Want to know more about Greyhounds?
My family and I are the proud owners of two retired racing greyhounds. They are members of our family and seem like the norm to us. We often forget just how uncommon they are to have as pets and how little most people know about them. We brought them into our home 5 years ago at the age of 4.
When we first decided to get a dog, I agreed as long as I could find a breed that met a few of my requirements. I want to be clear about this part. My research was wrong and I quickly found out the internet was incorrect about a lot of things. But I don’t regret our decision, even for a second.
The Greyhound background
Greyhounds are one of the most ancient breed of dog. The earliest evidence of a greyhound dates back to ancient Egypt around 2900 B.C. in ancient carvings. In the King James Bible, they are the only breed mentioned by name. Proverbs 30:29-31 describes four creatures that move in a “comely” manner: lions, greyhounds, male goats and kings. Goddess Diana of Greek mythology is often depicted with greyhounds by her side. During the Middle Ages in England, the breed almost died out, but the clergymen saved them. King Canute ruled that only nobles were allowed to own greyhounds and anyone responsible for their death faced execution. They are the fastest breed on Earth, getting up to speeds of 45 mph! They’ve been nicknamed the 40 mph hour couch potato and I can attest to the validity of this statement! Despite their quick speeds, they don’t need much exercise and spend most of their time sleeping. Because of the way they are built, you will very rarely see a Greyhound sit. We didn’t know that at first and tried in vain to teach Layla to sit before realizing why she wouldn’t.
My list of SILLY requirements
It had been about 10 years since I had an animal in the house and I was very apprehensive about all the work, dirt, and hair that a pet brings. Here is what I was looking for in a dog. When most people see my list, they ask if I even wanted a dog?
- I didn’t want it to shed much
- I didn’t want it to bark much
- I didn’t want it to need much exercise since we worked full-time and had small children (we were busy). Which leads me to number 4
- They had to be good with kids
My search led me to greyhounds. The internet had me believe 1-4 were true (1 and 2 are false!). So I contacted a local greyhound adoption agency, GPA-SC, or Greyhound Pets of America – South Carolina. This organization has a very innovative Prison Foster Care Program. Once the racers retire, they are then placed with a female inmate for 2-4 weeks for acclimation to domestic life. You can read more about that here. You have to apply to adopt and then pass an adoption interview that takes place in your home. It was a lot more involved than I had anticipated! Obviously, we were approved. GPA will decide on what dog they think will work best for you and a member will then bring that dog to your house once they are finished at the prison.
This was the day Layla came into our lives. Her racing name was Hunting Kisses. The dogs come with a notebook full of their ancestry, a list of all the races they ran and how they placed, and (my favorite) a note from their handler in the prison. This is the day she came home.
She sheds and she barks. I get it. She’s a dog. Duh! lol So don’t believe the internet. Although I do believe her barking is quite unusual for a greyhound. They say don’t get a greyhound if you want a dog for protection, but I firmly believe she would protect us if needed. Jack on the other hand, would run the other way! But let me tell you all of the other things about her. She is the most gentle, sweetest, laid back dog I’ve ever met, is wonderful with kids, walks so good on a leash you can just let it drape on her back, tolerates the cats, and loves to snuggle. She doesn’t really know how, but she tries. I’m sure she never knew what a toy was while she was racing, so toys are never played with. Stairs are tricky for her. We’ve lived in our house for 2 1/2 years now and neither one of them have ever been upstairs.
One day upon coming home from work, we discovered her among her chewed up bed. We leave them inside during the day because they can’t regulate their body temperature very well outside. So, I thought, she must need a friend. And that’s the story of how we got Jack.
His racing name was Box Trickster. He was pretty darn good at racing and is much faster than Layla. For this reason, Jack retired a year later than Layla. He’s a little more particular about things than she is. Don’t mess with him when he is sleeping or on his bed and he can’t be allowed on the furniture because he starts thinking he’s the boss. Jack doesn’t know how to go up stairs well, and he can’t even figure out how to jump into a car. He’s a big chicken and he has a heart of gold. He’s goofy and sweet and loves attention.
The house we were living in when we got them was much bigger and had carpeted stairs, so they could easily have the run of the house (once they learned how to go up the stairs). The house we live in now is smaller and has wood stairs. I put carpet strips on the stairs to try to help them, but they just won’t go up there. So they basically hang out in our living room, which is pretty small. And they are big. So, don’t get one if you don’t have the room for one. They also eat. A lot. About 4 to 6 cups a day between the two of them. So be prepared to feel like you are always buying them food.
But I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
They are so lazy, they can’t even wake up for food.
Layla can get very relaxed. Look at her tongue!
Sorry for the quality, but I love this picture. They also do this when they sleep. It’s called cockroaching. He wasn’t supposed to be up there, but he sure was enjoying it!
If you ever think you might want a greyhound and have more questions, I would love to hear from you! They really are the best dogs ever.