“45-mph Couch Potatoes”
Updated: Mar 21, 2019
Today, I’m switching from wild animals to domesticated ones: Greyhounds!
I’ve had three greyhounds in my family. (Wednesday and Mystery, my current houndies, are #2 and #3. See them here.) Before they came into my life, I knew nothing about the personalities, or the plight, of these “45-mph couch potatoes.” Based on the conversations I’ve had over the years when I walk them, I’m not the only one who didn’t have much information.
So, with no further ado: some things you probably didn’t know about greyhounds:
Sure, you know that they’re fast, but did you know that only the cheetah can outrun greyhounds in a sprint? They can go from zero to 45 mph in a matter of seconds! (Reason #1 that they must always be on leash when not in a secure area)
You’ll rarely see a grey greyhound. (Poor name choice? Apparently.) That said, they come in an amazing array of colors! Check out this chart.
Almost every greyhound you’ll see (except at a dog show) has been rescued from an unpleasant life at a racetrack.
A greyhound “fresh off the track” will probably never have seen everyday things like stairs, a sliding glass door, cars, and many other things that we and other dogs take for granted—so they need a little help. But they learn quickly. Greyhound Adoption Center (GAC; an amazing rescue and rehabilitation organization) works with all its new arrivals to help them get used to “the big outside world.”
Greyhounds have absolutely no “street smarts.” (Reason #2 that they must always be on leash when not in a secure area)
Greyhound advocacy and rescue organizations like GAC estimate that approximately 13,000 “retired” greyhounds are adopted annually throughout the United States; 20,000 are killed each year, including approximately 7,000 puppies and young dogs that have been culled from the system before the age of 18 months.
The average age of a “retired” greyhound that makes it to the safety of an adoption program is 2½ to 3 years old. Greyhounds typically live 12 to 14 years.
Most greyhounds love (and I mean love) squeaky toys and stuffed animals. My two sleep with their heads pushed up against (or underneath) a stuffed animal. They like to throw them, make them squeak and play tug-of-war.
Greyhounds make wonderful family pets: Generally, they’re quiet, clean and affectionate—and contrary to what most people expect, they do not need a huge yard. As long as they get a decent walk daily, they’ll snooze away the rest of the day. (That’s where the “couch potato” part comes from.)