Greyhounds are an ancient and noble breed. Greyhound-like dogs are depicted in temple drawings dating to 6000 B.C. They are the only breed of dog mentioned in the Bible (Proverbs 30:29-31; King James version), and were written about by Homer, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. Such historical figures as Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Queen Victoria, and General George Armstrong Custer kept Greyhounds.
For thousands of years, Greyhounds have been bred to run like the wind in pursuit of small game. Because of these talents, they were imported to America in the mid-1800’s to help control the jackrabbit population in the Midwestern and plains states. Informal racing competitions in farming communities evolved to the modern day sport of Greyhound racing. The first track opened in Emeryville, California in 1919.
Today, thousands of Greyhounds are placed in pet homes each year, and the volunteer Greyhound adoption community operates as a safety net for former racers, working with the racing community to attain the goal of 100% adoption of all adoptable racers. Former racing Greyhounds go from being champions on the track to being CHAMPION PETS!
When you adopt a former racing Greyhound, you can expect a gentle, loving pet who, with a little time, patience, and guidance will be a great addition to your family. Although they have never seen stairs, windows, couches, and even other breeds of dogs before coming to a home, Greyhounds are very intelligent dogs and quickly learn how to live in a home environment. Greyhounds are grateful for their new homes and reward their owners with never-ending affection. Raised with their littermates where they had to compete for affection, they thrive on being the center of attention in a home.
Former racing Greyhounds are:
Elegant and sleek
Intelligent and keen
Fun loving and animated
Clean and low maintenance
Fast, agile, and graceful
Social and pack oriented
Have grown into their adult personality – you know what you are getting if you spend time and do research
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We get a lot of common questions about adopting Greyhounds and having them in the home. We hope the responses to the most frequently asked questions will help you.
Click on the accordion tabs below to view individual FAQs.
Females weigh between 50 and 65 pounds and stand 23 to 26 inches at the shoulder, while males weigh between 65 and 85 pounds and stand 26 to 30 inches at the shoulder. Although Greyhounds are not small dogs, many adopters report that they are almost cat-like inside their homes in that the dogs seek a quiet corner from which to enjoy the company of their humans.
The average age range of our former racers is 3 to 4 years old. Some are retired as early as age 2, while others stop racing at the mandatory retirement age of 5. Some people enjoy older dogs, and we occasionally have Greyhounds in the 8 to 10 year range available for adoption.
In the racing kennels, Greyhounds sleep and eat in large crates, and are trained not to soil their crates. In the pet home, housebreaking is simply a matter of training the Greyhound that your home is a large crate. If you follow a regular routine of outside visits, housebreaking is usually easily accomplished.
The answer depends on the children–and the parents. It’s impossible to make a blanket statement and say that all ex-racers are good with children. But it’s hard to say that they’re not because there are many families with children and Greyhounds doing just fine. It must be remembered that these are adult dogs that may never have been exposed to small children and their high-pitched voices and quick movements. While Greyhounds are, as a breed, very tolerant and sweet natured, and would usually rather walk away than snap, they do have their limits, just as does any breed. Children MUST be taught the proper respect for the dog, and not become overbearing in their actions toward the dog, particularly as it relates to the Greyhound’s personal space. Read more about children and Greyhounds.
No – just the opposite, in fact. Docile and low key, Greyhounds are often described by their adopters as very laid-back. Aggressiveness has been bred out of racing Greyhounds because they can be disqualified from the track if they even turn their heads during a race. They wear muzzles while racing to help make their noses appear more prominent and assist the racing officials in determining the winner of a “photo finish.”
While Greyhounds do love to run (and it’s thrilling to watch!), they need no more exercise than any other dog. A nice long walk on the leash three or four times a week is recommended (and it’s good for humans, too!). Many adopters have discovered that Greyhounds make great jogging companions, while others enjoy finding fenced areas to let their Greyhounds really stretch out. While a fenced yard is ideal for both Greyhounds and their owners, it is by no means a requirement. Many, many former racers have found happy homes in apartments and condominiums.
Only in completely fenced areas. Greyhounds have been bred to chase for thousands of years. Because of this genetic make-up, even the most obedient Greyhound will not come when called if he sees a rabbit or squirrel to chase. They will pursue their quarry oblivious to their surroundings, including cars or the distance they have run from their owners. For that reason, adopters must agree in their adoption contract that they will never allow their Greyhound off lead in any unfenced area.
In our experience, about 70 to 80 percent of Greyhounds are “cat tolerant,” and do just fine with cats inside the home. We “cat test” our adoptable Greyhounds with a dog-friendly cat to gauge their level of interest. While the test is not absolutely foolproof, we find that it is generally a reliable indicator of how the Greyhounds will react to a cat.
