Greyhounds can grow up to 2.5 feet in height and weigh between 50 and 85 pounds when they reach maturity.
They can run 40-45 miles per hour, and they have a lifespan between 12 – 15 years, meaning there’s plenty of time to get to know them and develop a relationship as your family pet.
But, do greyhounds make good pets? Greyhounds make great pets. Although they were initially bred for hunting, and later for racing, fine-tuning their already-skilled muscles to run fast. When out of the track, they’re just loveable couch potatoes with affectionate and playful personalities. They’re great with children and are relatively easy to care for.
Why Do Greyhounds Make Good Pets?
Aside from the fact that greyhounds are beautiful, graceful, and unique-looking dogs, they have a lot to offer as pets within a family household and can be adaptable to any lifestyle.
Let’s go through everything!
Greyhounds are known for being calm, laid back, and affectionate dogs. Contrary to popular belief, their favorite pastime isn’t running; it’s cuddling. They’re just a giant lap dog.
You’ll often find them wanting to snuggle up with you in the evening. They’ll also love your guests or other people entering your home, so there’s no need to be concerned about them meeting new people.
Greyhounds are known for being one of the quietest breeds of dog out there. They hardly ever bark, so they’re perfect for apartment living.
The rare barks that they do make are usually to alert you to something that’s wrong or due to encouragement from another dog.
Greyhounds are completely non-aggressive and are incredibly forgiving and patient. This makes them excellent pets for families with young children, as you can trust that your hound will treat them with respect.
Lots of greyhounds are ex-racers. This means that they go from a working environment to becoming a pet, which can be a difficult transition.
However, 90% of greyhounds adjust perfectly well to this and get used to a comfortable pet lifestyle reasonably quickly.
Good With Other Pets
Because greyhounds are very social pets, they’ll often get along well with other dogs or cats in your household. In fact, they’re better with other animals than by themselves.
It may take a few attempts to introduce your greyhound properly to another pet, but once they’ve bonded, they’ve bonded for life.
Greyhounds sleep a lot to replenish their energy after a run. This makes them great pets if you like the quieter life.
Although it can be fun to have a puppy, it can get a little annoying if they’re constantly wanting to play and you just want to relax after a hard day.
Greyhounds are the best of both worlds. They’re active when they’re out for walks and will love to play with toys when you’re giving them attention.
However, they will sleep for long periods, giving you that well-deserved break.
Greyhounds are known for being laid back and accepting. It’s rare that you’ll ever find one that bites, so you can always feel safe with them in your home. However, they do have a nitting habit.
Nitting is when your greyhound gently nibbles on your skin, usually for attention, to show affection, or to communicate that they need something.
Most owners find this really cute, but it can cause minor bruising and might get a little annoying after a while.
Greyhound Space & Exercise
Despite the belief that greyhounds need lots of exercise, they’re actually much more at home sleeping on a rug in front of the fire.
They require 2-3 short walks per day. Their body type is built for short bursts of speed rather than long hikes, so they’re perfect for a busy lifestyle.
Most people believe that big dogs need more space, but with greyhounds, that’s not true. Because they don’t store fat and have fast metabolisms, they need much more rest to stay healthy.
Sure, they’ll have a good sprint when they’re out walking, but when they’re at home, they probably won’t move off the sofa. Despite greyhounds being large, a small apartment isn’t a no-go.
Greyhounds are known for being incredibly intelligent, so they’re straightforward to train. But just like any other dog, they do require some patience, especially if you’ve adopted a retired racer.
Ex-racing dogs are likely to have lived in kennels for most of their young lives. This means that they’ll be used to smaller spaces and will probably feel more secure when sleeping in a crate.
For this reason, crate training is effortless compared to other dog breeds, so it’s not a chore to them to have to sleep in one.
Similarly, greyhounds are great with muzzles. Ex-racers will be used to wearing a muzzle as it’s compulsory while being on the racetrack.
Muzzle training is an excellent habit to have as it means that your greyhound won’t try to nip other dogs while playing and will keep a mental restraint on their chase instinct.
While some dogs hate muzzles, greyhounds actually feel pretty comfortable with them.
Although greyhounds aren’t classed as hypoallergenic, they do have very short fur and hardly ever shed. This makes them the ideal pet for people with allergies and keeps your carpets and furniture relatively clean.
Because their fur doesn’t grow very quickly, you’ll save some money at the groomers. In comparison to breeds with a longer coat, you’ll probably only need to have a good cut every few months.
Short fur means less of a dog smell. You often find that dogs with longer fur smell more, and the fur around their mouth gets particularly smelly.
With greyhounds, their short fur means that your house won’t get that well-known dog smell.
Greyhound Dietary Requirements
One of the great myths about greyhounds is that they need a particular diet to keep them fit and healthy. This immediately rings alarm bells for potential owners as they feel that caring for a greyhound will become expensive.
However, that’s not the case at all. Greyhounds do need a very high-calorie diet when they’re racing as they immediately burn off their calories during a race. If they don’t eat enough, there’s always the chance of collapse.
However, once your greyhound has retired from racing, you’ll need to reduce their calorie intake to avoid your dog gaining too much weight.
Their domestic lifestyle won’t use calories in the same way, so when they become your pet, you’ll be able to change their diet to a standard dog food and kibble diet.
As long as you buy good quality food with plenty of protein, a greyhound’s diet won’t cost you any more than any other dog breed.
Why Do Greyhounds Make Bad Pets?
We’ve already established that greyhounds make great pets in most households, but as with any pet, some challenges need to be overcome.
Although greyhounds are deceptively lazy, they are large animals and will need enough space to move around comfortably.
