Ex-Racing Greyhounds...

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by sillysally, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    DH really, really wants one for our next dog. He loves sighthounds but doesn't love puppies-lol. The idea is growing on me-adult or pup doesn't matter to me as long as the dog fits into our home.

    What are your experiences with ex racers? How are they (in general) with kids? Anything I should be aware of or look out for?
     
  2. AllisonPitbullLvr

    AllisonPitbullLvr New Member

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    We have a few that come to the clinic-- they are fantastic. Easy to work with, never give us any trouble, sweet, quiet, non-reactive with dogs. Seem to be very good with their kids, not sure if any of the ones I know live with cats but none of them have tried to eat our clinic cats.
     
  3. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    The vast majority of exracers I've met were therapy dogs - very sweet, calm, and pretty neutral to other dogs. They are an option I suggest to a lot of people who want a large dog that is calm in the house.
     
  4. Whitewave

    Whitewave New Member

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    Greyhounds are awesome dogs. I currently have one retired racer and one I've had since 8 weeks. I find them very easy to live with. They are clean, quiet, low key dogs. They are the perfect dog for me If I want to go walk 5-6 miles thru the woods, they are up for it. If I want to stay in bed all day and read, they are down with that too. Not a lot of health issues. While most are not going to be big of on basic obedience, they are naturally well mannered and easy to handle.


    As for children, it can vary a lot, but I find young, goofy males are going to be your best bet for children. My puppy loves kids, my current retired racer doesn't like anyone but me. He will tolerate children if forced, but would never do well living with one. Also be aware, many have sleep aggression so that will be something you would want to ask about when adopting if you have children.

    Here was one of my puppies with my friends kid
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    Here was a racing flunkie 2 yr, big ol' goofball male, who adored children

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    Some of my hounds and fosters. They do well with other dogs for the most part too, many live with small dogs and cats just fine.

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  5. SarahHound

    SarahHound New Member

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    I've had 4 greyhounds now, all ex-track, and I can't recommend them more :) They are soft, gentle, laid back and just all round easy dogs. They great thing, or the bad thing I suppose, is there's so many needing homes so you can find one that suits you perfectly, and your lifestyle, although as others have said, they are pretty easy going.

    Some states in the USA and Australia, I think they have to be muzzled when walking in public, so that's something you should check. My dogs never wear muzzles, but some choose to keep them on anyway, its up to you. You'll find you get to know your hound and what could potentially trigger a reaction, as to whether you need a muzzle or not.

    Despite never having lived with kids, my dogs, especially Lucy, love kids to bits, she's so calm and gentle around them, which I always find amazing as she's quite crazy the rest of the time, as in bouncy and excitable. With kids, she always manages to control herself :) They are good with cats too, but strange cats Lucy will chase, that's quite common with them.

    Major downside is they are a delicate breed, they are healthy, not likely to suffer illnesses that a lot of dogs are prone too, but they are easy to 'break' and don't have a lot of sense when they run. If you get one, you MUST have somewhere flat and enclosed for them to run. Un-even ground is a no-no, and not worth the risk at all.

    They generally want to please, but of course, being trained to chase, some never break the instinct, and some can never be let off the lead, others will be fine and have no urge to run off at all :) each one is different!

    Obligatory pictures!

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    Picture 884 by Niseag, on Flickr

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    Picture 662 by Niseag, on Flickr
     
  6. Cardiparty

    Cardiparty New Member

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    I truly love ex-racers and I can't express enough how cool they are.

    They're very calm and "neutral" is a good word to describe them regarding their reactions to things.

    Around kids, the only thing I'd really be concerned about is that they are big dogs but they're really not boisterious enough to knock a kid over. Or so I would think.

    Also, they have very thin skin; not in the figurative sense, but in the literal sense. They tend to be sensitive to cold and they're not good dog park dogs. Or, if you do take them, they'd probably have to be basket muzzled in case a smaller dog piqued their prey drive.

    Some racers are good with cats, some are not. Most adoption agencies will be VERY clear on this point.

    They also require a yard with a fence, or the ones I've tried to go through, which is why I don't have a retired racer of my own.

    They come in a bazillion colors and are just so easy to live with.

    Sometimes they have to be taught how to climb stairs.
     
