Many people think of greyhounds purely as racing dogs, and wouldn’t think of taking one as a pet. Yet retired or unwanted racing greyhounds can make wonderful pet dogs. Greyhounds are sprinters, and have been bred to have one fast race then walk quietly back to the kennels. In a home environment that tends to mean that they need less walking than many other breeds, usually walk nicely on the lead, and like to sleep a lot.
Although they are quite tall dogs, their lean and elegant shape and quiet nature means they can seem to fill less space than a terrier with attitude.
They are sighthounds, and that can mean a strong chase instinct. If a dog does chase, it’s more likely to catch its target than less speedy dogs. None the less, there are plenty of greyhounds that live with cats, rabbits, chickens and other unlikely-seeming companions, and a specialist greyhound rescue will often cat-test dogs and guide you to one that is suitable for all the occupants of your home. There is no special problem with greyhounds and children either, but do bear in mind that a whippy tail wagging at eye level may need extra care.
A racing greyhound will usually have been brought up in kennels. Unless you adopt a dog who has been a pet before (an oldie, perhaps?) your dog may not understand coming when called, or be house trained from the start. But with persistence and kindness, they will learn. They are still dogs, after all, and they want to please.
They don’t shed much fur, take up surprisingly little room, and are endlessly funny, charming, entertaining, and loving. I can’t recommend greyhounds enough!
There are several active online sighthound communities which offer a great depth of knowledge about ex-racing greyhounds and actively work to support sighthound rescues too. If you are planning to adopt your first greyhound, why not join Sighthound Welfare Trust or Sighthounds Online. Both are great resources where you can chat to other owners and get the benefit of their experience on training, exercising and feeding your greyhound, or just share photos and experiences.