All about adopting a greyhound
The recent publicity surrounding government movements to ban greyhound racing in various Australian states and territories has led to an increasing number of people seeking to adopt greyhounds as pets. Adopting a pet is an exciting moment and can bring vast amounts of joy into not only our lives, but also the lives of the greyhound you welcome into your family. Before adopting a greyhound there are a number of things you should consider.
During their racing career most greyhounds are kept in their own cages and, while they are generally sociable animals, they may not have been exposed to other dog breeds before adoption. For some individuals this can lead to behavioural problems and issues with anxiety. It is a good idea when bringing them home to allow them to have a place of their own to retreat to if they feel uncomfortable and give them ample time to settle in. Discussing these issues with your veterinarian is a great way to ensure a smooth introduction into your family for both you and your new greyhound. Prior to adopting your greyhound, it is important to discuss with the rescue group whether you have any other animals to ensure the greyhound you choose is the right fit for the whole family.
Many greyhounds are kept outside and may not be fully house trained before adoption. Some may have never seen the inside of a house and so when they first come into your home everything will be a new experience for them. Taking things slow and introducing new situations and objects, such as the vacuum cleaner, in a relaxed manner will help your greyhound settle in smoothly. They may also not be used to being called by their name and can take some time with name recall. Greyhounds are intelligent dogs and often eager to please, so with time and a bit of work, should adapt to their new indoor lives. When training your new greyhound, the AVA recommends reward-based training methods (see our story here).
It is a compulsory legal requirement for all pet greyhounds who have not gone through a greyhound adoption program (GAP) to wear a muzzle in public in all Australian states, with the exception of the Northern Territory, the ACT and some local council areas in Queensland. Greyhounds who have been adopted through GAP will receive a special Green Collar which must be worn to allow them to be in public without a muzzle.
Greyhounds shed hair
As a short-haired breed, greyhounds will shed hair frequently, however not a great deal, and have a low-maintenance coat. Given their thin coat they may cause less concern for individuals with dog allergies. However, they might not be suitable for families looking for a low-allergen dog, such as a poodle, which do not shed at all.
Greyhounds have a lot of muscle, very little body fat and a thin coat, which makes them vulnerable to both heat and cold. You must ensure they have easy access to shelter from the elements and during the coldest winter months they may need a warm coat. Their thin and sensitive skin is also susceptible to injury.
Like any dog, the amount of exercise your greyhound will require will vary between individuals depending on their age and personality. Some greyhounds enjoy a sedentary lifestyle and will be more than happy lounging around at home, where as others will crave regular walks and exercise. Discussing your lifestyle with the rescue group prior to adoption will help match you with an individual who suits your particular lifestyle.