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      14.08.2010 08:44
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      I remember when I was around seven years old my Dad came home with a tiny little puppy tucked into his coat. This puppy was a greyhound and was the beginning of my growing up with greyhounds around me.

      My Dad has always has an interest in greyhound racing for as long as I can remember. I actually used to go regularly with him when I was younger and he was training the dogs but I soon lost all interest when two of our dogs had to be put down in the same week after racing interests on the same track. I have to make it clear though that although most of our dogs raced at some point they were pets to us all-they actually used to sleep on the sofa when they could get away with it!

      **Cindy**

      When my Dad brought the puppy home I insisted that she be called Cindy-I probably suggested Barbie first but that was never going to be accepted! My parents allowed her to be called Cindy and I remember being so besotted by this tiny little puppy. I still can't believe a greyhound can be so small!

      My Dad had built a shed and set it all up ready for Cindy to sleep in but I am not sure if she even managed one night in there! She howled and basically created a big fuss until my parents went soft and she was allowed to sleep in the house! At some point over the years she ended up sleeping in their room, often at the bottom of their bed!

      Cindy never made it as a racing dog. My Dad tried but during trials she would be fine if she came out of the traps first but if she saw other dogs in front of her she would turn around and go the other way! I guess to a certain extent this case does show us that a dog won't chase if it doesn't want to but I still don't like dog racing.

      Cindy lived at home with us until she died in her sleep- I can't remember exactly how old she was but I think she was around fifteen years old which is a decent age really. She really was a loving dog and had such a gentle nature with all of us kids.

      **Our other dogs**

      We had other greyhounds through the years all of which lived along side Cindy. She was always the boss of the house with the other dogs and would regularly pull the boys into line though. All of the dogs used to live in the house, despite often being bought from Ireland and being used to living in kennels outside. I remember it being a nightmare at times trying to move around the big dogs!

      I thought I would briefly go over the other dogs that we had and I hope that you don't mind me doing this.

      Duchess: Duchess was a black and white female greyhound and probably my mum's favourite dog we had. She was a really lovely dog and a good racing dog but she sadly broke her back on the track and had to be put down. I remember the night my Dad came home with that news so clearly even now and it was around seventeen years ago.
      Shadow: Shadow was an all black greyhound but he always seems to have a bare patch on his bum! He was without a doubt my Dad's favourite and he was probably the most promising racer my Dad ever owned as well. He also suffered a terrible injury in a race and also had to be put down.

      Blue: Blue was my favourite dog that we had besides Cindy who I had obviously had around from being such a young age. He was a silvery grey colour and although he was a racer he would quite happily lie in front of me and I would have my head on his neck or his back legs like a cushion. He had the softest ears I have ever felt on a dog! He suffered the same fate as our other dogs and his death was the final straw for me in terms of racing. I don't know how my Dad carried on because I saw how devastated he was at the time.

      Buster: Buster was a brindle male and I don't remember much of his racing but I think he must have done at some point as my Dad said he was rubbish! He lived quite a long and happy life at home with us but tragically chased a cat outside my parents and slipped on ice and broke his neck.

      Mischief: Mischief was a black and white male and again I don't remember him racing. He lived a long life at home with my parents and also died in his sleep at home. This will have been about five years ago and my Dad has not got a new dog yet-though he looks regularly for one I think deep down he is scared of the feeling that comes when they pass away again.

      **Training**

      Whilst we had the opportunity to toilet train Cindy as we had her from being a little puppy, we weren't as fortunate with the other dogs as we got them at an older age. The male dogs in particular were a nightmare and would frequently cock their leg on the side of the sofa. Obviously this was a major issue for my mum who had to clean up after them all the time. This of course could have been male dogs being typically male and trying to mark their territory with a female dog around.

      In terms of other training there was only Mischief who I trained to shake paw for a treat! Needless to say my Dad wasn't best pleased that his "racer" shook paw for a biscuit!

      **Feeding**

      Greyhounds are a large breed of dog and will obviously need quite a lot of food to eat so it can be expensive to feed them. I remember that our greyhounds seemed to have cornflakes with milk at breakfast time for some reason and then my mum had to cook up a portion of meat, gravy, vegetables and vitamins for them when they were racing. When they weren't racing they could just have normal dog food but I would say dried food would be the best option to keep up with feeding these large dogs.

      I would recommend heavy bowls for their food and water as they are usually keen eaters and would be likely to tip the bowls over otherwise.

      **Exercise**
      Greyhounds are obviously athletic dogs and I would say they need a decent walk-probably around an hour a day would suffice. My Dad used to sometimes be out with our dogs for a couple of hours at a time. We would also take them to a large field where they would run from Dad to me.

      As a rule they are also very strong dogs so that is something to be aware of when you are walking them. Cindy used to always walk quite nicely but if she saw something she would pull. I remember going to the field with my Dad and Cindy spotting some birds and trying to set off running. I was there in my school uniform being dragged across the field but I was too scared to give loose of her in case she did a runner!

      **Temperament**

      I think greyhounds are one of the most gentle and even tempered dogs I have ever come across and I have come across quite a few. My sister was very little when we had Duchess and Cindy in the house and they were great with her-Duchess would sneak up and lick yoghurt from her fingers and things!

      Occasionally the dogs (usually the males) would have a bit of a go at each other which wasn't nice but it was always quickly over. I am not sure how they would behave living with other breeds of dogs to be honest but I do know that having them near cats is a BIG no no! It is their natural instinct to chase and so unfortunately we had a few chasing cats' incidents in our times with greyhounds.

