Adopting an Ex Greyhound Racer: What to Know

Adopting an ex-greyhound racer comes with many unique considerations. Yet, it’s like bringing any other pup home. They need love, patience, and consistency.

Feb 10, 2024By Sara Payne
adopting an ex greyhound racer what to know

The agile and speedy greyhound is a remarkable dog breed. These athletic dogs spend years training and racing, but they transition from racers to pets as they age or if they become injured. Dog owners often adopt these ex-racers to give them a loving, forever home.

Adopting an ex-greyhound racer is a rewarding and challenging experience. After years of constant activity, it can be difficult for these dogs to transition to a slower-paced lifestyle. But, with consistent training, care, and patience, ex-greyhound racers can be great companions.

The Advantages of Adopting an Ex-Greyhound Racer

Even after years of training for the racetrack, greyhounds are sociable and affectionate dogs. Interacting with people is not new. Throughout their formative years, they had handlers, veterinarians, dog walkers, and many others taking care of them. So, they have learned to tolerate a variety of people. Greyhounds typically get along well with families, even children.

They have also been around other greyhounds on the track and when training. The constant din of other dogs is a familiar sound to them from their time in the kennels. So, they typically learn to have a good relationship with other dogs in the home.

Greyhounds are curious, intelligent, independent, and gentle dogs. They also have excellent sight, smell, and hearing. They can run up to speeds of 45 mph, and many of these dogs love to run, even after retirement, which can be a delight to watch in the park or your backyard.

Here’s some more great news! Greyhounds are known for being the couch potatoes of the dog world. That’s right; these pups love nothing better than a long snooze on the soft, making them ideal for apartment living.

What You Need Before Bring a Dog Home

greyhound in blanket
Image credit: Pixabay

When you adopt any dog, it is important to make sure they have all of their vaccinations up to date. Most adoption programs neuter ex-greyhounds before adopting them out, which helps to mellow their temperaments and protect them against unwanted pregnancies and reproductive diseases.

You will need to make sure they have a thorough check-up with a veterinarian for any injuries or diseases. Racing can be hard on a greyhound’s body, and it is important to understand what medical concerns these ex-racers have before taking them home. You’ll also want to invest in flea and tick prevention, as these parasites can cause skin problems in dogs.

You also need to prepare your home for your new dog. Before bringing them home, you should have:

  • Food and water dishes
  • Leashes (Tip: don’t use retractable leashes on a new pet!)
  • Toys
  • Brushes
  • Shelter
  • Bedding
  • Poop scoopers
  • A crate lined with soft bedding, such as sheets and old comforters
  • A tag and collar
  • Treats

Once you’ve purchased the items you need, you can welcome your new companion home.

Possible Behavior Issues When Adopting an Ex-Greyhound Racer

greyhounds wrestling
Image credit: Pixabay

Racer greyhounds are often confined in kennels between training and races, so they aren’t familiar with playing with other dogs or people. At first, this newfound freedom may make them resort to their puppy-like behaviors.

Ex-racers also are not familiar with many objects around the home. Mirrors, stairs, and glass doors may seem alien to them. They will need to learn how to live in a home.

These ex-racers have experienced an extremely specific diet up until their adoption, as well. During their racing career, their handlers usually feed them raw, so transitioning them to high-quality dog food may initially prove difficult. Sustaining their raw diet may not be viable or affordable.

Some Greyhounds Come From Abusive Backgrounds

greyhound with muzzle
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although greyhounds are typically well-behaved around other people, those who experienced mistreatment or had little socialization as a puppy may not understand how to interact with small children or small pets. Owners will need to slowly introduce these people and pets to ex-racers.

You Can Combat Adverse Behavioral Problems With Stimulation

greyhound wearing sweater
Image credit: Knithacker

Many ex-racers will also still need regular exercise and time outside because they are familiar with intense training. They may need time to adjust to a more sedentary lifestyle. If they get bored, they may redirect that behavior by chewing or destroying in the home. You should provide your dog with ample exercise throughout the day, plenty of chew toys, and one-on-one time to discourage these behaviors. As noted, it won’t take long for your noodle-dog to settle down. Once they find the most comfortable place in the home, that’s their new spot!

How Do Ex-Greyhound Racers React to Other Pets?

greyhound prey drive
Image credit: Pixabay

Greyhounds pack animals, and amongst other dogs, they will typically form a hierarchy where one is dominant and the others submissive. While ex-racers may spend time alongside other greyhounds, they’re typically not well socialized. So, at first, they may be afraid or anxious. After a time, they should warm up to other dogs in the home.

Cats and smaller animals may be a different story. Greyhounds have a strong prey drive. They see smaller animals and want to hunt them. Although you can train some ex-racer greyhounds to coexist happily with cats and other small pets, this may not be an achievable goal for all ex-racers.

Typically, adoption programs will list the dog as being friendly with other animals or not. Before adopting, it is important to find out this information, especially if you have other pets in your home.

Ex-Greyhound Racers Make Great Pets

greyhound in garden
Image credit: Pixabay

Giving an ex-racer greyhound a new life after retirement can be a rewarding experience. These dogs are social creatures who will be loving and trustworthy companions. Due to their time as racers, there will be some trials and tribulations when you first adopt and begin training an ex-racer for domestic life, but with consistency and patience, you can add a wonderful companion to your home.

Make sure to research and prepare for your new dog. These intelligent dogs learn quickly and can be quite good at becoming a couch potato. They are loving and fun to have around.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.