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Old 08-15-2013, 10:03 PM
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sillysally sillysally is offline
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Default Ex-Racing Greyhounds...

DH really, really wants one for our next dog. He loves sighthounds but doesn't love puppies-lol. The idea is growing on me-adult or pup doesn't matter to me as long as the dog fits into our home.

What are your experiences with ex racers? How are they (in general) with kids? Anything I should be aware of or look out for?
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:15 PM
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AllisonPitbullLvr AllisonPitbullLvr is offline
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We have a few that come to the clinic-- they are fantastic. Easy to work with, never give us any trouble, sweet, quiet, non-reactive with dogs. Seem to be very good with their kids, not sure if any of the ones I know live with cats but none of them have tried to eat our clinic cats.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:40 PM
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The vast majority of exracers I've met were therapy dogs - very sweet, calm, and pretty neutral to other dogs. They are an option I suggest to a lot of people who want a large dog that is calm in the house.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:48 PM
Whitewave Whitewave is offline
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Greyhounds are awesome dogs. I currently have one retired racer and one I've had since 8 weeks. I find them very easy to live with. They are clean, quiet, low key dogs. They are the perfect dog for me If I want to go walk 5-6 miles thru the woods, they are up for it. If I want to stay in bed all day and read, they are down with that too. Not a lot of health issues. While most are not going to be big of on basic obedience, they are naturally well mannered and easy to handle.


As for children, it can vary a lot, but I find young, goofy males are going to be your best bet for children. My puppy loves kids, my current retired racer doesn't like anyone but me. He will tolerate children if forced, but would never do well living with one. Also be aware, many have sleep aggression so that will be something you would want to ask about when adopting if you have children.

Here was one of my puppies with my friends kid


Here was a racing flunkie 2 yr, big ol' goofball male, who adored children





Some of my hounds and fosters. They do well with other dogs for the most part too, many live with small dogs and cats just fine.















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Old 08-16-2013, 05:53 AM
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I've had 4 greyhounds now, all ex-track, and I can't recommend them more They are soft, gentle, laid back and just all round easy dogs. They great thing, or the bad thing I suppose, is there's so many needing homes so you can find one that suits you perfectly, and your lifestyle, although as others have said, they are pretty easy going.

Some states in the USA and Australia, I think they have to be muzzled when walking in public, so that's something you should check. My dogs never wear muzzles, but some choose to keep them on anyway, its up to you. You'll find you get to know your hound and what could potentially trigger a reaction, as to whether you need a muzzle or not.

Despite never having lived with kids, my dogs, especially Lucy, love kids to bits, she's so calm and gentle around them, which I always find amazing as she's quite crazy the rest of the time, as in bouncy and excitable. With kids, she always manages to control herself They are good with cats too, but strange cats Lucy will chase, that's quite common with them.

Major downside is they are a delicate breed, they are healthy, not likely to suffer illnesses that a lot of dogs are prone too, but they are easy to 'break' and don't have a lot of sense when they run. If you get one, you MUST have somewhere flat and enclosed for them to run. Un-even ground is a no-no, and not worth the risk at all.

They generally want to please, but of course, being trained to chase, some never break the instinct, and some can never be let off the lead, others will be fine and have no urge to run off at all each one is different!

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Old 08-16-2013, 09:47 AM
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I truly love ex-racers and I can't express enough how cool they are.

They're very calm and "neutral" is a good word to describe them regarding their reactions to things.

Around kids, the only thing I'd really be concerned about is that they are big dogs but they're really not boisterious enough to knock a kid over. Or so I would think.

Also, they have very thin skin; not in the figurative sense, but in the literal sense. They tend to be sensitive to cold and they're not good dog park dogs. Or, if you do take them, they'd probably have to be basket muzzled in case a smaller dog piqued their prey drive.

Some racers are good with cats, some are not. Most adoption agencies will be VERY clear on this point.

They also require a yard with a fence, or the ones I've tried to go through, which is why I don't have a retired racer of my own.

They come in a bazillion colors and are just so easy to live with.

Sometimes they have to be taught how to climb stairs.
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:58 AM
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My best friend growing up (whose mother babysat us during the summers) had two ex-racers. I absolutely adored those dogs, they were so mellow. Absolutely excellent with us kids ages (5-10 or so), great with her cat, ignored other dogs from what I remember. One had issues with carsickness, that was about it.

One passed on from bone cancer, the other I can't remember - both were in their early teens (13 and 14, I think).
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:07 PM
Gazehounds Gazehounds is offline
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I have 4 and have fostered over 50.

Short answer: they are pretty easy to live with. Long answer below.

Recognizing that there will be individuals in every circumstance that do not fit "the mold", I can say that in general they tend to be very gentle, laid back, quiet, affectionate but not pushy, endearing hounds. They adjust to a living situation fairly quickly, are easy to train as far as the house rules go (they might pose a bit more of a challenge in an obedience setting since they are rather independent minded but people who compete with them show themselves to be awesome trainers), sensitive, and extremely easy to live with. They tend to be up for whatever you are, within reason. They are typically good with children although space issues can pop up with some of them (not the majority) so communication with an adoption group and foster home, if they had one, is vital. Mine are exceptionally tolerant of children and work Renaissance Festivals with 20,000 people, cannons, explosions, whips, guns, fire, camels, children all over them, walkers, wheelchairs...you name it. They chill or snooze through the festivities.

