The Graceful Greyhound is classified as a Sighthound, (other Sighthounds include the Afghan, Borzoi, Basenji, Irish Wolfhound, Saluki, and Whippet,) whose ancestry dates back many centuries BC.
In 1906, America began oval track racing with an artificial lure designed to attract spectators to bet on the first dog past the post. This new trend soon caught on around the world and a new industry was born.
Greyhounds bred to race are usually retired at four years old (or earlier) and often find themselves homeless. Some trainers will keep their loyal companions, but many find themselves homeless. This is were a voluntary greyhound rescue organisation will step in giving the hound a second chance.
Because of their racing pasts many myths surround Greyhounds –
They need lots of exercise!
One of the biggest myths about Greyhounds is that they need large amounts of exercise. This is simply not the case, Greyhounds are sprinters not endurance dogs. They need no more exercise than any other breed of dog. All dogs, no matter what breed, should be walked or exercised and allowed off the lead at least twice a day. They aren’t called 45mph couch potatoes for nothing.
They aren’t small animal friendly!
Around 80% are small animal friendly. Very few greyhounds are not safe around cats and other small animals. Greyhounds are taught to chase a mechanical hare around a track and some chase better than others. However, reputable rescues will have cat / small animal tested the Greyhound and will advise the outcome before being placed into homes with other small animals
Greyhounds aren’t child friendly!
Greyhounds are an inherently gentle breed, which truly enjoys the company of people and children. Although even tempered and long suffering, they do have a cut off point where enough is enough. As with any dog never leave a dog alone with a child and teach the child respect for the animal which includes: not letting kids crawl, jump or pounce on any sleeping dog, pulling / pinching fur / tails, taking a bone; treat or toy away and not putting their hand between the dog and his food bowl. These precautions are not just for homes with Greyhounds, but for homes with any breed of dog.
Retired Racers don’t get along with other dogs!
Most Greyhounds are raised with their litter mates making them sociable with other dogs and who enjoy the company of other dogs. Greyhound adoption groups will try to match the right Greyhound with the families’ needs, life style and other family pets.
Greyhounds are muzzled because they are aggressive!
Racing Greyhounds are one of the most non-aggressive breeds there is. They are very competitive during a race and may nip at others to get them out of the way of the hare. Being thin skinned they can easily be injured. Muzzles are also used for determing a winner in a photo finish for a close race. The muzzle helps to determine the winner as it’s hard to tell one black pointy nose from another on the finishing fine of a close race.
There are many myths about racing Greyhounds – too numerous to list them all. After you have lived with a Greyhound, you will know the truth. Far too many uneducated people contribute to and embellish Greyhound myths making it even harder for the ones searching for a home to find a sofa of their own.