Move Over Golden Retrievers, There’s A New Family Dog In Town

Greyhound brindle standing

Golden retrievers may be the go-to family dog for now, but the fast and surprisingly calm greyhound is gaining momentum!

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.

Beautiful brown and white greyhound

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.

A calm relaxed greyhound

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!

Greyhound running fast on a racing track

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.

Happy brindle greyhound in a blue coat

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!

Greyhound brindle standing

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.

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  • Nice article, expect the bit about hip dysplasia – most articles say this is almost unheard of in greyhounds. Where did the information that greyhounds are ‘prone to it’ come from?

  • If you are looking for information on greyhounds, I would recommend that you look elsewhere. The author of this article clearly did not do her research, beginning with the picture of the Italian Greyhound being presented as a picture of a Greyhound. Really?

  • While the greyhound community appreciates the boost .. there are several discrepancies here.

    1. Hip dysplasia is not a common greyhound issue.
    2. While greyhounds and children can be a wonderful thing, most grey groups will tell you that children and greyhounds require extra caution due to the greyhound’s unconventional upbringing and limited exposure to children and outside stimuli while in the safety of their crate. Our group does not adopt to families with children under the age of 8.
    3. That one photo is an Italian Greyhound, not a Greyhound — both lovely, but two completely different breeds. Two completely different personalities.

    Adopt a retired racer! Best kept dog secret in the world — except for those who already have them and know how awesome they are. 😉

    • Having owned Greyhounds in the past and now having an Italian Greyhound I can tell you they are remarkably similar. Of they are different in size, but they have almost the same personality, many of the same behaviors…the same smell even. Their DNA is 100% the same; IGs were just bred to be smaller. Both are equally awesome!
      And I totally agree with you about the article, there is some important information missing and the information that is included isn’t that accurate.

  • I thought the same thing. The truth is hip problems are very rare. Osteo is more common but not more than other breeds.

  • Great article but to add to the corrections below about hip dysplasia, while it is true some greyhounds are not cat/small dog safe, there are plenty of ones that are, and the greyhound organization can match you up with a dog that gets along with cats. We have two greys and three cats, and they get along great.

  • I appreciate the sentiment, but the writer should’ve more research. For one, racing greyhounds do not get hip dysplasia. Two, half the photos used are whippets and/or Italian Greyhounds. While they are sighthounds, that is the only thing they have in common. They are nothing like Greyhounds.

  • I have a greyhound, and they’re really wonderful pets, but I disagree about them being so hearty. They have constant dental issues, are prone to bone cancer and stomach issues. But even though they have health issues (probably from their lousy former life on the track) they’re absolutely wonderful dogs, and I highly recommend adopting one. And.. they also can be cat tested. So don’t rule out a greyhound just because you have a cat.

    • I seriously doubt that any health issues they have (especially the stomach issues) have anything to do with their time on the track. They are well fed at the track and have stomach issues only AFTER they leave the track and have to transition to sub par kibble. A dog with stomach issues wouldn’t be reliable to race.

  • Oh my goodness, the perspective of the last photo with the brindle makes him look as big as a mastiff! haha They’re not quite *that* tall, even with the super tall boys. 😀

    • Haha! Probably depends on how tall the woman in the background is. I’m 5’4″ and my boy comes up to the upper portion of my upper thigh at 27″.

  • I appreciate that the author has chosen to write about retired greyhounds as I think they deserve more of a spotlight. All dogs are different. My greyhound loves young children, dislikes large dogs and absolutely adores the coldest, snowiest winter days. Point is, they are wonderful pets with many great characteristics and anytime someone chooses to adopt they are saving a life. If you have concerns about introducing a greyhound to your children or other pets, discuss with your adoption agency and they will work with you to find a dog that suits your needs.

  • The photo on Facebook is Italian greyhound. The photo in the racing jacket is a Whippet. The rest are Greyhounds. 🙂

  • I have been involved in greyhound rescue for the last 10 years and have always had at least 2 hounds in my home with cats. Hounds are generally ‘cat tested’ prior to leaving the track and again in their kennel or Foster home. The numbers floating around suggest that more than 1/2 of the greyhounds are ‘cat safe’ if the cats are inside the home.

    Outside its a different story. Even if they are low prey/cat safe, they are prone to chase. They can go from 0 to 45 miles per hour in three strides. So, outside, they need to be on a leash or in a fenced area.

    Overall, greyhounds are wonderful, calm, sweet, silly companions. If you google ‘greyhound rescue’ you can find one in your area.

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