  7. Julee

    Julee UNSTOPPABLE

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    My best friend growing up (whose mother babysat us during the summers) had two ex-racers. I absolutely adored those dogs, they were so mellow. Absolutely excellent with us kids ages (5-10 or so), great with her cat, ignored other dogs from what I remember. One had issues with carsickness, that was about it.

    One passed on from bone cancer, the other I can't remember - both were in their early teens (13 and 14, I think).
     
  8. Gazehounds

    Gazehounds New Member

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    I have 4 and have fostered over 50.

    Short answer: they are pretty easy to live with. Long answer below. :rofl1:

    Recognizing that there will be individuals in every circumstance that do not fit "the mold", I can say that in general they tend to be very gentle, laid back, quiet, affectionate but not pushy, endearing hounds. They adjust to a living situation fairly quickly, are easy to train as far as the house rules go (they might pose a bit more of a challenge in an obedience setting since they are rather independent minded but people who compete with them show themselves to be awesome trainers), sensitive, and extremely easy to live with. They tend to be up for whatever you are, within reason. They are typically good with children although space issues can pop up with some of them (not the majority) so communication with an adoption group and foster home, if they had one, is vital. Mine are exceptionally tolerant of children and work Renaissance Festivals with 20,000 people, cannons, explosions, whips, guns, fire, camels, children all over them, walkers, wheelchairs...you name it. They chill or snooze through the festivities. :lol-sign:

    Some are more active than others and do need a yard. Most are fine with leash walks and the occasional run. At the track they race 2-4 times a week, often for 40 seconds or less, so they are good with a burst of speed and energy and then lots of chill time. I tend to prefer the more active ones so mine thrive with a large, fenced yard. Most adoption groups will NOT adopt to a home with an electric fence (they will run right through it if they see prey) or that will let them off leash in unfenced areas. There are exceptions but overall the average owner and average pet Greyhound won't be good candidates for off leash walking. Obviously some are and they do well. I only let mine off leash at lure coursing trials and straight racing events and they do well because they are so lure driven and focused on the "bunny".

    Greyhounds are intense when faced with prey. Many can, however, live with cats (inside...outside is a whole different ball game and some "cat safe" hounds fail outside while doing 100% perfectly with the cat inside). I have had a foster returned for that very thing. Inside she was the kitty's best friend. Outside a stray wandered into her yard and she killed it. She was fostered with cats, lived with cats, and was fine inside. Some hounds have less prey drive and I have had a rabbit ran across their path and the (leashed) foster dog just watched with interest.

    Some experience SA, many don't. Some are shy (there are genetic spooks also), most are not. Some have space or sleep aggression issues, most do not. They are not bred to a standard so a lot of variations occur in structure, energy level, and drive but overall temperament and personalities tend to be similar.

    They do tend to drive adopters to adopt a second, or more. They thrive with other dogs. Racing Greyhounds (in the US) are raised on farms and stay with their littermates until they are a year old or so. It is an unique upbringing compared to how we typically raise puppies. They get a lot of hands on socialization from farm workers, track people, trainers, etc. They are used to being touched by strangers and, unless you get a shy one, will just stand there and let folks touch them. People always want my dogs to sniff their hands but they won't. The only one who will is the one that I raised from a pup. By the way, some do just fine as an only dog.

    Some can be VERY stoic when at a vet or if injured or sick so care must be taken to keep tabs on your hound's health. For example, one of mine broke her toe. She never yelped or anything. She finished running, trotted up to me, and, other than avoiding putting pressure on her toe, she acted 100% fine. This is the same dog who scraped a tree at high speed and tore open her side (needed 13 staples) and yet I had to make her stop running. She didn't show any signs of pain, but obviously she had some. She stood like a pro when stapled, did not even need put under. Others, like my drama king, will let out what is affectionately known as the GSOD (Greyhound Scream of Death) and over act whatever is wrong with them if it is minor, but be stoic if it is major. :rolleyes: My vet calls them the easiest breed to work on because they just stand there and deal. Anesthesia is a concern and most Greyhound owners avoid putting them under unless they really, really need it. I combine dentals with other ailments, if possible.

