Rescue Greyhounds

(29 Posts)

Still at the early stages of deciding which way to go, but we are looking for a rescue dog as a family dog (we have young DC).

Our initial plan to adopt was a small- medium adult dog. However when looking around we have come across a lovely rescue greyhound currently in foster care relatively local to us. I have left a message on the foster carer's phone to ask if we can visit. The dog is described as good with young children, and I have been reading up on greyhounds.

I am well aware of the fact it is unlikely we'd be able to let a rescue greyhound off the lead. What I am wondering (and obviously will also discuss with the foster carer, not only rely on MN, but am interested in a bit of advanced knowledge) is whether it would be crazy to let children of 6+ hold the lead on walks, after a settling in period. I would be there, but I would like them to be able to hold the lead and feel they were walking the dog. This wouldn't be practical if he'd catch sight of a rabbit half a mile away and try to bolt off at 80km an hour with a 6 year old attached to the end of his lead obviously!!!

Whilst this would be a family dog, and I know you can't get a dog just for the kids, I don't want one that the kids couldn't play a part in walking.

Any greyhound owners have an opinion? I must confess I love the idea of a big dog and the greyhound seems to be a more practical big dog, in terms of limited exercise requirements (2 x 20 mins a day instead of needing to do 10 miles plus running after a ball ;) ) and the laid back, rather lazy temperament sounds rather nice... smile

It depends on the dog really! We got a greyhound with no prey drive as we have a cat. I walk her off lead and DS holds her lead outside of the corner shop while I pop in (he's no interest in walking her as he likes to scoot).

Other greyhounds I know with high preydrive can't come off their leads and would try to bolt after a rabbit/cat.

Greyhounds are fabulous family dogs. As you know they only need sort walks compared to other breeds (but will walk further too), and are basically the world's fastest couch potatoes.

I grew up around labradors, retrievers and spaniels and absolutely adore my grehound.

You need to look for a rescue that does a lot of testing in terms of prey drive, cat friendly (even if you don't have one it sounds like this would be a good marker of low chase instinct), child friendly, etc. A good rescue will know their hounds well and find you the right one for your family. smile

tabulahrasa Mon 02-Sep-13 10:53:25

It just depends on the dog and how they walk on the lead and whether they react the same on lead as they do off...

TheCunnyFunt Mon 02-Sep-13 11:05:10

I have a Greyhound with a high prey drive, I don't let him off. However, when on lead, if he catches sight of a cat (no rabbits around here!) he'll stare at it intently, I can only assume he's trying to will it to come over to him, he doesn't leap around, straining on his lead to get to it. Squirrels are a different matter, he'll walk backwards, away from the squirrel, whining his head off and staring at it.

I wouldn't let my 2 year old hold his lead, but I do sometimes clip an extra lead onto his collar so she can hold him too. But my friend has a Greyhound, and my 2yo can walk her with no problems. it just depends on the individual hound smile

GooseyLoosey Mon 02-Sep-13 11:14:44

As a former rescue greyhound owner, can I just say that they do not all have laid back temperaments. There are quite a few who are fairly neurotic. I too read up and was sure they were the dog for me but unfortunately, the one we adopted was wholly unsuited for family life.

Imagine most are lovely and just as billed but would just say don't rush in to it and if you have any uncertainty about a particular dog, move on and look at another.

Wow - I have a 2 year old too and wouldn't even have contemplated letting him hold the lead, good to know greyhounds exist who are that placid on a lead. We live in the middle of nowhere, tiny village with fields all around, and its common to see rabbits, hares, deer and the blach squirrels on walks (even with human eye sight and noisy DC).

Am also wondeeing about garden fence height - garden is secure but the gate and fence on one side are only about a meter high - would this necessarily be a risk? My reading indicates they don't tend to jump out if fenced gardens, and again I am sure individual dogs vary, but in general would this height of fence and gate be safe?

Thanks Goosey - we have come to the conclusion that we need to be able to get to know any dog over a few weeks by bisiting, before we commit. Another thread on here had me looking at rescued street dogs from eastern Europe, but further research has brought up quite a few such dogs in local rescues, as they displayed "street dog behaviour "- so we have decided that as we have young DC we can't risk a dog we haven't got to know over several visits, and ideally one that is in foster. We are also going to see a smaller mixed breed rescued from Greece and now in local foster, so aren't going to rush in hopefully.

Greydog Mon 02-Sep-13 11:41:53

I have a rescue greyhound. She is easy on the lead, and like Cunnyfunt's dog spends time starring at cats. She's never pulled to get at one, but if she was off lead probably would! She stares at squirrels and rabbits too (use the force!) However, she is very good with small children (one youngster thought she was a horse!) and I take her to the events I go on. She is very gentle when taking food from them. But, she detests fat women, irish accents, and people that smell of drink. I can only assume that's left over from her pre rescue days. (She is irish bred) She's got a lot of marks and scars on her, so that may account for her attitude

Oh dear Grey - the one we are looking at is an Irish ex-race dog (he's even won a race, we looked his pedigree up) and I'm quite fat blush though I don't smell of drink grin or have an Irish accent...

