Ex-racers are odds on favourite for Leeds dog lovers

Dogs Trust Leeds has seen big wins for its rescue greyhounds this year, with more demand for its long-legged friends than ever before.

Since lockdown, the rehoming centre has found forever homes for 29 greyhounds – most of which are ex-racing dogs, who have never known anything other than kennel life. A further five greyhounds found homes earlier in the year.

Greyhounds belong to a group of dogs called sighthounds, which includes whippets, salukis and lurchers. In the past, misconceptions about sighthounds have made them more challenging to find families for. Some people think they need lots of exercise or that they are dangerous because you sometimes see them wearing a muzzle when out and about.

But Dogs Trust Leeds rehoming centre manager Amanda Sands is keen to bust these myths to ensure all of the sighthounds in her care find the loving families they deserve.

Amanda Sands said:

"Adopting a greyhound isn’t a gamble. As a breed they are very loving and affectionate and despite their long legs and love of running, they don’t need more exercise than any other dog.

"Some sighthounds have a high chase drive, and these dogs will wear a muzzle when out on walks in case they get too excited around smaller dogs and animals. It shouldn’t be taken as a reflection of their character though, as sighthounds make wonderful family pets in the right home."

Jack is just one of the gorgeous greyhounds from Dogs Trust Leeds who found a home this year. His new owners Joshua Buckland and Ellen Bower, from Castleford, had done some research about greyhounds and found there was more to the breed than they first thought.

Jack’s new owner Joshua said:

"Myself and my fiancé Ellen had both grown up with dogs, so when we moved into our first house with a garden, we were keen to get a dog of our own. Neither of us had had a greyhound in the family before, and it wasn’t a breed we were considering until we did a bit of background reading.

"We wanted a big sofa dog and that’s exactly what Jack is! He wants lots of attention, he’s affectionate and is just the biggest bundle of joy.

"Jack certainly doesn’t need any more exercise than any other dog. He’s more Usain Bolt than Mo Farah – he likes a quick sprint but doesn’t want to keep running and running! He’s quite lazy most of the time and loves to snooze on the sofa.

"We use a muzzle with Jack when we are out on walks, which is a new thing for us. I have noticed people’s reaction to it, but they soon change their tune when Jack tries to lick them through the muzzle!

"I would wholeheartedly recommend a greyhound to anyone."

Three-year-old greyhound Jack was adopted by Joshua and Ellen in mid-March, after spending a majority of his life as a racing dog before being handed over to the Dogs Trust.

Dogs Trust Leeds currently has three sighthounds up for rehoming including greyhounds Ginger and Sonny, and lurcher Benji.

Three-year-old greyhounds Ginger and Sonny have both recently retired from racing and have never lived in a home before. They need to find understanding owners to help them settle into a new way of life and teach them basic training, including housetraining.

Ginger is nervous around new people but comes out of his shell with a little space. He loves being around other dogs and will need to find a home with another dog to help build his confidence. He can also live with older children (over 16s) who will understand he will come round at his own pace.

Sonny loves everyone he meets – humans and dogs alike! He’s already showing signs of being affectionate and loyal and would make a wonderful companion. Sonny could live with another calm dog who could be a good role model for him in his new environment, and older children (over 14s). No cats or small furry pets though due to his prey drive.

Five-year-old lurcher Benji is one of life’s real worriers and needs owners who are passionate about training to help this lovely lad manage his anxieties. He doesn’t like to be around other dogs – even living next door – and will need to be walked in quiet places. Benji would prefer an adult only house with very few visitors. Once you get to know Benji and there is a bond, he is very affectionate dog and he loves sofa snuggles.

Whilst rehoming was paused temporarily at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Dogs Trust rehoming centre staff have been able to responsibly find their dogs the right homes through a virtual matching service - using video-based home checks and socially distanced appointments, either at the rehoming centres, or by taking the dogs out to adopters’ homes. Dogs Trust rehoming centres remain closed for public browsing.

If you are interested in finding out more about Ginger, Sonny or Benji, then please get in touch with the team at Leeds on 0113 5324335