What are greyhounds “really like” as pets?
Greyhounds make great pets! They are intelligent, affectionate, “laid back” and exceedingly clean. Although they are classified as large dogs, they are relatively unobtrusive, polite, and easy to live with. Male Greyhounds average between 65 and 80 pounds; females are a little lighter and shorter at 50 to 65 pounds. Some Greyhounds do well with cats and other small animals, while some need to be the only dog or animal in the home. Most are also good with children. Most Greyhounds are not natural barkers, but can, on occasion, pickup a barking habit if another dog in your house is a frequent barker.
Greyhounds have virtually no “doggy” odor, even when wet. They have short hair, do not shed much (though they do shed a little), and do not require grooming other than an occasional bath, brushing and nail clipping. Greyhounds do not eat a lot, about 4 cups of dry kibble daily, but do need a premium dry dog food. A good quality lamb and rice formula without corn or soy is generally a good choice.
Greyhounds are generally very healthy dogs, and live for 12 to 15 years. Hip dysplaysia and other genetic defects are very rare in ex-racing Greyhounds, due to their careful, selective breeding for speed and stamina. Health problems are minimal compared to other breeds, although tick borne diseases are a potential health risk, due to their nationwide travels as racing dogs. The biggest adjustment any potential adopter should be aware of however, is that Greyhounds, due to their low body fat, require special anesthesia procedures whenever called for.
Greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise, but will enjoy as much as you have time to give them. A good run in a fully fenced field once a week will help keep your Greyhound fit and happy. By being trained during their racing career for good “leash manners”, your Greyhound will love to go for walks, and both you and your dog will benefit from walking as often as possible. Racing Greyhounds are trained for sprinting short distances, but can easily be conditioned as ideal jogging companions. Again, they are not overly hyperactive dogs, and will be content to follow you from room to room in your house, as well as snooze for up to 18 hours a day, as well as be a companion on walks.
Greyhounds are members of the sighthound group, and have exceedingly keen eyesight — they can see clearly for up to one-half mile! They also have a genetic chase instinct and a love for running. This combination of genetic traits, plus their racing training, makes it necessary to keep your Greyhound on leash when not inside a completely fenced area. Greyhounds hunt by sight, not by smell, and if they become lost are very unlikely to find their own way home.
Greyhounds have very little body fat (less than half that of other breeds), thin skin, and short fur. Thus, they are sensitive to heat and cold, making them strictly indoor dogs. Fortunately, their unusual sense of cleanliness and lack of odor make them excellent indoor canine companions.