Frequently Asked Questions
How old are retired racing greyhounds and how long do they live?
Retired racers are typically 2 – 4 years of age. The rest are typically retired from racing by 3 – 4 years of age. Occasionally, we have also received older females, 7 – 8 years of age, that were used for breeding stock. A greyhound can live 12 – 14 years of age with proper nutrition, routine qualified veterinary care, and regular dental cleanings. This life span is much longer than many other large dog breeds.
How much do greyhounds eat and how big are they?
Greyhounds typically eat 3 – 4 cups a day of a good quality food, depending on their size and how active they are. 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 and weigh 50 to 60 pounds. Because greyhounds have little body fat and a thin coat, they are NOT suited to live outdoors.
Do greyhounds shed a lot?
Shedding seems to vary a lot from dog to dog. Some will shed an appreciable amount, others hardly shed at all. “Appreciable” means that when you use a curry comb, you can get loose hair off of the dog. They do not have undercoats and therefore are less likely to trigger people’s dog allergies. Greyhounds are sometimes incorrectly referred to as “hypoallergenic”.
How does the adoption process work and what is the cost?
Once you have decided you would like to adopt a greyhound from Allies, the first step is to go to our website www.alliesforgreyhounds.org and fill out the on-line application. Allies adoption radius is Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana. If you don’t have internet access, you can contact Allies for Greyhounds at (866)929-3647 and have a paper application sent to you. Please note that it can often take around 2 weeks to check references and process an application. **Please note: AFG requires that you must 21 years of age to adopt***
In the meantime, feel free to stop by a meet and greet to talk to our volunteers and meet the adoptable dogs. Contact Allies with any questions you may have about specific dogs or adoption in general. We hope to help you pick out a dog that is suitable for you and your family. We do not force a dog on you, but we help you pick a dog that is going to fit your needs. Regardless of the dog you choose, you will also have access to a large community where greyhound owners pride themselves on their knowledge and love of this wonderful breed.
Once your application has been approved for adoption, a local volunteer will contact you to set up an “In-Home Visit”. Typically, you will be asked to choose 3 greyhounds you would like to come on your in-home visit. The requested greyhounds and Allies representative(s) will visit your home for around 2 to 3 hours. This is a time where we can sit down face to face, get to know each other, and answer detailed questions. You can also see how the greyhounds interact with family members, other pets in the home, and the surrounding environment. At the end of the in-home visit, at the discretion of Allies, the adopter chooses which greyhound they feel is the best fit and completes the adoption paperwork for that dog.
Since you are “bringing your greyhound home” on the day of the in-home it may be helpful to have a few basic items purchased prior to the in-home. The items include, dog food that you would like to feed, stainless steel food and water bowls, and a soft surface (bed, blanket, couch, etc.) for your greyhound. If you plan on crating your greyhound, most will need a 48” crate. Allies provides a collar, leash and muzzle with the adoption.
The adoption fee for non-prison dogs is $500.00. This covers: spay/neuter, teeth cleaning, up-to-date shots, 3 months supply of heart-worm preventative, martingale style collar (specially designed for greyhounds), and a leash and muzzle for your new greyhound.
Prison Dogs are $500.00. This covers: spay/neuter, teeth cleaning, up-to-date shots, 3 months supply of heart-worm preventative, martingale style collar (specially designed for greyhounds), leash, muzzle, and their TGIE training packet.
Are greyhounds good with children, cats and other animals?
Greyhounds and older children can be best friends and companions. AFG cannot place a retired racing greyhound in a home with children under the age of 6. Younger children sometimes do not understand the need to respect the dog’s space. We highly recommend reading “Childproofing Your Dog” by Brian Killcommons. Most greyhounds are good with cats and small animals. However, every greyhound’s prey instinct varies, so there is no way to be sure until the dog is tested. Greyhounds are naturally social with most other canines due to their previous lives at the kennel. All pets should be introduced with the greyhound wearing a muzzle until you are very confident that all are safe.*****If you have children under 6 you will be required to have a home with a visible fence.****
Are greyhounds high strung, do they need lots of room to run, and will they come back when called?
Greyhounds are usually very laid back. They have spent most of their lives in a kennel situation, where they are turned out in a pen 4 times a day and run a race every 4 days or so. Therefore, they are used to laying around most of the time. Hence, they are referred to as the “45 mile per hour couch potato”. A standard size residential yard is ample space for a greyhound to exercise in. The important thing is that the yard be enclosed with a safe and secure visible fence. A greyhound is a sighthound by nature. They are stimulated by sight and have been bred for centuries to chase. Given the chance, they will take off and generally will not come back when called. For that reason, greyhounds need to be in a secure fenced area or on an appropriate leash at all times.
Are greyhounds hard to house break?
Greyhounds are on a very strict schedule at the race track, where they are let out 4 times a day. This makes them much easier to house break than a puppy. Keeping them on a schedule and using positive reinforcement is usually helpful in housebreaking.
Why do I sometimes see greyhounds wearing muzzles?
Greyhounds wear muzzles while racing to protect the dogs. They can be competitive while racing and still excited when the race ends. The muzzle deters snapping, nipping, or biting that may result from this. Due to their thin skin, even a playful snap of the mouth can cause a tear. It is recommended that they wear a muzzle, even when retired, if there will be more than one greyhound running together. Muzzles should also be worn when introducing them to other animals for the first time, especially if it is a smaller animal and you know your hound has a high prey drive.
What is the basic temperament of a greyhound?
These dogs are not aggressive or hyperactive, which are common misconceptions. Some greyhounds may be timid at first, but most are extremely affectionate and silly. Every dog is different, but most adjust to their new environments and bond with their new owners readily and quickly. Most greyhounds will walk away from a confrontation rather than be involved in it. Some greyhounds are territorial about their beds because they are not used to sharing their space with others in the kennel. Therefore, some of them may grumble or even snap if someone or something tries to share its bed. For the most part, greyhounds are calm, quiet, and happy just holding down your furniture for the majority of the day.
What about vet care?
Due to the unique physiology and anatomy of greyhounds, a veterinarian who understands the issues relevant to the breed is generally needed when the dogs need treatment, particularly when anesthesia is required. Greyhounds demonstrate unusual blood chemistry which can be misread by veterinarians not familiar with the breed. This can result in an incorrect diagnosis. Greyhounds have much less fat than other dogs and therefore cannot metabolize anesthesia as quickly. If your regular vet is not familiar with the breed, we can help you locate a local vet that works with greyhounds on a regular basis.
An important note:
Please remember that the above statements are generalized. No one can guarantee any breed of dog to be cat-safe, housebroken, quiet, etc. Each dog has its own personality and traits.
In order to adopt, we ask that you read the following books on racing greyhounds to become more familiar with the breed. If you have children, we also ask that you read “Childproofing Your Dog” and “Living with Kids and Dogs.”