Getting Started in Greyhound Racing

The easiest way to begin racing dogs is to approach a trainer at a desired racing track. Many trainers purchase young dogs with a view to selling them on to new or current owners. Owners of the race courses are usually happy to pass on information about trainers if making direct contact proves difficult. Buying dogs can be expensive and people often get together with two or three others.

Greyhounds can also be obtained at auction, where each dog is given a trial to test their speed and ability prior to being auctioned. Cork and Shelbourne in Ireland hold frequent auctions, for example. Not only does an auction enable potential trainers to make an assessment of the dogs racing abilities, but dogs at auctions are also guaranteed to be healthy, as they are required to be seen by the on-site veterinary surgeon prior to auction. When purchasing a dog from auction, new owners should ensure all documents are passed over during the transaction. These should include:

  1. The Greyhound Stud Book
  2. A signed Transfer of Ownership Form (and usually the auctioneers stamp)

A more rewarding but far more risky way to obtain a dog is through advertisements in the ‘Racing Post’ newspaper. This is a good way to buy an unraced or untrained dog. However, buyers must be prepared at the outset that not all hounds make it to the racecourse, so it is advisable to consult somebody experienced in this area before buying. When going to visit puppies, potential owners should ensure that, from the beginning, the hounds have been given to access to lots of space with plenty of room to run around in. Similarly, when taking them to training, space should be given serious consideration beforehand as the hounds will need plenty of space to stay healthy and strong.

Greyhounds vary considerably in price range. A 16 month old un-raced puppy will cost anything between £350 and £1500 and this will increase as the dog ages. It is possible to purchase racing dogs in a similar price range but they will be of limited ability. For a top class racer, prices may range from £5000 to £20,000. The latter price may increase, with dogs capable of winning races worth up to £50,000.

The training of the greyhounds is inexpensive compared with the initial purchase. Only veterinary fees are a consideration, although even this will be reduced if keen owners enter into partnership.

After the greyhounds retire at around 5 years old (although it may be younger if they sustain a permanent injury), the dogs become suitable pets. Many owners do not consider what they will do with their hounds once their racing days are over. As such, it is wise to give serious thought into what will happen to the hound once it has finished racing.