If you are looking at the greyhound breed and wondering whether they are the right choice of dog for you and your family, you will want to know how they generally act and behave. What is their temperament like? Are they prone to acting out or misbehaving? Even more importantly do they have an aggressive streak or nature, or can they ever be dangerous? Here is all you need to know.
So, are greyhounds are aggressive? Greyhounds are generally not an aggressive breed of dog. They are mostly calm, docile, and easy-going. However, just like any dog, they can become aggressive if they feel frightened, stressed, or are provoked. Aggression is more common with rescued greyhounds.
Aggression is often rooted in fear, so it is first and foremost imperative that you do your best to minimize this emotion in any breed of dog you ever decide to own.
Regardless of the breed, it will take time, patience, and training to work through any behavioral problems of your dog.
Thankfully, the greyhound dog breed is not known to be aggressive or threatening, especially those that are raised from pups.
However, it is through the adoption of an older greyhound, perhaps a former racer that you do indeed need to be careful.
If you adopted a greyhound who is scared of children and you have a family, you are advised to return the greyhound; they are probably not right for you.
Nonetheless, the greyhound is a terrific dog breed to own, and they do generally make a great family pet.
Let us now take a closer look at how the average greyhound behaves, before looking at what could cause them to act aggressively and some proactive strategies to minimize the chances of it from happening to begin with.
The greyhound was bred for racing and hunting games; however, since the increase in large-scale adoption, there is an increasing demand for this dog breed as a family pet.
People are often surprised by how gentle and intelligent these dogs are.
Greyhounds are aloof with unfamiliar people, but they are very loyal and loving to their human families.
These dogs are not fond of any exercise that involved endurance; they are built for speed.
Greyhounds are quite lazy, preferring to lay around all day. Greyhounds are also very calm, docile, and easy-going.
There is a misconception that greyhounds are aggressive as they are seen wearing muzzles during racing; however, muzzles are only worn to prevent injuries from dogs nipping each other during or straight after a race.
Greyhounds make excellent pets because they are very loving, and they enjoy the company of people and other dogs.
Some greyhounds even tolerate other animal species of animals like cats, but that depends on the personality of each dog.
Some people believe that greyhounds are hyperactive, but that is not the case with most greyhounds.
Many can live happily in an apartment as they don’t need too much space as they sleep nearly 18 hours a day.
This breed can often fare better in apartments than smaller, more active dog breeds.
What Can Make Greyhounds Aggressive?
It is most unusual for a greyhound to be aggressive; however, when they are aggressive, it is almost always fear and anxiety-based.
There is little difference between anxiety and fear, but fear is a natural response to a situation that has the potential to cause harm.
At least, how your dog perceives the situation anyway.
Anxiety is anticipating the event, so whatever is causing the fear might not be present, yet your dog is showing signs of fear.
Let’s discuss examples of situations where a greyhound may become aggressive:
Separation anxiety is essentially where a dog becomes lonely, and feels isolated from its owners.
It often occurs in dogs that are left alone for long periods of time, routinely or feel ostracized from their owners.
A greyhound that suffers from separation anxiety may show common signs of fear long before the owner leaves the house for work.
The owner may still be present, but the dog is anxious when they observe cues the owner is about to leave.
This could be when the owner puts on their clothes for work, grabs their keys or their bag. Each of these cues foretells to the dog that the owner could be leaving soon.
Generally, the greyhound breed is not one that can or should be left alone at home for extended periods of time.
They do not do particularly well away from their owners.
Fight Or Flight Situations
Anxiety is usually at the root of aggressive behavior.
If your greyhound is approached by a person or another animal in a given location – the body begins to prepare for the flight or fight response.
If the dog cannot get away in time, then they are left with no choice but to give in to the fight response and act accordingly as a defense.
Most dogs that received adequate socialization offer only low-grade threats at the start, but as the fear-inducing object approaches, this moves up to high-grade threats.
These low-grade threats come in the form of body language changes and growl to scare the object away, but if the object persists and there is no hope of escape, these threats escalate to active aggression.
Placed In Uncomfortable Situations Repeatedly
Sadly, over time, if a greyhound is put in the same uncomfortable situation repeatedly, the dog only learns the defenses that work; this is learned aggression.
So for example, if they feel trapped within a particular situation or environment; it is important that you recognize your dog’s response and do all you can to remove them from it, or prevent it from occurring to begin with.
How To Prevent Aggression In Greyhounds
A healthy, happy greyhound who is living his best life is not going to be aggressive; for starters, they are not an aggressive dog breed.
It is very rare to see the aggressive demeanor you will find in other breeds such as growling, snarling, and ears pulled back.
Their ears are naturally pulled back, but that has nothing to do with aggression, this is a physical characteristic to make them more streamlined.
