Room on the sofa for a leggy lovely?

There are large numbers of Greyhounds and Lurchers in rescue centres all over the UK, all hoping to find their forever home. With encouragement and training, these gentle dogs make the most loyal and loving companions 

Posted: 10 January 2019

Room on the sofa for a leggy lovely?


Once their career on the track comes to an end, many ex-racing Greyhounds sadly find themselves in rescue kennels. Because they are associated with speed – they can clock up over 50 mph in short bursts – people mistakenly believe they need lots of exercise. In fact, most Greyhounds are actually coach potatoes who, as long as they get a couple of short walks a day, prefer to spend much of their time lying on a comfy bed or sofa, often in the strangest positions.

However, these lazy loungers have some hard-wired instincts that are important to understand and manage.

The thrill of the chase

Greyhounds and Lurchers are sighthounds with a highly developed prey drive. This means it’s their instinct to chase small animals. Care must be taken around cats, smaller dogs and other animals that may summon up their hard-wired hunting behaviours. When playing with a small dog, there is a risk of what’s known as ‘predatory drift’, when the larger dog loses the inhibition that they have learned over generations and a prey drive response is triggered. This can result in the dog no longer seeing the smaller canine as a playmate, but as prey. Ensure you manage any interactions with other animals very carefully and provide plenty of toys to chuck, chase and play with to help channel their hunting urges.

The importance of recall

Practicing recall regularly in a safe, enclosed spot is essential, so you can be confident that your hound will come when you call them. We’ve got some great tips on getting your dog to come back here >>. Never leave the house without some tasty, high value treats in your pocket, so you’re ready to distract your dog if their attention is aroused by something small and fluffy in the vicinity.

Did you know?

The Greyhound is one of the oldest known breeds of dog, dating back to an ancient breed in Egyptian times. They were a popular choice with royalty and, by the 11th century in England, were owned exclusively by the nobility.

The value of games

Lurchers often have a tendency to become easily bored, which can lead to destructive behaviour. Hide and seek and fetch games – there are some to try out here >> – are a good way to keep them mentally stimulated, along with a selection of chew toys to encourage them away from things they shouldn’t be munching on. 

Did you know?

Lurchers, originally bred for hunting and poaching, are usually a cross between a sighthound breed – such as Greyhound, Saluki or Whippet – and a Collie or Terrier. Because they’re a mixed breed, no two Lurchers are the same – in looks or temperament. One might have the stamina of a Collie and the gentleness of a Greyhound – another the cuddliness of a Whippet with the swiftness of a Saluki.

The necessity of training

Positive, reward-based training is also really important for rescue hounds. Some of these dogs may have never lived in a home with a human family before and it can be a very bewildering experience for them to begin with. Positive reinforcement training is one of the ways that your dog learns to trust you and understands what’s required of him. We’ve lots of advice on reward-based training here >>

Did you know?

Greyhounds are renowned for being affectionate – there’s even a thing called the ‘Greyhound full body lean’, which is just one of the ways these long-legged canines show that they love you.

The right nutrition

Burgess Greyhound and Lurcher Food has been specially created to meet the nutritional needs of Greyhounds and Lurchers as pets. This carefully crafted recipe contains glucosamine to help stiff joints and overworked legs, Omega 3, which is beneficial in helping temperature regulation and promoting a glossy coat and healthy skin, prebiotics to help digestive health and a slightly lower level of protein, as too much protein may cause anxiety and hyperactivity. Plus, for every sack purchased, we donate 20p to Greyhound and Lurcher rescue centres.

If you found this interesting, you may also like:

Taking on a rescue dog Many dogs find themselves in rescue centres through no fault of their own and, with time, lots of patience and plenty of kindness, will make a happy addition to your family. Our guide can help...

Pack leader or perfect partners? Being a five-star dog owner is all about building a brilliant human/canine bond. Good dog owners set behaviour boundaries, but also provide space in the partnership for a dog to be a dog