Golden retrievers have long been considered the ideal family pet. When you imagine a few kids playing with a dog out in the front yard of a quaint little home, you pictured a golden, didn’t you? Maybe a Labrador. While they are excellent dogs for home life, there’s a new dog in town: the greyhound. I know you’re surprised to hear that those tiny horses want to bond with kids and live a loving life of domestic bliss, but they do.
They’re actually kind of lazy. Everyone imagines them racing down a track at top speed, but they’re all too happy to retire from that life and spend the day on your couch. They need exercise, as all dogs do, but their needs are not more than most breeds, and certainly not as much as higher energy dogs like the border collie. Take them on a walk, play a little bit and they’ll be content to sit next to you and doze.
Greyhounds are quite healthy. Don’t let their skinny physiques and permanently worried expressions fool you. They’re actually quite hardy dogs. They can be prone to hip dysplasia, but that’s common of many dogs, unfortunately. Asides from that, they’re very healthy and have an average lifespan of 12-15 years. Even a retired racing dog has lots of life left in them!
Although greyhounds are tall and long enough, they’re not a big breed. Their slight, muscular bodies curl up perfectly on a couch or bed, giving you enough room to stretch out and take up space. They’re also not inclined to drool or shed all that much, so they avoid the trappings of big dogs in that respect, too. Most importantly, they won’t eat you out of house and home or destroy all your precious belongings by bumping into your end tables. They’re agile and very aware of their environments.
There isn’t so much of a cultural understanding and image of it yet, but you can definitely cuddle with a greyhound. They’re sweet, calm, and great with kids, although they can be a little predatory around cats or small dogs, as they are hunters, after all. They’re generally quite friendly and are adaptable to everything except the cold. That’s just an excellent excuse to pick out some dog boots and a matching coat. License to accessorize!
Since they’re still used as a racing dog, there are lots of retired greyhounds who need homes. If you’re looking for one, you’ll have a selection to meet and get to know so that you can find the ideal dog for your family. They may not have that all-American look to them, but they’ll find their way into your hearts and your hearth.
* Edit: This post indicates that greyhounds can be prone to hip dysplasia. While there is evidence that greyhounds who are kept as pets can develop hip dysplasia (see source below) they are not as prone to hip dysplasia as other breeds. This initial statement was meant to account for the times when it is diagnosed among greyhounds to cover all bases of their health.