About Greyhounds
Greyhound FAQs
Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Greyhound
Lost & Found
The Right Collar can Save your Greyhound’s Life
Greyhound Health
Food for your Greyhound
Greyhound Vet Clinics
Recommended Books

portrait5About Greyhounds

Greyhounds are generally quizzical, sometimes shy, very sensitive and surprisingly gentle. They possess superior intelligence and can exhibit a quiet but surprising independence. These dogs truly take to their retirement.

Because of their upbringing and early training, retired greyhounds have, typically, never been without the company of other greyhounds but quickly adapt to new environments. Because they have never really had the opportunity to “be a puppy” they may, at first, need to act out some puppy behaviour, which they typically quickly outgrow.

They are a breed that is very anxious to please and can be trained to standard obedience commands with patience and consistency. They are leash trained, love to go for walks and will learn to heel quickly, if they don’t already. Most greyhounds do not know how to sit, climb stairs or even play games, simply because they have never been exposed to such things or been given the opportunity. Most very quickly adapt and learn most of these things and play comes almost naturally. Some greyhounds will never learn how to “sit”.

Greyhounds have never been exposed to other breeds of dogs until they are taken in by greyhound adoptions groups like SAGA. They know other greyhounds but may be perplexed, frightened – or more commonly will simply ignore other breeds of dogs. They do not know cats or other small “pets”. Greyhounds do not typically know how to defend themselves and will usually do so by fleeing or sometimes freezing if attacked.

Greyhounds are used to traveling and adapt quickly to riding in cars.

Greyhounds do not typically bite but sometimes show affection, much like a wolf does, with mouth slightly open and gently grasping your hand. Most will lick in affection and almost all greyhounds show affection by leaning against you with their entire body, some will even “wrap” themselves around your legs.

Greyhounds have no fat layer on their bodies which makes them highly sensitive to winter cold or rain as well as heat. If outside for more than a short time in bad weather they should be protected with a coat. No greyhound should be left outside in the cold (or extreme heat) and always remember that they are inside dogs.

They aren’t barkers by nature but some will bark if excited or trying to tell you something (like needing to out). Some also howl and can be quite entertaining if the fire trucks are driving past.

SAGA does recommend that you “crate” your retired ex-racing greyhound as they are typically placed in individual crates in the kennel between the age of 4 and 18 months. These crates are where they spend most of their time between exercise periods, training and racing and they become their private, safe space where they aren’t bothered by the other greyhounds.

Generally, racing greyhounds are not abused or mistreated at the tracks, although their handling is straightforward and utilitarian in nature. They do not ordinarily get any attention or handling that is not required as part of their training for the track. This does not mean that they don’t adapt to life outside of the racing community and it is SAGA’s experience that retired racing greyhounds quickly understand that life in retirement is full of love and comfort. You will find that they show an almost grateful sense of attachment to you and unconditional love.

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babette-1Greyhound FAQs

Do greyhounds need a lot of exercise?
Greyhounds are quite adaptable. Your greyhound will love to go walking or jogging with you in addition to enjoying a romp around a fenced backyard. If you don’t have a fenced yard, then they will need a couple of long walks a day to keep them happy and healthy.

Are greyhounds good with children?
Many greyhounds live quite happily with well-mannered children. While greyhounds are known for their even disposition, no dog, regardless of the breed, should ever be left unsupervised with small children. Greyhounds tend to bond to their primary caregivers, usually an adult in the household. So if you are looking for a family dog that the kids want to play fetch with and chase around, a greyhound is not a good choice.

Are greyhounds good with other pets?
Greyhounds are very social and friendly by nature. However, cats and small dogs are new to them, unless you are adopting a dog that has already lived in a home happily with them. AHH cat tests every dog and will not place a non-cat friendly dog in a home with cats. Even with cat friendly dogs, we urge caution when introducing your greyhound to other pets, and recommend muzzling your greyhound and supervising all interactions until relationships have been established.

Do greyhounds make good running companions?
Not really. Greyhounds are sprinters, their races last about 30 seconds. They are also highly intelligent and curious dogs and so get bored easily. And although they may be gradually trained to jog a few miles, their feet and long toes are not made for extensive running on hard surfaces. They much prefer long walks, especially with lots of good sniffing spots.

Why do greyhounds need to wear a coat when it is cold?
Greyhounds do not tolerate extremes of temperature very well. They have little body fat and so get cold easily. In very cold weather, they need to wear an appropriate coat if they are going to be outside for more than a few minutes. They also have difficulty in very hot weather and can suffer heat exhaustion quickly, so outside activities should be restricted to early morning or evening.

Do greyhounds have to stay on a leash?
For centuries, greyhounds have been bred to chase things that move. They can see up to a mile away, and reach speeds of 45 mph within seconds. They are out of earshot in 3 strides. If an unleashed greyhound is frightened or begins a chase, he or she will often run until they are exhausted and lost. Add to that their inexperience with the everyday hazards of busy roads and traffic, electric fencing, and rough terrain, and it is usually a disastrous outcome. SAGA requires that any of their Greyhounds always be walked on-leash unless in a protected off-leash area.

