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Do some ex-race greyhounds have no prey drive?


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Hi, My partner and I are looking to adopt an ex-race greyhound who is 5 years old. We've been told she isn't interested in small dogs, cats, squirrels or foxes but when off lead with dogs she does like to chase and will bark if they don't run. I was just wondering what people's experience on here are of ex-racers and their prey drive - is it possible that some show little prey instinct? Thanks in advance, Justine

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Not that much experience here, but our grey is an ex racer.  He has kind of a limited prey drive.  Cats, squirrels, other dogs don’t seem to trigger him usually.  However if a cat does certain things like climb a tree in front of him, or a rabbit runs across his path, he will fixate on them. Ears pricked, eyes focused tense stance.  He has never attempted to chase but it would pay you to keep your attention on your dog around other animals. When they fixate their drive is engaged, in my experience. You’ll get great advice on the forum. 

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Prey drive is a very individual thing, anywhere from very high to totally not interested. Many dogs, not just greyhounds, show interest in anything that is moving fast, and inside is usually different from outside. It is a good idea to keep your dog leashed outside until you know how she responds, but it sounds like has shown a pretty low prey drive. The chasing and barking with other dogs is just play.

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A reputable adoption group will always cat/small dog test any incoming dogs to discover their level or prey drive so that they can be placed in a home that's appropriate for them.  With the caveat that sometimes a stressed or anxious dog will totally lie about it.  So no matter what one is told about a newly adopted dog, it's always best to be very cautious with small dogs and/or cats that live inside the home with a greyhound.

That being said, a 5 year old greyhound sounds like she *may* have already been in a home, and returned through no fault of her own.  So reports of her cat/small dog tolerance are probably more reliable.  It's possible she has lived amicably with cats/small dogs previously.

If she's a 5 year old who is just coming off the track recently that would indicate to me she has a very well developed prey drive which helped her have a long and successful racing career.  This kind of dog would probably not do well in a home with residents cats or smaller dogs.  This holds true if she's been retired for a few years and been on a farm for breeding or recovering from injury - generally a higher prey drive in dogs coming from these situations.

If you're concerned about free-range cats and wildlife out on walks, all bets are off.  Even greyhounds who will cuddle up for a nice afternoon nap with their indoor kitty friend will often be a serious chaser when outside.  Occasionally a greyhound will be OK with an indoor/outdoor cat they are familiar with, but *I* would never test this.

If you're concerned about how she would react in a dog park setting, interacting with multiple kinds of other breeds, there's really no way to know for sure.  Greyhounds play differently than other breeds, and other dogs are often intimidated by the barking/lunging/wrestling/snarling that goes on when greyhounds play together.  Their owners get even more freaked out.  I would never let a greyhound loose in a dog park where small and large dogs are running together due to the danger of something serious getting started by a misunderstanding.  Particularly because, while a greyhound should *always* be muzzled when playing with other greyhounds, they should *never* be muzzled in a dog park.

If you have a resident indoor cat or small dog and are worried about how or if a greyhound could fit in, it is completely possible to find one.  If it's not this dog, there will be one at some time, you just might need to wait for one in this adoption environment.

Good luck and let us know what happens!!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I have two greyhounds. Grace has a low pry drive which has diminished as she's got older and now shows no interest in the local cat or squirrel population even when they move. She doesn't even glance at them but if they run then all bets are off. She has lost a nail chasing a rabbit and knocked a tooth out chasing a squirrel.

Guinness on the other hand will chase anything and if it's not moving he will bark and lunge at it to make it run. I wouldn't trust him off the lead in a dog park unless we were the only ones there.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) b. 18 June 2014 - Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 - Going grey gracefully
Guinness (Antigua Rum) b. 3 September 2017 - Gotcha Day 18 March 2022 - A gentleman most of the time

 

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I've had a mix of 14 greyhounds and multiple small breed dogs. All get along in the house. Generally they got along outside ok unless a squirrel chase was underfoot. Mostly there was a tumble rather than any play nipping.

Like greysmom said, skip the dog park. If it's a greyhound-only gathering, fine. More often we hear big trouble from little dogs at public dog parks.

No testing by your group will 100% guarantee the dog getting along with a small dog or cat. It's up to you to remain diligent when out in public with the greyhound.

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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I've had 4 greyhounds who got along fine with my cats indoors. I introduced them slowly and carefully.  It helped a lot that the cats were not spooked by the dogs. As above, I would never try the dogs outside offleash with the cats -- too much instinct, too quickly.  After the cats died, I just happened to have a string of dogs who definitely failed their cat tests.   I've never had any serious trouble on-leash even with the highest prey drive dog with loose cats or wildlife -- an instinctual jump, maybe, and then "Oh, yeah, I'm on the @(#** leash."  Most of the time they just stare fixedly.  

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Yes, some ex-race greyhounds do have no prey drive. This means that they are not motivated to hunt other animals. Some dogs that have had no prey drive may start chasing or attacking other animals when they see them, but this is usually short-lived and the dog returns to playing with their companions.

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Out of 6 greyhounds, only 2 have a "prey drive" and it's for squirrels. However, when we are on a walk, they have been taught not to bother with them. Our other greyhounds wouldn't bother with prey at all. They would just stand and watch them running in the yard, then turn away. However, most of them really enjoyed running with other greyhounds and playing with them.

So, we've had it pretty easy over the last 18 years considering we never took prey drive into our adoption decision. 

