The greyhounds that THE GREYHOUND RESCUE SOCIETY OF TEXAS places are usually between 2 and 10 years of age. The size will vary, with most weighing between 50 and 85 pounds. Males are usually larger than the females, and they stand anywhere from 26" to 30" at the shoulder. There are an almost endless variety of colors, including black, brindle, white, fawn, red, blue or any of the colors broken with white. Greyhounds are graceful, muscular, and naturally on the "lean" side. They have been described as being "small" large dogs because they are "cat-like" in their ability to curl up in the smallest ball and fit into the smallest places.
Typically, a retired track greyhound is good natured, clean, quiet, and very gentle. There is little difference in temperament between males and females, but the males do seem sweeter. They are equally wonderful! Because they may have been around many other dogs and many different people in their track life, the greyhounds do well in homes as companion pets. They are affectionate and loyal.
They continue to enjoy exercise, but require far less than one might imagine. A long walk or romp in an enclosed area 2 to 3 times a week will do. Because they are "sight hounds" a greyhound must always be kept on a leash when not in an enclosed area. Much of the time, they are very content to relax on a soft bed or sleep. In fact, they make very good apartment/condominium pets. Greyhounds are extremely sensitive and intelligent animals and respond quickly to training. Because of their docile nature and their tendency not to bark much, they usually don't make good "watch" dogs; however many instances have been reported of alerting family members to emergency situations.
Generally speaking, the greyhounds that THE GREYHOUND RESCUE SOCIETY OF TEXAS receives are in good health. As with any new pet, it is recommended that you take your new greyhound to a veterinarian for a thorough check-up. Racing greyhounds are bred for athleticism and as a result, have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
Dental care is a must for greyhounds. You should have your hound's teeth checked, cleaned and any damaged teeth pulled at least once a year. Part of their routine grooming is brushing their teeth regularly, and it is a must to ensure clean teeth and healthy gums, making a healthier greyhound.
Use a soft-bristled brush or hound glove to groom your grey's coat. Regular cleaning of their ears and clipping of nails is also necessary. Nails that are not kept trimmed can cause damage to the foot by tearing or splitting. Greyhounds, because of very little oil in their skin, have no "doggy-odor", and shedding is kept to a minimum. Because of these characteristics, many people with allergies find they can live comfortably with a greyhound.
There are no genetic-related abnormalities common to greyhounds; they have one of the lowest incidents of hip dysphasia of all the breeds. However, being a large breed, they can be prone to Bloat, which is caused by the stomach flipping over -- it can be fatal and must be treated immediately. Do not feed for at least 30 minutes after strenuous exercise or let your greyhound run hard less than 1 hour after feeding. Too much water before or after exercise can also cause Bloat. Having little body fat, caution must be exercised when using some anesthesia agents. You should discuss these sensitivities with your veterinarian to ensure he is familiar with this fact.
Flea collars should not be used on greyhounds and flea shampoos only containing Pyrenthrins should be used. A mixture of 50% Murphy Oil Soap and Joy dishwashing liquid, if left on the greyhound at least 5 minutes, is an excellent low-cost shampoo and kills any fleas. Frontline or Advantage can be used as a flea deterrent, and can be obtained from your vet.
Track greyhounds are "kennel-broken", meaning that they have been trained not to soil their living quarters. It is relatively easy to housetrain such dogs. They need to get the message that the house they are now in is their "kennel". Their life was one of routine at the track, so if you employ common sense, patience and consistentency when they are brought home, housebreaking can be relatively easy. The greyhound, being a very clean dog by nature, will assist in the training. Greyhounds should never be hit, and a stern "NO" should be enough to discipline them. A crate, muzzle or keeping them enclosed in a specific area can be helpful in the beginning when you bring them home.
Being gentle, patient and sensitive, greyhounds live with families having children quite well. (Click here for photo.) Greyhounds tend to walk away if play becomes too much, rather than snap. However, all children should be supervised by an adult when playing with any dog, and they must be taught to respect the greyhound's personal space, especially when the grey is sleeping.
Introducing your greyhound to other family pets should be done slowly and with a muzzle until all family members are comfortable. Many greyhounds live harmoniously with cats inside the home, and Greyhounds Unlimited has foster homes for cat testing. Every effort is taken to ensure that this testing is accurate; however, caution should be taken when meeting for the first time.
DO NOT LET THEM OFF A LEASH unless they are in a totally enclosed area. Greyhounds are sight hounds which means they hunt by sight. If they see something to chase - they are gone, and needless to say you won't be able to catch them! They do not know about cars either and could easily be hit if they are running loose. They are very good on a lead, so you won't have any problems walking or running with them, once they are used to the routine. They are sprinters, so they need to be trained for longer distances at a slower pace.