What a greyhound is not
- a long-distance runner
Sure, they can run fast - but only for a minute at a time! They don't have much stamina, so if you're looking for a jogging companion, you might need another breed of dog.
- a guard dog
The sight of a large dog is a good deterrent, but if a burglar does enter, a greyhound is more likely to lick him and follow him from room to room watching him interestedly than to stop him or bark! On the other hand, my dog does bark in excitement when the doorbell goes, but many greyhounds won't bark much.
- happy to be left alone all day
They need to be let out at lunchtime to relieve themselves, and they get bored (and mischievous) if left alone for a long time. If you need to go out then you should ideally get two dogs and arrange for a neighbour to let them outside at lunch.
- suitable to be left alone with small animals
They have been trained to chase small furry creatures! With care they can be trained to leave your pet cat - or even rabbit - alone but should never be left unsupervised with a small animal. If you need to go out, they should be enclosed in separate areas. Stairgates can prove useful for this.
- devoted to one person
In their previous life they have been handled by lots of people, so while they will adore you and follow you from room to room, if someone else enters they may follow them instead! They will be very fond of you but won't be entirely loyal to one person in the way that some other dogs will.
- able to be let off the lead
They can see movement up to half a mile away, are trained to chase, and can run at 40 miles an hour - once they are gone, they are GONE. When they are entranced by something they will shut out the sounds of you calling their voice, in fact the best way to try and catch them is to make it a game of chase and run in the opposite direction. So it is not safe to let them off the lead unless you are in an enclosed space. Perhaps when your dog is many years older and has "detrained" to some extent, he will be able to be let off safely, but you have to accept this may not happen.
- able to live outdoors
The kennels where they lived before were heated. Greyhounds have thin fur and skin and no protective layer of fat, so they are in fact much less suited to living outside than other breeds. The rule of thumb is that if you need to wear a coat, so does your hound.
- used to stairs
An ex-racer won't have encountered stairs before and almost certainly will not understand them the first time he sees them. He may learn to use them with no problems, or you might have to teach him paw by paw - or accept he will always stay downstairs. So if you live in a block of flats, he might have difficulties.
They are thinner than most dogs and so can be controlled without needing too much strength, but they are still as tall as a toddler and weigh around five stone.
If none of these things are a problem, then a greyhound could be the dog for you.
This page last updated: 30 September 2005
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