Are greyhounds good pets for families?

Is a greyhound the dog for your family?
Is a greyhound the dog for your family? Photo: Getty Images

With greyhound racing banned in New South Wales from July 1 next year, there will be thousands of greyhounds needing to be rehomed.

So, could a greyhound be your next family pet?

There are some facts about greyhounds that might surprise you. While you might think they're full of energy, they're actually quiet couch potatoes. They sleep for up to 20 hours a day – yes, 20 hours! – and only need about 15 to 20 minutes of exercise each day.

Greyhounds are low maintenance: they're affectionate, calm and fun-loving, don't shed much and only need a brush once a week and occasional baths. Although they're big, they're also good for small spaces due to their settled nature. Oh, and it's rare for them to bark which is a positive that will suit many families.

After their racing career ends, the canines are trained by a greyhound adoption agency before they can move into your home and adapt to your lifestyle. This training includes going into a foster home for several weeks, being socialised with other dogs and cats, and they are also vet-checked, vaccinated, micro chipped, desexed, wormed and registered with your local council.

Once all of this happens, these beautiful animals are known to make great family pets.

Naomi, a teacher and mum of two, says they adopted Rocket the greyhound because the idea of getting a puppy was unrealistic with her family's work and school commitments. She said that above all they wanted a dog who would be part of the family. "He's placid, tolerant, scared of the neighbour's fluffy little dog, but also full of personality," Naomi says. "As long as he's warm and fed, he sleeps most of the day, only needing a short walk daily."

She says it truly is love. "We'd never be without a greyhound in our home now."

Things to consider before adopting a greyhound into your family

- Greyhounds can get a little excited (when they're not sleeping), so make sure your kids are at a stage where they're ready to handle the exuberance of a big dog.

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- Dogs need training, but so do kids. Make sure your child knows how to respect your new pet, especially when it comes to food and not treating them roughly.

- Of course, as with all dogs, it's important to supervise them when they're around young children.

- Depending on the individual dog, they might find it hard to cope with rowdiness (for example, when your kids have friends over). Think about how you'll manage this: perhaps with supervision or by keeping the dog in a quiet place during that time.

- Adopting a dog is a big commitment (a greyhound is likely to live for 12 to 15 years) and you need to be sure you're ready first. Take the time to think it through and chat to your state's greyhound adoption agency before making a decision.

Did you know?

31 greyhounds were adopted this past weekend at Victoria's adoption day in Geelong. The next Greyhounds As Pets adoption day is being held in Sydney on July 16.

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