Even at 12 years old, Gary still enjoys a brief run.
Here at My Zoo Animal Hospital, our team members own a variety of different breeds of dogs. We thought it would be fun to write a couple of blog posts about some of these breeds (and a few more). We’ll start with greyhounds.
Greyhounds are elegant, athletic dogs with a slim build. They range in weight from about 60 to 80 pounds. Ironically, they can come in any color not just grey! Greyhounds are considered sighthounds, hounds that hunt using their sense of sight. In the United States, Greyhounds are known for racing. They also make great family pets. They are sprinters. Greyhounds are NOT endurance runners.
Here are some cool facts about greyhounds:
- Greyhounds can reach their maximum speed in only 6 strides. Some of the fastest greyhounds ever recorded ran their races at about 38 miles per hour. The only animal that can accelerate faster than the greyhound is the cheetah.
- A typical greyhound race lasts about 30 seconds and covers about 550 yards.
- Most greyhounds have ear tattoos that can be used to look up their racing history.
- Greyhounds start race training at around 1 year of age. They usually retire from racing around 4 – 6 years. The best racers will often be kept as breeders. Dogs that do not race well or have health issues are not bred so their genes are not passed down.
- Greyhounds are usually born in a litter of around 8 puppies (but can be as many as 15). The puppies are handled regularly and allowed to go out in a fenced pen multiple times a day. By about 5 to 6 months of age, the greyhounds are introduced to leashes, walking, muzzles, and basic training. By 1 year of age, they are training for races. Most dogs run their first race at about 15 to 18 months of age. However, some greyhounds that don’t do well at the training are retired before ever running a race.
- Most racing greyhounds run 2 races a week, while the rest of their time is spent resting in kennels. They are actually not very energetic dogs (more on that later) and are lovingly called “the 40mph couch potato.”
Gary is Dr. Katie’s greyhound on the day she adopted him in 2008.
Gary the greyhound entered Dr. Katie’s life about 6 years ago. She had done quite a bit of research about what breed of dog she should adopt before she started veterinary school. After attending multiple “meet and greets” from a greyhound rescue based out of Missouri, she decided on an older greyhound. Around the time she turned in her adoption application, Gary just happened to turn up in the small Arkansas town she lived in. Coincidence? Or fate? No one knows. She and Gary have been a team ever since.
So what would Dr. Katie and Gary like you to know about life with a retired racer?
- Greyhounds are wonderful family pets. They are not highly energetic dogs; they are generally content to sleep on a fluffy bed (or couch) for 18 hours a day. Gary gets to go run around in our fenced back yard for as long as he wants 4 times a day. Since Gary is 12 now, he generally only wants to stay out around 5 minutes before he’s ready to resume his nap. When Dr. Katie lived in an apartment, she took Gary on ½ mile to 1 mile walk (if he wanted to go longer) twice daily and then a few more short potty breaks.
- Gary has a couple of health issues which are fairly typical of greyhounds. The biggest issue Gary has is his teeth. He has to have dental cleanings twice a year to keep his mouth healthy, and all of his teeth are permanently stained. Gary also requires premium dog food because of his sensitive stomach.
- Gary is greyt with small animals; he just ignores them. Not all greyhounds are good with small animals though.
- Gary doesn’t tend to enjoy the company of small children. When Dr. Katie has little visitors in her house, Gary usually goes to a bedroom and sleeps away from the children.
- You can look up a greyhound’s racing history by their name or ear tattoos. Gary ran 65 races, but only won 1st place in 6. He retired around the age of 4, spent some time with a greyhound rescue, and was adopted by Dr. Katie when he was 6 years old. He’s been a wonderful pet ever since!
Gary the greyhound enjoys taking long naps on the couch.
If you are interested in adopting a retired racer, there is a greyhound rescue here in Columbia called Rescued Racers (http://rescuedracers.com/). If you would like to ask Dr. Katie about greyhounds as a pet, feel free to call us at 573-875-3647.
HAVE A GREYT DAY!