How do I answer that?
The following questions are just some of those greyhound owners are asked at a typical Meet & Greet:
Are they a 'rescue?'
They are retired racing greyhounds who are now available for adoption. The greyhound farms AGA deals with have good reputations throughout the nation, and their greys don't need to be "rescued." They are well cared for even after their careers are over.
Have they been abused?
Greyhounds come with all kinds of personalities – outgoing, funny, laid back, shy, fearful, etc. If there is a shy hound at a M&G the question is bound to come up: "Has it been mistreated/abused?" The answer is "No." If a hound has not actually gone onto the racetrack circuit, it hasn't been exposed to the crowds, bright lights, loud noises, strange people, kids, small hairy dogs, slick floors & strange smells they will encounter on their first few M&Gs. Maybe they were born on a small farm which didn't offer a lot of contact with people or outside environments. Given a few weeks of exposure and TLC most hounds will come around nicely!
Can I get a puppy?
Greyhound puppies become available infrequently; however, sometime breeders/trainers will decide pups are too small to compete. These "puppies" are generally around the age of one (not newborn). Newborns and those under age 1 sometimes become available if they are injured during the birthing/weaning period and are unable physically to compete (perhaps a mom will step on a pup and break it's leg, or a puppy might be born deaf, etc.). PUPPIES ARE GENERALLY NOT OFFERED FOR ADOPTION BY AGA because with the hordes of greyhounds clamoring to be adopted, there is no justification in offering puppies to private citizens who intend to breed more. All the retirees AGA offers for adoption have been neutered or spayed.
Aren't these greyhound farms just 'puppy mills?'
No, folks who have chosen greyhound breeding, training and racing have taken on a 24/7 livelihood. Reputable farms are registered both statewide and nationally and must adhere to strict rules or face serious reprimands. These folks work hard to breed the "best of the best" to produce greys that have no genetic weaknesses and love to run.
Why are there tattoos in their ears?
Racing greyhounds born in the United States are registered with the National Greyhound Association (NGA) located in Abilene, Kansas. For positive identification, they are tattooed in both ears when they are about 2 months old. The left ear has the litter identification number assigned by NGA. All greyhounds in the same litter will have the same number. The tattoo in the right ear tells the greyhound's age.
Don't they need a lot of land to run on?
No. First of all, unless the land is fenced greyhounds SHOULD NOT be allowed to run free. Greys are sighthounds. That means that they hunt by sight, and once fixed on the prey pay little or no attention to cactus, barbed wire, gopher holes, etc. Many eyes have been blinded because of cactus thorns and barbed wire. In addition to that, greyhounds don't have the best "homing instinct". They are used to running around in a circle at the end of which they meet a trainer who takes them back to their crate. So be forewarned!
Why are they called 'GREYhounds' if they're not gray?
The origin of the name Greyhound is unknown, but the term could have been used to describe a dog who hunts by sight – the "gazehound". Actually, gray is NOT a common color. The dark gray color is somewhat rare and is called "blue". Go figure!
What are those funny-looking collars the dogs are wearing?
They're called Martingale collars. These collars won't allow the hound to back out of them if they are adjusted correctly. Greyhounds have an aerodynamic head with ears that fold flat and needle noses. You would be amazed at the ease with which a regular collar can slip right over a hound's ears after which they are off and running!
Do they make good guard dogs?
Heavens, no! In fact, most greys don't even make good watch dogs. Why? Because they're handled by strangers from the minute they're born until they go to live with their new families. Strangers are part of their lives. Greys are quiet and generally don't bark – unless a squirrel up in the tree gets their attention. The only way a greyhound will hurt a burglar is if the burglar trips over the dog in the dark!
I live upstairs. Can a greyhound climb stairs?
Stairs are never fun for retired racers - initially. They've never seen them before and their bodies just aren't built for doing stairs. Coming down the stairs is more difficult. See- through stairs are the most intimidating but can be overcome with little difficulty. Once familiar with them indoor carpeted stairs make for a great place to play. One of our AGA members will help you teach your new friend to climb stairs. It's not a big hurdle to cross.
What's his/her name?
The name he/she was given after it was born is considered its "track name" and the name that is registered with the National Greyhound Association. Most breeders name all the hounds in a single litter similar names; i.e. Atom Bomb, Atomic Mass, Atom Smasher, etc. During their training and racing careers they will be called that name for identification purposes. It's very unlikely that your potential new friend will have a clue what his/her "name" is; therefore, you can keep it if you like it or change it if you don't. He/she doesn't care.
Does Santa ever bring a greyhound?
Absolutely! AGA is always willing to place one of their precious greys in a wonderful new forever home. Greyhounds are a year around gift!
Why are some hounds so scarred up?
Greyhounds have thin skin that doesn't tolerate teeth. Even a minor skirmish among puppies can require stitches or worse. If you've ever been around a pen full of high-energy puppies you may remember how much they play, run and aggravate each other. If you're the runt of the litter, well….. Nips and run-ins with chain-linked fences often leave their marks, too. While racing a lot of bumping and jostling goes on for first place. Small injuries to their thin skins can occur here.
What is coursing?
Coursing, as practiced in ancient & medieval times, was a form of hunting as entertainment.
Why has that greyhound's tail been shortened?
Happy Tail. One of the admirable features of our Greyhounds is their long delicate tail. Another is their happy disposition and joyful wagging when they're happy. Unfortunately, when you put the two things together, you can have a minor disaster in just a few minutes. It's called "happy tail". The skin on greyhounds is thinner than other dog breeds and is more prone to tears and cuts. When they wag their tail very hard against something hard (a wall, door, cabinet), they can easily break the skin and begin to bleed. Even a small wound can bleed enough to make your home look like a crime scene! If that happens, you'll have two problems: treat the tail and clean up your house. Neither one is a small matter. One option is amputation of the tail's tip. Consult your veterinarian.
We have a pool. Can they swim?
Greyhounds need to learn IMMEDIATELY that swimming pools are NOT solid objects. During their first visit to a backyard with a pool they are more likely than not to go running full speed across that pretty blue surface and sink like a rock. Be ready to jump in after them! To avoid this lesson, show your grey that the surface is NOT solid by tapping on the water or let him touch it with his paw or nose. Folks with pools should forever be cautious because greys do not initially know how to swim. Teach him very quickly how to safely get out of the water at the shallow end or how to use the steps if the pool has them.
I'm a runner/jogger. Can a greyhound run with me?
An activity that is a natural for greyhounds is jogging. While they are basically sprinters, as opposed to long-distance runners, they can build up the necessary endurance if it is done gradually. It's a whole different thing for them to learn to lope along. Also, the pads on the dog's feet may be tender and should be protected against hot pavement during the hot Texas summer.