Greyhounds and the greyhound racing industry have been making headlines for quite some time now, and not always for the right reasons. While the rules and regulations surrounding the industry are slowly changing, there are still challenges to overcome. As a result, some organisations have been facilitating the re-homing and adoption of retired racers, but do greyhounds really make good pets?
The characteristics typical to the breed often describe greyhounds as being intelligent, gentle and quiet dogs who require only small amounts of exercise, despite being known for their athletic abilities. They are quite happy to spend the day sleeping, lounging around and require little maintenance. While greyhounds aren’t known for being aggressive towards people or other dogs, it is worth noting that their hunting instincts run deep, and probably won’t mesh well with small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs, even cats on occasion.
Dr Cherlene Lee is a vet and the owner of My Vet Animal Hospital in Sydney. “Greyhounds actually make excellent pets, especially for apartments,” Cherlene tells BHG. “They don't need a lot of exercise, and are actually very lazy. They‘re generally quite a sturdy breed, but are prone to dental diseases like smaller breed dogs.”
Dr Karen Dawson is a vet who owns three greyhounds and has spent many years studying their behavior. She recently told ABC in an interview that 'greyhounds can be docile and low maintenance’ but warned that in some cases ‘the dogs - which were mostly bred on rural properties and trained to race - could struggle in an urban family environment’.
In the same story, ABC consulted former chief veterinarian of Greyhound Racing NSW, Dr Liz Arnott. Arnott told ABC the likely cause of behavioural problems, including aggression towards humans and other animals, was that the dogs had been bred and trained for racing and not as family pets. She urges only experienced dog owners to adopt retired racers from the industry.
Ultimately, greyhounds that have been bred as pets, make excellent pets. If a greyhound has come from a background in the racing industry, it’s highly likely that these animals will need extra love, care, attention and an experienced dog owner to transition them into pet life, but will also make a great pet for the right owner. Adopting a retired racer should never be ruled out entirely, as most of them go through foster programs that introduce them to pet life and human homes before being adopted out permanently. However, those adopting greyhounds from such programs shouldn't assume their pet will be fully adjusted, and should proceed accordingly, and carefully consider their family and lifestyle arrangements before taking one on as a pet.
A high fenced garden is a necessity as greyhounds are great jumpers. They must never be allowed off the lead in public places, unless very well-trained, as it is in their natures to chase anything that moves. Always remember - these are the fastest of dogs and can reach speeds of 64km an hour. Greyhounds also require warm, soft places to snuggle up and sleep as their bodies are thin, their coats fine and their joints exposed. Greyhounds are a large dog and can accidentally knock over small children and the elderly when excited, but are generally a tranquil breed.
For more information visit Greyhounds As Pets
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