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Greyhounds and children(10 Posts)
My oldest son likes the idea of a greyhound, and having just watched the most horrific documentary, I would like to consider rescuing one too. However, we will have smallies in the house for a good while yet. Are greyhounds good with children and what age do you think my youngest child should be before a greyhound would be a good fit?
As good as any breed, they tend not to be as clumsy as some other large breeds, so that’s a plus with children.
If you’re thinking ex- racers with young children you’ll be be wanting to find a rescue that fosters them in homes first as it can be a bit overwhelming for them to come straight from racing kennels into a busy house.
Every greyhound I've fostered has been very good around children, very gentle and calm, but every dog is different.
As long as a child knows how to behave around a dog and is sensible, I think it's child dependant rather then age dependant. Generally I'd say 8 and upwards if they're experienced around dogs.
Retired greyhounds make wonderful pets. They're quite a quirky breed!
They are gentle and calm but not bouncy and fun generally. (Waits to be flames by people who prove me wrong!) They make good pets for younger children as they enjoy a fuss and don’t tend to leap up etc but they want to sleep a lot and as with all dogs you need to keep children away from their bed area - more so with greyhounds because they often sleep with their eyes open and a child might think they’re awake and pet them and startle them and the dog might snap.
We loved our greyhound but he wasn’t the same as a cuddly King Charles spaniel or a fun / bouncy Labrador or springer (we’ve had all of them within our family). I guess it depends what you want...!
As others have said, greyhounds tend to be calm and not jump up. They also tend not to need that much walking and could slot easily into family life.
However most greyhounds, especially ex racers do tend to have a strong prey drive and while some can live with cats and small furries, many can't - so getting a greyhound might rule out other small pets in the future.
The greyhound trust has branches all over the country and they usually "home test" their dogs. Why not get in touch with your local branch and see if they can advise you? If a greyhound isn't right for your home right now, perhaps your son could help the trust in another way?
Greyhounds are great with children. They're very gentle, require a lot less exercise than you'd think and make great pets.
Contact greyhound rescue and they'll have plenty for you to choose from all in need of good homes.
Youngest child would probably need to be at least 5 I think?
We got our greyhound shortly before our youngest turned five. She was fearful of dogs at that point. The rescue worked with us to wait for and select an extremely calm, quiet sweet dog. He's been amazing for us, all the kids love him, the older kids can walk him short distances as he's so calm when out and about.
I think the key here is a reputable rescue who assessed their dogs properly. Ours had never been in a house before but was still suitable for us.
DM and I have greyhounds, DM has looked after my nieces from a young age and I now have a baby in the house. Both hounds have always been fine with the children but they are still not left alone with very small children.
Most importantly from the very start make it clear to children that the dogs bed is their space and when the dog is on the bed they are to be left alone. This is a very important boundary.
Greyhounds can be timid if they’ve never lived in a home before, everything is scary when they’ve only ever known kennels. Google Retired Greyhounds Trust they have kennels all over and most kennels have a website where you can get basic information about the dogs they have.
We have a greyhound who we got when youngest DC was 6 (2 years ago). She is phenomenal and we all utterly adore her and I can talk for hours about greyhounds so please feel free to ignore me as I ramble on. A few pointers:
1. go to a breed specific rescue if you can. I know various people who have adopted greyhounds from non-breed-specific rescues and have not had such a good experience as we have. They will advise you of a good age for children to be. I would suggest 5ish so they can understand dog boundaries.
2. never leave a young child alone with any dog to start with. Ours came straight out of kennels into our home and was fine but she was slightly reticent with the kids to start with. She growled at them a few times in the first year. Never punish growling - otherwise they might go straight to snapping. She made her needs known to our kids and now they get on very well.
3. watch a video with your children about reading dog body language (we should have done this first rather than after the growling - hindsight is a wonderful thing). Someone on here recommended one and I can't find it now - sorry!
4. greyhounds can suffer from sleep startle - meaning they can snap if disturbed. This is made more complex by the fact that they also sleep with their eyes open. Make sure they are aware you are there before touching them. Hence again, children need to be old enough to understand this.
5. they are incredibly lazy and require less exercise than you think. That said, they still like the odd burn-up every whit and while and will do relatively long walks if required.
6. they will go on the furniture - they sleep up off the ground when in kennels and therefore still like being up off ground (e.g. on a sofa).
7. they can have a fairly strong prey-drive with cats, squirrels, small fluffy dogs etc etc. With ours this has got so much less over the last 2 years.
8. they are not always the most affectionate and it can take time for them to become affectionate. Ours is still changing in terms of character after two years.
9. ours is incredibly calm and therefore calming. I've just had her registered as a therapy dog as a result.
10. tell the rescue what you are looking for. I told ours we had a noisy, slightly chaotic household with 2 brass instruments played every day (wishful thinking in terms of practice but hey ho). We now have a dog who is bullet-proof with noises - we've walked her at the height of fireworks and she doesn't bat an eyelid.
They are THE best dogs in the world. Do PM me if you want me to ramble on for even longer!!