Greyhound FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need a fenced property?

Yes, you do. if your home has outdoor space it must be fully fenced with no gaps or breaks in it. The preferred height requirement is 1.5m and the fencing needs to be strong enough to withstand a hound's pushing or jumping on it.  However, if your home (or parts of your fencing including gates) does not meet this particular requirement, or you live in a rural setting or in an apartment above the ground floor then please contact us directly via email to discuss whether or not your property would be suitable for a greyhound to live in before submitting your application to adopt.  We are happy to provide you with advice and suggestions to help bring the fencing up to speed so we can process your application without delay.

What if I don't own my own home?

If you would like to apply to adopt a greyhound and you are living in a rental property please obtain written permission from your landlord prior to completing the application form.

How old are greyhounds when they retire?

Most greyhounds retire aged 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 23 – 40 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 generally put on a couple of kilos to reach their ‘pet weight’ which means you can just see the outline of the back few ribs.

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?

Greyhounds are a very independent breed and have very little street smarts. They often have no idea about roads and other dangers. We recommend that you only let your greyhound off leash in safe, well fenced areas. Working on building a good relationship with your greyhound, including recall is recommended. 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?

Dogs, like people, really enjoy the company of some dogs but not all dogs. Matching the right personalities is the most important thing when a greyhound joins a household with another dog or dogs. This is why if you already have a dog we request that your dog accompanies you to your adoption so we can make sure everyone is going to get along. 

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 can develop lovely and gentle relationships with children and we have lots of greyhounds who are living happily with families with children. It is important that the children are well behaved around the dog and are at an age where they understand appropriate behaviour around dogs. It is a good idea to make your dogs bed a no-go area for children, this encourages respect for everyone’s space.

We strongly encourage you to consider your decision to adopt any dog carefully from all angles if you have very small children including “is a greyhound the right choice for us at this point in time.”

Greyhounds are not aggressive dogs and all GAP hounds must pass rigorous temperament testing however they often have not had any interaction with children. A greyhound will normally walk away from any unwanted attention however some will not hesitate to show their fear or discomfort with a growl or snap if they feel threatened. Greyhounds also do not possess either the fur or body fat appropriate for rough-and-tumble play..

Are greyhounds a suitable companion for an older person?

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! A more sedate in nature greyhound is often recommended for older people.

Are greyhounds good in the car?

Generally, greyhounds are great in the car however they often have to be taught to get in and out unassisted, but most enjoy going out for adventures.

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. We also strongly discourage the use of retractable leads, these can cause injury, and if they snap your greyhound will be off.

Do greyhounds have to be muzzled in public?

No, pet greyhounds are classed the same as any other dog. Only the Greyhound Racing New Zealand 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 be indoor pets, including sleeping inside at night as they have very short coats and get cold easily. It is acceptable for the hound to be outside during the day as long as they have the proper shelter and protection from the weather elements.

How much does a greyhound eat?

Greyhounds eat the same as most medium to large breeds of dog. We recommend Nutrience Grain Free which is a premium complete dry food along with bones and  pet mince for variety. It is estimated that it costs between $1.50 to $2.50 per day to feed a greyhound. As they have a high metabolism, they need to be fed twice a day.

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 GAP they are fed Nutrience Grain Free 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.

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 bones, chews and regular teeth cleaning . Occasionally they may have suffered an injury when racing; you will be advised of any injuries we are aware of.

Are GAP dogs house-trained?

No - But greyhounds are very clean dogs and if you follow our settling in guides house training is very easy.

I work, can I still have a greyhound?

Yes, you can but this depends on the length of time the hound will be left alone during the day. Most 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 or some mental stimulation before you leave and 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.

Where can I go to meet greyhounds?

Our kennel bases are not open to the general public, appointments are only made once you have been through the process and have been invited to meet potential matches. However, GAP has very active regional Facebook pages – just search GAP in Facebook and they will all come up. Choose the one which applies to you and you are more than welcome to attend any walks or events in your area.

What reference material should I read?

Our main source of reference material is our extensive GAP Guide to Adopting a Retired Racer – an online copy can be found here. Also check out our training tips here.

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