How to Adopt a Greyhound
Greyhounds are raised to race, but once they have outlived their racing career many greyhounds are cast aside. Several groups have been set up to rescue these greyhounds from untenable situations and put them up for adoption. If you have been fascinated by this specific breed of dog whose history dates back more than 8,000 years and whose sleek form has appeared in Egyptian hieroglyphs, you may be interested in learning how to adopt a greyhound.
Deciding if a Greyhound is Right For You
1. Learn about the temperament and character of greyhounds. Spend some time studying the characteristics of greyhounds to see if it is the right kind of dog for you to adopt. Greyhounds are sight hunters, and most greyhounds available for adoption have been taught to race by chasing a lure, which is either mechanical or live. It is in the greyhounds' nature to chase things.
- This means that they may almost compulsively chase things (like a squirrel running along the fence or another pet you have at home) and will need some patience and training to outgrow this habit.
- Greyhounds can be a good fit for households with children; however, if you have very young or overly active children, it might not be such a good idea to adopt a greyhound. They have such little padding and thin skin that children who aren’t careful with them could easily injure these dogs.
- Racing greyhounds have been handled extensively but have typically not been taught to play.
- Greyhounds have oftentimes grown accustomed to the company of other greyhounds. They may need to have a companion dog.
2. Study the physical characteristics and situational needs of greyhounds. Greyhounds are special dogs with particular physical needs in their home environment. A potential greyhound owner needs to be aware of these circumstances before committing to adoption.
- Greyhounds have very little body fat. They are sensitive to cold and wet and cannot be left outside during the winter months. They are also sensitive to extreme heat, as with other dogs, so they should not be left outside during very warm periods.
- Greyhounds need a fenced yard. Although most will not jump, a four to six foot fence is recommended for greyhounds by most organizations. They cannot be chained as they can literally break their necks because they can sprint up to 45 mph (72 km/h).
- Surprisingly, greyhounds don’t require a lot of exercise. A daily walk and an occasional chance to take a short run around a fenced yard will satisfy their need for activity. Otherwise, they can be quite the couch potatoes.
3. Learn about their special medical needs. Greyhounds are prone to certain medical conditions that other breeds of dogs may not experience. These are possibilities that you will need to be aware of when adopting a greyhound.
- Greyhounds are very sensitive to barbiturates, flea products, and worm products. They must be treated carefully when they undergo routine preventative examinations.
- Greyhounds, particularly former racers, seem to be more prone to bone cancer than other breeds.
- Many greyhounds exhibit hypothyroidism (low levels of the thyroid hormone).
- Greyhounds are also prone to bloat (flipping of the stomach).
Completing the Adoption Process
1. Find a greyhound adoption agency near you. There are many sources online that list greyhound adoption agencies or greyhound rescues by state or country. There are also national greyhound adoption agencies that will adopt dogs all over the United States. Similar organizations exist in the UK and other countries.
- You can search the National Greyhound Adoption Program or any other local agencies found by searching by state on the Greyhound Adoption Agency Directory.
- You can also try searching at local municipal animal shelters, especially kill shelters, because sometimes abandoned greyhounds can be found at places like this.
2. Meet some dogs. Once you find an agency that you like, schedule a time to go meet the dogs that are available for adoption. It’s important to make sure your personality meshes with the dog’s in person. This will help limit any surprises when you get the dog home and ensure a lasting match between you and your new canine friend.
- This might also happen the other way around. You might find a specific dog online that you’re interested in which leads you to the specific agency you’ll be adopting from.
- You should never adopt a dog sight unseen.
3. Fill out a greyhound adoption application. The application asks general questions as well as more specific questions about other pets, home environment, and family questions. This is to help determine the best dog to fit into your home environment and situation.
- The application may ask you to agree to certain conditions of owning a greyhound. This may include such things as agreeing to keep the dog's vaccinations current, keeping the dog licensed, and adequately exercising the dog.
- Most agencies will also require you to agree to return the greyhound to them if you are unable or unwilling to keep the dog. These greyhounds will be rehomed with another family. This measure is to prevent greyhounds from ending up in municipal or other shelters.
4. Provide references. Some adoption agencies may require you to provide references, such as from a veterinarian or landlord. They want to make sure that you will provide a safe and happy home for your adopted greyhound.
- If you have one, ask your veterinarian to provide you with a reference regarding your history of care for any existing pets you have. This is the kind of information the agency will want to hear from your reference.
5. Pay the adoption fee. Send in the adoption application, with the adoption fee if required. The fee usually goes toward (but does not completely cover) spaying/neutering, microchipping, and vaccinations. The fee is usually around $300.
- Some groups will not require payment of a fee until a greyhound is available for you. Follow the specific instructions of the group you are adopting from.
- A sales tax may be applied to the adoption fee.
6. Wait for the adoption decision. Allow two to three weeks for the adoption process. This may take longer if you have specific requests in a dog – such as age, sex, or a dog that is good with children, cats, or other pets.
- The agency will contact you when they have reached a decision.
Bringing Your Greyhound Home
1. Prepare your home for your new greyhound. Purchase food as recommended by the adoption agency and any special needs that they state the dog requires.
- Most greyhounds that have raced have been crate-trained, and you may need to purchase a large crate that will give your dog a place of its own until it becomes accustomed to your home and family routine.
- Many adoption groups use "foster" homes for greyhounds awaiting adoption, so a crate may not be necessary.
- Purchase a bed, collar, leash, as well as food and water dishes.
- Wide, Martingale-style collars are recommended for greyhounds because of their particular anatomy. These collars are less likely to choke the greyhound or allow the greyhound to slip out.
2. Arrange to pick up your greyhound. Make a plan for picking up your adopted greyhound, and make travel arrangements to get there. It is probably a good idea to arrive by car, if possible, so that your greyhound can travel comfortably in the car on the drive home.
- If you are going to an agency to pick up the dog, make sure there is a specific person you are supposed to meet at a specific time.
- If the dog is at an individual’s house, make sure you arrange with them ahead of time when you will arrive.
3. Bring all the things you’ll need. Make sure you bring all the necessary things with you when you go to pick up your new greyhound companion. Take a crate with you (if recommended), as well as a collar and leash.
- Consider the length of travel time to make sure you have all of the required supplies. For example, if there will be a long drive home you might want to consider bringing some food and water, along with food and water dishes, so that you can keep your greyhound satisfied and happy on the journey.