Light tan Greyhound Dog with red numbered vest running on racetrack

Is It Hard to Adopt A Greyhound?

Many people wonder if it is hard to adopt a Greyhound. They are often sought after because they are such graceful and beautiful dogs who can make great pets for any type of home. Despite their large size, they do equally well in apartments and larger homes with yards provided they can get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Greyhounds are gentle, mild-tempered, intelligent, and sweet dogs who fit well with most families.

As a result, many people are now interested in adopting a Greyhound that has been retired from racing. Not only is the breed adorable, but many people want to adopt retired Greyhounds to prevent them from being euthanized or used as breeding dogs or blood donors.

But after 2020, some people have found it a bit harder to adopt a Greyhound than in the past. This is largely due to more racetrack closings in recent years and higher demand since the COVID epidemic. Yet there are still plenty of Greyhounds who need good homes. Keep reading to find out more about this trend.

Why It May be Getting Harder to Adopt a Greyhound

The dog racing industry as a whole in the United States peaked in the 1980s. Until recently, horse and dog racetracks were the only legitimate places to gamble in the United States outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. But after a growing awareness that some dogs were maltreated and often suffered injuries, more and more states have enacted laws to shut down racetracks.

As of 2022 over 41 states have made dog racing illegal. Additionally, in 2020 several racetracks shut down due to COVID restrictions and switched to other types of gambling, thankfully for the dogs.

As the industry began to decline, many racetrack executives claimed that increased protections had been put into place over recent years. They stated that it was beneficial for owners to protect their dogs and keep them healthy so they could win races. This may have been true, but when race dogs were retired, they were often euthanized or sent to labs or blood banks–an even more horrific fate.

As a result of laws banning racing in recent years and the financial downfall of racetracks, a glut of Greyhounds was available in 2020. In addition, many people were adopting dogs for the first time due to the restrictions of COVID and more people working at home. So, in subsequent years, Greyhounds have become a little less available. See this great article by WBUR.org of Boston, an NPR affiliate, for this trend about Greyhound adoption.

Greyhounds Are Still Available for Adoption

Light Tan Greyhound standing in the grass
Greyhound ready to be adopted

Although people rushed to adopt the glut of Greyhounds who were suddenly being retired, many dogs still need good homes. A lot of them have been living in foster homes for several months getting ready for their “forever” home.

Race tracks still exist and continue to retire Greyhounds after 3-5 years of racing. These dogs are still young and in need of a good home to continue to live out their lives. In addition, there may also be a large number of puppies available through breeders who can no longer sell dogs to owners for racing.

However, keep in mind, that these pups will be different than retired racing Greyhounds who have been trained in very specific ways. Racing Greyhounds are trained to be obedient and are used to being managed by handlers and vets.

Where to Adopt

There are still numerous rescue groups throughout the United States and worldwide where you can adopt a Greyhound. I have cited two rescue groups in California and Texas on my page, Why You Should Adopt a Greyhound. These were two that I was familiar with and I researched their credentials. But there are many more good organizations. You can find one near you on this site, United States directory Greyhoundgang.org.

I suggest that you check in your local area to find a reputable rescue group near your home. Part of the difficulty with adopting a Greyhound is arranging to pick up the dog at their facility. And, they do not always pay for transportation expenses.

Even though there are only 2-4 race tracks still open in the United States, Greyhound racing continues to be popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. International adoption can take place, but the cost and trauma to the dog are issues of concern.

The Process to Adopt a Greyhound

Sweet Greyhound sleeping on sofa
Sweet Greyhound sleeping on the sofa in her new home

Probably the biggest hurdle in adopting a Greyhound is to find a reputable rescue group near your home. Once you have found a local group, the process may take a little time. Even so, it is fairly simple. Adoption fees range from $150-$550 to help cover the costs of housing and medical care. Most organizations require the following steps toward adoption:

  • Complete an application
  • Have a home visit
  • Review available dogs and best matches
  • Pick up the dog for a trial period
  • Sign an agreement regarding the care of the dog and re-homing if needed
  • Monthly or quarterly check-ins for the first year
  • Resources and support will be provided as needed

Even though this may seem like a lot at first glance, it is fairly straightforward. The goal is to ensure the well-being of a dog who has had a challenging past. The rescue group also wants to help you with a smooth transition. They will provide support so you can overcome possible obstacles and truly enjoy your new furry family member.

Will Greyhounds Become Extinct?

As Greyhound racing continues to wind down due to legislation and economic necessity, the fate of the Greyhound breed is in question. For now, many retired Greyhounds are still quite available. Due to their recent popularity and the growing awareness of this graceful and beautiful dog, demand has increased significantly.

Additionally, breeders may turn more to families who want to adopt in the future. This will help replace sales to business people who purchase Greyhounds to make a profit. Even though there may be fewer Greyhounds in the future, they will be living in loving homes. Instead of thousands of retired Greyhounds being euthanized, a smaller number will be able to live happy lives well into their golden years.