Funder and dates: Sept 2016 - Sept 2017
Collaborators/partners: SRUC and University of Edinburgh
Greyhounds are one of the oldest breeds of dogs being traced back to 4000 years ago. They were initially used for coursing which is a form of hunting where the dog runs after live rabbits or hares. It was from this sport that the Greyhound racing seen today evolved. There are two sectors in greyhound racing; the registered or regulated sector and the independent 'flapping' sector. Within the registered sector alone 10,000 greyhounds are registered annually in the UK for racing. With this introduction of new greyhounds each year it is estimated by the Retired Greyhound Trust organisation that 8,000 greyhounds also retire each year, when they are only 3 to 4 years of age.
Although there are a large number of greyhounds relinquished to charities each year there has been little research into their success as pets, with most studies being focused on their performance as racing dogs. To date only two studies have been published which have looked at the characteristics, personalities, behaviour and health of retired greyhounds, yet none of these have been carried out in the UK. One was carried out in the USA and the other in Australia.
This MSc project will use an online survey to determine the characteristics, personality, behaviour and health issues displayed by retired racing greyhounds, with specific emphasis on those currently adopted in Scotland.
The information gathered in this survey will allow a leaflet to be designed which will be distributed to greyhound rescue charities within Scotland. This will provide the charities with additional guidance and relevant information allowing them to further support and inform greyhound adopters.