Frequently Asked Questions
Do greyhounds make good pets?
Greyhounds make fantastic pets – they're loving, affectionate and wonderful with people. However owning a dog of any shape or form requires a serious commitment from you as the owner. Not only does a dog need food and water, it needs exercise, grooming, training, regular veterinary care and lots of affection. You may want to do a little homework about greyhounds to determine whether they are the right dog for you and the following information may answer some of your initial questions. Dogs require our time and consideration on a daily basis and in return give us unconditional love and continual entertainment and companionship. Owning a pet is a serious responsibility lasting many years and if you have decided that you are ready to have a dog, please consider adopting a greyhound.
Why do greyhounds wear muzzles?
According to a law introduced in Australia in 1927 Greyhounds must always wear a muzzle when in a public place. Initially the muzzle was introduced on the race track to prevent these valuable animals from injuring themselves during the general excitement at the track and their high spirited racing. Most states now or are working on amending the laws regarding pet greyhounds. Properly assessed greyhounds in SA are made exempt from this law because they are such a friendly, affectionate and loving breed and when wearing a muzzle people often incorrectly assume the opposite. However, Greyhounds that have not been assessed via the proper channels and do not hold a Dog & Cat Management Board exemption certificate must still wear a muzzle.
Are greyhounds highly strung and aggressive?
Nothing could be further from the truth. Greyhounds are intelligent, calm loving animals that thrive on the attention of people in general. Many vets that work with greyhounds point out that they are among the best natured breeds. The structure of the greyhound racing industry means that from a very early stage the race dogs are handled by a large variety of people at kennels, racetracks and vet surgeries so they are used to adapting to unfamiliar surroundings and different people.
Are Greyhounds good watch dogs?
Greyhounds are fantastic watch dogs - they'll "watch" everything, they just don't always protect it! As a result of the greyhounds' non-aggressive nature they don't really make the best guard dogs, however their sheer size and appearance is intimidating to many and when they do bark it sounds threatening and imposing enough to ward off any intruders, even if it really is just an excited friendly greeting!
Do greyhounds need a lot of room to exercise?
Although greyhounds are the fastest breed of dog they achieve their incredible speeds in one all out sprint and do not have a great deal of endurance. A greyhound is quite content to be a "couch potato" and spend most of the day sleeping. They require no more exercise than your average pet dog. Many live happy healthy lives with only a small fenced yard and occasional walks on a leash. Although a fenced yard is definitely preferred in certain cases dogs are available to homes with leash exercise only.
Can I trust my greyhound off a leash?
NO! Greyhounds are trained to chase based on the sight of the fast moving lure and they can see clearly for almost one kilometre. They have no knowledge of cars and traffic and can run at great speeds so being off a leash in an unfenced area could be a recipe for disaster. By law they are NOT allowed to run in public areas (dog parks, beaches etc). A private secured area is perfect to let them loose with the permission of the land owner. Greyhounds enjoy walking and some don't mind jogging (but not for long periods!), they are very well behaved on a leash so they make a great exercising companion.
Are greyhounds good with children?
Greyhounds have a very gentle and quiet disposition and are patient and sensitive with children, however just like any dog they do not wish to be abused or harassed by anyone. Being non-aggressive, a greyhound will normally walk away from a worrisome child rather than growl or snap. However even the gentle greyhound has its limits and should not be subjected to continuous harassment. Any children should be taught to respect any dog and never to bother a dog that is sleeping or eating. As with any other dog, take special care to avoid accidental injury to either dog or child when very young children are in the home by always supervising them.
Are greyhounds good with other pets?
In the kennel environment Greyhounds have always lived with other greyhounds and should quickly make friends with any other pet dogs you have. Cats are an unknown entity to greyhounds so more care and caution is needed and take some extra time when introducing your cat to your greyhound. Cats and other small fury indoor animals can easily become a greyhound's friend if the introductory period is closely supervised to ensure that your home will be a happy home for all of your pets.
Which makes a better pet - a male or female?
Both! Just like any other dog, greyhounds are all individuals with a wide variety of personalities. The difference on temperament between the sexes is much less pronounced in this breed than in others. One real advantage of adopting an adult dog is that the animal's basic personality traits are already developed and evident. Personality is more important than weight or sex. A calm low key 35kg dog may be happier in a quiet small relaxed home whereas an energetic small 25kg dog could be better suited to a busy and active home.
Where should a greyhound live?
Greyhounds are not very well suited to being outside dogs as they have very little body fat and a short thin coat. Like us, a greyhound enjoys outside activities but looks forward to a cool or warm house depending on the season. Natural "Couch Potatoes", greyhounds appreciate having their own soft spots where they can relax and feel secure. Adjusting to a new home is made easier for greyhounds when they have a small private area that they can claim as their own. They feel the cold and so a coat of their own is often needed in winter months.
If you have any other questions please feel free to contact Greyhound Adoption Program SA.