    Most Greyhounds are not good dog park candidates since either prey drive could kick in with strange small, fluffy dogs or they can get injured in rough play with other breeds. There are exceptions, as always, and some do well at dog parks. One thing to be aware of is that they have THIN skin. You will notice Greyhound play groups in the US make sure dogs are muzzled during play. It is not because they are aggressive. It is because a simple nip at 40-45mph can mean stitches or staples. As with anything, you have to know your dog. I don't have to muzzle mine at home, unless we have a new dog playing with us, but I know my hounds. A lot of people do muzzle them during rough play in the yard because they are afraid of a skin tear.

    Track dogs sometimes need to learn stairs, glass doors, shiny floors, etc. They do not experience those things at a track or on a farm. Sometimes they do need socialization with other breeds. They tend to be well-socialized with people and other hounds, and some farms have a different breed or two, but overall they do not get to meet a lot of breeds until adoption. One thing I will say is that some racing bred dogs do not tolerate rude dog behavior very well. It turns them off. Mine look put out when a dog comes up and jumps in their face, and they back up. They are raised differently and they behave a little differently than a typical home-raised dog will. My home-raised Greyhound, and all of the many home-raised Greyhounds that I know, act more like "normal dogs" than some of the racers. Of course, exceptions exist. :)

    Weight is my BIGGEST pet peeve. People seem to want to pack 5-10 lbs on them as a general rule (some say 5% of their racing weight) when they adopt them. DON'T follow generic rules. Greyhounds in racing condition are peak athletes. Sometimes they lose some weight traveling or after surgery and some kennels race light so sometimes a tiny bit of extra weight is in order. Typically if the dog is not getting extensive exercise they lose some of their muscle tone. Whatever you do, keep the dog fit, trim, and active and they will be healthy and happy. We joke that if you do not get accused of starving your dog at least once when out on the town he might be a bit chubby :lol-sign:. I have spent a lot of time around senior Greyhounds and the difference in my 9.5 year old fit and active hound and other 9.5 year olds with a bunch of pet weight is quite eye opening.

    Anyways, I have prattled on way too long. Do you have specific questions? :p

    There are no states in the USA that require them to be muzzled.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  9. AllisonPitbullLvr

    AllisonPitbullLvr New Member

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    Now I want a greyhound. ;)
     
  10. *blackrose

    *blackrose "I'm kupo for kupo nuts!"

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    ^ This.

    When I am elderly (and/or whenever I decide that handling a large, boisterous dog is not in my best interest) I am going to have retired racing Greyhounds. Can't say enough good things about them.
     
  11. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    They are caught up in some bans because of size, but to my knowledge there are no statewide public muzzling laws directed at greyhounds.
    If you had to train them to run they wouldn't be greyhounds, it's all instinct & drive.
    They do have thin skin & tend to break toes if taken directly from groomed tracks to hard rocky running grounds, but they are not particularly fragile. Several have become good jack rabbit (hare), coon, fox & coyote dogs even though they were not good racers.
     
  12. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Once upon a time, I was around Greys all the time and even raised a Grey puppy (and no Grey puppies aren't "the worst puppies in the world" LOL). I have more experience with the non-track bred dogs but Greys are Greys basically. You have gotten excellent info on them in this thread.


    My experience has been much the same with them living with prey animals. Many are ok with them in the house but outside I would not be inclined to trust a Grey to not to get predatory towards small animals running. Not even if the dog has always lived with 20 cats and loves your pet bunny. Not even if he was a total dud as a race dog. This isn't to say that Greys can never be trained to recall but more of a precaution if you have indoor-outdoor cats. ITA about them loose with small dogs too. Things can get predatory when mixing Greys and small dogs, even with the most dog social, tolerant, sweet Grey. Someone brought a track rescue to my old work who had seriously mangled their neighbor's Mini Schnauzer after he saw the dog running in his yard and pushed through the door. This was not a dog aggressive dog at all but prey driven.


    I think the issue of Greys with kids is a bit tricky. Greys overall are not "aggressive" dogs. They aren't guard dogs and as mentioned they tend to be really stoic. I think the majority are ok with children overall but there are some reoccurring issues I have seen in both track and home raised Greys with kids. The sleep/startle aggression is one of those issues - dogs who when startled react with teeth first, think later. And probably related is dogs who are resource guardy about kids getting in their space when they're resting or who get weird about kids hugging on them. I've known a few retired racers who were returned because of that, one after he bit a young kid in the face :( And that dog was not really what I would call "aggressive", he just didn't want a hug while he was laying down. I have known Greys who were totally stoic with kids too, patiently waiting for the owner to remedy the uncomfortable situation. So they can be good with kids but it depends on the kids, the expectations and the dog. The one I raised also lived with young kids on and off from the time she was 8 weeks old. She loved the kids, slept with them on bed with them, followed them around, did tricks for them...but would also sometimes growl or snap at them if they bothered her while she was resting.