      **My opinion**

      I think greyhounds really are lovely dogs to own and it gets me very angry that they are often exploited to race and then treated badly, and dumped if they are no good or if they get too old. I think if you take on a dog then you need to be responsible and take the good with the bad.

      As I have hopefully put across in other parts of my review I really think greyhounds can be such a brilliant dog to own. They have an easy going nature, are affectionate and loyal. Our dogs used to climb up on the sofa when my Dad was having a bit of a rest on there after work and just snuggle up to him.

      There are so many ex racing greyhounds out there that need homes and when my Dad mentions wanting a new dog I always tell him to get one of those as I really do think it is disgusting that they get dumped if they show no promise as a racer or if they are too old to race. We had Cindy who was certainly no racer and she lived until she was around fifteen years old and she was part of the family. In my opinion that is the way it should be when you own a dog.

      Of course greyhounds are a big responsibility to take on. They are a large dog and so will take up plenty of space, they need lots of exercise and food but I think they are worth it for what they give you back in nature and loyalty.

      I would recommend greyhounds as a pet for sure but as for racing them-that's not for me: Too much can go wrong.

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        03.02.2010 23:16
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        Greyhounds make brilliant pets for anybody.

        Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds of dog known, they are also one of the healthiest as only the soundest dogs were bred due to them being used for racing rather than pets. However, retired Greyhounds make fantastic pets. Many have never raced and have been retired at a very young age, the majority are less than three years. Occasionally you will find older dogs (mainly ex-breeding females) or dogs that have been retired due to an injury. (usually a broken leg) also coursing greyhounds will be retired if they don't show enough interest in chasing hares etc.

        They have very calm, quiet, gentle temperaments and are very easy to look after. Even though they are capable of running fast, they aren't hyper dogs and don't need hours of exersize, usually an hour a day is perfect for them although they do love to run if you have a secure area to let them off-lead.

        They generally get on extremely well with other dogs and many can also live with cats. They are also easy to walk on the lead as most of them don't pull, which makes them a great pet for anybody, such as the elderly or children, as they are easy to handle.

        They need a secure garden as they can jump quite high and should always live indoors with the family, as not only do they obviously love the company of people, they also feel the cold due to their very thin coat, which sheds very little.

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          03.09.2009 21:45
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          Simply the most loyal dog there is

          I first found a love for greyhounds when I visited my partner's cousin for the weekend and she had a 7 year old greyhound called Harry. I had never really thought of greyhounds as a pet at this point and I had thought of them as a ugly dog due to the teeth baring muzzled dogs you see in the racing pages of the paper. How wrong was I.... after meeting Harry my love affair with the greyhound began!

          A year after meeting Harry the greyhound I moved in with my partner, before this I lived in rented accommodation and was therefore unable to keep any animals, it didn't take long till my quest to convince my partner that a greyhound was what we need to complete the family home.

          Around a month later we were on a day out when we saw a stand for greyhounds, much to my surprise my partner pointed it out to me. The stand was organised by one of our local retired greyhound trust centres, Monmore Green, and the man gave me some leaflets and answered some questions that I had about greyhounds and their needs. Well this convinced me that I didn't just want but needed a greyhound! My partner however was still not 100% sure due to the responsibility, but agreed that maybe we could go to the Monmore Green just to have a look at some point.

          I wasn't going to give up that easily, therefore I was the perfect girlfriend for the next few days and on our next day off together I managed to convince my partner that we should go and visit the greyhounds, my work had paid off and my partner readily agreed and his mum came along with us. Before we left my partner stressed that we were just going to have a look, not to get one! (damn!)

          We arrived at the centre, which was surrounded by farmland and asked one of the volunteers if we could look around, they readily agreed and arranged a member of staff to come and answer any questions we had. I knew what type of greyhound I was looking for! I wanted a female greyhound as they are usually quite a bit smaller than the males, I also knew I wanted a 'black beauty' as the trust finds black greyhounds are the most difficult to re-home as people favour the brindle and other greyhound colours.

          We wandered through the building and a few kennels in I fell in love, I didn't need to see any of the others, a little lady walked to the edge of her kennel and wagged her tail at us as we walked past, her name was Flo-Jo, her racing name was Fabulous Hostess, she was indeed a black beauty with a pretty face, white socks and a white chest. They say that you don't choose the dog, they choose you and I believe Flo-Jo chose us as she took a instant like to us, where we have later discovered Flo-Jo can be quite nervous of strangers. We asked some questions about her and found out she was only a young greyhound at 20months old.

          My partner made me look at the other dogs, however I knew Flo-Jo was the one for me! We did take some interest in another dog called Delta, but after taking each dog out for a walk we all agreed that Flo-Jo seemed much more comfortable and interested in us. My partner caved in!!

          Flo-Jo was so friendly and loving that my partner couldn't help it, he didn't want to lose out on having her and decided that yes we did indeed need a Greyhound!

          We organised for a home check and a week later Flo-Jo was ours! We did have some initial teething problems with separations anxiety for around 2 weeks but since that our life has improved from having Flo-Jo in it. Greyhounds are the most amazing and loyal dogs, they are fantastic with children, patient and well behaved. I would never go back to having any ordinary dog again!

          I'll tell you the information that I have learnt about greyhounds requirements since we have had Flo and please feel free to add comments or ask for any information I have missed out.



