Greyhound FAQ

How old are greyhounds when they retire?

Most greyhounds retire between 3 and 4, but we frequently have younger and older greyhounds available. Greyhounds may come in to the programme at around 2 years old if they are unsuitable for racing. Older dogs may come in after breeding or after being returned following a change in their owner’s circumstances.

How long do greyhounds live for?

The expected life span of the greyhound is between 12 and 15 years.

How big are greyhounds?

Greyhounds usually range in weight between 25 – 38 kgs and height between 61 – 75 cm to the shoulder. Bitches are generally smaller than dogs. Greyhounds which have just finished racing generally have more muscle and less fat than a pet greyhound. When you adopt your greyhound you will find they put on a couple of kilos to reach their ‘pet weight’ which means most of their ribs are covered.

Do greyhounds make good pets?

Yes! Greyhounds are affectionate, intelligent and sociable. Thousands of years of breeding have resulted in what the greyhound is today – fast and good tempered!

Are greyhounds aggressive?

No. The greyhound is a very placid breed. They are gentle and affectionate, and tend to bond closely to their new owners.

How fast can a greyhound run?

Greyhounds can run at up to 70km/hour.

Do they need a lot of exercise?

No. The retired greyhound is a bit of a couch potato. They tend to have quick bouts of activity followed by much snoozing. So one or two 20 minute walks a day is ideal with a longer walk at weekends. Younger dogs are usually more energetic and bouncy and will need more exercise.

Can I walk my greyhound off the leash?

We suggest you take your dog to obedience classes, that way you will be taught how to control your dog off the leash in appropriate areas. Greyhounds enjoy sprinting and are out of voice range very quickly, therefore you must be constantly aware of any dangers. We recommend that greyhounds are never let off leash anywhere near traffic as they have little road sense. Bear in mind that most greyhounds enjoy a good chase and while this is great fun amongst other greyhounds it can be very intimidating to smaller dogs so please exercise discretion when letting your greyhound off lead and choose somewhere where they are unlikely to encounter smaller dogs at play.

Will a greyhound get on with my existing dog?

Generally greyhounds thrive on the companionship of other dogs as they are used to living with many other greyhounds in the kennel environment. This means they have a strong sense of pack order and will work out who is pack leader in your home environment. Problems usually only occur when you have two dogs of the same sex and who are of similar status in the pack. This can easily be avoided by choosing a dog and a bitch. However if you are keen on having two dogs of the same sex then we can usually match a greyhound who will fit in with your pack.

Can greyhounds and cats live together?

Some greyhounds will live very contentedly in a house with cats and other small animals and some will not. It really depends on the individual greyhound and how much time the owner is prepared to spend training them. Some greyhounds, like many other dog breeds, will chase cats, the difference being that a greyhound is more likely to catch one. We assess each greyhound to ensure only ones we consider cat trainable are placed with cats.

Are greyhounds a suitable pet for a child?

Greyhounds are usually very good with children. A greyhound will normally walk away from any unwanted attention. However children should be taught to respect any dog’s space and it is a good idea to make your greyhound’s bed into a no go area for young children. We temperament test each greyhound to find which dogs particularly enjoy the company of children.

Are greyhounds a suitable companion for an older person?

Yes. Greyhounds are very gentle and usually walk to heel beautifully. Many older people enjoy the companionship of a greyhound and appreciate their placid nature and the fact they don’t have to bend down to pat them!

Are greyhounds good in the car?

Yes! Greyhounds love travelling in cars. During their racing life they have travelled extensively and this is something they continue to enjoy as a pet. Most greyhounds lie quietly enjoying the view out of the window.

Can I tie my greyhound up?

No! Greyhounds can reach great speeds in two or three strides and have delicate necks therefore tethering can result in serious injury.

Do greyhounds have to be muzzled in public?

No, pet greyhounds are classed the same as any other dog. Only the Greyhound Racing Association requires racing greyhounds to wear muzzles in public.

Why do greyhounds wear muzzles when racing?

Greyhounds wear muzzles while they are racing purely as a precaution.

Can greyhounds live outside?

We prefer our greyhounds to live indoors as they have very short coats and get cold easily. However if you have an insulated kennel and lots of warm bedding we will consider your application.

How much does a greyhound eat?

Greyhounds eat the same as most medium to large breeds of dog. We recommend Nutrience which is a premium complete dry food along with bones and table scraps for variety.

Do greyhounds need a special diet?

No. Greyhounds are used to a high protein diet from their racing days and while they enjoy a meat based diet they will adapt to a variety of good quality dog foods. While they are with us they are fed Nutrience which is a premium dog food with a high meat content – we strongly advise new owners to continue with this as low quality foods can lead to poor health and toileting problems.

Do they suffer from any ailments particular to the breed?

Greyhounds are one of the oldest dog breeds and therefore suffer relatively few ailments. They can be susceptible to tooth decay when older, but this can be minimised by feeding plenty of bones and teeth cleaning treats earlier in life. Occasionally they may have suffered an injury when racing which could lead to arthritis when older; you will be advised of any injuries we are aware of.

Are GAP dogs housetrained?

Many of our greyhounds spend around 4 weeks in a foster home, during which time they are taught about the domestic environment. This includes housetraining therefore most dogs will be fully housetrained before being rehomed. However major changes in their routine can result in a few toileting accidents, these soon diminish as long as the owner remains calm and understanding.

I work, can I still have a greyhound?

Yes you can. Greyhounds are ideal for busy households as they will happily sleep through a large part of the day as long as they get a walk when you come home. If you don’t have time for the walk then there is little point in having a dog. Greyhounds do enjoy company however so we suggest that you keep two dogs if you are away for long periods of time. They must also have somewhere warm to sleep and access to outside for toilet breaks.