1. How many greyhounds are adopted each year?
More than 90 percent of all registered greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders. About 20,000 greyhounds were adopted in 2009, and another 2,500 returned to the farm. Since the early 1990s, more than 280,000 retired racers have been placed in loving homes across America.
2. Do greyhounds make good pets?
Greyhounds make terrific pets because they are gentle, tolerant and accustomed to attention and affection. Because they relate so well to humans, most greyhounds adapt quickly and easily to life with families, including those with small children.
3. How old are greyhounds when they begin racing?
Most begin racing at about a year and a half, and continue to four years old. Some will race beyond their fifth birthday, and a select few past their sixth. Because they are generally well cared for and in excellent health, most greyhounds live to twelve years or older.
4. How are greyhounds trained to race?
Greyhounds run and chase by instinct, so the only skill they need to learn is how to run on circular tracks. Initially their training consists of chasing a lure dragged along the ground. As they mature, they learn to chase the artificial lure suspended above the track surface. At about a year and a half, they graduate to longer, oval tracks, starting boxes and competition.
5. Is racing safe for greyhounds?
The prevention of injuries is a high priority in greyhound racing. The vast majority of injuries are minor, allowing the greyhound to return to racing upon recovery.
Occasionally, an injured greyhound is unable to return to racing but can transition smoothly to retirement in an adoptive home. Life-threatening injuries are extremely rare. The industry has funded extensive research at leading veterinary universities to find ways of enhancing greyhound safety. If an injury does occur, every track has a licensed veterinarian on the premises to respond immediately.
6. Are greyhounds trained with live lures?
No, the industry has banned the use of live lures in training and racing. In all states, state laws and/or racing rules prohibit the use of live lures in training or racing. Industry members who violate this practice may be expelled from the sport for life.
7. Where are greyhounds kept when they are not racing?
Greyhounds live in climate-controlled kennels, usually on or near the tracks where they race. The greyhounds are turned out several times daily for mild exercise and play, exercised on sprint paths and taken for walks.
8. Are racing greyhounds housebroken?
Most adopted greyhounds are housebroken from the start because, in their kennels, they are turned out four or more times daily to relieve themselves. Some may need to be taken outside more frequently at first, but they will adapt quickly to the schedule established in their new home.
9. How big do greyhounds get?
Most greyhound males stand 26 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 65 and 85 pounds. Females stand 23 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh 50 to 65 pounds. Although the average greyhound consumes up to two pounds of food per day, they burn off excess weight when they run, so are naturally thin and carry little body fat.
10. What type of environment do greyhounds require?
Because greyhounds have little body fat and a thin coat, they are not suited to live outdoors in extremely warm or cold weather. They prefer temperature-controlled environments and soft beds where they can feel safe and protected.
11. Should greyhounds be kept on a leash?
Greyhounds love to run, but a leash assures them protection from injury. Without a leash, they might run straight into traffic or hurt themselves in other ways. Because they are accustomed to being walked and exercised on a leash, greyhounds adapt well to this safety measure. In most communities, local ordinances require that dogs be kept on a leash when outdoors.
12. Why do greyhounds wear muzzles while racing?
Greyhounds wear muzzles while racing to identify themselves so racing officials can determine the outcome of a photo finish race, and to protect them from injuring themselves or one another during the excitement of the chase. They do not need to be muzzled in a home environment, since they are gentle and docile by nature.
13. Are all greyhounds grey?
Greyhounds range in color from fawn to black, and almost anything in between. The word “greyhound” is derived not from the animal’s color but from its history. The ancient Greeks may have called them “greekhounds,” or may have named them “gazehounds” since they relied on sight rather than smell in hunting. The name may also have been derived from the Latin “gradus” meaning degree, which related to the care exercised in breeding these aristocratic animals.
14. How does one go about adopting a greyhound?
The American Greyhound Council funds a national telephone hot line operated by Greyhound Pets of America (1-800-366-1GPA), the nation’s largest independent greyhound adoption organization. The hotline is staffed by GPA volunteers, and provides information and referrals to those interested in greyhound adoption. For more information, please contact GPA at www.greyhoundpets.org.
15. What happens to the greyhounds that aren’t adopted?
The vast majority (more than 90 percent) of registered greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire. The greyhound racing community has set a goal of expanding adoption efforts until 100% of all adoptable greyhounds can be placed in loving homes after retirement. Those few greyhounds found unsuitable for adoption or breeding programs due to serious physical or behavioral problems are humanely euthanized by licensed veterinarians under American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines.