So you want to adopt a Sighthound . . . Part II

Last week, we put out the first part of our Q&As for Sighthound owners. Here is the promised Part II:


Q. Does my Sighthound have some kind of depth perception problem? He can't seem to get his whole body on a bed and always chooses the smallest one in the house.


A. No, he's just weird. Just accept that no matter how big the bed is, some part of your dog is going to end up on the floor--usually his head. A good rule of thumb is to have one more bed than you have dogs, but no matter how many you have they will undoubtedly all try to pile dogcaton one bed. Just accept it and grab your camera. Also, if you have cats you should be aware there were intense negotiations (that you weren't invited to) during which it was decided the cats could have whatever bed they wanted and the dogs would take what was left. Please don't worry. Sighthounds have evolved the ability to curl themselves into such a small ball that scientists are still trying to figure out the physics of it. So, yes, you will walk into a room to find your 80-lb Greyhound squeezed into a cat bed. It's okay.


Q. Do I have to crate my Sighthound?


A. How attached are you to the current size and shape of your coffee table? After sleeping peacefully every day for a month while you're at work, you may come home to find that your once rectangular table is now a lovely oval. On a serious note, dogs have also been known to get into real trouble by themselves. They have eaten inedible objects, choked on bones or toys, gotten their collars caught on door knobs, and hurt themselves on sharp items you never would have suspected of being problematic. Until you’re very sure of your dog, crating them while you're gone is a safe bet. If you are going to be crating, we strongly recommend feeding your dog all of his or her meals in their crate, too. This helps keep the positive karma going.


biglittledogQ. Can a Sighthound live with a cat or small dog?


A. Usually -- but NOT always. At SHUG we "cat test" all of our dogs before placing them in homes--and dogs pass more often than not. We find 50-80 percent of Sighthounds are fine with small animals, but those numbers tend to vary with the breed. Galgos and Greyhounds are on the higher end and Borzoi tend to be on the lower end, for example. When it comes to cat-testing, we're usually pretty accurate and we can tell you up front if a dog is a good match with the other members of your household. Cat testing is more of an art than a science though and dogs are living creatures that evolve and change over the years. There is no 100 percent cat-safe dog (and there is no 100 percent dog-safe cat, either). You always need to be aware of how relationships are evolving when you have multiple creatures of any type in your home.


Q. Will my Sighthound make a good watch dog?


A. Probably not. They may randomly bark but unless you're the subject of a vicious squirrel vendetta, it probably won't be at useful times.


Q. So my Sighthound doesn't really bark. What is that strange noise he makes?


A. He's singing you the song of his people. We call it a "roo" and sometimes it can be quite melodic--especially at a Sighthound event with dozens of dogs raising their voices in joyous music. Or, it might just be loud.


Q. Will I become obsessed with poop just like all you crazy Sighthound people?


A. Yes. Yes, you will.


Do you have a Sighthound question we haven’t answered? Post it in a comment below and we’ll try to address it!


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7 thoughts on “So you want to adopt a Sighthound . . . Part II
  1. My 2- year old female Borzoi jumps straight up in the air and barks when she sees other dogs on our walks in the park or on the sidewalk. Any insights on how to curb this behavior would be appreciated. We have had several borzois and have never encountered this behavior before.

    1. It could be that she has a very high prey drive. Or a very high lets-go-have-fun drive. It’s probably something best handled with a good dog trainer as borzoi are not little dogs!


  2. Why is my sighthound still a puppyhead and how come he is so good at silently snitching things to carry in his mouth and paper to eat?

    1. Well, some of them never grow up, that we know. The spell they cast to keep you from noticing naughty behavior? Well, have no antidote for that!


  3. Barbara, i have very high prey drive grey thats acts like a lunatic when we walk over other animals. He is well restrained but occasionally we have loose dogs that want to run up and say hi. It takes all i have to ensure that pup doesnt become lunch 🙁
    All the training in the world will not undo yrs of instinct. My advice would be to not put him in that situation. You never know when it may end badly. He is big and strong and if driven, will outpace you. I have opted to no longer walk mine due to this. They play in yard for exercise. They pout about it but its my job to keep them safe and the potential risk outweigh the benefits 100 times over

  4. Thank you both for your good advice.A trainer has been directing us and progress is being made. We have been placing her in the “sit” position when other dogs pass and that is effective although sometimes an overly friendly owner of another dog will approach from behind and that, as you say, takes considerable effort( to restrain jumping/barking) both on my part as the walker and my dog’s part too!( these are generally tiny yappers and my dog is a very large female.) Unfortunately, we are city dwellers and don’t have backyards so that option is not open to us. I also think her young age -2- could mean that she is on the cusp of adulthood but not quite there yet and some of her behavior might be puppy-ish- my others were much more chill at three and up. Some of her responses to other dogs seem playful and at other times seem aggressive such as showing teeth and growling-( both her and the other dog) I am concerned about the prey-drive element although there have been no issues with my cats and she actually defers to them. She has been described by her breeder as an “alpha” dog.This dog has a fantastic personality – all humans are in love at first sight and she is super affectionate , beautiful-of course-and very smart. My other “Zois” were on the reserved side but all the females have been mischievous and very skilled food thieves (especially the cat’s) 🙂

  5. Based on your additional info, prey drive sounds less the issue. In my case my boy is 7 and wants to eat them. No question. If yours gets along with cats i would think it more behavioral then. And yes puppy spastic too 🙂 she may just be all over the place like a typical teenager and hasnt yet learned to control her impulses. Sounds like you are making progress with your trainer and that may be the way to go! Best of luck with your girl 🙂