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Greyhounds, The Dogs Who Live To Run

Greyhounds, the dogs who live to run.

They are a hot topic in the state of Florida due to the passing of Amendment 13, leaving many to wonder what will become of the thousands of retired, current and upcoming racers still on the tracks.

Regardless of your political view, we wanted to spotlight this majestic breed to not only educate the public about a dog bred to run but, to encourage the public to consider adopting one.

Having worked with Greyhounds over the years, we agree that they are extraordinary athletes, but like all dogs, they want to do what they were born to do and be loved!

About Greyhounds

Greyhounds are sight hounds (a dog breed who primarily hunts by site and speed) who are bred and trained for hunting and coursing (the pursuit of other animals by dogs).  The first try at racing greyhounds on a track was in Hendon, England in 1876, but the experiment did not work.

The industry emerged in 1912 when Owen Patrick Smith invented the mechanical hare at the aims of stopping the killing of jackrabbits which were used as the original lure.

Smith opened his first professional dog-racing track in 1919 in California. This lead the way to gambling on Greyhound races in the United States in the mid1930s.

Greyhound Stats 

  • Personality: Independent, gentle, noble, and oh so sweet, but intense when on the run
  • Energy Level: Somewhat Active; Greyhounds need regular time to sprint, but otherwise, they’re mellow house dogs
  • Good with Children: Better with Supervision
  • Good with other Dogs: Yes
  • Shedding: Seasonal
  • Grooming: Occasional
  • Trainability: Independent
  • Height: 28-30 inches (male), 27-28 inches (female)
  • Weight: 65-70 pounds (male), 60-65 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-13 years
  • Barking Level: Barks When Necessary

Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is an organized, competitive sport where dogs race around an oval track. When racing on a track a lure travels ahead of the dogs on a side rail until the dogs cross the finish line.

Greyhound racing in many parts of the world is purely an amateur sport. In the United States, Greyhound racing is part of the gambling industry, like horse racing and has become a multimillion dollar industry.

Florida’s Amendment 13

On November 6, 2018, Florida residents passed Amendment 13 which will end Greyhound racing in the state by December 31, 2020. This amendment will affect 12 of the nation’s 17 remaining active dog tracks in the state of Florida

  1. Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club
  2. Derby Line Greyhound Track
  3. Ebro Greyhound Park and Poker Room
  4. Flagler Race Track
  5. Jacksonville/Orange Park
  6. Mardi Gras Race Track
  7. Melbourne Greyhound Park & Club 52 Poker
  8. Naples-Fort Myers Track and Entertainment Center
  9. Orange Park Kennel Club
  10. Palm Beach Kennel Club
  11. Pensacola Greyhound Track
  12. Sarasota Kennel Club

The Florida Greyhound Association estimates at least 8,000 racing dogs are in Florida with another 7,000 puppies at breeding farms throughout the state. Those puppies would race for about a year before being placed for adoption. But specific numbers are scarce because Florida does not track the number of greyhounds in the sport.

How You Can Help

Spread the word and consider adopting a Greyhound!  It is imperative that both the Greyhound community and the residents of Florida spread the word now that Amendment 13 has passed.

Greyhounds have one of the highest purebred adoption rates in the country but, over the next few years, the state of Florida will see an influx of Greyhounds looking to be re-homed.

Once retired, hounds are placed into networked groups where they transition them into pet life.  Greyhounds are social, well-adjusted dogs and take to their new life as a pet easily.  You will not meet a more docile, loving companion.

These independent spirits are both sweet and affectionate and are considered “cat-like” due to their independent nature.

Due to misconceptions about the breed, we wanted to clarify some to help those considering adding one as a member of the family.

Misconceptions:

  1. They need to run daily because they are a high energy breed. To those that have ever had the pleasure of owning a Greyhound or working with a Greyhound, they are commonly referred to as the “45-mph couch potato”.  They love to sprint out in the open, but a Greyhound’s favorite activate is to curl up and snooze for most of the day.  Energy levels of Greyhounds vary by the dog, like any other breed.
  2. Greyhounds can’t swim because of their low percentage of body fat. Depending on the individual dog, Greyhounds can be exceptional swimmers.  Like other canines, they may need a doggie life vest, but that varies on each dog.  Not all are will willingly jump into a pool or run through a wave at the beach, but most enjoy dipping their paws in the shallow end to cool off in hot weather.
  3. Due to their high prey drive, they can’t live with small animals. Greyhounds may not do well with small animals such as cats or smaller dogs.  Prey drive varies from dog to dog.  A good Greyhound rescue will test each dog’s temperament when they intake them from the track.  Many dogs are listed as “able to work with small animals” or even “small animal safe”.If you adopt a high prey driven dog, it’s important to introduce them slowly to the other animals in your home. And be sure to confirm with the rescue you are adopting have tested them appropriately.
  4. Due to being raised on a track, they can live outside.Due to their thin skin, Greyhounds have a low level of body fat.  This causes them to overheat in hot weather and become frostbitten in cold weather.  No matter the climate, they should always live indoors.

Why Greyhounds Make Great House Pets:

Greyhounds have proven to be one of the easier breeds to adopt because of their upbringing.  When not working on the track, they sleep.  Bringing home a retired racer can be a breeze because they are already crate trained and used to being in their crates for long periods of time.

Many Greyhounds love to play and often reward you with “zoomies”, running in circles of joy.  These soulful creatures are irresistible, especially when they curl up next to you for an afternoon nap.  These gentle giants are calm, graceful and remarkably well adjusted.

Ideal Homes for Greyhounds

Greyhounds make great apartment dogs even though they are considered a large breed.  They are typically very quiet and love to spend their days napping on the couch.

They do require a high-quality diet and tend to eat a lot due to their fast metabolism.  So potential adopters should take into consideration a sizable food budget.

Because most are adopted off the track, vet bills could be an issue as they grow older.  Two common health issues in the breed are cancer and dental disease due to their thin, long snouts.

Greyhounds are not high maintenance dogs, however, they do require a good brushing, nail trims, teeth cleaning and the occasional bath.

If you are considering adopting a Greyhound and you have kids, be sure to introduce your potential new pup to your children, as retired racers can be timid or too rambunctious.

Florida Rescue Groups:

Interested in adopting a retired racer?  Here is a list of Rescues in the state of Florida.

Greyhound Trivia

  • The Greyhound is the fastest breed of dogs, reaching 40 miles per hour.
  • Greyhounds can see for a distance of half a mile.
  • Every racing greyhound alive today can trace its lineage back to one dog, King Cob, whelped in England in 1839.
  • Greyhounds were among the first breeds at American Dog Shows.
  • President Rutherford. Hayes owned a Greyhound named Grim.
  • For many, many years the American make of Lincoln Automobile had a Greyhound as its hood ornament.
  • The term “Greyhound” has nothing to do with color — an old English “Gre-hundr” supposedly “Dog Hunter” or order of rank, which was high.

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