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Lifestyle People November 2, 2016

The Cult Of The Greyhound

Adopting a greyhound is a little like joining a cult. Once you adopt an ex-racer you’ll find you’ve automatically gained membership to the cult of the greyhound. This basically means you’ve joined the exclusive ranks of fellow hound owners who are all equally crazy about their dogs. Famous members include Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Hollywood actress Tea Leoni and world celebrity dog trainer Caesar Milan. Of course there are ordinary people who also unwittingly find themselves part of this elite group.


I joined the cult when my family and I adopted a beautiful retired-racer called Chesta a little over a year ago. The idea to adopt a greyhound was borne a number of years back when, as the editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly magazine, I published a story about an amazing organisation called Greyhounds As Pets (GAP). Re-homing ex-racing greyhounds, which is what GAP does, really struck a chord with me.


Giving these dogs a long, loving retirement after their racing days are over is the very least these dogs deserve. And given that greyhounds make the most amazing pets, you can see why GAP is busier than ever with more than one greyhound every day of the year being adopted somewhere in New Zealand. You see, greyhounds are gentle, obedient, don’t bark (much), don’t shed, don’t smell and need little exercise. Plus they love to sleep. In fact, greyhounds are often referred to as 45mph couch potatoes – with good reason!


So with this in mind, we adopted Chesta a little over a year ago and immediately fell in love with him. Chesta had had an illustrious racing career before he joined our family and had notched up over 120 races and scored his owners many wins. Nowadays, he still loves to kick up his heels and zoom around on the sand at our local beach, but now he just runs for fun.


Despite being four-years-old when we adopted him, he slotted into our lives and our home instantly. He’s super obedient, walks beautifully on the lead, comes when he’s called, doesn’t beg for food, sleeps most of the day and loves to snuggle. He sleeps on our 13-year-old son’s bed at night and our 10-year-old loves him so much he’s begging us to adopt a second.


Chesta’s model behaviour is in stark contrast to my experience owning two bichon frise ten years ago. While bichons are cute, cuddly balls of fluff they should come with a buyer beware. They need regular grooming (read expensive), are notoriously hard to toilet train and bark at everything and I mean everything!


Not only does Chesta hardly ever bark (which is a typical greyhound trait) but he also doesn’t need a lot of exercise (another perk of the breed). Most people imagine these racing power-houses need a tonne of exercise but the reverse is actually true. They have speed but not a lot of stamina (although Chesta more than keeps up with me when I’m out clocking up my 10,000 steps). Greyhounds also don’t have a doggie smell (fact: there’s little oil in their coats) and most importantly make loyal, loving pets. Having spent the past year with our big, beautiful boy I can now understand why so many of us fall victim to the fast-growing cult of the greyhound.



Leonie and Chesta


10 Reasons to adopt a greyhound


01\ They are super affectionate

Greyhounds are the gentle giants of the canine world. They love their owners and are commonly called “velcro dogs”, because they love sticking close to their owners.


02\ They are very quiet

When at home, greyhounds rarely bark or make much noise at all. Okay they won’t make a great watchdog but they’ll be no complaints from the neighbours about a barking dog either.


03\ They are very sociable

The gentle and calm nature of greyhounds mean they get on well with other dogs, children and even cats. Adoption agencies like Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) carefully match each dog to ensure you get the perfect pet for you and your family.


04\ There’s no doggy smell

One of the biggest advantages of owning a greyhound is they don’t have that typical doggy smell because their coats aren’t oily like most other breeds. Winning!


05\ They make great apartment dogs

Because of the little exercise they require, they don’t need a big backyard. They happily spend much of the day snuggled up on the sofa making them the perfect dog for small homes.


06\ They don’t need a lot of exercise

Despite what you may think, greyhounds don’t need a lot of exercise. They have speed but not a lot of stamina. In fact, they are quintessential coach potatoes. They like a lot of sleep and on average need just two short 20-minute walks a day.


07\ They require very little grooming.

In comparison to other breeds, greyhounds don’t shed much hair and many greyhounds groom and clean themselves much like cats do.


08\ They are easy to train

Greyhounds are one of the world’s oldest dog breeds and thousands of years of breeding has made the greyhound what it is today – affectionate, intelligent, gentle and easily trainable. They also walk beautifully on a lead so there’s no training required.


09\ You become part of the great global greyhound community

The cult of the greyhound is far reaching and when you adopt a greyhound you immediately become part of a fabulous, supportive international community of greyhound lovers. The community organises regular meet-ups and all sorts of fun houndie activities.


10\ They are happy to be dressed up

The greyhound is unusual among canines in that it has very little body fat which means they will need a coat and pyjamas in winter. Perfect excuse to have fun dressing up your beloved hound.


Chester wears: Nude leather & brass collar and lead from Dogdogdog. l instagram: dogdogdog_nz

Chester wears: Nude leather & brass collar and lead from Dogdogdog. l instagram: dogdogdog_nz

Words: Leonie Barlow

If you want to know more about adopting a greyhound visit:

Greyhounds As Pets New Zealand


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