Top 12 Gifts for New Greyhound Owners

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Is there a Greyhound Dog on your Gift List?

Has someone you know just adopted a retired racing greyhound? Or maybe you're a new greyhound owner yourself? Here are some down-to-earth gift ideas for new greyhound owners, specifically picked out for ex-racing greyhounds, to help with the transition to a wonderful new life as a loving family's companion animal.

These ideas for gifts for greyhounds and their owners come from a decade of experience in fostering and training ex-racers for adoption as well as my own greyhounds. These welcome gifts are specially chosen to help the ex-racing greyhound get off to a good start in his new life as a pampered pet dog - not just the usual run of dog gear for any dog, but a selection of gift ideas that are most appropriate for this unusual breed, whose start in life as a "professional athlete" was so different from the first years of most other dogs.

When dog lovers choose to adopt a retired racing greyhound, they rescue a gentle, beautiful animal from a life as "livestock" to a world of love. If you, or someone you know, has adopted a new greyhound, Blessings for giving a loving "forever" home to one of these wonderful animals.

Photo: Retired Racing Greyhound. All the photographs of greyhounds on this page are my own, © Flycatcher (all rights reserved, please), unless otherwise noted.
Two Greyhounds in martingale collars with dog tags - © flycatcher Photo: Two Greyhounds in wide martingale collars with dog tags. © Flycatcher

Greyhound Collars

The only type of collar I will personally recommend for greyhounds is a martingale or hound collar. Sometimes you will see this type of dog collar called combination collars or promise collars, or they may have another name that refers to something like restricted closure, meaning there's a limit to how much the collars will tighten around the dog's neck. Safe and gentle, but effective.

Why do greyhounds need a special kind of collar? Well, it's physical. Greyhounds have well-muscled necks and small narrow heads, so they can easily back out of an ordinary buckle dog collar if he's spooked by something like a sudden noise or a windblown newspaper. Adjusted properly, a martingale collar won't allow the greyhound to back out of it the way he can with an ordinary flat buckle collar. Hound collars and martingales will snug up securely to keep your pup sale on leash - but there's a stop on the slide so you don't need to worry about choking if the leash gets tight.

Another Style of Hound Collar

One of my greyhounds, the little black female, wears a different style of collar for dress-up events. It's a broad hound collar from RC Pets, similar to the one shown here, and it looks gorgeous on her long neck. The extra width seems to be more comfortable for the dog than I would have thought, and the velvet-y lining keeps the collar firmly in place so the ring for the leash stays at the front.

Where to find those big wide fancy Martingale Collars for Greyhounds

Greyhound in fancy martingale collar - photo copyright (c) Flycatcher Most greyhound adoption groups will provide new owners with a martingale collar, but the free “starter” collar will probably be a narrow one-inch nylon one in a plain color. Good enough to start with, but our handsome greyhounds deserve something a little better, when they’re strutting their stuff around town and that graceful long greyhound neck looks simply elegant in a dressy wide martingale, made in a fabulous fabric.

Ask your local greyhound adoption group if they sell fancy hound collars as a fundraiser for greyhound rescue.

If not, there are plenty of dog-loving crafts people online who make martingale collars (often with matching leashes) and donate a portion of their proceeds to greyhound charities.

A couple of “collar artists” whose work I like very much are HuggableHound and TrendyHound, but you’ll find lots of equally fabulous dog lovers who sell unique martingales online. Do check out for makers of good handmade martingales who support the greyhound adoption effort, as well as the listings on eBay of both commerical and handmade wide collars.

No-Slip Collars Recommended for Greyhounds - Find a Martingale on eBay

Sometimes you can find a fantastic fancy hound collar for a good price on eBay (see current listings below) - and if you can't find an appropriate low-cost nylon martingale collar for everyday wear in your local stores, eBay is often a good place to check for those, as well.

Greyhounds look so regal with their long necks, it's fun to give them a wide collar in a luxurious material or fun pattern, and the wider collars are easier on their tender skin, since greyhound fur tends to be thin. I like to choose a collar that's somewhere between one and two inches in width, but a lot depends on the pattern and also on the size and personality of the greyhound. It's a lot of fun shopping for greyhound apparel, too!

Collar Tags

Jewelry Collar Tag - Custom engraved cat or dog pet ID tags What if your greyhound gets lost?