Greyhounds are excellent apartment dogs, so it’s okay if you have a small home as they don’t need room to run about.
However, it would be best if you considered that they are still large animals, and you’ll need to fit them and all of their equipment into your space.
They will need a crate to help with their anxiety when you aren’t home during the day, which will take up a lot of room.
Greyhounds also like to live with other greyhounds as they’re pack animals, so do you have room for two?
Greyhound Weather Tolerance
The sleek physique of greyhounds is because they have an incredibly fast metabolism, and their racing habits mean that they burn calories quickly.
This, along with their short, fine fur means that they’re overly sensitive to different weather conditions.
Greyhounds get cold very quickly and aren’t suited to cold temperatures. You’ll need to ensure they have a nice, cozy bed and always wear a coat when they leave the house.
Similarly, greyhounds can be affected badly by hot weather. Their fur is so thin that their skin can easily burn if they’re out in the sun for too long.
Being so sensitive to extreme weather conditions can make walking a challenge depending on the climate where you live.
Greyhound Health Issues
Selective breeding to find the very best runners has unfortunately affected the greyhound breed in several ways, meaning that they are more prone to some health conditions than other dog breeds.
Greyhounds are natural runners, and sprinting means that they quickly burn off excess calories. However, some owners are tempted to continue the high-calorie diet they have even after they retire.
A change of diet is required once your greyhound has retired from racing; otherwise, they won’t do enough exercise to burn off the fat that they need to.
Obesity can lead to all kinds of other health issues, including heart disease and liver problems.
Arthritis is quite common in greyhounds as they put so much strain on their joints when running. They’ll require a diet that includes fish oil to delay and alleviate these issues but as they get older, it’s sometimes unavoidable.
Because of their thin coat and fast metabolism, greyhounds are really affected by extreme heat. Even a few minutes out in the hot sun can cause seizures, burns, and long-term side effects.
Because greyhounds are such socialites, they do suffer if they’re on their own for too long.
It’s recommended to only leave them by themselves for a maximum of 6 hours at a time. This can cause some problems if you happen to have a busy, working lifestyle.
There are some things you can do though.
- Dog Sitter – Paying for a dog sitter to visit your dog and take them out for a walk during the day would ease their boredom.
- Walks – A walk just before you go out and leave them will tire them out, and they’ll need to sleep to get their energy back. This means they won’t miss you as much when you leave.
- Crate Training – Getting your greyhound to sleep in a crate when you aren’t there eases their anxiety as they don’t feel like they need to protect the whole house in your absence. They’ll just focus on the small space that they’re in.
- Toys – Rewarding toys that focus on treat giving, such as kongs, are an excellent idea. It gives your greyhound something to think about and takes their mind off being alone.
- Other Dogs – The best cure for separation anxiety is to ensure that your dog isn’t left alone. Getting another dog – preferably another greyhound – will ease their anxiety and make them much easier to handle.
If you don’t tackle separation anxiety head-on, your greyhound will start to become destructive to ease their stress.
You might begin to notice the scratching of furniture, chewing of soft furnishings or table legs, whining, barking, peeing indoors, or other destructive behaviors.
Shedding can also become an issue if your greyhound is particularly stressed or anxious, so it’s something to look out for.
Are Greyhounds Good Guard Dogs?
Honestly, greyhounds make terrible guard dogs. They have so much love to give and aren’t territorial at all, which is excellent, but unfortunately, they’ll also love any intruders that enter your home.
If they notice an intruder, they are more likely to greet them and say hello than chase them off and alert you to the danger. They don’t feel the need to defend their territory as much as most other breeds would.
The fact that they’re quiet dogs is also incredibly unhelpful for this reason. You won’t know that there’s a problem until it’s already too late.
Do Greyhounds Get Along With Other Pets?
While we’ve said that greyhounds get along perfectly with other pets in the household, it can take a bit of time to get there.
There could also be longer-term issues between a greyhound and a cat if their relationship isn’t appropriately managed.
Greyhounds can get along fine with cats inside the house, as long as they’re appropriately introduced over a few weeks. (Read all about greyhounds and cats – in a new tab.)
However, a greyhound’s chase instincts are activated when they go outdoors, and that can mean that they’ll chase your cat out in the yard if they’re there at the same time.
To avoid this, you’ll need to constantly manage where your cat and dog are if you’re letting them outside. Cats and dogs in the same yard at the same time could end in disaster.
Are Greyhounds Hard To Housebreak?
If you have a retired greyhound fresh from the racetracks, they’re likely to need to take time to adjust to domestic living.
Luckily, they’re incredibly intelligent, so this isn’t too much of a challenge. However, you’ll need to consider that they may not have been house-trained before living with you.
At first, you might notice little accidents occurring around the house.
When they lived in kennels, it would have been acceptable to pee and poop wherever they liked, so to them peeing in your kitchen might seem perfectly fine.
Some training will need to be put in place to correct the behavior that has already been learned.
This generally takes more patience and is a more complex process than training a puppy who hasn’t learned any rules at all. But they will get there in the end; you’ll just need to be a little more patient.
So, Are Greyhounds Good Pets?
Absolutely! After weighing up all the pros and cons of greyhound care and personality, it’s clear that greyhounds would make a fantastic pet for any household.
They’re friendly, don’t take much exercise, don’t need masses of space, and their coats are easy to maintain. They’re also super intelligent and easy to train and just want to please you.
But like any pet, there are some challenges that you’ll need to be ready to face. They need plenty of love in return to keep them healthy mentally and may have some special requirements concerning your schedule.
As long as you do your reading and understand the specific needs that a greyhound has, you’ll create a great bond and lifelong relationship with your new greyhound.