Racing Greyhound Life

Do you ever wonder what was the life of your rescued greyhound before retirement? Read on to find out.

Perry Barr, Birmingham, Greyhound Racing
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The Life of the Racing Greyhound

The Life of the Racing Greyhound
By Ossie Hickson

Many people who adopt retired racing dogs wonder what the life of their racing greyhound was like when it lived its life on the dog racing track. Horrific tales of animal abuse are found all over the world. Mind you it can generally be said that whist a greyhound is a racer, and especially if he is winning, he will be treated well.

The greyhound racing industry is huge worldwide. Whilst there is offline and online greyhound betting, gambling, tips etc, "the dogs" will continue to be a lucrative business, for some.

Yes, at the greyhound race track he or she will be treated decently, and also in the kennels. However the life of the racing greyhound is very different from that of the rescue greyhound who has been adopted as a pet. Although there is interaction, training and some relationship between the greyhound trainer and the track greyhound, it should be remembered that this animal is a money-making machine to the trainer. The racing greyhound is treated basically as a form of livestock.

The racing greyhound will be kept in a crate or tiny kennel for the majority of his or her time. These are often stacked one on top of another, with the bitches often occupying the upper slots. They are let out on a regular basis for the purpose of toileting outside and playing with the other dogs. They soon learn what these breaks are for, as soiling their own crate is unpleasant for the dog. Also they come out of the crate for training, which involves walking on a leash and of course running and chasing the lure.

These dogs are accustomed to being transported to the greyhound stadium in some sort of vehicle, and they run on a soft sandy mix when the greyhound races commence. Thus when people adopt greyhounds they often find they have soft feet which crack easily. This is less so in the UK where roadwork is often incorporated into the greyhounds track racing training schedule.

Once their life on the greyhound track is over, so is the pampering. It depends on the greyhounds results as to at what age they are "retired". Then if they are lucky they fall into the hands of kind people who adopt greyhounds as pets. Sadly, many are not so fortunate.

Once greyhound adoption has taken place, a whole new period of adjustment is necessary for the dog. Remember he has never lived in a home with people before so is unaware of the protocols of home life. The retired greyhound will have to get used to the fact that much of the food in the house is not for him. Counter-surfing and raiding garbage pails is common at first. Bear in mind that many of these lovely sighthounds are emaciated and starving when they arrive in their adopted home, due to abandonment and neglect.

Also, as the ex-racing greyhound is used to living in a crate, it may be unwise to allow her free run of the whole house. She needs to learn that the house is one big crate. Housebreaking can be a problem without a crate, but generally ex-racers are very clean and once they have learned the ropes they are easily housetrained. Enabling a racing greyhound to learn to be a pet greyhound can be one of the most rewarding things you can ever do in your life.

If you would like to find out more about racing greyhounds together with other up to date information about pet dogs please visit This site is dedicated to dogs and their owners.

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