Ah well, no harm in meeting her - the foster family haven't called back yet anyway...

LadyTurmoil Mon 02-Sep-13 12:06:21

MrTumbles Good luck with your visits, it's great that you've found some in foster situations, you should be able to get a good assessment of the dog from the fosterer. Sounds like you're doing lots of research and thinking, so I hope it means you get the perfect dog in the end!

TheCunnyFunt Mon 02-Sep-13 12:16:50

Don't worry MrTumbles, a lot of retired racers are from Ireland!

I have actually entered my dog and my DD into a child handler class, I walked round the ring with them, I clipped 2 leads onto his collar so I had one to hold, I guess you could call it a safety line in case DD dropped the lead or the dog decided to bolt off grin You can't actually tell that I've also got a lead in my hand here.

We have four rescue greyhounds, and I do a lot of fostering, homechecking etc. Many greyhounds get chucked out of racing because they have low or non existent prey drive - they won't chase - these are the ones that are usually cat friendly or cat trainable. Most rescues estimate this is about 20% of greys.

Cunny's idea is excellent iwth the double leads.

The nice thing also is that usually, most greys are fabulous at on lead walking - again, it's a useful skill from their racing days. Your foster will give you an idea of what this individual dog is like - much better than generalisations.

I'd say that it's perfectly feasible for a greyhound to be walked by an older child, particularly if you are somewhere in a known environment or somewhere like a dog show. Because of my business, we attend greyhound and dog events all over the country virtually every weekend in the summer, and you will always see the Child handler classes, stuffed with elegant hounds leading a small toddler round the ring. smile Our nephews have a stash of Junior handler rosettes - although they are excellent with the dogs, (proud aunty) they are off to a flying start because they are entering with a hound who strolls round elegantly, rather than a hyperactive terrierist. grin

LadyTurmoil Mon 02-Sep-13 16:21:43

as they displayed "street dog behaviour really interested to know exactly what they meant by that ... if you have the time!

Greydog Mon 02-Sep-13 16:59:52

Sorry, MrTumbles, didn't mean to scare you! I'd still go and look at your prospective dog. Mine doesn't do anything to folk in this category, she just gets really close to us, tries to hide. and that's not easy for a big black greyhound! Seriously we love her to pieces

DearlyDepartedMrsFinch Mon 02-Sep-13 17:35:53

We have a rescue greyhound and can't recommend them enough. But I would echo the other posters: go and visit the hound which is local, but if he isn't right for you, walk away.

There are hundreds of greyhounds needing homes and a good RGT kennels should be able to find you the perfect dog.

We went to our local RGT and asked the lady there to choose a dog for us: SAHM, 2 under 5s, lots of visitors including visiting dogs, lots of visiting my parents etc. I wanted a bombproof dog that would be a breeze on the school run. Perhaps we got lucky, but that is exactly what we ended up with - a beautiful 4yo black bitch. Irish stock and won a few races in her time. She is a perfect animal. Truly a perfect pet and puts up with the 'ministrations' of the children without complaint.

As for off lead walking, we haven't yet (we've had her for 13 months). We are lucky enough to have a huge garden that she is able to tear around for one minute until she retreats back to the sofa

I'd say her prey drive is relatively strong. She can spot a rabbit miles away and is always on the lookout for cats. But although extremely interested, she doesn't pull much. However, having felt how strong she is (massively so), I have never let the DC (6 & 2) hold her. I do the double lead thing like cunny

DearlyDepartedMrsFinch Mon 02-Sep-13 17:40:23

As greydog mentions, I also have a suspicion that our hound's trainers were less than kind. When she first came to live with us, she would often cower and yelp at sudden movements, especially from DH. Heartbreaking sad

However, she is now sprawled on the sofa behind me as I squeeze on to a corner, and I do believe she has completely forgotten her former life smile bloody spoilt

Thanks everyone

The foster carer for this particular dog (a really beautiful looking 4 year old called Spy) called us back and was really chatty and honest, but we ended up agreeing he isn't the dog for us. Although she said he is fine with children, she said 3 young children would probably be too much for him (our kids are 8, 6 and 2) and she said he likes peace so one young child, or older ones, would be fine but she imagines 3 young ones would be too much. She also said he does have a strong prey drive and even on a lead tries to take off after cats, so she wouldn't like to say he is safe for a child to hold, even though he is gentle with children otherwise.

She was very keen to emphasise that she has had foster greyhounds before who would have been suitable for us, and that we should keep considering other greyhounds.