          Where to get a greyhound

          We got Flo-Jo from Monmore Green which is one of 70 branches of the Retired Greyhound Trust (http://rgtwolverhampton.co.uk) The trust was very helpful in assisting us with our choice and answering any questions that we had. Upon re-homing a Greyhound you are required to have a home check, but the Greyhound Trust are flexible with your circumstances and you don't even need to have a garden, the check is more to see that you are who you say you are. The Greyhounds are neutered and vaccinated as well as micro chipped and you also receive a coat, outdoor collar and lead and a weeks worth of food for your Greyhound. The trust request that you make a donation, I have noticed that many trusts request a minimum of £100 donation, however Monmore request a donation of whatever you can afford and when asked what was the usual amount they told us that most people donate between £50-£100. You also get sent home with a money box for your loose change, which you then return when its full to help keep the trust running.

          Feeding

          We struggled to get this right at first as there are lots of misleading information on different websites and at the end of the day only you know what's best for your own dog as all the dogs are different. The most important thing to remember is never give your retired greyhound feed that is above 20% protein or they will be bouncing off the wall! We started Flo-Jo on Weetabix for breakfast with dry complete resting greyhound food for tea, bought through the trust as this is what she had when she was there. Flo was starving all the time and stealing any food left in sight! So back to the website's and we were informed on a forum to forget the cereal as its not got anything in that your dog needs. So just to the dry feed.... Flo's coat was very flaky and she was going to the toilet a lot! Visit to the local pet shop was in order, The owner seemed horrified that we used to give her cereal and explained that the food she was on was too high in residue hence the large bowel movements, she also told me that skin problems can be a sign that the dog is either unsettled or that the dog could have some intolerance to the food. The pet shop owner advised 2 brands of food, we had been in touch with Harry's owner and one of the brands that the pet shop recommended was the same as what Harry's owner suggested. So Burns it was. 2 weeks later, Flo's coat is shiny and bright and she is having less bowel movements, she also seems much happier and more playful. Success!!

          Toileting

          Greyhounds are almost house trained from the moment you get them! Yay! As Greyhounds live in Kennels they don't like to toilet near their bed, hence they become used to waiting for someone to come and let them out. As long as you don't leave the greyhound for a long time they are unlikely to have a accident. If you are leaving them for a while I would suggest leaving paper in a designated area and we have found that Flo-Jo will aim for that. Remember they will have occasional accidents as Greyhounds have never been allowed to be a puppy and will have to learn from scratch from everything from toileting to learning how to play, so never shout at your greyhound, firmly say no and put them outside for a short time.

          Exercise

          40mph couch potato. Greyhounds do NOT need lots of exercise! Yay! Greyhounds are used to short bursts of exercise not long walks, the do need a walk everyday, preferably 2 walks but not long walks as they initially struggle to walk far. Flo-Jo gets shattered on the 40minute roundtrip on the school run and plods for the last 10 minutes. However you can train your Greyhound to walk long distances and I know someone who walks their Greyhound for 5 miles, however they don't usually favour so much exercise. If you are walking your greyhound far remember to up their feed accordingly, also never allow your greyhound to run after a meal as this is fatal. Greyhounds do not have much fat on them and do struggle in extremes of temperature, the guide is if you need a coat your greyhound needs a coat. Also never leave them out for long periods in the sun as they may get heat stoke or sunburn.

          I hope this information is helpful to all greyhound or potential greyhound owners. Once you meet a greyhound you can't help but fall in love with these gentle creatures, you will also find that people will ask you about your greyhound when you are out with her its surprising the amount of people that are fond of them. Most greyhound owners are happy to talk about their dogs and happy to promote Greyhounds as pets so always feel free to talk to a greyhound owner when they are out with their dog.

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            04.03.2009 14:01
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            Perfect for any lifestyle, lazy on request, energetic on request

            The greyhound is a historical breed dating back many centuries; it was primarily developed as a coursing dog, helping to hunt wild game. As a result of this the greyhound has a high chase instinct, a trait that has been utilised on the racing track; the most common modern purpose for the breed.
            The dog itself is slightly built, 'stringy' with muscle, but surprisingly needs only a minimal amount of walking, 20-30 minutes a day usually suffices. Although, for the very active owner, like myself, they can indeed surpass this level, my own in her youth coming out with the horses for three 4 mile rides a day. They usually weigh between 30-40kg and stand at 65 to 80cm at the shoulder.
            Temperament wise, they are ideal family pets, enjoying playing with toys, other dogs and people and are very tolerant of young children. However, quite commonly they can suffer from anxiety whilst on their own; their bonds with their owners are very strong. Usually they are compatible with other animals, although rabbits and guinea pigs are still very exciting for my greyhound despite ignoring chickens and cats. Many enjoy the company of other dogs, though equally many are quite happy as an only dog, easily getting jealous over their owners diverted attention. A greyhound is never satisfied with a normal dog bed and the majority will adopt their own sofa, spreading along it upside down and reclining in luxury.
            It is usually advised with the breed to keep them on a lead in case of sighting a small furry animal as when on a chase they do have a tendency to ignore their owner no matter how hard they shout. However in large enclosed areas and open countryside where there are no roads there really is no reason to follow this, generally they are perfectly satisfied with walking behind their owners. In fact this is a demonstration of how they tend to adopt a single person as their alpha, and this will be the family member who is most missed and followed most closely. They are also incredibly intelligent, easily recognising words in sentences.
            Overall the breed is an absolute couch potato, but they do have 'mad half hours' where nothing will stop them. They are ideal family pets for a suburban or countryside home, and moreover there are so many in need of re-homing. Do not be put off by the label 'ex-racer', they will definitely provide no end of joy to a household.

