How to Best Manage the Greyhound Temperament
To manage your Greyhound temperament, and in fact any dog temperament, you have to look at the breed's history and purpose.
These intelligent and graceful dogs became extremely popular in 18th century England. They were used to chase down game such as rabbit, which was a staple part of the dinner menu in those times. They are one of the fastest animals on Earth, and this speed gave rise to the greyhound racing industry. Many pet greyhounds have come from this industry and been re-homed because they aren't fast enough.
As a pet, the Greyhound is ideal. They don't need much grooming, nor do they need a lot of exercise. They are quiet and affectionate, and will be happiest curled up on the couch with you. Although they are quite large, they can live happily in an apartment as long as they get a daily stroll.
I would strongly recommend that if you do invite a greyhound into your family that you allow him to live inside. They have a thin hair coat and very little body fat, both of which make them feel the cold.
These Grey Hounds are having a blast!!
The Urge to Chase
The Greyhound is a sight hound, which means they hunt by sight rather than by smell. They are hard wired to chase. This can cause problems if you share your life with other small pets. Dog temperaments vary widely between individuals, and your Greyhound may not have a strong prey drive. If that's the case, then he will probably learn to live peacefully with your cat or other small pet. However, you must never be relaxed about this, and always supervise your Greyhound around other small animals.
One aspect of the Greyhound temperament that can be dangerous to him is his tendency to focus on his prey, to the exclusion of everything else. If your dog sees something moving, he is likely to run it down and he will be totally focused on the task at hand. He isn't likely to hear you calling him back. He also won't pay much attention to where he is going. This means he may run into a fence, or across a busy road. It is essential that you keep your Greyhound on a leash unless he is in a securely enclosed area where he won't be able to get up to his full speed.
Separation anxiety can be a characteristic of many dog temperaments, but the retired racing Greyhound is particularly susceptible to this. Racing dogs spend their entire lives living in a kennel situation with lots of other dogs for company. They can become stressed when alone. The best solution for this problem is to adopt another Greyhound.
If your budget or lifestyle doesn't allow for this, then invest in some chew toys such as Kongs to keep your dog occupied until you get home. Because he has spent so much time in kennels, he will probably be more settled in a large crate while you are out.
Timidity and Nervousness
The usual Greyhound temperament is shy and reserved. Your dog should be well socialized from puppy hood to give him confidence and help him to grow into a well adjusted adult. This isn't always possible with a retired greyhound, as he will be already mature when he joins your family.
While your dog's temperament may not change, you can help him to be less nervous. It is never too late to take your Greyhound out and about so he can become familiar with new situations and people. You will need to take it gently, and use rewards to encourage him. You may find that he will startle at some sounds, particularly those that remind him of the noises he heard at the track.
Of all the dog breeds and dog temperaments out there, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Greyhound as a pet for anyone, whether they have a young family or are a senior citizen looking for a canine companion. They are the perfect pet, and if you do adopt one of these gentle animals, you'll very quickly fall in love with the Greyhound temperament.
Other Hound Dogs
The Hound Group of which the Greyhound belongs is a diverse group of dogs that have a hunting ancestary. Whether it is stamina, or heightened sense of smell, the hound can relentlessly pursue its prey. Today the group is so large that it's hard to find much commonality among hounds, but here are a few examples and their associated temperaments