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Greyhounds   and   lurchers   are   working   dogs,   but   their   working   life   can   be   hard   and   sadly   very   short.   Lurchers   are   a   cross between   a   greyhound   and   something   else.   They   are   used   illegally   for   hare   coursing   and   since   the   introduction   of   laws outlawing the ‘sport’, are frequently just abandoned. Because of this they are often found in very poor condition. Greyhounds,   on   the   other   hand,   live   a   perfectly   legal   life   doing   what   they   enjoy   most   ...   running.   They   are   arguably   the oldest   breed   of   domesticated   dog   (the   only   dog   mentioned   in   the   Bible),   and   have   been   used   for   hunting   for   thousands   of years.   Greyhounds   are   sight   hounds;   dogs   that   hunt   their   prey   by   sight   rather   than   scent;   and   are   incredibly   fast.   At around 40-45 mph, and reaching top speed in seconds, they are the fastest breed of dog. Unfortunately,   if   they   are   not   quite   fast   enough   or   get   injured   racing,   their   career   is   over   and   unless homed   are   likely   to   be   put   down.   I   have   a   greyhound,   Sid   (see   picture   to   right)   who,   at   just   eleven   months   old   was   going   to   be   put down   because   he   wouldn’t   race,   though   to   see   him   run   it’s   hard   to   believe.   Fortunately   his   trainer   took   him   to   a   vet   (many   are   just shot   or   worse)   and   the   vet   refused,   saying   there   was   nothing   wrong   with   him   and   that   he   would   not   put   down   a   perfectly   healthy animal.   We   heard   about   Sid   from   a   friend   who   owns   greyhounds   and   knew   we   were   looking   for   a   companion   for   our   other   dog, Blue,   took   him   home   for   a   weekend   in   October   2004   to   see   if   they   got   on,   and   he’s   been   with   us   ever   since.   Blue   died   in   2009   and Sid   was   heartbroken.   We   spent   months   looking   for   a   new   companion   for   him   and   eventually   found   Tilly.   They   are   both   now   11 years old and spend most of their time resting, but we love them as much as ever. You   might   think   that   being   racing   and   hunting   dogs,   they   would   not   make   good   pets.   On   the   whole   you   would   be   wrong.   Despite   their size,   greyhounds   are   very   loving   animals,   particularly   with   children   and   older   people.   They   seem   to   know   instinctively   that   they shouldn’t   be   too   boisterous   with   some   people.   Greyhounds   are   like   the   cheetahs   of   the   dog   world.   They   live   in   short   bursts   and spend   hours   just   lazing   about.   Two   twenty   minute   walks   a   day   will   provide   all   the   exercise   they   need   though   if   you   have somewhere   secure   where   they   can   run   it’s   unlikely   that   they’ll   turn   down   the   opportunity.   Like   all   dogs   they   should   be   kept   on   a lead   when   being   walked.   They   have   no   road   sense   and   will   happily   chase   after   a   squirrel   or   rabbit   if   they   see   one   ...   so   be   warned! Once they have seen prey don’t expect them to come back to you if you call ... their mind may well be elsewhere.
Greyhounds and lurchers make great pets. For information on rescue charities, news, fun dog shows etc.