How does SAGA feel about Greyhound Racing?
SAGA takes a neutral stance on Greyhound racing. We are neither for nor against it and this allows us to work closely with the Greyhound community, including racing kennels directly, to improve the prospects for retired racing Greyhounds.

What is the history of the Greyhound breed?
Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds of dog known to man pre-dating ancient Egypt. Being sight hounds they were originally used for hunting and they still are in some parts of the world. Today Greyhounds are raced in the United States and many other countries. Their athletic, muscular build allows them to attain speeds of up to 45MPH. They begin their racing careers at 18 months of age and they race until they can no longer compete, sustain an injury or reach the mandatory retirement age of 5 or 6 years old.

reddog2What qualities make a racing Greyhound a good pet?
They are a friendly, affectionate, gentle, quiet, sweet, loyal, clean, loving, sensitive, trusting & good natured breed of dog.

What is the average life expectancy of a Greyhound? Do they have health problems?
Most Greyhounds are retired from racing between the ages of 2 & 6 and the average life expectancy of a Greyhound is 12 – 14 years. Greyhounds have few of the congenital (in-bred) problems that plague other large breed dogs (such as hip displasia)

How big are Greyhounds?
Most Greyhounds weigh between 50 – 80 pounds (22 – 36 kgs), with some smaller females weighing as little as 40 – 45 pounds (18 – 21 kgs) and some larger males weighing as much as 90 – 100 pounds (41 – 45 kgs). Ex-racers normally stand between 26″ – 30″ at the shoulder.

Why are Greyhounds so skinny?
Greyhounds are a naturally lean breed of dog and are their healthiest when they maintain this physique. You should be able to see 1 – 2 ribs if they are at a good weight. If their backbone and ribs are buried they are too heavy and this strains their joints and can shorten their life span.

Why aren’t Greyhounds grey?
They “Grey” in the name most likely comes from a medieval word for “great”, not for the colour. Greyhounds are bred for speed, not for colour, so any colour is acceptable for the breed and you will find them in all sorts of shades. Brindle (striped) Greyhounds are common as are fawn, red and black or white dogs with patches of colour. Grey, which is actually called “blue”, is the rarest colour.

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roadie-3Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Greyhound

  1. They truly know the meaning of retirement.
  2. People will stare at your dog instead of at you.
  3. They can curl up to the size of a ball if they need to.
  4. They can expand to the size of the whole bed if they want to.
  5. They don’t bark, keeping your neighborhood safe for burglars.
  6. You can play their ribs like an air guitar.
  7. They are the only dogs that know how to really smile.
  8. You can dress them up as a reindeer for Christmas.
  9. They are never confused with poodles.
  10. A greyhound in flight is the most amazing sight you’ll ever hope to see in your own back yard.

    Lost and Found

    If your S.A.G.A. Greyhound is lost please IMMEDIATELY call our Lost Dog Phone at 403-889-1932

    If you have found a SAGA Greyhound (or any Greyhound) please call the above number and we can re-unite it with its owner.

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The Right Collar could Save your Greyhound’s life!

Many greyhound adoption groups send greyhounds to their forever homes with only a martingale collar and a leash and no further instructions as to what to do and what to look out for. As you know, a martingale collar is a sort of “soft choke” type collar that has a sliding loop that tightens up on the neck as the dog pulls on it. The reason a greyhound needs a martingale collar for walking is that most greyhounds’ heads are SMALLER than their necks. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to properly fit them to their dog and subsequently, the dog might back up, duck its head and back right out of the collar. Even if a martingale is fitted properly, ESCAPE IS STILL POSSIBLE!

The worst idea in the world is to put your dog’s ID tags on a martingale collar and let them wear it around the house. A dedicated tag collar (not a martingale) should be worn instead, for 3 reasons.

First, the loop and/or the very large “D” ring on a martingale collar can become caught on any number of things in your home; cabinet knobs, furniture, crates, even a lever type door handle.

If you’re out walking your dog with a martingale only (no tag collar) and it should suddenly spook over something and back out of its martingale collar, then you’re standing there holding the martingale collar with the ID tags dangling from it, while your dog is running away at 40 miles an hour with absolutely NO ID and no collar to help someone catch your dog if they even had an opportunity to do so. Have you ever tried to capture a frightened dog that is completely naked??

Lastly, a microchip is not a sure fire defense if your dog gets loose. Until microchip manufacturers all get together and decide they are going to come up with a universal chip reader, even if someone found your dog and had the sense to even THINK it might have a microchip, in order to find out who it belonged to, they would have to physically transport the dog to a vet or shelter to have the chip read…. IF the vet or shelter had the proper chip reader. But, these days when people are so incredibly busy and strapped for time, how many folks would go to this trouble over a dog that did not belong to them? Not many!! The inclination would be just to call animal control and have the dog picked up or JUST LET THE DOG GO and let it fend for itself.

