Living With Greyhounds and Lurchers
Greyhounds and lurchers are part of the sighthound familiy, which includes borzois, sloughis, afghan hounds, whippets and many more. These hounds have excellent vision and have been bred and trained to hunt and chase for over 2,000 years. They can spot small moving objects or animals at incredible distances.
As pets, they are naturally loving and gentle. They respond well to kindness and patience and will try hard to please you. Most rescued greyhounds and lurchers have not lived indoors before and will be surrounded by strange and unfamiliar objects when you bring them home. Many have never encountered stairs before and will be able to climb upstairs but may need encouragement and support to get back down again! Many of them will not have been housetrained, but with praise, reward and patience will learn surprisingly quickly what is expected of them.
Common misconceptions surrounding greyhounds and lurchers:
Greyhounds and lurchers need loads of exercise.
They do love to run and exercise if given the opportunity, but will be happy with two or three half hour walks each day. Newly adopted hounds should not be let off-lead until you are certain they will come back reliably each time they are called. Some have old racing injuries and need gentle exercise only. These dogs may need to be kept permanently on the lead.
Greyhounds are basically lazy dogs and will relax and sleep for much of the day. They love their creature comforts and will need a soft comfy bed. If they are allowed, they will love nothing better than to stretch out on your bed or sofa!
Greyhounds are vicious and must wear muzzles.
Racing greyhounds wear muzzles on the track and usually when being walked, as it is often required by the trainers' insurance company for a "working" dog. Your greyhound or lurcher will be "retired" and a muzzle will not generally be necessary. Some pet greyhounds continue to wear muzzles when being walked to ensure they do not bother smaller animals or because they may be initially nervous of other breeds of dogs. The muzzle is usually a precaution only, and greyhounds are not known to be "vicious" dogs. They are generally friendly and affectionate with humans and are usually wonderful with children. They are usually far too friendly to make a reliable guard dog!
Greyhounds and lurchers hate cats and other small furry animals
These dogs have been bred to hunt and chase small furry animals, but the urge to chase is stronger in some hounds than in others. If you have cats, your hound will be "cat-tested" before she/he leaves the kennels to see if it is the right dog for your home. Many greyhounds live peacefully and happily with small dogs, cats and even guinea pigs and rabbits.
What you will need:
Your garden will need to be secure and enclosed. The fence will need to be about 6 foot high with no gaps, and any gates will need to be the same height. Greyhounds and lurchers can jump higher than you would believe, and during your pre-adoption home visit, we will be checking your garden to be sure the dog will be safe and secure in it. If your fence is not high enough, you may want to think about adding some inexpensive wooden trellis to the top of the fence to bring it up to the required height.
As sighthounds and lurchers tend to have long necks, they find it difficult to eat or drink from a bowl placed on the floor. The dog's food and water bowls will need to be raised up and you can buy special raised feeder stands which hold two bowls from pet shops. You can also improvise by standing the bowls on a wooden box or resting the bowls within the rim of a large flower-pot.
Greyhounds and lurchers have slim heads and in many cases the head will be narrower than the dog's neck. Most greyhounds are able to back out of an ordinary dog collar quite easily. You will need a specific greyhound collar which is wider than usual. The collar should be placed behind the dog's ears and tightened up so that two fingers can only just be inserted between the collar and the dog's neck. You can always loosen the collar when the dog is indoors or chose a special house collar for the dog. Dog tags showing your contact details should be worn by the dog at all times when outside.
Many greyhounds and lurchers will walk more comfortably on a harness.
The choice of bed is up to you, but the dog will need it's own comfortable bed where it can retreat from the bustle of family life whenever it wants to. Children should be taught never to touch a dog which is sleeping or eating.
Most greyhounds and many lurchers have thin coats and little body fat and may suffer from the cold in the winter. The dog will need a warm coat, preferrably waterproof and fleece-lined. Coats for other dogs will not fit a sighthound's body shape and a specific greyhound coat will be needed.
If you turn off your heating at night, the dog may need a fleece housecoat to wear during the night.
If the dog's ears feel cold to the touch, the animal is feeling cold and will need to be wearing a coat.
Did you know 1 in 3 pets may require unexpected veterinary treatment each year? * Whilst advances in veterinary medicine mean vets can do more for your pet, treatment costs can soon mount up.
Greyhound and Lurcher Welfare and Rescue believes that pet insurance is an important part of responsible pet ownership allowing owners to go ahead with veterinary treatment at the earliest opportunity knowing that help is there for the unexpected costs.
It’s important to be aware that not all pet insurance is the same. Some policies limit the amount of time or money that you can claim for. Don’t just shop around on price alone. Ask the following five key questions so you clearly understand what each policy does and doesn’t cover:
• Will the policy cover my pet for on-going conditions (e.g. eczema) into its old age?
• Will exclusions be placed at renewal for an illness that occurred in the previous year?
• Will my excess or premium increase if I make a claim?
• Will the policy cover: congenital and hereditary illness, hip-related conditions, dental treatment or behavioural conditions?
• Is the provider a pet insurance specialist?
Click here to find out more about the different types of pet insurance.
Why not try before you buy? For 4 weeks free Petplan insurance simply click here and quote our charity reference number 1300030868.
* Source: Petplan
We like to keep in touch with our adopters and get updates on how "our dogs" are getting on. Our volunteers should be able to answer any questions you may have about your new hounds, or if not, will find out for you.
On our "Rehomed Dogs" page, you can see some of our rehomed dogs enjoying their new lives and families. Some of our adopters have written about their dogs and how they are settling in. This is our favourite page, the happy ending of the long road our dogs have travelled to get to their new lives.