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With greyhound racing officially banned in New South Wales from July next year, there’s never been a better time to adopt or foster this breed.
But is a greyhound dog necessarily the right pet for you and your family?
Greyhounds make fantastic pets. They are loving, affectionate and warm around people, have a very docile, gentle and quiet disposition and are generally patient and sensitive with children.
However, just like any other dog, greyhounds should always be supervised around young children. Being non-aggressive, they would prefer to walk away from a child who is annoying them or teasing them, but every dog has their limits and can growl or snap when they feel threatened, especially when eating or sleeping.
Greyhounds are certainly one of the best natured of all the dog breeds and from a very early age racing greyhounds have been used to being handled by a large variety of people. There’s no need to be alarmed when they bark at people who come to your home, because it is really just an excited friendly greeting!
Many people mistakenly think because greyhounds are bred to race, they must need a lot of exercise. Yes, greyhounds are the fastest breed of dog, but they are sprinters rather than long-distance runners.
Greyhounds are actually known as the couch potatoes of the canine world, spending most of their day asleep (up to 20 hours), and only needing a short walk daily. And they can live happily in either an apartment or a home with only a small fenced yard, as long as they are taken for a daily walk on a leash.
The Companion Animals Act of NSW requires greyhounds to always wear a muzzle when in a public place, but this is not because greyhounds are dangerous or aggressive to people.
Initially this law was introduced in the 1920s to prevent greyhounds from injuring themselves and each other during and after racing (they have very thin skin that is easily damaged), but it remains in force today outside of racing to protect smaller dogs, and other pets that the greyhound has been bred to view as prey.
As long as your greyhound is muzzled he can enjoy a run within a secretly fenced area, but never let your greyhound off-leash in an unfenced area. Because greyhounds are trained to chase, have no road sense and can run at great speeds, unfenced off-leash areas are potentially a dangerous environment for them.
A far better option for exercising your greyhound is a short daily walk or a jog as they are generally walk very well on a leash.
Ex-racing greyhounds have always lived with other greyhounds so they are used to living with other dogs of a similar size. However if you own smaller, fluffy pets, you will need to take caution and allow time while slowly introducing your greyhound to your existing pets.
A mobile vet can come to your home to assess your situation and advise whether a greyhound would be a good match for your existing pets. We can provide you with techniques to introduce your greyhound carefully and gradually to your other pets, ensuring your home will be a safe and happy home for all your animals.
Because greyhounds have very little body fat and a short thin coat they are more suited to a life indoors. In fact this breed often need to wear a coat in winter as they really feel the cold.
Greyhounds do enjoy outside activities and going for a walk but they are really happiest lying asleep on the couch—an activity that takes up most of their day! So if you are looking for an outside dog or if you live in a very cold climate a greyhound may not be the ideal breed for you.
The good news is greyhounds are a generally healthy, low-maintenance, medium-sized breed, weighing between 23-32 kg and with an expected lifespan of approximately 11-13 years.They have a smooth coat that does shed, but they do not require much grooming apart from a quick weekly brushing, nail clipping, ear cleaning, and perhaps a wipe-down or a bath when dirty or muddy.
We can come to your home and provide a full health check if you are considering adopting a dog.
When greyhound racing in NSW comes to an end next year, there will be thousands of greyhounds needing a forever or a foster home. And while a greyhound is not the perfect pet for everybody, this gentle loving breed is worth considering if you are looking to foster or adopt a dog.
If you’d like to find out more, there are many rescue groups in NSW dedicated to fostering or rehoming greyhounds, and your mobile vet can help assess whether a greyhound is the right dog for you and your family.