Of all dog breeds, the greyhound is perhaps the most overlooked as a potential pet. People mostly associate greyhounds with being working dogs, bred and kept to race. But when their racing career is at an end, many breeders do not keep them as pets – many of them end up in rehoming centers or simply abandoned. Fortunately, there are plenty of decent breeders out there who retire their greyhounds carefully, either keeping them as pets themselves or making sure that they have a good home to go to.
But there are plenty of greyhound dogs needing homes: most of them may be too old to race but none are too old to make great pets.
There is a lot of misinformation about greyhounds around, which can make it hard to decide whether to take one on as a pet. If you choose to adopt a greyhound, through an animal charity such as the RSPCA, the staff at the shelter can give you plenty of accurate information that will help you care for the particular dog you have chosen. Every dog is different and will have different needs, but here are some general pointers for caring for an adopted greyhound.
First, what do they eat? They’re so thin because they’ve been bred that way, over countless generations, to be lean and fast. When they retire, they shouldn’t put on more than about five pounds or so – they’ll still be getting plenty of exercises if you care for them properly but won’t be burning as many calories as when they were racing. They eat meat, pasta, vegetables, and rice – ask your vet or the staff at the animal charity for advice on what pre-prepared dog food will suit them best.
Some greyhounds are kept in crates when they are not out exercising. The dog that you choose may be used to sleeping in a crate and find it stressful to sleep out in the ‘open’. But all dogs will adapt differently to different situations so ask advice about your particular dog from wherever you adopt it from.
Remember that they will need a lot of exercises and that their coats are thin so they will feel the cold easily (so invest in a little dog jacket to keep them warm in winter).
Greyhounds are very much used to being handled and are socialized but well-controlled. They are obedient and loyal and make very loving pets, so bear them in mind when considering which dog breeds to choose from.