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              18.11.2008 18:34
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              The best dogs around.

              It was a Sunday yesterday and i found myself travelling for the 2nd time this month to my local retired Greyhound re-homing centre. I have always been a fan of dogs; however because of many things it has been very difficult to get a dog. My cat hasn't been too co-operative either! So, when I found that I had signed the papers and would soon be expecting a Greyhound to live at my house. As soon as the house checks were cleared. I was astounded - had I really talked myself into this??? Here is why ...

              THE SITUATION

              Full time worker, a cat who is very territorial, don't want chewed furniture, have a Gran who inspects every inch of the carpet to make sure its clean, have little holiday am busy. It doesn't sound very promising does it? However when I decided once and for all that I was going to get a dog. I found myself going, ummm, what dog would be suitable. Well, it was by chance that I stumbled across 'The world's fastest Coach Potato' also known as the Greyhound and having a retired one meant no puppy stages!!! Yes!

              THE GREYHOUND

              Greyhounds are notorious for their lack of energy. They are happy to have a 15 minute walk in the morning and a 15 minute walk in the evening and then they will sleep all day. If you want to give them more exercise you can they are very adaptable! They are Sprinters - not long distance runners. They will get all their energy out of them and then sleep. They are very quite dogs who are sociable with cats but, some of them chase anything that moves e.g. a rabbit/ hare! So they test them to see if they are sociable with dogs and cats. I was lucky as ours had never been tested and there were a couple of Jack Russell Terriers running around and a very helpful assistant tested the dog with them to test his reaction. The result: A racing dog didn't blink an eye lid. So you can see how the dogs' temperaments are very different.
              Greyhounds tend to be very sociable dogs that are very strong. Some males are very dominant so watch out for that. The dogs are very good at listening and seem to understand every word you say. They are very calming and very gentle.
              Greyhounds can be trained to do a number of tricks. However, they cannot be taught to sit as their back legs are too long and they will not bend underneath them. They will however lie down and shake and occasionally come to you. It just depends on how intelligent and patient your dog is and how well you train it.

              PHSYICALL TRAITS OF A GREYHOUND

              Greyhounds have long spindly legs and long spindly bodies. They are thin and you can often see their muscles and bones without them being painfully thin. They have long faces with large eyes in varying colours mainly brown though. They stand at about 58cm high for a small one. Their muscles are huge on their back legs and they can run up to 40 mph in 7 seconds - so do not buy one of those stretch/ adjustable leads a standard fish tail collar will do as their heads are the same size as their necks.
              Greyhounds have rather long necks. They also have very long thin tails which do not wag as much as other dogs. They are quite still.

              A GREYHOUND'S PERSONALITY

              The personality of a greyhound is very much dependant on the particular greyhound however they have a reputation for being kind, considerate, thoughtful dogs and are great thinkers. A greyhound will not immediately adopt a position in your family household but will wait and adapt to suit your needs.

              SOME EXAMPLE PERSONALITIES

              The first dog we considered taking home was a dog called Sybil. She was incredibly strong and quite wilful and playful. She was quite young and liked to chase things. It was when she started to drag me across the grass that I decided that she was not the dog for me and she has no since been adopted. She was very active and kept trying to trip me up!
              The second dog we tried was a dog called Milo. He was a male and was very big. He stood at about 65 cm high and when stood up on his hind legs looked me in the eye. I am 5' 4" ¾! He was quite vicious and although said he was suitable for cat jumped around and growled at the small dogs. He was very bossy and would fight me at which direction we would walk. I must admit I was rather scared of him. So I explained my problems to a very helpful assistant who then recommended me a dog named Jack.
              So, we took Jack out for a walk. He was gentle listened to me and didn't turn a blind eye to the small dogs. He was calm, listened to my commands and did not run too much. He was very gentle with me and was very happy with other dogs. We are now adopting Jack and collecting him in 10 days time!!!

              TO LOOK AFTER YOUR GREYHOUND

              Looking after a Greyhound is easy. They require:
              * 30 minutes of gentle exercise, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening and depending on the dog sometimes more.
              * They require a large bowl of food in the morning and a smaller one in the evening and sometimes snacks in-between.
              * They require a bowl of water at all times that is easy to access.
              * A single duvet folded in half for their bedding.
              * A warm coat for their walks in the cold.
              * A bath once a year.
              * Regular injections and boosters - see your vet for these it will be about once every six months.
              When you take the Greyhound out for a walk you have to put a lead on it. To make sure the lead is the correct place. Put it just under the chin. Put two fingers underneath and pull so that it is firm. Then fix the collar in place. Do NOT be tempted to give the Greyhound more room. As their necks are the same size as their heads, if you give them any more room they will slip out of their collars and slip away.
              For the first week, it is advisable that they wear a muzzle for adjusting to their new home. The muzzle is placed over the dog with the thick plastic bit at the bottom. The strap goes over the ears and the ears are pulled out so that it sits just below the ears.
              Obviously this is not a complete care guide it is just some simple tips I have picked up.
              THE RETIRED GREYHOUND SCHEME

