What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Greyhound Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013
With his quiet dignity and independence, the Greyhound is often likened to a cat.
Once past the puppy stage, he is calm and quiet indoors, moving lightly and gracefully, not toppling your lamps and fulfilling his role as couch potato quite admirably.
Though he needs a safe, enclosed area in which to sprint all-out a couple of times a week, he is built for sheer speed rather than endurance and doesn't require hours of exercise.
The fastest of all breeds (he can outrun a horse in a sprint), once he has exploded into his powerful driving gallop for a short time, he is content to sleep for the rest of the day.
This sensitive breed prefers peace and quiet and soft-spoken people. He does not do well in an environment with frequent tension or loud voices.
Most Greyhounds are politely reserved with strangers, and prefer to lean against their owner's leg rather than approaching people they don't know.
Greyhounds are peaceful with other dogs who are medium to large in size, but because of their heritage, they can be a serious chaser of cats and tiny dogs. However, many individuals can learn to coexist with these smaller pets. If you acquire your Greyhound from a Rescue League (who specialize in adoptions of ex-racing dogs), your dog will have been carefully screened for "cat compatibility."
Greyhounds are nonaggressive (they tend to freeze when challenged or attacked) and they can be touch-sensitive (startling when touched unexpectedly). Because they are so docile, they must be trained with a very light hand and much more praise than correction.
This quiet dog seldom barks. Many individuals take great delight in stealing and hoarding food and toys.
If you want a dog who...
- Has a tall, slender, elegant build
- Has a sleek easy-care coat that comes in many colors
- Is extremely athletic and graceful -- can run swiftly and jump great heights
- Has a calmness and quiet dignity that is often likened to a cat
- Is polite with people and other dogs
- Is readily available through the many Greyhound rescue organizations for ex-racing dogs
A Greyhound may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Providing a safe enclosed area where he can occasionally gallop
- Strong instincts to chase other living creatures that run
- Fearfulness and timidity when not socialized enough
- An independent "what's in it for me?" attitude toward training
- Emotional sensitivity to stress and abrupt changes in schedule
- Slowness to housebreak
A Greyhound may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Greyhound
If I was considering a Greyhound, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough running exercise. Greyhounds don't need miles of running every day, but they MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy a few times a week. Otherwise they will become restless and bored -- which they usually express by destructive chewing.
Greyhounds need access to a large fenced area -- fenced because these independent dogs are likely to take off and not come back. If there is a dog club in your area, get your Greyhound involved in lure coursing (chasing a mechanized lure around a track or across an open field). This is an appropriate outlet for the full-speed galloping behaviors that are "hardwired" into his genes.
- Timidity. Standoffish by nature, Greyhounds need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or fearfulness.
- Chasing other animals. Most people do not realize just how fast and agile sighthounds are -- or how strong their instincts are to chase and seize fleeing creatures. They could seriously injure or kill your neighbor's cat or toy dog. In today's society, the legal liabilities should be considered.
Fortunately, most Greyhounds today are placed in their new homes by Greyhound rescue organizations who have already done rigorous screening to evaluate and determine each dog's behavioral tendencies. These groups are usually experienced at predicting whether a given Greyhound will be reliable around small pets.
- The independent temperament. Greyhounds are not Golden Retrievers. They are independent thinkers who don't particularly care about pleasing you. Many Greyhounds are stubborn. They can be manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
- Emotional sensitivity. Be honest...is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Are there arguments or fights? Greyhounds are extremely sensitive to stress and can end up literally sick to their stomachs, with severe digestive upsets and neurotic behaviors, if the people in their home are having family problems. Sighthounds are peaceful, sensitive dogs who need a peaceful, harmonious home.
- Housebreaking. Some ex-racing dogs are easily housebroken, while others learn much more slowly.
- Health problems. Greyhounds are extremely prone to a life-threatening digestive syndrome called bloat. In addition, an alarming number of Greyhounds die early of cancer.
To learn more about training Greyhounds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Greyhound the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Greyhound. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Greyhound might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Greyhound home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Greyhound...
When you're acquiring a Greyhound PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Greyhounds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2013 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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