Greyhounds as pets: Three things about greyhounds that might surprise you

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Cruelty and overbreeding in the greyhound industry have been in the spotlight lately. This increased attention means we’ve seen lots of awful things, but one of the positive outcomes has been that more and more people are opening their hearts and their homes to give greyhounds a second chance at life as a much-loved pet.

But before you adopt one of these lovely dogs, it’s important to know that they do have specific needs. Ex-racing greyhounds in particular need lots of care and patience, as it’s likely that they will not have been well socialised.

To help willing owners and greyhounds in need find their perfect match, the RSPCA has put together an adoption book filled with expert advice on welcoming your greyhound into the family.

If you’re thinking of adopting a greyhound - or if you’ve just brought your new greyhound home - this book has everything you’ll need to build a great relationship with your canine companion.

Much of this advice and information may seem like common sense, but here are three facts about greyhounds that you might not know:

The compulsory muzzling is not because they’re aggressive

In many parts of Australia, it’s compulsory for greyhounds to wear a muzzle when they’re out in public. This has created a perception that greyhounds are an aggressive breed, when in fact, most greyhounds are quite gentle.

Mandatory muzzling was introduced back in the 1920s to stop greyhounds from injuring themselves on the race track.  In many states and territories, these outdated laws are under review, and the RSPCA supports the complete removal of compulsory muzzling requirements for pet greyhounds out in public.

In the meantime, there are assessment programs which can grant your greyhound an exemption from public muzzling. Visit for an example of the program in NSW and seek advice from your council about any local initiatives.

It might take them awhile to get used to living with you

For greyhounds that have never lived with a family, adjusting to everyday life will take time. Things we take for granted, like the sound of the TV or phones ringing, may be new and strange for your dog. They may also be unfamiliar with common home features like stairs, mats, rugs and glass doors, and will need close supervision as they learn to navigate them.

They can be fond of hoarding

We all have our quirks!

Some greyhounds love to collect things – from soft toys to cushions and even shoes.  Their collections can be quite impressive but they don’t usually chew or damage their treasures.  It’s not known exactly why greyhounds do this, but it could be a comfort or coping strategy. Make sure you keep anything precious or potentially harmful out of reach!

For tips on caring for greyhounds, check out the RSPCA Greyhound Adoption book.