              This bit is about the retired Greyhound scheme. Their website, how they present themselves and how helpful they are.
              The website is very clear. It has a simple layout of Green and white and a logo at the top. It is easy to read, simple and states its point very clearly. Their main focus is to find the right person to re-home the dogs too. They do not want them coming back. They have many branch centres around the country and most of them are very helpful. They have around 70 re-homing centres each with around 5-20 dogs.
              Most of the dogs are ex-racers; however some have never been raced due to many different reasons. They websites have plenty of dogs for you to adopt in many different colours, sizes, abilities and sexes. Although, they often ask that you adopt one of their "black beauties" as they are the kind that no one wants. As they are not as pretty.
              The staff are very helpful and very kind. They try their best to let you get the feel of the dog and give you all the information they can on that dog. So that you feel you know their personality. It is advised that you go on a busy day. As most of them hold sessions where people can come and specifically walk the dogs and bring their own. This is the best time to come as you can walk as many dogs as you like with out much pressure as it can become quite one on one taking different dogs out time after time. This also allows you to see how they react with other dogs and you get a feel of their personality.

              THE TYPES OF COAT

              Before I mentioned about the centres asking if you would take a black dog instead of another coloured one so here is the different types of colours:
              Black: These are very black and the dogs can occasionally carry the odd stray grey/white hair.
              Brindle: These are the dogs that are most wanted. They are lovely golden colour with brown and red flecks.
              Dark Brindle: The same as a brindle only instead of a sandy base coat they have a chocolate brown one.
              Sandy: These dogs are a gorgeous sandy-gold colour. They are very rare.
              Grey: The namesake. It is quite rare to find a grey greyhound but they are around but most have been raced.
              White: You will occasionally come across a white greyhound but most however, will have black or sandy patches on them. They are quite pretty.
              Most of the coats are fine hairs although the further down the list you go the finer the hairs will get however all Greyhounds are usually good for people with allergies.
              When I first went to get a Greyhound I went with the purpose of adopting a black one. However, I could not find a black greyhound that was suitable for my needs. So I adopted a brindle one. He was most suitable for me and I loved him. I would say, if you have no problems with adopting any kind of Greyhound go for a Black. However, if you have needs that the dog will have to fit around get the one that's personality suits you most. Do not get the dog just on the coat colour.

              DONATION

              When adopting a Greyhound from an adoption centre they ask you to give a donation. They provide six weeks pet insurance free, a greyhound coat and a week's free food! They ask you to give what you can afford; however, please give generously for with out your donation you would not have been able to adopt the dog!

              THE GOOD
              * Is not very loud and does not bark a lot.
              * Is not a puppy so does not chew up the furniture.
              * Only needs 30 minutes exercise a day at the least.
              * Will happily sleep all day.
              * Are quite.
              * Do not require you to spend £400 on a pedigree dog, as they are pedigree racers.
              * Are pleasant and mostly get along with cats, small dogs and other animals.
              * Half descent guard dogs - if you want a dog who is an amazing guard dog this is not your dog; but if you want a bit of extra security and protection they Greyhound will do all this with out being savage to strangers.

              THE BAD
              * Are quite large.
              * Can chase other animals.
              * Can run at 40 mph!

              The Greyhound is a lovely and gentle beast. They are great for any home
              situation. They are friendly to most people and are not expensive. If you adopt a retired Greyhound you are helping a Greyhound in need and not fuelling Puppy farming. Yet, Greyhounds do not come with the usual problems that other rescue dogs do as they have not been mistreated. They are really good family pet and an excellent addition to a family. Will update about how the dog gets on when he arrives and how well the training goes!!!
              If you would like to adopt a Greyhound please look at the website here to see where your nearest centre is:
              http://www.retiredgreyhounds.co.uk/index.asp

              Thanks for reading
              Ratty x

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                13.09.2008 21:46
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                A most magestic breed of dogs, loyal and extremely loving

                When I was a little girl I had a terrifying encounter with a neighbours dog, (a black labrador) at the age of three I was bitten on the face without provication and this resulted in the animal having to be destroyed. Inevitably, my mother took to avoiding all dogs and would often cross the road to avoid us having to have any close contact what so ever. I grew up curious about dogs, but, always insecure about what to expect, this changed when my mother in law suggested a day trip to an animal shelter.

                It was 1996 and the month was december, the venue was Woodgreen animal shelters in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. I had been to animal shelters before as a child with my parents but we would focus mainly on the lovely cats and other small animals. This time however, we were going with another purpose. The dogs.

                There was a big metal fenced area which contained some 50 or so dogs all which were quite vocal and some did actually come up to the fence to greet you. It was out of the corner of my eye that I saw this beautiful majestic looking greyhound, blue grey in colour with four white feet and a white stripe on his nose, he appeared at the fence and seem keen to get my attention. I was so taken with him I enquired straight away with the kennel hands how to go about taking him for a walk. After filling out a form at reception, name and address and of course handing over your car keys (so you cannot do a runner with the dog!) we were given a small disc to give to the kennel hands.

                On finding one of the kennel hands I handed over the disc which she placed on the dogs collar. This disc was a coloured disc and allowed other members of staff to identify the dog as one of theirs and also to note he was being walked by prospective owners.

