Greyhound Characteristics

Greyhound Characteristics

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Whether raised to race or to be family dogs, Greyhounds are affectionate and social dogs. Learn more about this sensitive breed here.

Greyhounds know how to conserve energy. Despite their long history as racing and coursing animals, they tend to be moderately active dogs at most. Greyhounds enjoy lying around being a house pet about as much as they enjoy running and chasing down prey. Whether raised to race or to be family dogs, Greyhounds overall are affectionate, social, and healthy dogs. A Greyhound who has retired from racing can quickly adapt to a new life as a family pet. It's possible to purchase a Greyhound puppy from a show breeder, but most Greyhounds adopted through rescue organizations are adult retired racing dogs.


In general, Greyhounds are sweet dogs of even, mild temperament. Retired racing Greyhounds are well-socialized, having spent their lives with other greyhounds and with people. They tend to be friendly toward strangers. Although Greyhounds will be satisfied with a single walk every day, they may become bored and act out in destructive ways if they don't get some activity. Greyhounds have a very strong inborn drive to chase prey, and must be leashed and watched closely while on walks, or they may take off with no warning after a squirrel or another small animal. This drive is so strong they may ignore their owner’s commands in favor of chasing prey. Greyhounds are sensitive to the emotions of the humans around them, and may react negatively to tensions in the home.


Racing Greyhounds spend much of their early lives around people, including veterinarians, dog walkers, breeders and trainers. They're accustomed to being around humans and need regular interaction with their human families. According to The Greyhound Project, many trainers are women who bring their children to work, so Greyhounds are accustomed to interacting with children of all ages.

Relationships with Other Animals

Greyhounds may have difficulty adjusting to other pets in the family. Their drive to chase prey may cause them to go after cats or small dogs in the household. This is especially true of retired racing dogs, who have no contact with animals other than fellow Greyhounds during their racing careers. Because they often have not been exposed to dogs other than fellow race dogs, they don't know how to defend themselves and will flee or freeze when attacked. Greyhounds who have always been pets, rather than racing dogs, will likely have a much easier time interacting with other animals.


Retired racing Greyhounds may not know how to sit on command or play, simply because such things were not part of the training required for racing. Because they are intelligent, Greyhounds can learn obedience commands as long as the trainer is patient and offers plenty of food rewards. Greyhounds are very sensitive to rough treatment, and may be traumatized if their owners are harsh or impatient during training.

References & Resources Greyhound
The Greyhound Project: About Greyhounds

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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