All racing greyhounds bred in the US have an earmark tattoo with their NGA (National Greyhound Association) registration number. But the ear tattoo is hard to read at the best of times, and it tends to get faded and blurred over time. Also, most people don’t know what the number is (or even to look for it), much less where to look up the greyhound’s tattoo, never mind the time it would take to track down where he’s been placed for adoption… in other words, the ear tattoo is not going to help a Good Samaritan or animal control officer to identify a lost pet greyhound in a hurry.

Greyhound adoption groups will generally issue an identification tag for each greyhound they place in a family home, with at minimum the name and phone number of the adoption group and a record number for the dog. But when a greyhound goes missing, time is critical — and unless the adoption group is very local, it’s far better to have a way for someone who finds a lost greyhound to be able to contact the owner directly.

That’s why I am a big fan of dog tags. Pet ID tags can help bring a lost dog home.

The only problem with conventional dog tags is that they dangle from the collar — and you’ll know why this can be a problem, if you’ve ever been woken up in the night by jangling dog tags, or found a dog tag missing after a good romp in the park. With greyhounds, too, there’s another concern. Since retired racing greyhounds often like to keep on using their training crates for sleeping, even after they become pet dogs, there’s a risk of a dangling dog tag getting caught on the crate.

That’s one reasons I like the kind of ID tags that use a velcro fastener to wrap around the collar instead of having to slip on over the end. With the velcro, this new-and-improved flat ID tag can be used on a martingale as well as on a collar that unclasps completely. Tag Collars are another solution here – you can keep the dangling tags on a separate collar and put it on your greyhound for going out, but leave it off when he’s just hanging out indoors at home.

Try a Tag Collar

Two-Color Tag Collar for greyhounds - houndsCloset - Etsy If you want to try your hand at making a tag collar for a greyhound, have a look at the Two Color Tag Collar Instruction e-Book offered for $5.00 by Etsy seller HoundsCloset. The e-book has 8 pages of instructions and 16 photos, showing you step-by-step how to make a two-colour knotted tag collar from parachute cord and a standard collar clasp. Start to finish, the project will take about 30 to 45 minutes.

Alternatively, if you’re into beads and jewelry-making, a sturdy necklace that’s been sized up or down to fit a greyhound is a popular way to make a tag collar. It’s a good idea to replace the existing cord or string with a strong metal cord or fine cable, however, just to reduce the chance of it breaking.

Or you can use a narrow nylon collar, just a basic flat buckle collar, to hold the dog tags. Get one to coordinate with the greyhound’s martingale (you’ll still use that to attach the leash to, of course) and voila, your dog has an ensemble! A matched set of tag collar and martingale can look very spiffy.

Coats for Greyhounds

Greyhound in ChillyDogs winter coat I firmly believe that the best winter coat for an active greyhound is the Great White North model, made by a small Canadian company called Chilly Dogs. It’s a nylon shell lined with a warm fleece fabric, in a Y-front style that protects the greyhound’s belly and chest from the cold.

They also make the coat in an “all breed” style, but there’s a special “long and lean” style designed to fit the long and lean sighthound breeds, such as greyhounds, whippets, salukis, afghan hounds, etc. Superb quality — and no, they’re not paying me to say nice things about them! :) I live on the east coast of Canada, where we do experience “a bit of weather”, as we say, and all my greyhounds have a Chilly Dogs GWN “ski jacket” for winter time.

But if you don’t have access to this brand, there are some other winter coats made especially for greyhounds, in two basic styles – the Y-front coat already mentioned, and the blanket coat, similar to a small horse blanket.

Sew Your Own Greyhound Coat

Greyhound in rain coat - photo copyright (c) Flycatcher Alternatively, you can go with a homemade greyhound coat. The horse blanket style of dog coat is easy to make, if you’re interested in sewing, and there are a number of easy-to-follow free patterns for greyhound coats available online.

Fleece is a good choice of fabric for a winter coat (double layers, if you’re in a cold climate), and fleece-lined waterproof nylon makes a great coat for the windy, rainy weather in spring and fall.

If you are not keen on sewing, many greyhound groups have members who make and sell winter coats as a fundraising activity — check with your local greyhound adoption organization to see if they have coats for sale, and support the cause!

