Raising a Greyhound Litter
Show Greyhounds – Raising Puppies
By Sue Cassem
Over the years I found very few show buyers who wanted to breed Greyhounds. They wanted a nice companion and a fun show dog, but just could not bring themselves to contemplate a litter – probably because they saw how much work it is. And it is. This is the ultimate form of Greyhound birth control – fear!
Show Greyhounds are a numerically small breed and many females don’t come in season for the first time until they are 2 or 3 (one English top producing female was stated to be 7!), and the number of top quality males is limited. These are not necessarily bad things, though, as it allows time to finish the female’s Championship, do some other activities – lure coursing, agility, obedience – and think on a breeding. But, then, after all the planning, preparation, anticipation, hope – the day (or night) is here and a C-section is very likely, even after she has whelped a majority of the puppies, especially in those litters of 9 or more. And litters of a dozen or more are not all that uncommon! So this is the start of breeding: all that mental anguish, travel to the stud dog (since it is likely he is not in your back yard), money for the stud fee and a C-section – and a dozen babies. Hhhhhmmmm, sounds promising already!!!!
But those babies are a wonder – even as newborns they are active, active, active and many are almost up on their legs! I had one puppy doing laps around the inside wall of the whelping box (actually a child’s wading pool) by day 2! And I could always plan on the first puppy climbing out by the second week. Most dams start getting a bit sore and bruised from the monster babies’ teeth, especially when they play tug-o-war with her nipples, and Mom may want to start the weaning process at about 3.5 weeks.
And then the fun starts for the breeder! And oh, the fun! You will now become main mommy, feeder, clean-up crew and main chew toy! And you had better have A LOT of room as your children will be growing by the second, eating a ton of food (I am not kidding!), making huge messes and requiring running time in order to let off all that energy! Greyhound puppies are big, energetic and demanding. Having a crew of galloping, tail wagging, jumping babies that are thrilled to see you come over the hill, is not for the faint- of- heart. And don’t even think of having a litter if you don’t have running room for them. I cannot imagine the ordeal of having a litter in a confined space. It would be cause for suicide — and it is not healthy for the puppies, either! They need a large exercise area in which to develop – physically, but mentally, as well. Greyhounds were born to run and to deny that is to frustrate their natural desires and instincts, leading to neurotic, destructive behavior. But, if they have worn themselves out – outdoors – they can come back in the house and be the angels-on-the-couch they were meant to be.
So, if you want to breed and have done all your preliminary work – finished your female, picked out and booked your stud dog, and are ready to go —- great! You will have the ride of your life! So make it easier on yourself and have the whelping and raising facilities you need for this particular breed.