The time will inevitably arrive when your greyhound will be retired from racing. As the GBGB registered owner it is incumbent on you to make provisions for your greyhound’s latter years.
Whilst greyhounds can race until the age of five and, in some cases beyond that, they can live full healthy lives until the age of 12-13 years. It is therefore important that good, loving homes are found for them to live out their retirement.
So, a decision is taken for your greyhound to retire – what happens next? Your trainer should be familiar with the process. Usually he or she will contact the Greyhound Trust branch which is affiliated with the track at which the greyhound has raced who will then take you through the homing process.
Taking Your Dog Home
You might decide to take your ex-racing greyhound home as a pet. Before you do, it is important to consider the responsibility of having an animal at home.
Greyhounds make great pets for all kinds of individuals and families. They are low-maintenance, gentle and laid-back dogs that don't need lots of exercise - the majority are perfectly happy with two twenty minute walks a day, and will gladly spend the rest of their time dozing quietly next to you (often on their backs, with all four legs in the air!).
But they are creatures of habit. They will need to be walked regularly and it is also preferable they have access to a garden, which must be secure. In addition, it is also preferred that they are not left alone for long periods.
Below is a Q and A compiled by the RGT, which ought to answer any questions you have about the breed and help you decide whether or not you can take your animal home.
Are greyhounds highly strung?
No. They are naturally calm and rather self-possessed. They are the oldest dog breed recorded in history and are genuine thoroughbreds.
Are greyhounds good with children?
Greyhounds are as good with children as any dog breed and better than most, because of their characteristic gentleness. They have been around people all of their lives and are usually very people-oriented.
Are there character differences between males and females?
The difference between male and female greyhounds tends to be less pronounced than in many other breeds. All greyhounds are individuals with different personalities, so the best thing to do is simply to arrange a visit to your local branch to meet the hounds!
How much exercise do they need?
Contrary to popular belief, greyhounds do not need lots of exercise.
Toilet considerations aside, two twenty minute walks a day is usually more than enough. Greyhounds are built for speed, not stamina, and use up their energy in short bursts.
Do they always need to be muzzled?
Greyhounds do not need to be muzzled at all times, but we do recommend that you keep your greyhound muzzled when out and about, at least until you are confident of their behaviour around other breeds. They are quite used to it and associate it with pleasurable walks. If you feel you need to let your dog off the lead, a confined space and the wearing of a muzzle is recommended. We provide a collar, lead and muzzle with every greyhound that we home.
Will I need a special bed for the dog?
Greyhounds do not need a special bed, and an old, clean quilt folded in two is perfect. They are used to sleeping off the ground and will need no encouragement to take over your bed as well as your sofa. They do like to stretch out!
How do greyhounds get on with other dogs?
Most greyhounds get on well with other dogs and many live with other breeds. Common sense and careful introductions are the key. If you have another dog, speak to our volunteers who will usually recommend that you bring them down to the kennels to help pick their new greyhound friend.
Can greyhounds live with cats and other small pets?
Greyhounds are sighthounds and it is their instinct to chase. Despite this, some greyhounds can be trained to live happily with cats and other small pets (and sometimes, they even become the best of friends!). If you have a cat or another small pet, make sure to discuss this with your local branch who will be able to let you know if they have any greyhounds that they think will be suitable.
The Greyhound Trust was established in 1975 by the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC), the governing body at the time, to find homes for greyhounds once their racing days were over.
Since then the organisation based at Worcester Park in Surrey has found placements for more than 75,000 greyhounds in permanent homes. Each year, the GT finds homes for 4,000 ex-racing greyhounds.
Whilst the GT offices at Worcester Park coordinates home-finding, most of the work on the ground is done by more than 50 strategically located branches the length and breadth of the UK and in the Isle of Man and Jersey. These are manned by volunteers who generously give up their time to help those animals that need it.
The GT also has arrangements with overseas greyhound adoptions agencies, including Greyhound Adoption Czech Republic, which has found homes for 50 of 60 dog a year for more than 10 years.
The GT is funded by an annual grant from the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF), legacies and gifts in wills and general fund raising.
The BGRF was set up by the racing industry to distribute turnover from a voluntary donation of 0.6 per cent of turnover made by bookmakers.
The Work of the GT