About Greyhounds & Lurchers

Greyt! You’re considering adopting a dog from GAL.


Greyhounds are lazy, gentle, quiet and affectionate dogs that make fantastic family pets.


Whether you’re a first time owner, or have had sight hounds before, we’ve compiled this page to help you decide if a sight hound really is the right dog for you.


Greyhounds and lurchers are part of the sight hound family, a breed of dog that hunts using their excellent eyesight. They’re always scanning the environment and will spot something on the horizon (usually) long before you have.


Whilst greyhounds are pedigree dogs, lurchers are technically the offspring of a greyhound mated with another pedigree dog (usually a collie or terrier). However, the term is more commonly used to describe any dog that has, or is thought to have, some sight hound in its ancestry!


Lurchers have more stamina than greyhounds and subsequently need more exercise. They tend to be more playful, active and intelligent hounds.


Because greyhounds, and some lurchers, have been breed and trained to chase, they can have a high prey drive/urge to chase. This usually subsides once the greyhound has retired from the racetrack, or when the lurcher is no longer instructed to hunt. However, this instinct can be instantly rekindled by the sight of something exciting, such as a rabbit, squirrel or occasionally even a very lively, off lead, dog in the park.


Greyhounds are used to wearing muzzles when they’re racing and we insist all GAL dogs in foster homes are muzzled when out on walks. New owners should follow suit - at least for the first four weeks and until they are 100% certain their new dog is calm and controllable in a variety of situations.


We are strongly against letting greyhounds off lead. These dogs can run at speeds of up to 40mph – Usain Bolt has nothing on these guys! Before you have time to open your mouth to recall it, your greyhound will be out of earshot. They have little road sense and can quickly get lost!


On the plus side, greyhounds walk very nicely on the lead. Whilst they have great speed, they don’t have great stamina! They do not need lots of exercise and usually 2-3 x 20-30 minute walks each day will suffice. That’s not to say your greyhound won’t enjoy longer walks, but they may need building up gradually. They’ll not appreciate being dragged up Munroe’s though!


Like people, no dog is “perfect”! Before moving into a GAL foster home most of our dogs will only ever have known solitary kennel life. This does not mean they are happy in their own company for hours on end. Your hound may never have walked on laminate flooring, encountered stairs, had someone, or another dog, in the same room with them when they’re eating, nor been woken from sleep by a gentle hand. Whist in a foster home your dog will have been introduced to a variety of new experiences, but we can’t cover every single scenario.


Introductions to your unique family and home need to be done slowly and gently. When you adopt a hound he/she may not feel like immediately showering you with love – give him/her time to trust you, space for peace, positive reinforcement and consistency and he/she will repay you tenfold - when ready!


We do not rehome hounds to households where there are resident children under 3 years of age. If you have children they should be supervised at all times around any dog and your dog must have a bed (or crate) where it can go and be undisturbed. We advise you do not allow your dog to sleep in children’s bedrooms.


Before coming to you, your dog will already have made a lot of adjustments. You and your family may also have some adjustments to make too, especially if you’ve not owned a dog before.  


Greyhounds are generally fit and healthy dogs. However, sight hounds are considered deep chested dogs and are therefore slightly more prone to gastric torsion (bloat) – a serious, but rare, condition that can be fatal. Some factors that are thought to contribute to the development of bloat are: too much exercise before and after eating and inhaling too much air when eating. We therefore strongly advise hounds are fed from a raised feeder and not walked excessively an hour prior to, or after a meal.


As well as routine (and non routine) vet fees other financial considerations need to be made before adopting any pet. We expect potential owners to have the following in place prior to adopting a dog from us:


  • A house collar with I.D tag. (House collar available to buy from GAL).

  • Either; a leather slip collar, a fabric martingale collar, or a harness, for walks. (Collars available to buy from GAL)

  • A lead, non-extending type. (Available to buy from GAL)

  • A decent coat (Available to buy from GAL) - Greyhounds have very little body fat and feel the cold, as well as the heat.

  • A raised dog feeder.

  • A dog bed (or suitably sized crate)– an old duvet will do.

  • Dog food – we recommend dry kibble (approx. 20% protein) as this is best for your dog’s dental care. We can let you know what food your dog is used to in its foster home.


You should also seriously consider insuring your dog – we recommend you shop around and always read the small print!!!


GAL currently asks for a minimum donation of £150 upon adopting a hound from us. This includes a free muzzle and goes a (very) small way in recuperating costs incurred for neutering/spaying, vaccinating, microchipping and kenneling each of our hounds. It’ll also give you a year’s free membership to GAL!


We have a very informative adoption pack, which we expect new owners to read when they adopt their new family member! Our follow up coordinator will keep in touch for the first few weeks or until both parties are happy with how the dog has settled in. We will then happily provide support, when asked, through the various stages of your dog’s life.


We hope this page has helped you reach a decision on whether a GAL hound is for you. If it is, then we’d love for you to submit an application form.


If you’re still unsure, why not come along to one of our monthly dog walks, or other events, to meet some hounds and have a chat?


If not, thank you for taking the time to consider a GAL hound and please always adopt rather than shop!






Scottish Charity No. SC 031037 

Tel: 0870 888 7277 

Email: info@gal.org.uk