Racing Greyhounds have lived all their lives with other Greyhounds, and generally enjoy the company of all breeds of dogs. Their easy-going nature extends to other dogs as well as people. Some Greyhounds will react with great interest to small, fluffy dogs, but will generally do fine with them once they realize the little guys are dogs too. As with cats, they should be introduced slowly and cautiously.
No. Greyhounds bark very little, and usually are as friendly with strangers as they are with their own family. Greyhounds’ sizes may intimidate potential “bad guys,” but that’s about the extent of their protective abilities.
Because racing Greyhounds are bred exclusively for function and temperament rather than to emphasize a particular “look,”” they have no genetic-related abnormalities. For example, they have one of the lowest incidences of hip dysplasia of all the breeds. Greyhounds’ low percentage of body fat makes them somewhat sensitive to some anesthesia agents, but there are commonly used anesthetics that are safe for Greyhounds. Adopters should discuss anesthesia requirements with their veterinarian and make sure that he is familiar with Greyhound sensitivities in this area. Greyhounds should not wear flea collars, but the new flea treatments like Advantage and Frontline are safe for them.
We recommend 2 to 4 cups of a premium dry dog food per day for former racers. Ideal “pet weight” for Greyhounds is no more than 5 pounds over their registered racing weight, and we always urge adopters to resist the temptation to “fatten up that skinny Greyhound” by feeding him as much as he will eat. Greyhounds can be “chow hounds,” but will hold the right weight very well if fed a moderate amount of a good dog food.
Very little, on both counts. Because Greyhounds have little oil in their skin, they have no “doggy odor,” and stay sweet smelling for long periods between baths. Their coats are short and sleek, making Greyhounds very low maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. While we wouldn’t go so far as to characterize Greyhounds as hypoallergenic, many Greyhound adopters who have previously had allergic reactions to other breeds of dogs report that they have no trouble with a Greyhound in their home.
Racing Greyhounds are not registered with the AKC, but are registered with the National Greyhound Association (NGA), the official registry for all American racers. Our Greyhounds often come with their Certificate of Registration, and we will provide that document to you if it is available to us. The NGA is very supportive of Greyhound adoption, and is always very helpful to those adopters who want to research their Greyhound’s pedigree.
It is important for you to transfer registration of your Greyhound from its registered owner to you. That way the NGA shows you as the registered owner. Should the NGA ever be contacted by someone who has found your hound, they can help reunite you and your friend. Visit the NGA’s pet transfer page and follow the steps on their site. Don’t forget to designate Southeastern Greyhound Adoption as the pet agency to receive $10 of your registration fee.
Greyhounds have never encountered stairs, sliding glass doors, mirrors, or toys. They are very bright, and with gentle guidance from their new family, will quickly master climbing stairs and will learn that those glass doors are solid. Watching a Greyhound delight in learning to play with toys (especially the furry, squeaky variety) is great fun!
CHILDREN AND GREYHOUNDS
Do you have kids? Before you adopt a Greyhound, read the article about children and Greyhounds.
MEET A GREYHOUND
Meet and Greets are a wonderful way to meet Greyhounds up close and to talk to their owners about the joys of adopting an ex-racer. Meet and greets are hosted by SEGA volunteers who typically bring their own pets.
You are more than welcome to attend a meet & greet near you to meet some lovable hounds, scratch a few ears, and gather information about our organization. The meet and greet schedule is available on our events calendar.
We do not adopt Greyhounds out onsite at the meet & greets–these events are intended to be a starting point for those who are curious about Greyhounds. If you decide that a Greyhound is right for you, visit our Adoption page to learn more. After we receive, review, and approve your adoption application, you’ll be able to meet hounds who are currently seeking a loving home.
We look forward to seeing you as we’re out and about around metro Atlanta!
FROM TRACK TO HOME
SEGA gets questions about how our adoptable Greyhounds get from the track and into our homes as pets. In response to that question, SEGA produced “On The Road Home” to chronicle the journey. “On The Road Home” is available in two parts on YouTube.
SEGA is grateful to SEGC’s own Jeff Barber for his production expertise in putting together this informative story.
Occasionally a Greyhound will get loose or go missing. The quicker a search begins, the greater chance of a successful reunion. If your hound is lost or missing, visit our Finding a Lost Greyhound page for more details.
REMEMBERING GREYHOUNDS WE’VE LOST
As hard as it is, at some point all Greyhounds will cross the Rainbow Bridge and leave us. Visit our Greyhounds We Have Lost page to read tributes posted by SEGC members in memory of their beloved Greyhounds.
Visit our Resources and Shopping page for Greyhound links and Greyhound shopping that might be of interest. We list these links only as a service to the Greyhound community, and no endorsement by SEGC or SEGA of the products, services, or information found therein should be inferred from the listing of them.