It’s vital to nip any early signs of aggression in the bud; if you notice any growling, snapping, or biting in your puppy, please get support in the form of a professional dog trainer.
Any dog breed can easily become aggressive; they only need the right circumstances. You must ensure that you are not contributing to this behavior.
Aggressive behavior will not go away overnight, but there are steps you can take to control the aggressive behavior and help your greyhound remain calm:
Take Note Of Your Dog’s Bad Behavior
Your first step towards combatting this behavior is to discover what is causing your dog’s aggression.
Some dogs react aggressively towards strangers and children; others growl as someone approaches them when they are chewing a bone or eating.
Aggression isn’t necessarily directed towards a person. It could be directed towards individual animals or even inanimate objects.
You cannot come up with a plan to modify your dog’s behavior if you don’t know what is causing it.
To stop aggression, you must make a note of when your greyhound becomes aggressive and the circumstances involving that behavior.
Keeping a record of bad behavior is the most crucial part of deciding your next step. You must deal with the underlying condition of the aggression.
There are lots of ways to manage the hostility and help your dog be calm; you must be consistent.
It is very important that you introduce your greyhound to as many people as possible in their younger years. You will want to do so in a number of different contexts and settings.
This will help to teach them how to behave and respond to different people and how to react when certain events unfold.
For example, you will want to regularly take your greyhound to the park and proactively introduce them to people and/or other dogs.
Talk To Your Veterinarian
If your greyhound has suddenly become uncharacteristically aggressive, they may have an underlying medical issue.
Health problems that cause canine aggression include painful injuries, neurological problems, and hypothyroidism.
Your vet can determine what might be affecting your dog’s behavior, medication or treatment might be what your dog needs.
Get A Professional To Help
If your vet has looked at your dog and hasn’t found anything medically wrong with him, you should consider the help of an animal behaviorist or a dog trainer.
As aggression can become very serious you shouldn’t attempt to fix it alone. A professional can get to the root of your dog’s behavior and create a workable plan to manage the behavior.
Your veterinarian will help you locate a reputable behaviorist or trainer to assist you,
In many cases, positive reinforcement is the most effective way to teach your dog new behaviors.
As an example, if your dog is only mildly aggressive to strangers, start by standing at a distance from someone, your dog doesn’t know.
Do not be so far away from your dog that they start growling; reward them with treats for not growling.
You can decrease the distance between the stranger and your dog, continuing to use positive reinforcement for not growling.
With time, your dog will make the connection that strangers equate to treats, and you will see a reduction in aggressive behavior.
Greyhounds are very smart and learn very quickly what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.
Avoid punishing your greyhound for aggressive behavior as it only increases the aggression, and it is entirely unproductive.
If you respond to a loudly barking dog by yelling or hitting, they might feel threatened and end up biting you in self-defense.
Punishment might result in your greyhound biting someone else with no warning. As an example, if your dog is growling at children, it’s because they don’t feel happy around them, and they are warning you.
If you punish your greyhound for growling, they might not warn you next time, and they may just bite.
Greyhounds are not an aggressive breed; they are generally lazy, calm, docile, gentle, and very easy-going. This dog breed is usually perfect around children.
However, any breed can become aggressive, even greyhounds, and this is where you need to take steps to stop the behavior before it has a chance to arise or even escalates.
Positive reinforcement, consistency, time, and patience will get you and your dog through the worst of times with his behavior, and eventually, you will reap the rewards of the work you have put into helping your dog.
It is essential that you consider your lifestyle and if it allows you to stick with a plan.
If you have children and your dog acts aggressively towards children, you can’t avoid a situation that brings out aggression in your dog.
In this case, you should find a suitable home for your dog.
It’s important to remember that greyhounds are built for speed, not stamina.
This often comes as a surprise to many as it means this breed doesn’t require as much exercise as is previously believed.
For that reason, these dogs are an excellent pet choice for people that want a dog that needs some of the least amounts of physical activity.
Greyhounds love to curl up on the couch and go for a snooze; in fact, they spend more time resting than exercising.
Pair this with their lack of aggression and ease of training, and you have yourself an excellent breed to own.
But remember, they are pretty big when it comes to their height and general frame!
Greyhounds are not known to bite and are generally placid and docile. However, just like any breed of dog, they can bite if provoked. Factors including their genetics, socialization, training, health, and the environment will all play a part in a dog’s likelihood to bite.
Greyhounds are known to be protective of their owners. They mainly attempt to do so through their presence, keeping close and nearby and growling. They are generally affectionate, gentle, even-tempered, and friendly to most people, including children and strangers; however, will try to protect you if they suspect a potential threat to you or a family member.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.