Rule of thumb

If it’s cold enough that you need to wear gloves, a greyhound will need a coat. Raincoats are also much appreciated by a skinny dog. Greyhounds just don’t have the fat and fur of other breeds to keep them warm and dry in all weather. To learn more, see my article about greyhound coats:

The Best Greyhound CoatsThe Best Greyhound Coats
Greyhounds need winter coats, if you live in a place that’s got any kind of winter weather at all. If you need to wear gloves, your greyhound needs a coat… [more]

Travel Gear

Two greyhounds share a drink from a Gulpy water bottle - © flycatcher Whether you’re on vacation or on a road trip, or just out for a day in the park, life is much easier for the greyhound owner who travels with a few essential items of portable dog gear. Consider these practical gift ideas for travelling with a dog:

  • Water bottle (I like the Gulpy water dispenser, the kind my greyhound pals are sharing in this photo)

  • Folding bowl for food / water

  • Fanny pack / small backpack

  • Poop bags and holder (I am a huge fan of the tough eco-friendly PoopBags by Earth Related, very affordable, with the best dispenser I’ve found)

  • Portable dog bed / blanket

Many dog owners, especially those who enjoy camping and hiking, find it useful to have a dog backpack so the dog can carry a bit of his own gear. I hesitate to recommend a dog backpack for new greyhound owners, however, as the long greyhound spine is not anatomically made to carry much weight and too heavy a load can lead to a serious injury. A small backpack or collar pack, just big enough that he can carry his own (fresh or filled) poop bags on a walk? I could go for that idea!

Dog Beds for Greyhounds

Orvis Lounger Deep Dish Dog Bed

(I’ve got this big cushy ‘bad boy’ on my wish list!)

When they’re living in the racing kennel, greyhounds are used to bedding down in their wire cages in a nest of shredded paper. Once a greyhound retires to a “forever home,” however, he soon learns to enjoy the comfort of soft seating!

The best beds for our beloved pet greyhounds are large and well padded beds, with sturdy covers you can take off for cleaning. And if the dog bed has a waterproof liner, all the better. I do like faux suede, because it doesn’t seem to collect dog hairs as much as other fabrics, but comfort trumps fashion when you’ve got a boney greyhound (or several). Bottom line – it is what’s INSIDE that counts, as the dogs could tell you.

Look for a good price on a reliable brand name product – those department store “bargains” will soon flatten out and get lumpy. For stuffing materials, my greyhounds’ absolute favourite is a bed stuffed with poly fibre made from recycled soda pop bottles. It’s incredible soft to lie down on, doesn’t get clumped up or packed down, and it is both hygienic and durable. That’s first choice for a pillow-style bed. And for a mattress-type bed – the kind that’s flatter and rectangular, like a luxury crate pad – you can’t go wrong with a good-quality ortho memory foam.

Luxury Crate Mattress Dog BedsLuxury Crate Mattress Dog Beds
Your dog deserves a comfy place to rest after a hard day of threatening squirrels, and a luxury crate mattress can be one of the best kind of dog beds to use… [more]

(Tip: Especially ith the memory foam mattress or pad style of dog bed, for a greyhound I like to toss an old blanket or comforter on top so he can do his typical pawing-and-nesting thing, and snuggle on in for a nap. In colder weather, your dog may also like to have an extra bit of bedding.)

What NOT to Buy for a Greyhound Bed

Greyhound sleeping in very small basket - Sleep tight by Marianne Perdomo, on Flickr Photo: Sleep tight by Marianne Perdomo [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Many greyhound adoption groups will advise you to avoid any dog beds with cedar chips mixed into their stuffing, as cedar can irritate that delicate greyhound skin, even through the bed cover. “Your mileage may vary,” as they say. I’ve found that really depends on the indiviidual dog, as some are more sensitive than others. It may also have something to do with the type and quantity of cedar chips used in the bed, and what material is used for the rest of the stuffing.

Shredded foam and the “bean bag” kind of little beads can work very well in a dog bed for greyhounds, as long as the insides of the bed stay inside. Do choose a bed that’s got a tough inner liner as well as a tough cover fabric, if you go the beads or shredded foam route, to keep the stuffing safe inside– greyhounds like to “fluff” their beds quite vigorously before they lie down!

That’s worth repeating, actually:

Greyhound like to “fluff” their beds — so don’t count on a cheap bed with a thin fabric cover. It won’t stand up long to the busy front feet of a bed-digging greyhound.

