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Breed: Greyhound
Temperament: docile, placid
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Maintenance: low
Recommended for: families 

Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP)

Within the greyhound racing industry, up to 20,000 new dogs are born each year. These replace those dogs that have reached retirement age, at around five years. Retirement for a greyhound is a pleasant sounding term, but unfortunately, many of these dogs will be destroyed. Only a small percentage will go to stud, race overseas or retire with their owner.

The Greyhound Adoption Program is a non-profit organisation that aims to place retired greyhounds into homes, saving them from likely destruction. A GAP program operates in each state, with some funding provided by the state’s Greyhound Racing Authority.

GAP assesses the greyhound’s suitability as a pet and educates it to living in a family environment. Dogs accepted into GAP are first checked by a veterinarian and are then placed in temporary foster homes to help acclimatise them to a domestic setting. If the dog is suitable for re-homing, it’s then off to its adopting home.


Greyhounds are bred for strictly racing. Males weigh from 28kg-34kg, females between 22kg-28kg. The male stands at a shoulder height of up to 65cm (2′) and the females are shorter. They come in a variety of colours, with brindle and fawn the most common. Other colours include black, white, blue, red and brown or a combination of these.


Retired greyhounds are intelligent, docile, placid dogs that like to just lounge around the house, making them an ideal house pet. Greyhounds aren’t likely to be aggressive and are likely to walk away from troublesome children rather than snapping or barking at them.

Health & Lifespan

One outstanding advantage of the Greyhound is that it is a remarkably healthy breed. Unlike many other purebreds, they are less prone to serious genetic disorders. Their selective breeding for performance and athleticism, rather than the show-ring or appearance alone, precludes them from suffering many of the serious problems common to other purebreds. One significant example is hip dysplasia, a condition very common in many large breeds but almost unheard of amongst greyhounds. The dogs should be placed on a heartworm prevention treatment and should be wormed every month in the first year and then every three to six months following. Greyhounds can average 12 to 14 years.


Greyhounds are quite small eaters and require a balanced diet, including meat, dry food, pasta and vegetables. It costs around $10 a week to keep a greyhound well fed.


The retired greyhounds that come through the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) have been de-sexed so they are not used for breeding.

Costs and availability

Greyhounds cost between $150-$200 each, through the GAP program, depending on the state of origin. This covers the costs of de-sexing, vaccinating, worming and other treatments. GAP is always welcoming of new prospective owners.

Space and Exercise

The greyhound can live fairly well in a suburban backyard. Despite being fast dogs they do not need long daily walks because they are sprinters not endurance dogs. Nonetheless, like all dogs, regular walks are important. Greyhounds who graduate from the GAP program in Victoria and South Australia don’t require muzzles, but it’s still a requirement in all other states and territories. They are not aggressive, but a strong prey drive does exist. They should be kept on lead at all times unless in a secure, safe area.


Greyhounds are quite low maintenance. They have short coats and require washing about three times a month. Nails should be clipped regularly.

Ideal Owner

Ideal for families who want a placid animal, or older people looking for a docile companion.


National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.

The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Dogs NSW
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)