Covid-19 update: Our rehoming centres in England will be closed to the public until lockdown lifts in early December. We’re still rehoming and taking in dogs, with increased social distancing measures in place to keep our staff and adopters safe.

Greyhounds and Lurchers as pets

The Greyhound is one of the oldest known breeds of dog, dating back to an ancient breed in Egyptian times. They were often owned by royalty, and by the 11th century in England were owned exclusively by nobility. No longer the ‘dog of kings’, they are now most famously used for our amusement and gambling on race tracks across the UK. Sadly many ‘retired’ racers end up in rescue kennels waiting for a loving home to spend the rest of their lives in once their working days are over.

Lurchers are usually a cross between a sighthound breed (e.g. Greyhound, Saluki and Whippet) and a Collie or Terrier. Originally bred for hunting and poaching, they share many of the sighthound traits, both in their speed and brains! They can vary more in their looks, particularly as their coats can be long- or short-haired, and colouring can differ greatly depending on the mix of breed in each dog.

There are large numbers of Greyhounds and Lurchers in rescue centres all over the UK. If you choose to welcome one of these ‘long dogs’ into your home you will be rewarded with a gentle, loyal - and surprisingly lazy - pet. Read on to find out more about these leggy lovelies...

A lurcher puppy sitting next to his owner  

What you should know about Greyhounds and Lurchers

Greyhounds and Lurchers are strong, muscular dogs, with a keen eye and a talent for sprinting. They usually get on well with other dogs but will instinctively chase cats and small animals. And being so fast, they may be quick enough to catch them!

  • Contrary to what people usually think, Greyhounds and Lurchers are often couch potatoes and need very little exercise. They like nothing more than to cosy up on a comfy bed and snooze in a warm home, being quite lazy at heart.
  • Dog-proof your garden! As with all breeds, Dogs Trust recommends a secure garden to play in. This is especially so for Greyhounds and Lurchers as they are extremely athletic and some can clear a 6-foot fence!
  • Lurchers need lots of mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour. Obedience training and fetch games are a good way to occupy them, and food is a great reward tool to use in their training. Giving them chew toys or rawhide chews will also help prevent them chewing your best furniture too.
  • They eat the same food as other dogs – and the same amount. They are also prime scavengers so make sure you don’t leave your dinner where they can reach it – you may want to get a dogproof bin too or their heads will be in it looking for scraps.

What to do if you want to welcome a Greyhound into your life...

Choosing to get a dog is a very big decision, whatever breed you want to get. There are many Greyhounds and Lurchers in rescues throughout the UK, all looking for loving homes. You can visit your nearest Dogs Trust rehoming centre, or look up breed-specific rescues in your area to find the right dog for you.

As with any dog, if children are sensible and calm around them, Greyhounds and Lurchers can make great family pets and should not pose a problem in families with young children. However, as with all dogs, children should understand the importance of not disturbing a dog whilst he is eating and that he is not to be encouraged by being given food from the table.

f you welcome an ex-racer into your home, remember that they will have spent most of their life in kennels and will need time and gentle encouragement to get used to the home environment. Take care when out with your new dog, around smaller dogs and other animals that may remind them of their hunting instincts. Providing toys to chase and play with can help to channel their hunting urges away from the local wildlife!

As with any dog, having the time to devote to them and providing them with a comfortable and secure environment really can bring the best out in these dogs - making them a loyal and loving companion for many years to come.