comfortable alone for up to four hours. (Greyhound Pets, Inc. rents out crates if needed). Of course, two dogs do much better alone than one dog alone, as they keep each other company. Consider getting another greyhound if you have to leave your dog alone.

Not every dog suffers when left alone for short periods of time, and your dog may never have any difficulties, but it is one of the most common problems with greyhounds and you should be aware of the possible problems so if they do arise you will be prepared.

The Greyhound Pets, Inc. "The Greyhound Adopter's Guide" "Physiological aspects of separation anxiety in dogs" article by Lynda Adame "I'll Be Home Soon! How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety" by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. We are here to help! Talk to your GPI Representative if you and your dog are having trouble with separation anxiety.