Greyhounds are gentle, affectionate dogs that thrive on human companionship.
Their friendly, loyal nature and wonderful temperament make them an ideal family pet.
Due to their calm, sensitive and friendly nature, Greyhounds are suitable companions for people of all ages, including children and seniors. They can also make great therapy pets.
Most Greyhounds are very sociable and mix readily with other dogs. Some Greyhounds will get along well with cats and small dogs, but others have too much ‘prey drive’ to live successfully with small furry pets. It must be remembered that ex-racing greyhounds have been encouraged to ‘chase’ and it may take some time for some dogs to understand that this is no longer expected of them or considered acceptable behaviour.
A large dog, the Greyhound stands approximately 62 to 72cm tall and weighs between 23 to 36 kilograms with a life span of approximately 10-14 years.
They have a very fine, soft coat and because of this, and their low body fat, they tend to feel extremes in temperature more than most dogs.
Their short, sleek coat, the absence of doggy odour, their placid, sedentary nature and love of comfort all combine to make them an excellent indoor pet. Short bursts of energy and long bouts of lethargy typify the Greyhound character. They are comfort-seeking missiles.
They come in a vast array of coat colours: white, black, red (fawn), blue (grey), light fawn and brindle, or any of these colours broken with white.
The Greyhound is a strong, lean muscular dog, built for sprinting over short distances. The breed are Sighthounds which hunt their quarry primarily by sight rather than scent and their natural quarry is the hare.
Greyhounds can reach speeds up to 70km/hour. Despite the image people have of them, they do not require a lot of exercise or space (sprinters, not endurance). A short walk each day is more than enough to keep them healthy and happy. A small yard is fine, particularly if they are getting regular short walks.
They tend to be “couch potatoes” and are content to laze around on a cosy bed or on the lounge beside their owners. They rarely bark, usually only when something is wrong or when they get really excited. They are not generally regarded as a guard dog (however their size is generally a good deterrent).
Due to being quiet, predominantly lazy and placid, low-maintenance and undemanding, Greyhounds make excellent pets for suburban homes and busy families. They are perfect indoor pets, and loving, affectionate housemates.
In NSW from July 1st, 2019, the legal requirement for Greyhounds to wear a muzzle in public no longer applies to pet Greyhounds registered on the NSW Pet Registry. Greyhounds will still be required to be on leash in public at all times unless in a council designated off-leash area, and will require muzzles when in these areas unless they have completed an approved retraining program (green collar). For more information on the program which allows muzzling exemptions go to Greenhounds.
In Queensland, muzzling exemptions are in place for ‘decommissioned’ greyhounds. Check local laws to ascertain local council requirements for muzzling. For more information about the muzzling exemption assessment process check out the GAP green collar program.
Over the past decades tens of thousands of Greyhounds were bred in Australia each year, with a resulting mass wastage.
According to the Special Commission of Inquiry into Greyhound Racing in NSW held in 2016, between 50-70 percent of Greyhounds bred for the commercial betting industry over a 12 year period were killed after being deemed uncompetitive as racing dogs.
For those dogs that do race, they are ‘retired’ by age 3-4 years.
It is estimated that at least one injury occurs in every race, and catastrophic injuries and even deaths occur on the track. More often than not an injury results in the dog’s demise as it is no longer useful as a racing prospect.
Many Greyhounds will continue to suffer and risk being unnecessarily killed for no other reason than the time, resources and ability to assess and house them.
Sadly there will never be enough companion homes for the numbers of Greyhounds necessary for a sustainable racing/gambling industry.