Are retired greyhounds good pets? Here’s why you might want to adopt a greyhound

Picture of Sky


Chief Editor

Picture of Sky


Chief Editor

Greyhounds are often associated with racing, but when their racing careers are over, they make excellent pets. They are affectionate, gentle, and adaptable, making them suitable for a wide range of living situations, including apartments. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what retired greyhounds are like as pets, and why they make great companions for people living in small spaces.

Table of Contents

From Racetrack to Retirement

Many people think of greyhounds as high-energy racing dogs, but the truth is that these animals are actually quite adaptable. They have been bred for thousands of years to hunt small game, and their natural instincts are to chase and run. However, greyhounds are also known for being calm, and affectionate. If you are looking to adopt a dog and find yourself asking ‘are retired greyhounds good pets?’, we’ll let you know right here!

Why professionally bred racing greyhounds make good pets

Professional racing greyhounds have a unique upbringing that sets them up well for becoming great companion pets once their racing career is over. They are typically raised by their mothers and littermates for the first months of their lives, which helps to develop important social skills within their pack. During this time, they also receive proper care and nutrition from their experienced breeders. Once they reach a certain age, they will be transferred to a trainer or handler, who will continue to care for and train them as they prepare for their racing career. These trainers develop a strong bond with their greyhounds and are very familiar with the personalities of individual greyhounds, they know what they like and what they don’t like.

Throughout their racing career, greyhounds are typically very well-cared for and kept in apex physical and mental shape. They receive regular veterinary care and are given a high-quality diet to keep them healthy and thriving. This proper care and attention to their health, help them stay in a great shape for racing. Greyhounds are also generally very well-behaved and have good manners, which is a result of their training and positive reinforcement from their handlers.

All of these factors combined – early socialization, proper care and nutrition, training and positive reinforcement – create a solid foundation for greyhounds to adapt well as companion pets once they retired from racing. This unique background can make them adaptable, low-maintenance, and well-behaved pets, which make them perfect for a wide range of living situations.

Adopting a Retired Greyhound

Many greyhounds are retired from racing between the ages of 2 and 5. When they retire, they can be adopted from greyhound rehoming organizations or from retired racing kennels. Adopting a greyhound is a great way to give a loving home to an animal in need. Greyhounds are often crate-trained, house-trained and basic obedience trained when they come out of racing which makes the adoption process easier.

Perfect for First-Time Pet Owners

Retired greyhounds are perfect for first-time pet owners because they are gentle, easy to train and rather low-maintenance dogs. The agency or the kennel you will adopt from will make sure that you will be matched with a greyhound that suits your life situation and personality. As these organizations are passionate about finding forever homes for their retired racers, they will educate you on all things greyhound and remain at your disposal for any questions after adoption.

Affectionate and Low-Maintenance Companions

Retired greyhounds make great pets because they are affectionate and low-maintenance. Many are happy to be petted and cuddled, and they will often follow their owners around the house, as they love being close to their human. Once you figure out what reward motivates your greyhound the most, they are also easy to train, and are usually happy to learn new tricks. When it comes to grooming, greyhounds have short, smooth coats that are easy to keep clean.

As for exercise requirements, greyhounds are sprinters, not endurance athletes and have an overall lower exercise requirement than many other breeds. A couple of off-leash sprints a week in a safe, enclosed environment, as well as daily walks is enough to fulfill their exercise needs once retired. Greyhounds are naturally competitive and very social dogs, so it is preferable for them to have a companion to run with, ideally another greyhound, as this will help to fulfill their need to chase and run. This kind of exercise is not only beneficial for the greyhound’s physical health, but also for their mental well-being as it allows them to express their natural instincts and behavior.

A Companion for Long Walks, Runs and Hikes: How to build stamina

While greyhounds are primarily built as sprinters, with their lean and athletic bodies, they can also be trained to have a longer stamina for walks, runs, and hikes. However, it is important to remember that, as with any dog, their stamina must be built gradually over time to prevent injury.

It’s recommended to start with shorter walks and gradually increase the distance and duration over time. This will allow the dog’s muscles and joints to adjust to the new exercise regimen. It’s also important to monitor the dog’s behavior during and after the walks. If the dog seems tired or uncomfortable, it’s best to slow down the process and continue with shorter walks.

It’s also essential to provide adequate rest and recovery time for the dog. Greyhounds are known to enjoy their rest and can be prone to muscle soreness if overworked, therefore, providing sufficient rest days in between long walks, runs or hikes is crucial. As their stamina builds up, it’s a good idea to also include some low-impact exercises such as swimming, which can also be beneficial for muscle and joint health. This being said, make sure to find a fitting life jacket for your greyhound, before attempting a swim, as greyhounds aren’t as buoyant as other dog breeds, due to their lower body-fat ratio.

