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“They can't live with cats or other small animals.” This is another common misconception. Many greyhounds (including my own) can adapt to living with cats and other small animals. However, not all greyhounds are suited to a set-up such as this. For some, the chase instinct is so strong that it would be dangerous and irresponsible to place them in a home with another small animal. Reputable rescue/rehoming centers should be able to advise you whether a greyhound is cat-friendly, cat-trainable or cannot live with cats. Many greyhounds, with careful training, can adjust to life with cats, chickens and even rabbits.

Greyhound, Stevie dozes with Tula the cat: Many greyhounds can learn to live with cats and other small animals

Medical Idiosyncrasies

Many of us like to think our preferred breed of dog is “different.” However, there are some definite differences in greyhound physiology when compared to other breeds of dogs. These are worth bearing in mind, especially if your vet is not “greyhound savvy.” (The Greyhound Health InitiativeTM, 2016).

Blood Chemistry: When it comes to hematology, greyhounds (and most other sighthound breeds) have blood cell counts and blood chemistry values different from those in other breeds. For example, a greyhound’s red blood cell count is higher and their platelet and white blood cell counts lower, which is why so many greyhounds make great blood donors for pet blood banks. (The Greyhound Health InitiativeTM, 2016).

Thyroid Levels: It is important for owners and vets to know that many greyhounds have low thyroid values. Most vets measure levels of the thyroid hormone, T4, which, in non-greyhound dogs should be in the 15-50 nmol/L. However, in greyhounds, salukis, and most other sighthound A breeds tested, most dogs have values <15 nmol/L. In other words, a low thyroid level in a greyhound is completely normal; it does not mean a dog is suffering from hypothyroidism. (The Greyhound Health InitiativeTM, 2016).

Heart Murmurs: Greyhounds and most other sighthounds are known to have “normal” or physiologic flow murmurs. The main pump in the heart (the left ventricle) is very large and it pumps blood at higher velocity so it swirls, creating an abnormal heart sound – known as a murmur. Generally, in greyhounds, these murmurs are mild in nature (grade 12 out of 6) and are “normal.” Heart disease is uncommon in greyhounds, but prevalent in other sighthound breeds

Adopting a Greyhound

Upon adding a greyhound to your home, people often become smitten with the breed and cannot imagine a life without them. To quote an oft used phrase: "Greyhounds aren't my whole life, but they make life whole." If you have ever considered offering a greyhound a home, I would urge you to visit your local greyhound rehoming center and go and meet some. Be warned though, greyhounds are addictive and one is often not enough! n

Photo/Susan McKeon


The Greyhound Health Initiative. (2016). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from www


Phenix, A. (2015, July). The Thyroid Epidemic. BARKS from the Guild (13) 50. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from /petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_july_2015_online_version _opt _1/50 Susan McKeon BSc (Hons) is a UK-based professional dog trainer and behavior consultant who runs Happy Hounds Dog Training and Behavior, She works with many sighthounds and their families professionally and works for UK charity, the Forever Hounds Trust, www, providing behavior and training advice to families to have adopted ex-racing greyhounds and lurchers.

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BARKS from the Guild March 2017  
BARKS from the Guild March 2017  

The bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, canine, feline, equine, p...