                Information wise, all they could tell me was that he was found outside the police station in Cambridge and thought he was probably used for hare coursing. They had named him two socks due to the fact out of the four white feet he had two of them were higher than the other two and looked like he was wearing socks. Our walk went extremely well and I was very keen to adopt him. In order to do this you had to tell them at reception and they would place another disc on his collar so no other people would be able to take him for a walk and pursue him for adoption. Following this the receptionist has to organise a visit to your home to check it is suitable, this includes having a fenced garden and a big enough property for the dog to have his own space.

                Following your inspection (which took about a week for them to organise!) you receive a phone call to say whether you have been successful or not, thankfully we were! We went down to pick him up about 5 days after the phone call mainly because he had to be castrated before he was allowed to come home with us and start his new life.

                When we arrived we had to go and collect him from the kennels and take him to the centre's vet. He looked rather sore in his "area" and we were advised not to let him fuss with himself or he could upset his stitches. The vet looked at his teeth and guessed he was about three years of age and advised us they live in general to about 10 - 14 years, but of course all dogs are different. He also told us that in general they are very quiet and placid dogs that are usually very healthy and with that apart from telling us to feed him three meals a day to start with to help increase his weight he wished us well and said goodbye. We went through to reception and made our donation, something they ask for and then we went out to the car park and put Socks in the car and went home.

                Within days of having him at home with us he felt like a big part of our family. After a couple of weeks of decent meals he started to resemble a healthy looking greyhound with meat covering his rib cage and spine. Greyhounds in general are pretty trim but when we first viewed him at the animal shelter he looked totally emaciated and very ill but still with a twinkle in his dark brown eyes. Christmas came and went and with time I learned that the rule they imply at the shelter of "no cats" is a crock of ***t. We had a cat called Snowy (white and longhaired) who had gone missing about three months before that eventful day when we went to the animal shelter, who reappeared as by magic and settled back in at home, fine, and it caused no problems with Socks whatsoever. Maybe they impose this rule as a precaution??

                Socks likes his walks almost as much as he likes his food, following his spell on the streets of Cambridge he picked up some bad habits of stealing food from peoples hands as we walked by!!! this did get better over a period of time and he turned into a lovable rogue. He is very quiet and only barks on command, he is not a guard dog by any means but he keeps you fit and is very loyal and attentative. He loves his treats but is not a dog that respects toys, if you threw Socks a frisby he would look at you then look at the frisby and walk off as if to say if you want it, you get it!

                We found out after about two years that he had definately been trained by someone to kill Hares. We were out walking on an area designated as greenbelt land when out of the corner of my eye I noticed something moving in the distance, running really fast, before I could react Socks had shot off like a bullet (he was super fast) and caught this Hare jumping over a ditch. He came running back to me with the Hare in his mouth and dropped it at my feet. He had broke the Hare's neck and there was no blood or anything. Mortfied, I tried to bury the Hare in the corner of the field. Socks appeared a little upset that he was not being praised for his good deed but as I had not expected it and did not approve I was dumbfounded as how to react. He never did it again I am pleased to report. I rewarded him instead each time he ran and came back on command, something he really enjoyed.

                One of the things that I find unbelievable is how many greyhounds are looking for a home at any one time. At about the age of three profesional greyhounds are retired from running (all professional greyhounds have a tatoo in their ear) and appear in the many animal shelters a round the country. There are now many greyhound rescue centres a round the country which look after these retired dogs and aim to rehome them. That in itself is an improvement as animal centres destroy dogs after a period of time and these greyhound rescue centre will not! People are mislead into thinking that greyhounds are difficult to look after and require a great deal of walking. This is not true and is just a myth, they require no more walking than any other dog. Also, they think they will not be able to house them with any other pets, again not true. I myself have two cats and another dog, Leon a dobermann. He is much more of a handful than Socks.

                Socks is now 14 and a half years old, he is unable to go for walks anymore as he has extremely bad arthritis in his back legs and loses his balance now and again. He still has an amazing zest for life and good appetite (with very bad gas!) but the worst thing of all is his inability to hold his stools anymore. We are aware that he is on his final countdown, but while he is still pleased to be here and not in apparent pain we will still continue to love him and care for him. We are not looking forward to the time when it comes for him to go, but, when it does we will be pleased he chose us as his family that eventful day back in december 1996.

                If you can offer a home to a greyhound then you will not be sorry. They will reward you with years of loyalty and affection. When our daughter April was a toddler she would often fall over straight on top of him, he did not flinch, growl or try to bite her. If our daughter was upset he would try and comfort her with a lick and the offer of his paw. How cute is that? All you need is a comfy dog blanket, a fire in the winter and some shoes for walking.

                Thanks for reading.

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                  07.02.2008 23:53
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                  Big dogs, with big hearts, looking for loving homes!

