About Greyhound Adoption
Greyhounds as Racers
A litter of Greyhounds are kept together with their siblings throughout their training. At two months of age, Greyhounds romp and chase in runs typically 250 to 300 feet long. At about six months, training begins by pulling an object on a rope for the pup to chase and then advance to being pulled quicker by a moving vehicle. Next up is training with a whirligig, then on to schooling.
The racing program consists of five categories of dogs, separated by their experience and ability. The first race or two for the dog will be in a maiden class. After a maiden race, the dog graduates to the “D” class. Winning dogs move up a class, while three or four successive non-winning finishes will demote the dog down a class.
As the dog ages and slows and is unable to effectively compete in the “D” class, the dog is retired.
The Racing Greyhound:
- Is accustomed to rising early
- Is used to a strict routine
- Races every four to seven days
- Lives in a crate and is turned out four times a day for relief and exercise
- Is used to being handled and being around people
- Is treated fairly well at most tracks and kennels, though are not pets at this point
Greyhound Physical Structure:
Male greyhounds are generally larger than females. The average male is about 26 to 30 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 65 to 85 lbs. Females average 23 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh about 50 to 65 lbs.
Greyhounds come in many colors including black, white, fawn, red, brindle (in a variety of shades), blue, white with blue, red, fawn, and black.
Greyhounds are usually between 2 and 5 years of age when they retire from racing. Occasionally there will be some “seniors” over 8 years old looking for a home as well.
A retired racing greyhound as a pet:
- Has a life span of 12 to 14 years
- Is typically a laid-back and relaxed dog
- Is loving and affectionate
- Is easy to train
- Is used to being around other greyhounds and can adapt quickly to other dogs and other pets such as cats
- Like to be with you and are easy to please
- MUST be kept on a leash or fenced area. They can not be “tied out”, as they can break their necks if they bolt towards a rabbit, squirrel or other critter
- Is low maintenance, requiring very little grooming
- Very little “doggy odor” because they have very little oil in their hair
- They eat between 3 to 6 cups a day of a good quality dry dog food
- Are sensitive to chemicals. Precautions must be taken for use of pesticides for flea and tick prevention and for lawn and garden care
- MUST live indoors. They have low body fat and are not tolerant of extreme temperatures. If you need a coat to go outside, so will your greyhound
- Make great traveling companions
- They enjoy running, but do not require a huge yard as a walk or romp in an enclosed area for even five minutes is sufficient
- Most greyhounds are quieter than other dogs, rarely barking, if ever. Greyhounds typically do not make good watch dogs.
- Simple to housebreak, as they are trained at the track to not soil their crates. They need a few days to understand that their new home is now their crate. All of Team Greyhound’s dogs that graduate the prison training program are housebroken
Greyhounds and Children
Most greyhounds are gentle and tolerant towards children. Young children should never be left unsupervised with ANY dog. As with any dog, it is the owner’s responsibility to see that children are taught to respect animals. Small children should be supervised at all times with any dog.
Families should wait until they are certain the children are able to:
- Respect the dog’s space
- Stay out of the dog’s crate
- Stay off the dogs bed
- Do Not pull ears, tail, or poke eyes
- Be careful not to fall on the dog
- Let the dog rest
Use the expression “Let sleeping dogs lie” - Sleeping dogs should never be approached without calling to the dog first. The greyhound is accustomed to having its own area to rest and may become startled while sleeping when approached too quickly.
What to Expect:
Before making a decision to adopt any dog, there are questions to ask yourself
- Do I have the time and attention needed to devote to the dog, or is my lifestyle too busy to permit me the time needed to care and love a pet?
- Am I planning on starting a family in the future and how will that impact our lifestyle and ability to care for a pet?
- Am I willing to make this commitment for the rest of the dog’s life?
When you first bring your greyhound home, there will be an initial adjustment period. Some greyhounds adjust very quickly while others may need a little extra TLC. Your greyhound will rely on you to show him his way and teach him what you expect of him. He needs your patience and understanding. To your greyhound you are the all-knowing, all-mighty leader of the pack.
The greyhound has ALWAYS been around other hounds and NEVER left alone. Your new hound may be very quiet and depressed at first and it may take weeks before he seems happy and ready to accept his new surroundings. Your greyhound may not want to eat when he first comes to your home. If possible, keep his food available to him at all times at first until he decides to eat.
All greyhounds adopted through Team Greyhound are required to be leash walked or kept in a completely enclosed area. The natural instinct of the sight hound is to chase a moving object. If your dog has sighted on any moving object, his instinct to chase will kick in and he will be gone at about 40 miles per hour. They can cover a large distance in a short period of time. Check your gates every time you let the dog out.
Greyhounds and Cats:
Approximately half of the dogs adopted through Team Greyhound currently live with cats. After a home survey, we will recommend a dog that is cat safe if you already have a cat. The home visit allows us to try the dog with your cat to see how they will do together. As you browse the available hounds on this web site, look for the prey drive rating we have initially assigned to the dog via testing we have done with a single cat. The range is one to five, with lower being better. Note that a dog might respond in a different manner to a different cat or in a different environment.
Greyhounds and Other Dogs:
Most greyhounds get along fine with other breeds. Many live with small dogs as well as larger dogs. Often it is the other dog that won’t immediately accept the greyhound into its home. Usually it is just an initial adjustment for your dog to allow the greyhound into his/her territory.
Greyhounds and: Birds and Other Critters
Like your other pets, the greyhound needs to be introduced properly in order to learn that these critters are not his toys. Teaching the greyhound what you expect of him is very important. Keep the greyhound leashed, muzzled and by your side. Use a firm NO with any aggressive behavior. It may be best to keep the dog in a separate room from a flying bird since the temptation may be too great.
Greyhounds, Doors and Their Bolting Instinct
Show your Greyhound you love him by protecting him from his natural instinct to run. Your greyhound’s training has taught him that when the starting box door goes up, he is expected to bolt out and run and run and run. Therefore, it will be EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for you to always know where your greyhound is and secure him before opening a door, whether it be your front door, garage door or car door. If possible, use baby gates to keep the dog from having access to a door that does not lead into a fenced area. If young children are present, keep a lock on the door that is high enough that the child can not reach it. Placing a sign on the door – FAST DOG LIVES HERE CAUTION WHEN OPENING ! – may help serve as a reminder to all family members or to infrequent guests who may not be familiar with the greyhound.
Feeding: Most greyhounds eat about 4 to 6 cups of dry kibble a day. They are used to being fed twice a day, morning and evening. It is best to use a good quality dry dog food that does not contain soy, preservatives, or a lot of corn. Normally the dog food found in your grocery store is not recommended. Go to your local pet store and read the lists of ingredients. There are many good brands available.
Treats should be limited. Dog biscuits should not be colored with artificial coloring. Don’t let your greyhound get FAT. Their life expectancy is reduced by as much as 30% if they are fat. They should be lean but not ribby!
In cooperation with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Team Greyhound Adoption of Ohio is working with several correctional facilities in the State of Ohio. We started with our first dogs at the Lorain Correctional Facility in Grafton, Ohio, in March of 2001.
Below are the prisons Team Greyhound has partnered with to achieve the following goal: When the dogs leave the program they will know how to walk nicely on a lead and obey the basic commands of sit, down, stay and come.