Great that she was up front and knows the dog well, a shame is isn't the dog for us but better to know!

We have appointments to see 2 mix breed rescue dogs in foster homes tomorrow (a collie mix and what looks like a rough coated terrier mix but was found in a tomato field! So they don't know parentage). Both their foster families say they are very suitable for children, and one is currently living in a foster family with children. If neither of them seem like the right match for our family we will consider other greyhounds.

Will keep you updated, really appreciate the sound and honest advice and opinions on here, than you! smile

LadyT I'm not sure what they meant precisely, but local rescues have dogs listed on their websites as suited to experienced dog owners without children, and on reading the descriptions there were lots of reasons varying from dog to dog, but several were described as having been rescued in Bulgaria, Rumania and Cyprus and homed with families, but then being handed in to local rescues due to "street dog behaviour s" - would have to ask about them in person to know the detail, it just highlighted that as we have young children the risk of a dog we haven't been able to meet first is too great.

LadyTurmoil Mon 02-Sep-13 22:37:12

Good luck with your visits tomorrow (love the sound of the rough coated terrier but I always go for the more hairy ones!).

It's great you get feedback to all your questions on MN, isn't it, so interesting and helpful. Thanks for info about my question, I have to agree that it would take a huge leap of faith to take on a dog that you haven't even seen.

Slightly in awe of you wanted to add a dog to the mix when you've got 3 children under 9! You must be pretty busy already - but think you're right to go for an older dog rather than a puppy, they are such hard work smile

Thanks LadyT - the kids have all been up for an hour and a half, excited about it, and we don't have to leave for another 2 hours...

Our first greyhound was Irish and had clearly been treated very badly. She was very good while racing but was grey with our cats, she would pull towards other cats and squirrels but a quick tug and she'd leave it. We held the lead with our children. She was the softest most wonderful dog you could ever have wished for. I was on my own when I got her so she had to get used to my hubby, dss, our ds's and I'm a childminder so loads of other kids too. I never let her off because she was very nervous around others.

Generally greyhounds are used to being walked on a lead and walk well. We went in the greyhound walk this Sunday and they were all so good.

Our current greyhound is a bit younger so likes to play and is a bit jumpy with us but doesn't jump at the children at all. He walks well on a lead and in fact the first few walks he walked at my heel and didn't sniff anything but has got used to being allowed to enjoy his surroundings and now wee's on every other blade of grass. I let him off with treats on my all the time and on advice from others here started in a tennis court and worked up to huge open space.

I love greyhounds in general, there will always be exceptions to every breed but all I've met are gentle and all they want is a fuss and a sofa! Maybe worth going to a RGT so you have more choice. They are great with children in general but the children still need to be respectful and the only issue I've had with children and greyhounds is food. Mine have learned not to steal from us but still take chances with the kids and my boy bit the top off ds2's (2) banana last week and ran off to the garden with it!

LadyTurmoil Tue 03-Sep-13 12:26:52

MrTumbles hope visits went well - update please smile cinnamon the OP lives in Bavaria so trying to find a dog a bit closer to home!

The only German greyhound rescue HQ seems to be in Hanover, which is a 6 hour drive smile But the one we were interested in was in foster near us - will only be an option if there is a suitable one that comes up in foster within a reasonable drive.

This morning's dog was a sweety, but possibly a bit too timid. Lots of good things about her, but not sure if my boys in particular (6 and 2) will be too much for her. Both DD (8) and DS1 (6) got the chance to hold her lead on a walk - she is gentle and doesn't pull, but doesn't really walk to heal, she keeps stopping... Sure that would be fine with training. Just not sure if we'd be "too much" for her as a family at home. DS2 (2) fell in love with a huge great gun dog of the foster couple's own, because the little colle mix we were there to see ran away from him! The foster couple were very good, said she could be an option for us once she got to know us, and that maybe after more visits and a home check (done by them) we could have her for a week's trial, and they'd take her back (and return the fee) if we didn't suit each other. They clearly love their dogs and I am sure they'd keep their word.

Going to see the terrier mix type one this afternoon - we'll see if he's a bit more spirited, as Sunny this morning was possibly a bit TOO gentle!

Sorry missed that blush

My girl sat in the corner if my living room and only moved when I dragged her out for a walk for the first three days. She was very friendly especially with children after a while, always a bit wary of strange men though.

Good luck whatever you decide smile

Mr Tumble, have you considered a galgo? I know they are often homed to German families. Galgoes are Spanish greyhounds and there are huge problems with them in Spain being dumped and often hung at the end of each hunting season. They are very, very similar to greyhounds in looks and temperament - I know quite a few through my sighthound chums, as rescues work to bring them out of Spain into new homes in Northern Europe including NL, Germany, Denmark an UK. Take a look at the Galgos del Sol website for more info. smile

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