DO Choose a Good Big Bed - Pillow or Mattress Style, Your Choice!

Here are a few more comfy beds that should suit a greyhound quite nicely. Don't worry too much if you don't have space or budget for the absolute giant size, as the average grey seems to spend a lot of his sleeping time halfway off the bed with his tongue lolling out on the floor, in any case - and you can always put two beds together to fit in a corner, if the giant size is really too big for your home.

"Peace of Mind"

This is what it looks like, for a retired racing greyhound :)

Greyhound sleeping comfortably upside-down in wire crate - © flycatcher Photo: One of my greyhounds taking a nap (upside-down) in his wire crate, © Flycatcher

Gates and Crates

Midwest Life Stages Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate Baby gates, pet gates, and exercise pens (also called x-pens) are sanity-saving management tools for a greyhound owner, especially for one who has small children and/or multiple pets. Or just to keep a newly adopted greyhound out of the living room until his owner is confident he’s got the house-training bit down good and solid!

Wire crates tend to work better than the plastic “clamshell” kennels, unless a travel kennel will be needed at some point — airlines have quite stringent requirements about what kind of kennels a dog must be in to go on a flight. For home use, though, I much prefer the wire crates. They have better air circulation than the plastic kennels, and the greyhound will have a better view out through, to feel more a part of the family activity even while he’s crated. Also, the wire grid makes the experience of being in the crate more like what the greyhound is used to from his time at the track.

I’ve had good luck with the Midwest brand — there are three in my kitchen right now, Large size for the petite females and XL for the big boys. They fold away nicely for storage when I’m between foster dogs and don’t need all three, which is great when you don’t have a whole lot of space in your home! There are a few different models but I can strongly recommend the double-door style of crate that has a door on the side as well as on one end, specifically the Midwest Life Stages Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate shown here.

Two doors on a crate will also give the greyhound owner much more flexibility in how to arrange furniture to fit it into the room, and what direction the crate can face. It is useful to have a couple of options, as a big giant dog crate is going to make a bit of a “statement” in you decor!

Dog Crate FurnitureDog Crate Furniture
If you’ve crate-trained your dog, you know what a great training tool a dog crate can be, but crates take space and are not always attractive. Here’s one solution… [more]

A lot of people are reluctant to use crates or kennels, I know – especially when you’ve adopted a dog who has not enjoyed many comforts in his earlier life. Just remember, the crate may look like a “cage” to us soft-hearted dog lovers… but, to a retired racing greyhound, his crate can be a welcome refuge, his very own safe place to chill out as he adjusts to the normal (hectic?) activity of a family home. Kind of like a teenager’s bedroom… Not to mention, a crate is an essential house-training aid, and it can keep your greyhound safe and secure when you’re throwing a party or you have a lot of tradesmen working in and around your home.

There are a lot of very good reasons why greyhound adoption groups will, almost universally, recommend the use of a crate for a newly adopted greyhound to sleep in — at least for that first critical period of adjustment to a new home.

Safety Outdoors - Pet Gates for the Porch or Deck

Dog Toys for Greyhounds

Retired Racing Greyhounds soon learn to love to play!

When I adopted my first Greyhound, after a lifetime of mostly Lab-inspired rescue dogs as pets, it never crossed my mind that he wouldn’t know how to play with a ball. Until I tossed him a ball… and, instead of snatching the ball out of the air, as most dogs would do, my greyhound just stared at me in baffled confusion as it bounced gently off his forehead. A retired greyhound who’s new off the track will often take a while to “become a real dog” in some ways, and to gain confidence in this strange new outside world enough to let down his guard and really play.

So what are the best dog toys for a greyhound?

5 Great Dog Toys Your Greyhound Will Love5 Great Dog Toys Your Greyhound Will Love
Whether you’re looking for a great new dog toy to amuse your own beloved greyhound, or a gift for a new greyhound owner, here’s an easy way to make sure to choose the best… [more]

Greyhounds are a hunting breed, so their hunting instincts come into play when they get hold of a stuffed or unstuffed plush toy, so that’s a good choice of gift for a newly adopted greyhound — preferably a good sturdy “stuffie” with a squeaker inside!

KONG WobblerTough chewing toys you can stuff with peanut butter or dog treats inside are also a popular gift for greyhound owners.

