A BRIEF HISTORY
What kind of pets do greyhounds make?
These affectionate dogs make terrific pets. Most
greyhounds are quiet, low-maintenance dogs who prefer to stay clean. Their skin doesn’t produce as much oil as most dogs so they don’t have the bad “doggie odor” that most dogs get.
How are they with other pets?
Greyhounds are friendly by nature and most socialize well because of their handling in the kennel environment. They are sighthounds with the instinct to chase built-in, so caution should be taken during introductions to small dogs and cats.
Are they good with children?
Most greyhounds do very well with children especially if the children are calm, gentle and respectful of them.
Are greyhounds already housebroken?
They are crate-trained, not housebroken, and that makes housetraining very easy. Most adopted
greyhounds have no issues with housebreaking.
Why do greyhounds need to be kept on a leash?
Under no circumstances should greyhounds be let off-leash in an open area. This cannot be stressed enough. Greyhounds are sighthounds who have been bred for thousands of years for speed. They have a strong instinct to chase and can run as fast as 45 miles per hour, which is comparable to a racehorse.
Do greyhounds need a lot of exercise?
Contrary to popular opinion, most greyhounds aren’t hyper and don’t require a lot of exercise. They are sprinters and only have short bursts of energy. After a walk around the block or a nice romp in the yard, most are content to sleep for the next several hours.
Will they adjust quickly in a home?
Not always. Greyhounds right off the track
have never even seen many of the things we take
for granted -- stairs, ceiling fans, TVs, and mirrors. The time frame can vary, but sometimes it will take a month or more for the new grey to understand
he or she is now a pet.
How much do Greyhounds eat?
Males eat 3-5 cups a day, and females eat 3-4 cups a day. They can be fed once or twice daily.
Are they inside-only dogs?
Yes! Greyhounds can’t tolerate heat or cold well because they have thin skin, a short coat, and very little body fat. They may be tall, but they take up very little room in a home and cause little commotion. They are more than content with a soft bed to call their own, and will sleep there much of the day.
Download these guides on preparing for adoption and caring for your retired racer.
LIFE AT THE TRACK
Learning about what your greyhound’s life was like
during his career is extremely important because it
will help you immensely when attempting to understand his or her behavior.
Greyhound puppies are born on a farm where they begin the early stages of training. They are raised
with their littermates and sometimes stay with them
through training and on into their racing careers.
Greyhounds are constantly handled by people, and as a result, these puppies become very well
socialized from a very early age. This is one of the reasons retired racing greyhounds make such wonderful pets.
At about 18 months old the greyhound puppies have had all of their necessary training and are ready to go to the track and become race dogs. While they are racing they are kept on a tight routine, which is why they prefer to live in a scheduled home environment. Racing greyhounds generally retire at about 2 to 4 years old, most commonly from loss of interest, injury or age.
The longer your greyhound’s career, the better racer he or she was. Keep in mind, though, the length of a dog’s racing career is not linked in any way to his or her ability to make a fabulous pet!
We at Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option encourage you to attend the races at Southland Park Gaming and Racing so you can see first-hand what your greyhound’s life was like before he came to his or her forever home.
RUN WITH IT
Circa 6000 BC: In the Middle East hunting dogs with deep chests, delicate heads and long legs are found depicted on the walls of early cave dwellings.
Circa 2000 BC: Greyhound-type dogs are depicted on pottery and paintings in Egypt and Western Asia.
Circa 900 BC: Solomon in Proverbs 30:31 (Verses 29-31) mentions greyhounds (maybe) among “four things that ‘go well’ and are ‘comely in going’ ”— beautiful and lovely to look at as they walk with dignity/majesty). The others are a lion, a male goat, and a king at the head of his army. “Greyhound” is the King James Version translation of the Hebrew words zarzir mothnayim, meaning literally “one girded in loins.”
800 BC: The first dog mentioned in literature is the greyhound in Homer’s Odyssey.
100 BC: First recorded mention of greyhounds, as Celtic dogs rather than of Middle Eastern origin. Grattius wrote of the Celts’ dogs that. “…swifter than thought or a winged bird it runs, pressing hard on beasts it has found.” (Recent investigations into the canine genome and mitochondrial DNA have revealed that the greyhound breed probably isn’t of north African/Saharan origin, as had long been romanticized.)
124 AD: Greek historian Arrian writes of hunting with greyhounds.
1014: English Forest Laws enacted, requiring greyhounds owned by free commoners living near royal forests to be lamed so they could not hunt. Slaves and serfs are prohibited from owning greyhounds.
1200s: Guinefort, a French greyhound, receives local veneration as a folk saint after miracles are reported at his grave.
Circa 1300: Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales mentions a monk who reportedly spent great sums on his greyhounds.
1370: Edmund de Langley's Mayster of Game describes the ideal greyhound. Langley presents this book to the future King Henry V of England.
1500s: Greyhounds make their way to America with Spanish explorers.
1599: In Shakespeare’s Henry V, the king speaks this line: “I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start…”
The Age of Reason
1700s: The end of English Forest Laws, which prevented commoners from coursing or even owning greyhounds, spurs a coursing craze that required breeding more greyhounds.
1776: First greyhound coursing club opens in Britain, becoming a popular pastime for the upper class.
1777–1778: A greyhound keeps the German-born colonial military leader, Baron von Steuben, company through a long winter at Valley Forge
1858: National Coursing Club of England forms, turning greyhound coursing into more of a business.
1876: First mechanical lure used in an exhibition in Britain, and is viewed as a novelty. The evolution from coursing to track-racing begins.
June 1876: Gen. George Custer, who reportedly always took his 22 coursing greyhounds with him when he traveled, courses his greyhounds the day before the Battle of Little Big Horn.
1886: First U.S. national coursing meet is held in Kansas.
Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and
Royal by Sir Edwin Landseer, 1840-43
1906: The National Greyhound Association (NGA), a voluntary non-profit association, forms as the sole registry for racing greyhounds on the North American continent.
1912: Owen Patrick Smith develops a lure that could be run in a circle on a track such as horses use; racing begins to be considered as a sport.
1919: First greyhound racing track opens in Emeryville, California.
1922: Florida becomes the U.S. capital of the sport when dog racing is introduced there.
1956: Southland Greyhound Park opens in West Memphis, Arkansas.
1991: Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option is founded on the grounds of Southland Greyhound Park with the mission of finding forever homes for retired racing greyhounds. At the time greyhound racing was the sixth most popular spectator sport.
1992: The non-profit Greyhound Project forms in Massachusetts to promote the welfare and adoption of greyhounds by providing support and information to adoption organizations, adopters, and the public.
2005: MSGAO begins regular tracking of adoptions through greyhound-data.com.
2016: MSGAO marks its 25th anniversary of placing retired racing greyhounds in forever homes.