HomeInspireAnimals & Pets

Why greyhounds make amazing pets

Why greyhounds make amazing pets
Considering whether to welcome a greyhound into your home? Blogger Claire Kenny shares why they make amazing pets while tackling some of the common myths
Despite the brilliant work of rehoming charities throughout the country who match retired greyhounds with suitable families, many are still waiting for their forever homes—and forever sofas—in rescue kennels.  
Perhaps the common misconceptions around this wonderful breed may be preventing some potential owners from considering them as pets, so if you’re on the fence, let me address two of the biggest myths.

Myth 1: Greyhounds need loads of exercise 

I get asked about this frequently when out with my hound, Ozzy. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s true given the majority of greyhounds have racing backgrounds, but let me assure you, they’re bone idle. While we do enjoy long walks from time to time, Ozzy doesn’t need them—just ten minutes is fine. With three short walks a day, Ozzy happily spends 90 per cent of his time asleep on his beloved bed. That’s why greys are such fantastic dogs for working households.  
Should you get a pet greyhound?
Ozzy the greyhound
It’s definitely worth mentioning off-lead behaviour here. If you’re lucky enough to find a safe, fenced off area, there is no greater pleasure than watching a dog born to run do so with efficiency, breath-taking speed and unbridled joy. But please be cautious before letting your dog run loose.
"Greyhounds are impeccably behaved on the lead and most will amble elegantly along beside you"
They’re sighthounds, which means their incredibly strong prey drive trumps everything else, including your command in many cases. This means you’ll need to be 100 per cent comfortable that it’s safe if they "lock in" on something they fancy chasing. I fell foul of this on a beach in Northumberland when Ozzy would have run to Scotland if it wasn’t for the pesky intervention of the North Sea. Needless to say, it was acutely embarrassing. 
You won’t have to worry about any of this if you keep your hound on the lead. Greyhounds are impeccably behaved on the lead and most will amble elegantly along beside you, making your walks an absolute pleasure.  

Myth 2: Greyhounds aren't affectionate 

Greys are pretty calm and generally not the type of dog to jump up at people, bark constantly or play fight. But they’re extremely warm, loving and gentle with bags of character.
Why greyhounds make amazing pets - Ozzy the greyhound with his human Claire
Ozzy enjoying a cuddle
Although probably far too big to hop onto your knee, they love to be stroked and are wonderful with children as long as they’re treated with respect.  

Greyhound quirks

The huge potential to love and live has never been realised in many greyhounds with a racing background. So when they join your family, it can take them a little while to understand things other dogs might take for granted. This is something I was utterly charmed by, and includes:  
  • Not understanding play: imagine a dog that has been so emotionally neglected that it doesn’t know how to play. My daughter and I felt huge joy when Ozzy finally started to engage in activities such as throw and fetch. In our case, this is actually just "throw" as he loves running after the ball, but we have to run after him to get it back. When it comes to toys, Ozzy simply takes every single one out of his basket, chews it half-heartedly for ten seconds, then ignores it, unless it’s a piece of card, which for some reason he enjoys shredding into tiny pieces with his teeth!  
  • An aversion to stairs: as is the case for many ex-racing dogs, Ozzy had never used stairs when we brought him home. But thanks to my daughter’s patience and quite a few strategically placed treats, he learned how in just one evening 
"If you choose to rehome a greyhound, you will get a beautiful, elegant and kind animal"
  • Greed: these dogs are greedy to an extent I have never seen in another animal. When we first brought Ozzy home from our local rescue kennel he was pretty subdued, but his insatiable enthusiasm for food never wavered. Although much more mellow now, I still don’t leave food unattended. He knows the sound of cheese being sliced, the rustle of the wrapper for his daily chew stick, even the sound of his food cupboard being opened, at a thousand paces, and will appear in the kitchen, nudging me with his nose in less than a second. And please keep bins out of reach, unless you want to come home and find the content of yours emptied across the floor (always fun) 
  • Burping: because of their size, greyhounds can achieve the depth and volume of a grown man during any bodily emission, which is great fun when you’re on conference calls and haven’t pressed mute, or when they belch in your face to thank you for their sardine breakfast. They also emit lengthy and very amusing grunts when they get really comfortable
I hope my experience of owning a hound is helpful if you’re considering a pet. If you choose to rehome a greyhound, you will get a beautiful, elegant and kind animal that expects very little and will flourish in return for any love you give. So as the hashtag goes: #AdoptDon’tShop! 
Claire can be found on Facebook and Instagram as my40pluslife.me 
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...