Bred for racing, Greyhounds aren’t your typical ‘everyday dog’, and naturally, this begs one simple question that everyone wants the answer to. Are Greyhounds high energy?
A lot depends on the individual dog, but most Greyhounds are actually considered to be low to moderate in their energy levels. While they are unquestionably swift (especially if you leave out a sandwich), they’re more designed for quick, short bursts of energy and they sleep a LOT to get the energy to do this.
Today we’re going to explore this in a bit more detail so that you can enjoy a much better understanding of your little Grey comet. We’ll tell you about their exercise requirements, their surprising sleep schedules, and more. A lot of that energy is just your dog’s DNA and the natural urge to show off – read on and we’ll tell you why!
Are Greyhounds High Energy?
While your Greyhound is definitely a little bit of ‘greased lightning’, you should understand that your dog is a sprinter… not an endurance runner. To put it simply, just because they are fast doesn’t mean that they have overflowing energy reserves.
Yes, these dogs were bred for racing and so they are definitely perkier than your average dog, but you’ll be surprised when you find out their actual sleep and daily exercise requirements. We’ll give you a hint – they’re probably not what you’d expect from these little speedsters.
That’s not to say that your dog can’t go out hiking with you. If you like taking long walks and want to share that with your furry best friend, then you certainly can, but we need to set your expectations so that you’ll be prepared to work them up to that.
Your dog is primarily a sprinter – not an endurance runner, but that’s something that they can change if you give them the right motivation and help them to make this happen!
Greyhounds need more sleep than you think
Brace yourself for a truth that hits like a cartoon anvil – Greyhounds love their naps and they are going to be taking a lot of them – as much as 18 hours per day! Send a day when you’re home watching their nap schedule and you can see it for yourself.
When you aren’t really watching for it, then it’s easy to miss the fact that your Greyhound takes a lot of little naps throughout the day. It only makes sense, after all. These dogs have the gift of speed, but that quick grace that they’ve been given burns up energy quickly and your dog needs to replenish it.
Speed versus endurance, once again, is the key here. While your Greyhound certainly seems to be bouncy, quick, and super-energetic all of the time, with the amount of daily sleep this breed requires it only makes good sense!
Can Greyhounds build up to long walks?
Now that we’ve established that your dog is wired for quick response but at the cost of endurance, it’s only natural to worry that this is going to put a damper on doggy-owner camping trips and hikes. The good news is that it won’t – you’ve just got to work your little Grey buddy up to it.
With encouragement and practice, your dog can become comfortable taking 1 or 2-mile walks, and some are even fine with up a 5-mile hike. That said, not all Greyhounds are going to be happy with this – some are natural couch potatoes! So, see how your dog reacts, and don’t force things… your dog will let you know!
Start off by getting a cheap pocket notepad and writing down how many minutes of exercise you estimate that your dog is getting as you go. Include walks and playtime in this so that you get a general idea of what they are used to now.
After that, just slowly build up the time that your dog is walking. You can start by adding 5 minutes to each walk and adjusting it a little bit every week to see how they receive this. Keep your dog well-hydrated and stop resting regularly and your Greyhounds endurance will slowly grow!
How much exercise does my Grey need daily?
This is going to be a surprise to a lot of Greyhound owners, but Greys really don’t need a huge amount of daily exercise – in fact, it’s about 1 hour per day! It’s a little mind-boggling until you really get down to the basic facts.
While your dog was bred to be fast, they aren’t running marathons, so their exercise needs are minimal. New Greyhound owners are often surprised when they get their new family member home, expecting to see their housecat saddling up the dog and riding around the house at any point in time, but that’s really not the case.
As we’d mentioned, Greyhounds sleep about 18 hours a day, and most are quite content snuggling up next to you on the couch, while also charging up their energy to chase that ‘would-be cowboy’ housecat around the house for a little fun time.
Just don’t let your dog weasel out of the minimum hour-a-day exercise. This time is vital to their health and some Greyhounds may end up obese or lethargic if you let them push you into allowing them to be lazy. They need the exercise, after all, just not in the amounts that their bouncy demeanor would suggest.
How can I get my Greyhound to sleep at night?
While some Greyhounds are perfectly happy about being couch potatoes, a little side-effect from this is that they are sometimes a little reluctant to get to sleep when they’re supposed to. It can be a bit frustrating when your dog sleeps all the time (except when they are supposed to), but there are a few things that can help:
- Going to bed at the same time and turning off the lights is important. This helps to build a ‘natural cycle’ of the household night and day and this pays off, since dogs tend to spend about 75% of their sleep time at night. Keep the sleeping schedule regular and your Grey will adjust.
- If your Greyhound likes playing fetch, then try this before bedtime: play a game of fetch on some stairs or an incline. Your dog will still want to play, since they absolutely love fetching, but the extra work will quickly tire your dog out.
- Adopt a schedule of early-evening feedings. This way your dog won’t feel the urge to relieve themselves in the middle of the night and everyone is going to get more sleep.
- Gear shared activity towards daytime hours. If your dog is used to a lot of activity in the day, but they see that everyone relaxes in the evening, then they’ll quickly adjust to this family schedule.
How can I stop my Greyhound from running away?
If you have a rescue or a naturally-shy Greyhound then you’ve probably noticed that they can exit at the drop of a dime. This takes some getting used to, but you can do a few things to help train them out of this and to ‘hedge your bets’ against this being a problem. Here’s what to do:
- Don’t chase your Greyhound. If they are frightened, chasing them will only stress them more, and if they are playing then you are encouraging them to have fun by making you chase them. Pull out a treat instead and call them in a friendly tone of voice – it’s important to make them come to YOU.
- Consider ‘baby barrier’ plastic gates or closing off doors. This limits where your dog can go and simplifies things quite a bit.
- Shy dogs can often benefit from a bit of socializing. A lot of the time, they are frightened about meeting new people or animals, or simply don’t know how to say hello when they do. A little time at the local dog park can expose them to other animals and people so that socializing becomes less scary.
- Obedience training, even 3 5-minute sessions a day, goes a long way with your Grey. Sometimes they run away because they don’t know what we want them to do and they’re afraid that we’ll be angry. Training your dog helps to build trust and over time, if they panic, you can give a command and they’ll calm down and obey.
Do Greyhounds ever calm down?
If your dog’s energy levels have you worried then don’t be – a lot of that is just the natural energy of youth. Like us, Greyhounds are full of energy when they are young, but time is going to mellow them out. Not once, in the case of Greyhounds, but actually twice!
Greys have their first ‘mellowing out’ behavior change at around 2 to 3 years of age. This is age when your dog is mature enough to roam around the house on their own without (in most cases) getting themselves into trouble.
Before this age, they are likely to be a bit on the sneaky side when you aren’t looking, but by 2 to 3 years they have matured quite a bit and you will definitely notice this.
Finally, once your Greyhound reaches 6 years of age, they’re going to mellow yet AGAIN, so be sure that you’ve left plenty of room on the couch for your best friend of 6 years and counting. That perky-puppy energy doesn’t last forever, after all!
Some closing comments
In this article, we’ve given you the facts about your Greyhound’s actual energy levels and as you can see, these dogs are geared for speed but not so much for endurance. While it’s something that you can work them up to, their ‘batteries’ are definitely finite and you’ll see this for yourself as you get to know your dog.
That said, don’t forget to give them a minimum of 1 hour of exercise to keep your dog healthy, and be sure to teach them some commands so that they don’t get in the habit of bolting when they don’t want to do something.
Once your dog trusts you and gets a little older, you’ll be amazed at how much time your Grey buddy is going to spend on the couch with you – we guarantee it!