A REFLECTIVE tag collar is also recommended, so that if your greyhound ever got loose, it would be a LOT easier to find them after dark with a flashlight and oncoming cars would be more apt to avoid hitting them in the road.

The best defense is to have a properly fitting tag collar on your dog 24/7 with your CELL PHONE number on an actual ID tag.

Use a regular dog collar for tags and that should be worn in the house and outside, even during a bath, when the likelihood for escape is at it’s highest. Use the martingale IN ADDITION to the tag collar when out walking. The martingale should be removed when you get back home. Both the tag and martingale collars should be fitted tightly enough that they cannot easily slip off over your dogs head. NEVER CLIP A LEASH ONTO YOUR GREYHOUND’S TAG COLLAR.

AND, of course, never, EVER let your greyhound off leash unless you are in a safely fenced in area with no possible escape.

Save those fancy, expensive, wide martingale collars for walking and keep a narrow (3/4″ to 1″ wide) tag collar with your current ID on your dog 24/7 for its entire life. It’s simply common sense.

cited: Carol Becker
God’s Greyts Greyhound Group, Inc.

(If anyone needs a tag collar for their dog please check out our Links Page where you will find here in Calgary and

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Greyhound Health

GreytHealth is an archive of Dr. Stack’s most requested articles about Greyhound Health.  For your own reference, please check out the following link for some great

For a very comprehensive read on Greyhound Health “Idiosyncrasies” please take a look at the following: Greyhound Data – Health Information Package

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Food for your Greyhound

SAGA currently recommends the Canadian made dog food Acana, specifically their Acana Regional Group of Dog Foods.  The Acana Regional Group of Dog Foods is rich in protein, low in carbohydrates and entirely grain-free, and feature 60-65% meat and 35-40% of fruits and vegetables.  They are currently the top rated brand of dog food in Canada and we feel the best for your Greyhound.  You can find more information on their website

What you feed your Greyhound is entirely a personal choice and we know you will make the best decision possible for your Greyhound.  SAGA recommends that you feed your Greyhound the highest quality food that you feel provides the best value AND that your pet tolerates.  This means that your Greyhound will show good energy, healthy coat, solid stools, bright eyes etc. while eating that food.  Remember to phase in any new dog food over time by substituting a little more each day and not switching the food over-night.  Do this slowly over a two week period and observe the effects on your Greyhound.  We recommend purchasing a smaller bag of food at first in case the brand you choose does not agree with your Greyhounds digestive system.

There are many other brands of dog foods on the market and some of our Adopters have found that work for their Greyhounds including Act1ium, Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D and First Mate.  Whatever you choose please ensure it is the best for your Greyhound.  Please let us know what works for you and your Greyhound so that we can, in turn, assess it as an option to recommend to our other Adopters.

As ingredients and available brands continuously evolve please seek out the most current information available and check back with us periodically as we will continue to assess the best food to recommend to our SAGA Adopters.

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Greyhound Vet Clinics

Calgary Clinics:

Southwood Veterinary Hospital
120-10233 Elbow Drive SW
Dr. Bridgit Harris
Dr. Erin Parchello
Calgary Animal Referral & Emergency Centre (CARE)
7140 – 12th Street SE
  Open 24 hours
Calgary North Veterinary Hospital
4204 – 4th Street NW
  Open 24 hours

Dr. Scott Kelman

Country Hills Veterinary Clinic
214 – 5149 Country Hills Blvd NW
Fish Creek Pet Hospital
3125 – 150 Millrise Blvd SW
Open 24 hours

Dr. Mark Norman
Dr. Natasha Mutlow
Dr. David  Walker
Dr. Katie Van Sluys

Landing Animal Clinic
1600 – 90th Avenue SW
Dr. Danny Joffe
Dr. Dan Schlesinger
Dr. Laurie Milne
Marda Loop Veterinary Centre
4016 – 16 Street SW
Dr. Laura Romano
Dr. Bruce Rodger
Macewan Veterinary Clinic
16 Macewan Drive NW

Edmonton Clinics:

Whitemud Creek Veterinary Clinic
14020 – 23 Avenue NW
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Recommended Books

  • Cynthia Branigan – Adopting the Retired Racing Greyhound
  • Daniel Braun Stern – The Greyhound: An Owner’s Guide to a Happy, Healthy Pet
  • D. Caroline Coile, PHD – Greyhounds: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual
  • Carolyn Raeke – Guide to Adopting an Ex-Racing Greyhound
  • Lee Livingood – Retired Racing Greyhounds For Dummies

If you have children:

  • Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson – Childproofing Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Dog for the Children in Your Life

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Dr. Christina Osborne
Dr. Suzanne Misiaszek