                  I want to share with you my addiction, yes, I am an addict, a greyhound addict :o)
                  This addiction started 5 years ago....
                  My mum and I have always been great dog lovers, having had many different breeds of dogs over the years, most of which have been rescues for one reason or another. We had only one dog for 2 years after a tragic and untimely loss of our other dog, it took us this long to come to terms with this loss before we were ready to move on and get another dog. It was at this time that we had seen several advertisements for the rehoming of ex-racing greyhounds, and we decided to fully research these dogs before taking the plunge. We did a couple of months research on various ex-racing websites, there are lots out there, just as there are lots of these dogs desperately seeking their own retirement homes.
                  Eventually we got in touch with one of the greyhound rehoming charities in Scotland and we started on our road to adopting our very own lazy hound! Firstly we had to complete a very in depth application form, to assess our potential, this was followed up with a visit from a rehoming expert who did further assessment on our arrangements, including our garden, other pets, children etc. From this they work out which dog would be most suited to your individual circumstances. During this visit they also brought along a greyhound to let us see how they can be to begin with in the home (this dog had never been inside a house before, having just been picked up from his kennels). This was the biggest dog I had ever seen, he wandered round, and could easily swipe anything off of our dining table!
                  Well after that first meeting we were completely smitten, we passed with flying colours, and the process was moved swiftly along. There were two dogs that were suggested to us, one male, one female they were with the same trainer and were local to us. We went for our visit, where we met Blue and Peggy, having to make a decision between the two was very difficult, they were the most lovable creatures! Blue was an ex-racer, aged around 10, and Peggy had never raced after being attacked by another dog at trials, she was around 6 years old. In the end we came home that night with Blue, he took to home life very quickly, had very few accidents in the house, and was happy to lie and sleep, but he also made it very clear to everyone when he wanted fed, or walked. Everyone took to Blue very quickly, but we felt something was still missing in our home, we had kept in touch with Lex the trainer, so before long we were back at the kennels picking up Peggy!!
                  So there we were very happy, Pepper our collie, and our greyhounds Blue and Peggy. We visited Lex at the kennels regularly, where I began my love affair with these stunning dogs!! Bob, a large black boy was my sweetheart, and once he reached the end of his racing days, aged 6 he just had to come home with me too. So there we were, one collie and three greyhounds!! I'd like to point out at this point that we also had 3 cats :o)
                  As you can see these dogs are extremely addictive, I don't know many people who can have just one. Sadly 2 years ago our darling Peggy died tragically while out on a walk, she spotted a deer in the distance and gave chase, she never returned, dying of a heart attack, it was a very sad time, although she died doing what she loved, she was around 9 or 10 years old. Last autumn, the time came for Blue to be humanely put to sleep, he lived to the grand old age of 15! And he had a great life. Since we got our first greyhound we got involved with the rehoming of them, and now do the home checks in our area, it's something I love to do, seeing so many families happy, their lives enriched by these magnificent creatures. My mum now has another 2 greyhounds alongside Bob, and I have my own house now with 2 lurchers (who were also rehomed through the greyhound charity).
                  So what is so special about them??
                  Greyhounds are graceful, gentle, loving, lazy and patient creatures who crave human affection, probably due to their isolated upbringing.
                  Lurchers are greyhound crosses with many of the greyhound characteristics, but often with more stamina. They are often bred for their speed as hunting dogs (rabbits and hares).
                  Once you have owned or even met a greyhound/ lurcher you will be hooked.
                  Thousands of greyhounds each year are abandoned or disposed of because they are no longer winning races or have proved not to be of a racing standard. The ways in which some of these poor dogs are treated are jus disgusting - I have read books and websites about this and am always shocked to tears. They are the most amazing dogs, and how anyone could treat an animal like this is unbelievable.
                  Greyhounds and lurchers are frequently found in dog pounds/ homes where they can be hard to rehome as they are mistakenly thought of as difficult pets.
                  They are definitely not difficult - they are brilliant and rewarding. Greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise - two 20 minute walks is often enough. They are often quite lazy dogs, famous for their ability to sleep for most of the day.
                  Some owners with allergies to other dogs have found that they do not react badly to greyhounds.
                  My love affair with these dogs will only get stronger, and I keep in touch with many other owners who are completely hooked.
                  Many dogs have a high prey drive and can't live alongside small furries - whether they are cats, small dogs, rabbit (in particular) however, our dogs all live quite happily alongside (sharing the same bed) with the cats! But outside the house this can be a different story, and as they are sighthounds once they lock onto something they become distinctly deaf! And will not return to a recall. This means that they really can only be let free to run in 'safe' enclosed areas. Watching them run free is the most amazing sight - they are so happy, and after about 10 minutes of running (for most greyhounds) they are exhausted!!
                  One thing that crops up in many conversations is the fact that greyhounds are notorious for stealing food - I know of owners who have to lock their fridges and cupboards because the dogs are experts at opening them! but other than this these dogs are great - every home should have one :o)

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                    29.10.2007 14:56

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                    How great it is to have a greyhound

                    greyhounds are lovely pets to own, they are placid, loving and have good temperaments. Some people think that greyhounds are argressive but they are far from that. They are the best dogs, they like their walks, and are very playful. Greyhounds are good with children and other pet dogs.

                    I am glad i have a greyhound as she is loving and loves laying on my bed and cuddles up to me.

                    They are very sweet dogs, One thing most greyhounds don't like is cats but some greyhounds do like cats.

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                    26.10.2001 23:13
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                    I have a greyhound called Clover. Although Clover sounds like a female name it is actually a Male dog!! Greyhounds are the dog used to race in Greyhound races and there very fast runners when they getting going. We adopted our Greyhound only minutes before it was to be put down! My Sister phoned me up in a right state and told me of a dog, which was to be put down at the place she works. We said we were going to adopt it as I don’t believe in killing a dog if its fit enough to live. When we got there we found out that it was going to be killed because the owner could not be bothered to look after it. We decided then and there to adopt the dog!! When we got our dog home it we had to make some changes. We had already got a Bowl and all the things a dog needs to be happy. My mum came round and decided to help me make it a beanbag for a bed. After about 2 hours of sewing we decided that it was complete but to our dismay the dog did not like. Greyhounds are very lazy dogs even when they are known for being fast runners. Clover can bearly be bothered to get up if the door bell goes. This is not just a problem with Clover but with all greyhounds. The only reason they normal get up is when visitors come or it is diner time!! All I can say is that I love Clover very much simply because he is such a mellow dog. We have only had him a few days and we can already take him off the lead for walks. I would definitely recommend Greyhounds as once they have gone past the age of racing the normally don’t get cared after and normally get put down. WE WILL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER!!

