Dream Dogs recently spent a very enjoyable night of dog racing at Belle Vue Stadium in Manchester. Money was won, and shirts were lost. Our pet theory that the dog who went to the toilet just before a race was bound to win was both proved totally right and completely wrong, leaving us none the wiser.
However, after the night’s racing had finished and the stadium was clearing out, there was a nagging doubt about the sport that remained. Like any professional athlete or footballer, a greyhound only has so long to enjoy its sporting career. What happens to a dog when it is considered too old to race? A quick flick through the night’s racing guide yielded an advert for the Retired Greyhound Trust, so we decided to investigate.
According to the British Greyhound Racing Board, the average racing career for a dog usually lasts until it is five years old. Occasionally it can last longer, but it can be cut short if the dog is injured. There are many conflicting stories about what happens to a dog when it retires. Some are unsavoury and claim that dogs are destroyed, but the BGRB states on its website that many owners keep the dog as a pet, and suggests that people who want to enter the sport need to plan for the dog’s post-racing future.
What is apparent is that many owners give their dog up for adoption. An adoption agency will usually visit you at home to make sure that you would make a suitable owner, and to try and get to know you a little in order to best match a greyhound to you. They will usually ask you if you have any experience in owning a rescue dog, and if you currently have one, it’s breed, sex, temperament and if it has been neutered.
They will also want to know how long the dog would be left at home alone for, and where you would exercise it; if you intend to take it to a park, it is likely to socialise with other dogs. You would also be asked questions about financial responsibilities, such as your ability to meet vet’s fees.
Contrary to what you may think, a Greyhound doesn’t need much exercise. They prefer shorter walks and runs, and can adapt to your own pace. They seldom bark, and are usually well socialised and so are good with children and can even be homed with cats. They don’t require much grooming and don’t moult much, and so are ideal pets for allergy sufferers. As they are bred for function rather than form like a show dog, they have very few genetic abnormalities, and have one of the lowest rates of hip dysplasia among all breeds.
They are easily housebroken and have a life expectancy of up to 15 years, so if you’re thinking of adopting a dog, a Greyhound could be the ideal animal.
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