Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Hounds > Greyhound


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Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Large (60 to 100+ lbs.)
Lifespan: Medium (8 to 12 years)
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Greyhounds, the best-known of all sighthounds, are the original racing dogs and are the third-fastest land mammal on the planet (behind the cheetah and gazelle). Retired racing Greyhounds are popular adopted pets the world over, and were bred specifically for companionship, hunting, and racing. Very similar in appearance to the Whippet and Italian Greyhound, the standard Greyhound shares many of their traits--including a need for speed and sweet disposition. Greyhounds are sensitive, loyal, and affectionate, and do best with owners or families in temperate climates. Greyhounds make great family pets in both city and country, but are definitely not for the inexperienced dog owner or independent person who spends little time at home. Greyhounds thrive in a "pack" with constant companionship and don't do well left outside unattended. Similarly, adopted racers sometimes develop separation anxiety and benefit from having a second Greyhound breed buddy around. These dogs give back tenfold in love what they take in exercise and attention.

General Care

Greyhounds are like cats--they clean themselves and only require monthly bathing, brushing, nail clipping, and teeth cleaning. Greyhounds are cuddlers, known for demanding to sleep under the covers or on soft, warm bedding, and due to their lean nature this is a necessity to prevent skin sores and cold symptoms. Don't be fooled by their reputation for racing when it comes to exercise: all Greyhound breeds have an "on" and "off" switch, only needing short spurts of off-leash exercise, known as Zooms, a few times a day and then they become the World's Greatest Couch Potatoes. Because of their lean and slight build, Greyhounds will start to shiver once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, and in general Greyhounds aren't fond of rain, so be prepared with a sizeable wardrobe for various weather conditions (raincoat, fleece, booties, etc.) Greyhounds do best with positive reinforcement in training and are difficult to ever completely housebreak. Greyhound breeds drink a large amount of water for their size, so they need to be let out every few hours. Common health problems include broken bones and torn muscles, seizures, hair loss, skin tags or fatty deposits, and bladder issues. Sighthound breeds cannot metabolize barbiturate-based anesthetics, so please work with your veterinarian closely if your dog requires surgery. Greyhounds do best in households with children of any age and with other pets, but work carefully with your adoption agency if you decide upon a retired racer.

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