Bonus, the treat-dispensing toys like the big Kong Wobbler (we call it the “King KONG” around here) can help to keep a bored greyhound busy and out of trouble while his owner is gone to work.

Pretty much anything made by the Kong company will be a good choice for most greyhounds.

A Greyhound "Spa Day"

UGroom Curry Brush

The short sleek hair of the greyhound and the non-oily skin are a good thing when it comes to grooming — a bath just a couple of times a year will do fine. The rest of the time, all that’s needed is just to slick down the greyhound with a hound glove — I use a rubber-type gel curry comb that is actually made for horses, but they do make almost identical ones for dogs.

There are two areas of grooming where a greyhound will need to get regular care, however: nails and teeth.

follopwing are some gift ideas to help a new greyhound owner take care of those long doggie toe nails, not to mention the notoriously bad teeth of the ex-racing greyhound.

Toss a few items into a bag or basket, along with a hound glove and some healthy homemade dog treats, and you’ve got yourself a nice little gift on a “greyhound spa day” theme!

Greyhound Nail Care

Mani-pedi time for Fido? Really, it can be a pleasant time for both dog and handler, if you have good tools and go at it a bit at a time to trail the nails shorter. I prefer grinding down a greyhound's nails with a Dremel tool, as I find it is easier to avoid nicking the quick, which can be easy enough to do when using the clippers on dark-coloured nails. Ask your greyhound-owning friend if they have a personal preference, before you buy one or the other for someone as a gift.

Pet Health Insurance

Polo Pillows by sherbonbon, on Flickr Greyhounds are bred for speed, not for looks, so retired racing greyhounds do tend to be very healthy, apart from whatever injuries they may have sustained in their racing career. Generations upon generations of careful breeding mean that greyhounds as a breed do not tend to have some of the health problems and conditions that are common in other large dog breeds.

But … stuff happens.

Why not help out a new greyhound owner by getting them a pet health insurance policy? It’s a gift of “peace of mind,” knowing that the bulk of veterinarian costs are covered, If the dog comes to need surgery or other expensive medical care.

Another Greyhound?

Greyhounds love the company of other greyhounds

Two greyhounds having a nap together … and greyhound owners soon learn how hard it can be to stop at adopting “only” one!

Photo: Sleeping greyhound friends, © Flycatcher.


What's the best-ever Greyhound Gift you've given or received?

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  • survivoryea Mar 17, 2014 @ 10:57 am
    Some great ideas here! My brother just adopted two and they are the sweetest :>)
  • crbphotography Jan 26, 2014 @ 4:23 pm
    I have never owned a Greyhound, but have always loved them. A number of years ago we visited a Greyhound rescue in New Hampshire near a dog track. If we did not live in a condominium with a weight limitation for pets of 25 pounds, we would have brought one back to Ontario with us.

    Thie is a great lens. Thanks for the effort of putting it together.
  • kat-harris Jan 25, 2014 @ 11:15 pm
    I have an Italian Greyhound in Alaska, any tips on keeping them safe for the winter.
  • chrisilouhoo Jan 25, 2014 @ 3:24 pm
    This is really lovely. Lens of the Day well deserved, congrats!
  • jennabee25 Jan 25, 2014 @ 1:32 pm
    The best gift I've given is a few bucks to the local greyhound rescue. In return, I got some cuddles from some very handsome dogs.
  • calconcrete Jan 25, 2014 @ 11:16 am
    My wife and I had two greyhounds, one a smaller retired racing greyhound and the other a larger show greyhound. They LOVED to chase anything moving. Surprisingly they co-existed with and befriended our resident Dutch bunny. They would chase him around the house and he would chase them. Great fun.

    Greyhounds are great companions and very loving.
  • Steve_Kaye Jan 25, 2014 @ 11:06 am
    Beautiful lens. Even my cat, Olivia Felini, was impressed. She sends you a friendly Meow.
  • AshleshaVedanshi Jan 25, 2014 @ 10:59 am
    Its nice and informative for greyhound lovers
  • d-artist Jan 25, 2014 @ 10:57 am
    Congratulations on LOTD! Great lens and great photos! Of course I have an affinity for sighthounds, including the Saluki. I have designed some collars for them...including them in some of my paintings.
  • AshleshaVedanshi Jan 25, 2014 @ 10:56 am
    Eating dish

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