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                      10.07.2001 18:00
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                      • "have to watch for cats "

                      millions of greyhounds every year end there life in a lot of horrific way being shot, toss out of moving cars put into the lab trade for experimental use or just put out to fend for themselves. Some dont even reach it to adulthood and the ones that do have a hard time, then off to the race track. If they dont make the grade it is one of the above for a lot of them. Like Ax on Target, a 2 year old greyhound bitch who did not make the grade, put out on the street but she was one of the lucky ones found and taking to a rescue sanctuary emaciated and covered in mange it took a year to get her back to full health and when we went to see her she was a but fat and i thought that is never a greyhound,but we feel in love at first sight and that was it she became a part of the family.Settling in with out then 14 year old cross spaniel Seb and having a name change to Celt 4 year on she is doing fine and saddy seb died aged 16 but we have a rescue lurcher from the same sanctuary a sweety called red and they get one great together. yes a grey is for life not just for racing they are not called couch potatoes for nothing they do sleep a lot and love the new life they have with a family

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                        12.10.2000 04:59

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                        And what marvellous dogs, as you will well know if you have ever met one. They are commonly mistaken for "baby greyhounds", although the breed is closer to the whippet, and has been well-established in this country since at least Renaissance times. A classic toy and lap dog, the IG has a wonderful nature: lively, comical and full of fun. They require a great deal of attention, in fact more attention than you could ever imagine giving. It is not a good idea to leave one of these animals on its own for long periods, as they have been bred for companionship, and this is exactly what they expect. They don't require heaps of exercise, although just watch them go if you take them out for a run. Brilliant with children, and an instant focus of public interest. Don't take one for a walk and expect anonymity - expect to be asked, "is that a baby greyhound?"

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                        28.08.2000 22:15
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                        Many people into animal racing sports find themselves owning a Greyhound as they are much cheaper to purchase and keep than a Horse. My sister has owned quite a few greyhounds and after they had retired from racing she would keep them at home, always saying that owners should take responsibility as they know what they are letting themselves in for before they buy. Many owners, if they cannot home the hounds themselves will find good homes for them but some will rely on Greyhound charities for re-homing. My sister and I, a few years ago, decided to buy a Greyhound together. It was fun watching him race especially when he won. We would visit him after racing and give him tit bits to eat and walk him to his transport. He was kenneled with the trainer and at that time it was a cost of £3 per day, which he recovered from his wins. We would also visit the kennels and take him for walks along with any others that needed some excercise. Sadly, the day came where he pulled a muscle and had to retire. He now lives at my sister's house with his sister and 2 half brothers (all retired). They are gentle animals, do not need as much excercise as people think and do not eat you out of house and home. My sister buys frozen mince, cabbage and brown bread for their dinner. This works out alot cheaper for the 4 rather than buy watery dog food. When one barks, they all bark so an excellent deterent for would be burglers. Because of their instinct to chase the hare it is not advisable to take them out without a lead. They have no road sense and to spot a smaller animal or cat could be fatal! Saying this though, my sister also had a yorkshire terrier in the house and they all got on fine! They make ideal pets, with their own special characters and are just happy to be loved. If thinking of owning a dog, check out the British Racing Board website and look at the dogs they have to offer there
                        . http://www.thedogs.co.uk You can always find out the roots of the dog and what it's racing name was by checking the ear markings and contacting either the British Stud Book or the Irish Coursing Club. A magnificent animal with lots of love to offer.

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                          20.07.2000 04:17
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                          I first got interested in greyhounds when my husband bought a racing one. It was such fun watching the dog race and even better when he won. When we decided that it was time for him to retire we bought him home to live with us. Many people are put of having a greyhound as a pet because they have many false impressions of them. The main one is that they need alot of exercise. This is totally untrue. Greyhounds have a surge of energy but it really doesn't last long. The average greyhound race lasts 30 seconds and that is the dogs work done for a week!! If my dog goes out for an hours walk, then he spends the rest of the day fast asleep because it has totally worn him out!! Another impression people have about greyhounds is that they a vicious. This couldn't be further from the truth. They are one of the most docile breed of dogs around. I have two children, the eldest being three, and she bosses the poor dog around and he just sits there and ignores her! The youngest is nine months and her favourite game at the moment is trying to pulls the dog eyeball out of its socket. Once again he doesnt take any notice and doesnt even bother to move away from her. It has been said that greyhounds are one of the best dogs to have when you have small children as they are so placid. The one thing that you do have to be careful with is food. Greyhounds love it!! Some people think that because they are such skinny dogs they dont really eat much.....WRONG!! My dog will eat and eat and then he will stil scrounge for more! The problem comes when they gradually change shape and you look at them one day and instead of being the lean racing machine that they once were, they have turned into a barrell. Being this overweight isn't good for any animal it puts such a strain on their little hearts so please be careful. So what will a greyhound expect from you. Will they will want food, alot of love and a nice comfy sofa to lay on......so go on....
                          ..rehome one and you too will enjoy the love and loyalty of a good dog.

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