Every American Thanksgiving the American Kennel Club has its national dog show. The Best in Show (BIS) dog gets tons of advertising and often times many people throughout the country are exposed to a dog that is “beautiful”. This advertising causes an increase in desire for the BIS dog breed. This year the BIS went to Gia the greyhound. Gia is an AKC greyhound that has never competed in amateur running sports a day in her life as she was bred for the ring only. She is not the typical body type of the NGA greyhound or retired racer. She is an exaggerated form of the AKC breed standard for Greyhounds. Nonetheless, she is advertising for the greyhound breed and her handler gave serious prompts to the greyhound as a great living companion or pet.
Since Gia won BIS there have been several articles published talking about why to add a greyhound to your household, and I have taken issue with some of this; they encouraged me to write this post! None of these articles captured what adding a greyhound to your home truly means.
Many articles spoke about the traits of greyhounds and what the greyhound can and cannot do. These articles also suggested what is needed to provide one of the fastest land mammals a perfect home (I am not sure there is a perfect home).
I disagree with most of this.
These writers have completed some research or googling of the greyhound but are missing one important piece of the puzzle: they have never owned a greyhound.
While I was pondering the characteristics of a retired racing greyhound and what I would tell a potential adopter about the breed, I asked my husband, a non-dog-person but a greyhound aficionado that I would trust any greyhound decision to, what makes a retired racer special? Without a moment’s pause, he said “heart.”
Retired racers are raised to have “heart”. By “heart” I mean passion. They are raised to chase with all their “heart”, hang-out with their kennel mates with all their “heart”, and love their people/trainers with all their “heart”. Everything a greyhound does is with all their “heart”. Greyhounds are independent dogs that do not need human affirmation like many other dogs. Greyhounds choose their humans and they do it with all their “heart”.
After Gia’s win if you decide to adopt a greyhound, make sure that you know you are not just getting a thin skinned dog that doesn’t bark, but a dog that has “heart”. You’re getting a dog that has been loved by trainers, a dog that loves to chase, a dog that loves to live and lives her life to the fullest, and a dog that inspires you to be a better human. My friends, greyhounds are more than any dog, more special than anything in the world, and able to give more than their all, as they give their “heart” in all they do.