    Health wise, they tend to be structurally healthy in terms of hip and elbow dysplasia are really uncommon. They can develop some eye issues - I know I've heard of them having Pannus. Cardiomyopathy can be an issue with them. And they are a breed that bone cancer is more common in than the average dog. Bloat is a concern with Greys. They tend to have poor dental health but that is something raw feeding can dramatically help with. One of the Greys I knew had to have dentals every 6 months until once, she almost didn't wake up from her dental. She was then put on raw food and lived to be very old, never needed another dental. And yeah, so many pet Greys are...well...fat. Most come off the track in fit condition. IME They aren't necessarily all that fragile, although they can get skin tears easily but the ones I knew were loose together or with other dogs all the time, no muzzles and they weren't getting serious injuries from normal play.

    Yep :)

    And they do love to run. So much so that I think it's a bit sad that many people feel that because you can get away with leashed walks and little "real" exercise, they don't really need anything more. I personally wouldn't have a Grey unless they could really, really run at least a few times per week. They aren't the type of dog who is going to be hard to live with if they don't get that but I just can't see having a dog who was bred to run and not giving them the chance to do so. I have this imagine forever in my mind of taking a Grey outside as the sun was getting low and having her spot geese on the other side of the pond. She was around the pound in no time, running as hard as she could while a huge flock of geese took flight right in front her, low in the sky. That is a Greyhound to me, that is what I think of when I think of them - that dog in a full out run across the pond from me, setting sun, hot breathe in crisp air, running as though she could grab a bird right out of the sky.
     
  13. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    Right birds & good open running and they can in fact grab birds right out of the air. Roosevelt's brother caught turkey with them in west TX. Sonic has just barely missed geese taking off. We'll take another shot at sitters if we get another hard winter. We're also going to take a shot at pheasant this fall as we only recently discovered some in the area.
     
  14. Gazehounds

    Gazehounds New Member

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    I feel the same way. :)

    We moved out to the country and fenced as much as we could (some of it is pasture plus we have a "normal" yard) for the hounds. Mine run every single day. They are fit, happy, and healthy. :) I also have some hounds that lure course and straight race. I'd share pictures but photobucket is being a pain. :rolleyes:

    I don't muzzle mine at home but I know my dogs. They play rough but they don't seriously injure each other. A minor scratch may pop up occasionally.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  15. Gazehounds

    Gazehounds New Member

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    That has been my experience as well. :)
     
  16. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    I've known soooooooooo many people with retired greyhounds and they are usually HOOKED on them. They're addictive apparently.
     
  17. Whitewave

    Whitewave New Member

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    Just my opinion, but I think Greyhounds are the best puppies in the world and while I read and hear constantly about them being horrible, called "landsharks" etc. I think they are awesome!

    And I agree. I find it really sad the number of people who never let their Greyhounds run. They treat them like fragile china and never let them be what they truly are.

    Mine run free at least once a week and the joy on their faces are priceless.

    Puppy from an accidental litter at the track

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    Another puppy- Mom stepped on him and broke his leg. His 2 brothers are in training to race now.

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    Joey is now bigger than Ronon! :)
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  18. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Awwww Grey puppies are so adorable!


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    This is the puppy I raised, yes she has a giant bald spot on her head. She was born with a bad infection on her head, which healed but never grew hair.

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    Her and Loki were BFFs...Loki liked Hannah more than she has ever liked any other dog!

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  19. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    I might possibly be talking to a breeder about a greyhound puppy. This thread is not helping.
     
  20. AllisonPitbullLvr

    AllisonPitbullLvr New Member

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    I've never seen a greyhound pup before! How cuteeeeee!

    For the record, I'm pretty sure standard poodles puppies might be the worst. I'm sitting my an 8 month old SPoo pup next week and I'm dreading it a little. ;)
     

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