Some are more active than others and do need a yard. Most are fine with leash walks and the occasional run. At the track they race 2-4 times a week, often for 40 seconds or less, so they are good with a burst of speed and energy and then lots of chill time. I tend to prefer the more active ones so mine thrive with a large, fenced yard. Most adoption groups will NOT adopt to a home with an electric fence (they will run right through it if they see prey) or that will let them off leash in unfenced areas. There are exceptions but overall the average owner and average pet Greyhound won't be good candidates for off leash walking. Obviously some are and they do well. I only let mine off leash at lure coursing trials and straight racing events and they do well because they are so lure driven and focused on the "bunny".

Greyhounds are intense when faced with prey. Many can, however, live with cats (inside...outside is a whole different ball game and some "cat safe" hounds fail outside while doing 100% perfectly with the cat inside). I have had a foster returned for that very thing. Inside she was the kitty's best friend. Outside a stray wandered into her yard and she killed it. She was fostered with cats, lived with cats, and was fine inside. Some hounds have less prey drive and I have had a rabbit ran across their path and the (leashed) foster dog just watched with interest.

Some experience SA, many don't. Some are shy (there are genetic spooks also), most are not. Some have space or sleep aggression issues, most do not. They are not bred to a standard so a lot of variations occur in structure, energy level, and drive but overall temperament and personalities tend to be similar.

They do tend to drive adopters to adopt a second, or more. They thrive with other dogs. Racing Greyhounds (in the US) are raised on farms and stay with their littermates until they are a year old or so. It is an unique upbringing compared to how we typically raise puppies. They get a lot of hands on socialization from farm workers, track people, trainers, etc. They are used to being touched by strangers and, unless you get a shy one, will just stand there and let folks touch them. People always want my dogs to sniff their hands but they won't. The only one who will is the one that I raised from a pup. By the way, some do just fine as an only dog.

Some can be VERY stoic when at a vet or if injured or sick so care must be taken to keep tabs on your hound's health. For example, one of mine broke her toe. She never yelped or anything. She finished running, trotted up to me, and, other than avoiding putting pressure on her toe, she acted 100% fine. This is the same dog who scraped a tree at high speed and tore open her side (needed 13 staples) and yet I had to make her stop running. She didn't show any signs of pain, but obviously she had some. She stood like a pro when stapled, did not even need put under. Others, like my drama king, will let out what is affectionately known as the GSOD (Greyhound Scream of Death) and over act whatever is wrong with them if it is minor, but be stoic if it is major. My vet calls them the easiest breed to work on because they just stand there and deal. Anesthesia is a concern and most Greyhound owners avoid putting them under unless they really, really need it. I combine dentals with other ailments, if possible.

Most Greyhounds are not good dog park candidates since either prey drive could kick in with strange small, fluffy dogs or they can get injured in rough play with other breeds. There are exceptions, as always, and some do well at dog parks. One thing to be aware of is that they have THIN skin. You will notice Greyhound play groups in the US make sure dogs are muzzled during play. It is not because they are aggressive. It is because a simple nip at 40-45mph can mean stitches or staples. As with anything, you have to know your dog. I don't have to muzzle mine at home, unless we have a new dog playing with us, but I know my hounds. A lot of people do muzzle them during rough play in the yard because they are afraid of a skin tear.

Track dogs sometimes need to learn stairs, glass doors, shiny floors, etc. They do not experience those things at a track or on a farm. Sometimes they do need socialization with other breeds. They tend to be well-socialized with people and other hounds, and some farms have a different breed or two, but overall they do not get to meet a lot of breeds until adoption. One thing I will say is that some racing bred dogs do not tolerate rude dog behavior very well. It turns them off. Mine look put out when a dog comes up and jumps in their face, and they back up. They are raised differently and they behave a little differently than a typical home-raised dog will. My home-raised Greyhound, and all of the many home-raised Greyhounds that I know, act more like "normal dogs" than some of the racers. Of course, exceptions exist.

Weight is my BIGGEST pet peeve. People seem to want to pack 5-10 lbs on them as a general rule (some say 5% of their racing weight) when they adopt them. DON'T follow generic rules. Greyhounds in racing condition are peak athletes. Sometimes they lose some weight traveling or after surgery and some kennels race light so sometimes a tiny bit of extra weight is in order. Typically if the dog is not getting extensive exercise they lose some of their muscle tone. Whatever you do, keep the dog fit, trim, and active and they will be healthy and happy. We joke that if you do not get accused of starving your dog at least once when out on the town he might be a bit chubby . I have spent a lot of time around senior Greyhounds and the difference in my 9.5 year old fit and active hound and other 9.5 year olds with a bunch of pet weight is quite eye opening.

Anyways, I have prattled on way too long. Do you have specific questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahHound View Post

Some states in the USA and Australia, I think they have to be muzzled when walking in public, so that's something you should check.
There are no states in the USA that require them to be muzzled.

Last edited by Gazehounds; 08-16-2013 at 01:40 PM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:57 PM
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AllisonPitbullLvr AllisonPitbullLvr is offline
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Now I want a greyhound.
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I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that. ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth

Buddy Girl - 2000-2013. "Blessed is he who has earned the love of an old dog."

Obi - 7 year old Incorrigible Dog.

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Old 08-16-2013, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonPitbullLvr View Post
We have a few that come to the clinic-- they are fantastic. Easy to work with, never give us any trouble, sweet, quiet, non-reactive with dogs. Seem to be very good with their kids, not sure if any of the ones I know live with cats but none of them have tried to eat our clinic cats.
^ This.

When I am elderly (and/or whenever I decide that handling a large, boisterous dog is not in my best interest) I am going to have retired racing Greyhounds. Can't say enough good things about them.
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