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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My first Greyhound, Piper the Perfect :wub:, had a very brief racing career but did well in the few starts he had.  Even in retirement, he had a strong desire to be out front in any group walk.  I prefer to be at the back :blush but, without any pulling of visible effort, Piper and I ended up in the lead every time. :lol  And yet this sweet boy had no interest ever in chasing or hunting anything.  He lived happily with cats and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  One of the funniest things I've ever seen was the backyard "parade" comprised of hopping baby Mocking bird...Cavalier Winston...Piper...and me, anxiously bringing up the rear.  Neither dog meant any harm and I felt foolish for worrying and very amused by the picture we must have presented. Of the 4 Greyhounds I've had the joy of sharing my home with, not a one has been a serious hunter.  Blind Nate does enjoy a good squirrel chase, though.

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Lucy with Greyhound Nate and OSH Tinker. With loving memories of MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, Miles the slinky kitty (OSH), Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin), Winston, Yoda, Hector, and Claire.

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My little champ, Buddy, will chase anything that moves if it’s close enough. Instinct kicks in way before his brain engages. It makes walks in the park in autumn very lively when the squirrels are scurrying around. The phrase that comes to mind is ‘BRACE BRACE BRACE’! He will attempt to catch anything that crosses his path - rabbits, cats, birds, leaves, crisp packets and bumblebees. Having said that, it REALLY needs to be moving to pique his interest, and if it’s too far away, he will stare without giving chase. He has also been known to instigate staring competitions with cats that are within a few feet, but if the cat brazens it out and doesn’t bolt, Buddy doesn’t know what to do with himself. His ears give away the confusion of thoughts in his tiny head, and he usually huffs in frustration at not being able to work out what’s going on, before continuing his walk.

(Hedgehogs are the exception to the ‘needs to be moving’ rule. They just need to be in sniffing distance (within half a mile) and smell like hedgehog to fall victim :()

Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

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Quote

Hedgehogs are the exception to the ‘needs to be moving’ rule.

A rolled-up hedgehog reminds me that dear Baz once came across an opossum in a lovely fenced-in woods where we used to live.  He was totally confused by the possum's playing dead technique.  He stood over the poor little rolled-up creature and barked furiously for a long time, then finally left it.  After a minute, the possum jumped up, gave a little shake, and trundled off to whatever possum business that had been so rudely interrupted.  

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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22 hours ago, MerseyGrey said:

(Hedgehogs are the exception to the ‘needs to be moving’ rule. They just need to be in sniffing distance (within half a mile) and smell like hedgehog to fall victim :()

Oh Buddy, please just stick to the stuffed indoors hedgehogs and leave the real ones alone.

Wiki almost killed herself the first two times she saw a rabbit in the yard, running full speed into the fence and the bottom branches of a huge juniper. She seems to have learned her lesson and now every night she and the bunny look at each other and bunny casually hops away if Wiki gets too close. But she does actively hunt and catch small rodents (mice & voles) in the yard.

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Jerilyn, missing Lila (Good Looking), new Mistress to Wiki (PJ Wicked).
 
 

 

 

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When I got Starry 2 years ago, my 10 year old cat who is completely docile and sweet to humans gave him a good slap to the face on their first meeting. Since then, Starrys been scared of her ever since. Only after about a year did Starry start figuring out that if he ignores her, she won't swat him for no reason. They have come as close to sniffing each other and tolerate each other when they are close by or in close quarters. If Starry is sniffy at all towards her or curious she give him a nasty sounding meow or hisses at him and he will either go in another room or just look away and pretend she isn't there. 

 

I've done a lot of research and it's usually the dog going after the cat, but not the other way around. I had them separated via baby gate for that first initial year between upstairs and downstairs (the dog had upstairs) and then when I was confident enough that they won't eat each other, I let the gate open giving the cat a way to escape just in case, but usually it's the dog that needs an escape route, LOL. 


As for outside, he gets alerted by bunnies and squirrels, but he's never lunged at them. Usually he just ignores them or does some light pulling at the most. He's scared and timid around cats he sees outside. He's never really pulled at me to get to a critter. Although when I let him off leash in our backyard, he has been known to chase a squirrel up a tree or fence.

 

As for his racing career, he's only done less than 15 races and never won one, I've talked to one of his handlers before and they have confirmed he was not interested in chasing a lure haha 

Edited by Legendaryfrank
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/12/2022 at 5:10 PM, JJP12 said:

Hi, My partner and I are looking to adopt an ex-race greyhound who is 5 years old. We've been told she isn't interested in small dogs, cats, squirrels or foxes but when off lead with dogs she does like to chase and will bark if they don't run. I was just wondering what people's experience on here are of ex-racers and their prey drive - is it possible that some show little prey instinct? Thanks in advance, Justine

Apollo has almost 0 prey drive.  The squirrels in the neighborhood recognize him and don't even bolt for their trees when he's around.  (One of them actually approaches him, and stares him down... it's quite funny tbh.)  I mean He gets his zoomie moods and will play with his stuffies, and run around the house like a giant goofy holstein cow, but prey drive?  Nah.  He's just not interested in that.  Probably why he only ran 6 times.

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My Mandy, who raced 134 races, had no prey drive. The only time she reacted to any prey animal was when a squirrel ran across her foot, actually touching her. She looked down at the squirrel. She didn't bother to try and chase it. Outdoor cats would walk right up to her and she basically shrugged. She was bomb proof with animals.

My second Grey, Sammy, couldn't have cared less about squirrels, chipmunks, or rabbits, but would go ballistic at foxes and deer, rearing up on his back legs and barking like a fool. He was also very picky about cats, especially outside.

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Beverly. Missing my happy toy-flinging boy Sammy (Where's Mandrill), (8/12/2009-9/30-2021) Desperately missing my angel Mandy (BB's Luv) [7/1/2000 - 9/18/2012]. Always missing Meg the Dalmatian and Ralph Malph the Pekeapoo.

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