Things to Know Before you Adopt
1. They shed.
Yes, they have a short light coat. Yes, they are easy to groom and maintain. But they are dogs and like every other breed that has fur they do shed. They shed lightly, but they do shed. Get used to it or get a stuffed toy. If you don't think you can become accustomed to thinking of dog hair as a condiment, don't get a real animal.
2. No matter how gentle Greyhounds look, they are still large to very large dogs.
An overly excited, untrained 45-95 pound Greyhound may knock down smaller children or a a frail person. And Greyhounds tend to hold their ears back and their tails tucked and balk when they are stressed. Folks that don't know the breed might mistake this for aggression and find it too frightening to live with --especially in a dog this large.
3. Dogs and lawns are not a great combo.
Unless you have a very large yard that you can section off so your dog has his own area, it isn't likely that you can have a great lawn and a greyt dog. Get used to it or get a cat so you can use a litterbox. Greyhounds love to run and while they don't need a lot of exercise, when they run they will destroy your landscaping. If gardening is your passion, a dog who loves to run may not be your best choice.
4. Dogs make messes.
Even the best mannered, best trained dog gets sick. and if he gets sick, he isn't going to rush to the kitchen or the bathroom or some other easy to clean surface. The rugs are where the traction is--that's where he'll barf. Even elegant-looking dogs like Greyhounds get gas, barf, and/or get diarrhea at some time in their lives. Dogs track in dirt. Dogs and fancy furnishings, expensive rugs, and elegant decor aren't a good mix. If you can't stand a little dirt and fur, if fancy things are really important to you, or if your life's dream is replacing Martha Stewart, don't get a dog--even a quiet, clean dog like a Greyhound.
5. Greyhounds love (and need) soft, warm places.
If you want a dog that you can house outdoors or if you can't stand the idea of a dog on your bed or furniture, this is not the breed for you. Greyhounds are not suited to living outdoors and those bony joints need padding and a soft, warm place to rest.
6. If you don't have time for a child, chances are you don't have time for a dog.
If you have children and all your time is spent at soccer games and school activities, unless your Greyhound can be part of the activities, you don't have time for a dog. Dogs are social animals that need physical and mental stimulation. And just because they are quiet, gentle dogs, doesn't mean they don't need to be trained. Training isn't about obedience as much as it's about forming a trusting relationship and establishing a way to communicate.
7. Dogs and children are not as compatible as Hollywood would have you believe.
Greyhounds have little padding and they have skin that tears easily. They have little protection from falling toddlers or rowdy children. They have a quiet nature and do best in a tranquil environment. If any of your children are under school age or your kids are particularly active, don't get a Greyhound.
I'd even go a step farther and tell you don't get any adult dog if you have young children. Dog bites are one of the leading causes of injury and death in children. And I can assure you, biting a child is a leading cause of death in dogs. If you insist on combining children and dogs, research breeds very carefully and commit yourself to learning and taking all the steps necessary to make the combination work.
8. Just because your lifestyle and interests change doesn't mean you can abandon a dog like a used toy.
Divorces, job changes, relocations, and new babies happen. If you can't be as close to certain as humanly possible that your retired racer will be part of your life for all of his life, don't adopt.
9. Greyhounds are easy to live with but they do have special needs.
Their lack of body fat, long thin bones, fragile skin, and sensitive souls means they need to be protected from extremes of temperature, rough environments, and inappropriate handling. Thousands of years of breeding to build quick reaction times, create blazing speed, and to foster working away from and independent of human direction, meaning they must be kept safely in fenced areas or on leash at all times.
10. Adding a retired racer should never be an impulsive gesture.
Don't adopt because you feel sorry for them or because it's fashionable. To paraphrase a bumper sticker from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, A dog isn't just for Christmas. It's for life.
Are Greyhounds Cat Safe?
Cat Safeness - What's it all about? If you've been researching Greyhounds as pets, you know that we make a pretty big deal about 'cat safe' versus 'not cat safe'. What does it mean to you, the adopter?
First and foremost, Greyhounds don't have a corner on the market of cat-chasing. Dogs chasing cats is an old cliché. However, Greyhounds are fast enough to catch 'em! All of our available hounds are cat-tested. This consists of taking a leashed and muzzled Greyhound into a room where there's a cat. Generally we'll get one of the following three reactions:
1. The Greyhound will look at the cat, show no interest and start exploring the rest of the room. When the cat is allowed to walk around, the Greyhound will acknowledge the cat's presence (a mild glance, maybe a half-hearted sniff) but will not attempt to grab or chase. This is what we would categorize as 'cat safe'. These hounds have very low prey drive and may not have been very good racers. About 25% of Greyhounds fit this description.
2. The Greyhound sees the cat, takes an interest and moves toward the cat. They get a big NO KITTY and leash jerk, and maybe a good hiss and swat from the kitty. If the Greyhound backs off (oftentimes they're positively traumatized and won't even look at the cat after that) we consider them 'interested but trainable', aka 'cat-workable'. These Greyhounds will need initial supervision and correction, but can quickly learn that chasing the cat is not allowed. About 50% of Greyhounds fall into this category.
Not Cat Safe
3. The Greyhound sees the cat, turns into a cat-seeking missile and cannot be deterred with any amount of correction. These hounds are not trainable and will never be able to safely live with cats (in fact they are exactly what several thousand years' worth of breeders have been striving to produce!). About 25% of Greyhounds are in this category of 'not cat compatible', aka 'high-prey'. Some common misconceptions are that a non-cat-safe hound cannot be around any small animals, and that you won't be able to take them out in public without a muzzle and a lawyer (some people even think they'll be dangerous to children). THIS IS NOT TRUE. Greyhounds are not bred or trained to be dog-aggressive (or people-aggressive!) and with a few early precautions, even the most non-cat safe hounds can and do live, play and otherwise form deep pack bonds with small dogs. If you have a dog under about 15 lbs it's still recommended that you do not adopt a high-prey Greyhound, but it's very rare that a Greyhound will pose a danger to other dogs of any size. High-prey hounds are not indiscriminate killers nor are they aggressive in a general sense. They learn that canines come in many shapes and sizes (but they'll always know that cats are something else entirely). It's very predictable that the cat-safes will always be adopted first. Some of the most wonderful, sweet pups will languish for months just because they've got the scarlet "Not Cat Safe" designation. The bottom line is that if you don't have a cat, you really won't know the difference. If your neighbor's cats are running loose and you think a cat-safe hound won't chase them, you're mistaken. Outside kitties (and squirrels, and rabbits, and the occasional bird) that come into any Greyhound's yard are tempting fate.