Additionally, a balanced diet and providing regular veterinary check-ups are essential for maintaining a healthy greyhound. Greyhounds have a very low body fat percentage which makes them susceptible to weight loss, so a diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals is important.

Overall, building a greyhound’s stamina for long walks, runs and hikes takes time, patience and proper training. However, with the right approach, a greyhound can be a great companion for outdoor activities, and is also a great way to bond with your pet and keep them physically and mentally healthy.

In conclusion, while greyhounds are primarily built as sprinters, they can still be trained to have a longer stamina for walks, runs, and hikes. Gradual build-up and adequate rest is essential, along with providing a balanced diet and regular veterinary check-ups to keep them healthy and injury-free.

Greyhounds Adapt well to Apartment Living

Greyhounds are well-suited to apartment living because they are not overly active and they don’t need a lot of space. They are happy to curl up on the couch for a nap, hence their nickname ‘The 60mph Couch Potato‘. They do require daily walks, and like mentioned before, the opportunity to sprint a couple of times a week. However, they don’t mind some shorter walks around the neighborhood throughout the day, which is perfect for people who live in cities or have busy schedules.

One of the characteristics that makes greyhounds well-suited to apartment living is that they tend to sleep a lot. In fact, greyhounds generally spend about 18 hours a day sleeping. They are naturally inclined to take long naps, and they tend to be most active in the early morning and evening. This feature is great for people who have busy schedules or for older people who may not be able to keep up with a more active dog breed.

Thanks to their excellent upbringing and training, retired racing greyhounds are not prone to chewing on furniture or other household items, so they are less likely to cause damage in the home. And because they are calm and generally well-behaved, they are less likely to bark excessively or cause disruptions in an apartment building.

Do I need a garden to qualify for greyhound adoption?

Ultimately, the adoption requirements depend on the organization you choose to adopt your retired racer from. This being said, not owning a garden shouldn’t be what makes or breaks your adoption.

While a private garden can be a great place for a dog to run and play, it is not a requirement for properly caring for a retired racing greyhound. Greyhounds, like all dogs, need regular exercise and socialization, and there are plenty of ways to provide these things even if you don’t have a garden.

One of the important things to note when caring for a retired racing greyhound is that they have a strong prey-drive, which means they will chase after small animals like squirrels, birds, etc. Therefore, it’s not safe to leave a greyhound unattended in a garden, and even with a high fence, they are known to jump very high, up to 180cm, and may escape.

An alternative to a garden would be to take your greyhound for off-leash play in a safe and enclosed area, such as a dog park or a fenced-in field. Many dog parks have large open areas where dogs can run and play without the risk of running away. Greyhounds will enjoy the social interaction with other dogs and the opportunity to run and play.

A Great Choice for Seniors

Retired greyhounds also make great companions for seniors. They are gentle and easy to care for, and they don’t need a lot of endurance exercise. This makes them a good choice for seniors who may have mobility issues or who are not able to walk a dog for long periods of time. Additionally, greyhounds are known for being quiet and good listeners, which can be comforting for seniors who may be living alone.

Furthermore, greyhounds are known to be very low key, happy to just chill and relax with their owners, which makes them great companions to relax and spend time with. They are also incredibly loyal, and will be your companion for years to come. Many older greyhounds adapt well to new routines and changes, which makes them great options for seniors who may travel or have a fluctuating schedule.

In conclusion, greyhounds are often associated with racing, but when their racing careers are over, they make excellent pets with many benefits. They are affectionate, gentle, and adaptable, making them suitable for a wide range of living situations, including apartments, couples or families, first-time pet owners, and seniors. It’s definitely worth considering adopting a retired greyhound when looking for a new pet.

Looking for the perfect dog to adopt? Here's 10 great reasons why you should adopt a retired racing greyhound. See why an ex-racer could be your top match!
Picture of Who Dis?

Who Dis?

I'm Sky, the host and Chief Editor of HoundToday! I want to let the people know that us ex racing greyhounds make fabulous pets! Many of us are looking for the perfect forever-home to transition to after our time on the racetrack is over. My hoomans are helping me spread the message by providing information about diet, training, health, and the adoption process.

About Us

Learn more


Keep Reading

Related Posts

Golden Paste For Greyhound Health

Looking for a natural food additive to boost your greyhound’s health? Golden Paste is a powerful antioxidant and a superb supplement that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.


Raw dog food with carbs

Looking to serve your hound raw dog food with carbs? Here’s how to calculate a BARF meal with grains. Learn which grains could be an addition to the diet.

raw feeding a dog BARF

Should I Feed My Dog Raw?

Looking for a balanced and species-appropriate diet for your dog? Learn all about raw feeding a dog and why the BARF method might be the right one for you!


Wagging Tale