Retired Racing Greyhound Adoption

All About Greyhounds

Breed History of Greyhounds

canine is as closely associated with speed, grace, and overall agility as the greyhound. For millennia, greyhounds have been cherished and bred as hunting dogs whose keen eyesight enables them spot prey, and whose incredible speed enables them to pursue and capture their prey. it is for their rare ability to fill this unique hunting niche and to simultaneously live as loyal devoted companions that has elevated the greyhound to the courts of kings and rulers throughout their long history. The term greyhound may have been derived from the term "gre" meaning dog or "hundi" meaning hunter or "gre" meaning first rank among dogs.

Mentioned Ancient History

photo 1Greyhounds have been mans companions for such a long period of time that they are even mentioned in the earliest of ancient texts, including the Bible. Experts suggest that the breed dates back about 4,000 years to the heydays of Egypt, Greece and Persia. Greyhounds became so revered by loyalty, that they were often found in depictions of royal courts, and in some cases they were even found mummified in ancient Egyptians tombs, where they were preserved as companions for their former owners in the afterlife.

Greyhounds in Middle Ages

man/greysPrior to the Middle Ages, it appeared as though these swift hounds lost their place among the great halls of privileged, especially when many famines swept the lands. Yet the resilient breed over time once again endeared themselves to royalty, and again became feature in the courts.

Moreover, the nobles became so enamored of their phenomenal hunting dogs that it was a capital offense to kill a greyhound. Human life at times was valued less than the life of one such dog. Before long, commoners were forbidden from owning these dogs, and it was only the noble who had permission from the king to own and breed greyhounds. 
In the 1700's greyhound coursing became popular and spread across Britain and Europe. As the Britons immigrated to America they brought their greyhounds with them and found them ideally suited to chase down rabbits that were interfering with their crop, In the 1900's, an artificial lure and an oval track led to the first formal greyhound wagering, the forerunner of our greyhound racetracks.
Once retired from racing, these dogs adjust from track life to home life fairly easy. When considering the adoption of any dog, it is only responsible to learn as much as you can about that breed to see if it is truly the right fit for you.
Here is a quick look at the greyhounds characteristics.
Breed Temperment: Greyhounds are gentle and affectionate dogs. They also tend to be very quiet and not given to barking. Because of their friendly nature, they do not make good watchdogs or guard dogs. Contrary to popular myth, retired racing greyhounds are not "aggressive" or "hyper." They have short bursts of energy and then tend to sleep the rest of the time, giving them the nickname of "45 MPH couch potato!" This makes them the ideal breed for the older person and apartment dweller. Some greyhounds are more "prey driven" than others, and look towards small dogs and cats as prey. Many others enjoy their smaller canine and feline companions, living peacefully together!
Greyhounds range in size from 50-95 pounds. Females tend to be smaller than males.
Grooming & Coat Care:
Greyhounds come in many beautiful shades and coat patterns, 18 primary colors and over 55 different color combinations. Their coats are soft, huggable, and non-allergic warm velvet. They radiate heat and are great for cold winter snuggling. A greyhound's body temperature is higher than any other dog. Because of their short hair and lean body, they require a coat when the temperature drops below 40 degrees.
Greyhounds require less exercise than most breeds their size. A few walks per week or a romp in a fenced area will satisfy most greyhounds. As racers, they are sprinters, not endurance runners. The rest of the time, they are content resting on a soft bed or sofa.
Greyhounds fresh off the track don't know how to be pets. Before going to their forever homes, greyhounds coming from the track are put into Forever Grey foster homes, where they learn to navigate stairs and are acclimated to the real world and sounds of a household. They are a very intelligent breed and learn these new skills very quickly. Greyhounds are tested to see whether they are cat, other dog, small animal, and children tolerant.
Children & Greyhounds: 
Are greyhounds good with children? The real question is, are children good with Greyhounds? Like any other breed, some will be okay and some will not. It is important to supervise children at ALL times, NEVER leave a young child alone with the dog. The child must learn that while the dog is sleeping, it is off limits. They must not play in the dog's crate, and they must NEVER tease, taunt, pull tails or ears or ride the dog. This can potentially cause a dangerous situation. Any dog will potentially snap or bite if put in this situation. Parents must teach the child to respect the dog. For example, if the child is about to crawl on the sleeping dog's bed, the parent must react the same way she would if the child were about to touch a hot stove or run into the street -- fast & firm. Yes, children and greyhounds can live together peacefully if taught well!
Age at Retirement: 
Average retirement age is between 2-5 years old. Sometimes younger dogs that show no inclination to race retire out of training even earlier, before setting foot on the track. On the other side of the spectrum, brood matrons and studs also need homes when they are too old to safely produce puppies anymore, usually between 8-11 years old.
Life Expectancy: It is common for the greyhound to live well into the teens. On average, 12-14 years. 18 years of age is  the current record and 16 is not unusual. (Forever would not be enough time.)
Special Characteristics & Needs: Greyhounds are sight hounds, and will chase rabbits, squirrels, cars, kids, bikes - anything that moves! It is ESSENTIAL they ALWAYS be kept on leash or in a fenced area. Due to their natural instinct to chase it is ESSENTIAL that they NEVER be "tied out." They could easily break their necks. Greyhounds are also very sensitive to chemicals, so no traditional flea baths, dips, or generic flea treatments for them! Greyhounds are also sensitive to anesthesia -- please check with your vet to be sure they are greyhound-savvy! We can help with detailed information.
Fun Facts:
  • Greyhounds are the only breed of dog mentioned in the Bible.
  • Greyhounds are the second fastest animal on earth, only the cheetah is faster.
  • When running greyhounds, spend 75% of their time in the air with all four feet off the ground.
  • Some Greyhounds sleep with their eyes open.
  • Greyhounds wear muzzles while racing to protect themselves from injury during the excitement of the race and to make it easier to determine the winner in a photo finish.
  • Most Greyhounds are physically unable to sit.
  • Greyhounds have significantly more red blood cells and a bigger heart and lungs than any other breed. Red blood cells carry oxygen that helps them run faster.
  • Greyhounds have a universal blood type and are used as canine blood donors.
  • Greyhounds have a 270-degree range of vision. They can see objects behind them and over 1/2 mile in front of them.
  • Greyhounds are in the top five gentlest dogs.
  • Gray is now the least common color because at one time it was thought that gray dogs ran slower.
  • A Greyhound uses its tail as a rudder.
  • A content Greyhound will often "Roach" or go "pupside down" (lay on its back with legs up).
  • Greyhounds can lose up to 5 pounds in a single race.
Out of all the purebreds dogs, many animals experts have come to believe that the Greyhound is perhaps the healthiest breed of dog in terms of staying clear of developing hereditary health issues. It's truly amazing how a dog breed as ancient as the Greyhound can have a practically perfect health record.