The Retired Greyhound

The Greyhound is a sighthound which has been historically bred for coursing  game and Greyhound racing. It is a gentle and intelligent breed with powerful long legs deep chest and flexible spine. They have a slim build that allows it to reach average race speeds of 40mph. The Greyhound can reach a full speed  43 mph within 32 yards or six strides from the boxes, traveling at almost 20 meters per second for the first 250 meters of a race. 

There are a variety of colors from, brindle, black, white/black,fawn,red fawn,red,white,blue (grey). The males are usually 28 to 30 in tall and weigh 60 to 88 lb and Females tend to be smaller with shoulder heights ranging from 27 to 28 in and weights from 60 to 75 lb.Greyhounds have very short fur which is easy to maintain,however during winter months a winter coat is recommended should your greyhound be taken outside for a walk. 

Greyhounds are very gentle and social animals,and on occasion you may find one that is shy,timid and not as confident as most greyhounds. Greyhounds are not an aggressive dog, as some may believe due to muzzles worn during racing. Muzzles are worn during racing to prevent injuries resulting from dogs nipping one another during or immediately after a race, when the ‘hare’ has disappeared out of sight and the dogs are no longer racing but still excited. The greyhound has very thin skin so just a nip or a bite can result in stitches and this will be time out from racing. There are also times you will see a greyhound outside the racetrack wearing muzzles when around small animals. This is due to the greyhound having a high prey drive and will be inclined to chase the small animal “prey”.


Greyhounds do very well as pets once they retired from racing. They are quiet,loving and gentle giants and very loyal to their owners.  During their upbringing, greyhounds are known to be “Pack” dogs, and are not exposed to other breeds. Greyhounds will typically chase small animals,however those lacking high ‘prey drive’ will be able to coexist happily with cats/toy dog breeds. Greyhounds are simply known by their owners as 45 mile per hour “couch potatoes”.

They are best living in a quiet environment.  Although some greyhounds may be exposed to children during their racing career, on occasion there are greyhounds that can not be placed with a family with small pets or children.

There is a common misconception that greyhounds are hyperactive and need lots of exercise. This is usually not the case in a retired racing greyhound. Most greyhounds are happy with just a walk around the block and some playtime in a fenced in yard, others just rather enjoy their retirement and just sleep all day. Greyhounds generally have a calm temperament which makes them suitable for apartment living.Greyhound organizations groups recommend that owners keep their Greyhounds on a leash whenever outdoors, except in fully enclosed or fenced in areas.This is due to their prey-drive,their speed and the assertion that Greyhounds have no road sense.

Once the greyhound is retired they will need to adjust to their new life. Often times rescue groups will place the retired greyhound in a foster home so that they can become accustomed to home life. The newly retired greyhound will need to learn how to climb steps, be house broken, and be exposed to loud and unusual noises like cars/trucks passing by on their walk, the television set, garbage disposal,a ringing phone,a baby crying, children playing etc. Due to their height a greyhound can easily reach a kitchen counter and can be known as a counter surfers so keeping all foods of your counter and placed up on a higher shelf or put away is recommended. 

Greyhounds are housed in crates to sleep at most race tracks. Often times it is misunderstood that a greyhound should no longer be housed in a crate once they retire. This is far from the case,as they do not know any other way of life. Therefore, crate training a greyhound in the home is quite easy. You may find that there are greyhound that once retired still prefer a crate to sleep in.


Disclaimer: “This content is strictly informational/opinion of the author and owner is not claiming to be an expert in this topic”. Consult your Veterinary Professional for all medical advice and treatment.