About Greyhounds

Frequently Asked Questions about Greyhounds and Adoption


You need to upgrade your Flash Player to version 9 or newer.

What kind of pets do 
ex-racing greyhounds make?

Greyhounds make great pets. They’re affectionate, friendly dogs that thrive on attention and human interaction. They love being the center of attention and are affectionate, devoted companions.

What should I expect, 
if I adopt a greyhound?

Expect a gentle, loving companion who, with time, care and patience, will be a great addition to your family. Because everything is new to a greyhound, expect him/her to be a bit confused and very curious at first. House manners have to be learned, but greyhounds are intelligent and eager to please. A firm "no" is usually all that is required to correct undesired behavior in a greyhound.

Are they good with children?

Most greyhounds have a very quiet, calm disposition and are good with well-mannered children. However, most have never seen children before leaving the track. Because very young children can behave unpredictably and in ways that are frightening or threatening to dogs, we generally do not recommend placing greyhounds with children under the age of six. Exceptions may be made depending on individual circumstances.

Additionally, most greyhounds are not pet-me-hug-me-play-with-me kinds of dogs. So, if you are looking for a dog to romp with your child, a greyhound may not be the most suitable choice. All interactions between dogs and children — regardless of the dog or breed — should be supervised by adults. Remember — never leave any dog unsupervised with a child. To learn more about helping children and dogs live together happily and safely, please watch the educational videos at the bottom of this page The Family Dog. Also, visit this site from the American Humane Society. www.americanhumane.org/assets/pdfs/interaction/pet-meets-babypdf-updated.pdf

How are they with other pets?

Cats and smaller dogs are new to a greyhound, so a little extra time and care are required to make a happy home for all. GPAN prescreens adoptable greyhounds for compatibility with smaller, non-greyhound dogs and cats. Nonetheless, using an abundance of caution is always recommended.

Are ex-racing greyhounds already housebroken?

Racing greyhounds are kennel-broken, which means they're trained to go outside and keep their kennels clean. GPAN volunteers foster all the dogs adopted from the group prior to placement, so the groundwork for housebreaking as a pet is well established. It’s the adopters’ job to reinforce this good behavior by taking the dog out every two hours in the day time in the first few days and then regularly there after.

Why do greyhounds need 
to be kept on a leash?

Born and bred to run and chase, a greyhound can reach a speed of 45 mph in just three strides and see up to a mile away! If an unleashed greyhound spots a squirrel, instinct takes over. Or if it's frightened or startled, a greyhound will run until exhausted and be too confused to find its way home.

Add these qualities to greyhounds’ lack of experience with hazards such as traffic, fences, swimming pools and rough terrain and the need to keep greys on lead or in a fenced area is clear.

Why do they wear muzzles?

They wear muzzles while racing to help racing officials determine the outcome of a photo-finish race. Also, they are competitive by nature and the excitement of the race can lead to fights.

Do greyhounds need 
a lot of exercise?

Greyhounds easily adapt to the lifestyle of their adopters. Feel free to take your greyhound walking with you as your exercise regime dictates being sensible about extremes in temperature. Greyhounds can learn to be jogging partners but it's not a natural speed for them. Remember that greyhounds are sprinters, not distance runners and may not want to join you.

If you don't have a fenced yard, your greyhound will greatly enjoy regular long walks and a romp once or twice a week in a completely enclosed ball field or park. Greyhounds are retired athletes and are accustomed to physically and mentally stimulating lives. You will have a happier, healthier companion if you continue this lifestyle into retirement by bringing them out to Meet and Greet and including them in your activities.

Do greyhounds make good watchdogs?

Greyhounds do not usually make good watchdogs. They are generally friendly and, rarely if ever, growl when someone new comes into their home. Also they're not big barkers.

Do greyhounds have special food requirements?

As retired athletes, greyhounds need food high in protein to maintain optimal health. GPAN recommends commercial foods such as Natures Select, Timberwolf Organics, Taste of the Wild, Eagle Pack, Purina ProPlan, California Natural, BilJack, Innova, Wellness, Flint River, Azmira and Solid Gold. You also may want to explore feeding your grey a raw diet.

What kind of collars 
work best with a greyhound?

We require greyhounds to wear both a martingale-style collar and a tag collar. The martingale is used when the grey is on lead. If a buckle-style collar is used with a leash, the grey will slip the collar, a properly adjusted martingale prevents that; your hound only needs a martingale when walking on lead, so leave it attached to the leash. Your Grey's ID tags — both the one supplied by GPAN and the one with your personal contact information — should be placed on the tag collar. This is usually a rolled leather buckle collar or a velvet collar. Your grey wears this collar with his tags at all times.

I've noticed some greyhounds wear coats. Why?

A greyhound's body is only 15 percent fat, so he has little protection against the cold. The general rule is if you need a coat your greyhound may need one, too. However, like people, some thrive on brisk weather and only need a coat when temperatures are frigid. Others need additional warmth when the weather's mild. Some even need pajamas or extra blankets on cold nights. Watch your dog for obvious signs of discomfort such as shivering or reluctance to go out. CLICK HERE to go to our on-line store where we sell coats made by volunteers.

Aren't all greyhounds gray?

They come in many colors and combinations — brindle, black, white, red or fawn. Gray greyhounds are referred to as blue; this is the least common greyhound color.

At what age are they retired?

Retired racers are usually between two and five years old. Occasionally, we have younger adoptable greys. Senior dogs (eight years and up) who have been used for breeding or are returned from adopted homes are available. CLICK HERE to learn about our special program to encourage the adoption of seniors.

How long do they live?

These purebred athletes enjoy many years of good health and have a life expectancy of 10-12 years.

How big are they?

Greyhound males on average stand 27-31 inches at the shoulder and weigh 65-90 pounds. Females on average stand 24-28 inches at the shoulder and weigh 50-75 pounds.

What should I do when I have to leave my greyhound home alone?

Until your greyhound is completely comfortable in your home and you're confident of his housebreaking and other behavior, his crate is the best place for him while you're away. When you go out, turn on a light or two and switch on the radio or television for background noise. Leaving him with a safe chew toy can help occupy him until your return.

Where should my greyhound sleep?

Provide your greyhound with a warm, soft bed that includes an old comforter or blanket for him to "nest" in. Since greyhounds are used to living in a kennel with 60+ other dogs, isolating them from their new "pack" - that's you and your family - can be stressful. A corner of your bedroom is a good choice for his bed and/or crate.

Is there a cost associated with adopting a retired greyhound?

The adoption fee is $300, which includes the required $50 deposit. This fee helps defer GPAN's costs of spaying or neutering, dental cleaning, vaccinations, deworming, heartworm testing, a microchip, flea treatment, a starter collar and leash and a muzzle. In addition, every adopter receives a week’s worth of food, a six-month supply of heartworm medication and an informational packet about greyhounds.