Greyhound Buyers And Pricing Guide
Greyhound racing is an exciting and all-consuming sport. Owning a racing greyhound gives you the opportunity to participate in this sport in a way few people will ever get to do.
However, to have the most fun and get the best results, it is vital to do your homework up front. The learning curve can be steep but learning all about how to pick a racing greyhound is also a lot of the fun!
In this comprehensive greyhound buyers and pricing guide, learn what to look for when you select a greyhound breeder and go to choose your puppy.
Also learn how to get set up to welcome your greyhound into your life and budget for your new dog's needs.
About the Ancient and Noble Greyhound Dog
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the greyhound is the world's fastest dog.
Ancient writings and artwork indicate the greyhound as a breed may be anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 years old, making this dog one of the oldest breeds in the world.
Certainly the greyhound was a prized canine companion to the ancient Egyptians. GRA-Greyhounds reports that no less than King Tutankhamen and Queen Cleopatra owned greyhounds!
More recently, modern dignitaries such as General George Custer and President Rutherford B. Hayes were known to have owned greyhounds.
Greyhounds were first bred and trained to hunt wild hares and other small fleet-footed game. Later, these swift racing dogs began to race against each other, competing for the top prize of "fastest dog in the world."
Who Owns Racing Greyhounds?
Greyhound owners come from all walks of life and all different backgrounds. Like their dogs, greyhound dog owners make up a colorful cast of characters, ensuring you will always have interesting company both on and off the racetrack.
While some greyhound owners are hobbyists, there are also many owners whose families have been a part of the greyhound racing community for generations.
Understanding the Three Tiered World of Greyhound Racing
There are three main facets to the wider world of greyhound racing. The first is the greyhound racetrack itself. The second is the racetrack's own official kennel. And the third is the greyhound breeder and owner.
Let's take a closer look at each of these tiers so you can understand how they fit together.
Every state has the authority to set their own rules for racing greyhounds under the laws of pari-mutuel betting.
According to Animal Law, "pari-mutuel" is a term that means all winners share in the winnings equally and taxes are handled by a designated agent of the state.
The racetrack itself does not engage in greyhound breeding, training, purchases or sales. It exists strictly for the purposes of giving the dogs a place to race.
Greyhound Racetrack Kennel
The Greyhound racetrack engages the services of a racetrack kennel that is housed on the grounds of the racetrack itself.
However, as stated in the previous section here, the racetrack does not own or operate the kennel. Rather, this service is contracted out and the kennel provider is given a tract of land at the racetrack to house the racing dogs.
Typically, the kennel will be asked to provide anywhere from 30 to 50 racing greyhounds that will race in a rotation at the racetrack.
The kennel will be compensated with a share of the winning purse for each race. The precise share is calculated based on how each greyhound performs.
This is where things get interesting for you, the interested greyhound buyer. Because while some racetrack kennels might own all of the greyhounds being raced in-house, this is not the norm.
It is far more common for the racetrack kennels to lease the majority of their racing greyhounds from private breeders or owners.
So now you can see where you come into the picture as the owner of a racing greyhound.
You may decide to purchase your greyhound as a puppy and train your dog independently.
Another option is to purchase your greyhound when the dog has reached the appropriate age to race.
There is no one best time to purchase your greyhound. Rather, it is simply a matter of how much involvement you want to have in the rearing and training of your greyhound before your dog becomes eligible and ready to race.
Once your dog is deemed ready to race, which is usually around the age of 15 months old (the range is typically between 14 and 18 months of age).
However, your greyhound may be required to relocate to the track kennel as early as 12 months old to learn how to race and become properly conditioned to compete.
Your racing greyhound may race until anywhere from age two to age four depending on their success and overall stamina and health.
Up until the point in time when your greyhound moves to the racetrack kennel, you are responsible for all the costs of veterinary care, feeding, training and basic upkeep. Once your greyhound moves to the racetrack kennel, the kennel assumes the cost burden of training and caring for your dog until retirement.
In exchange for the privilege of "leasing" your greyhound, the racetrack kennel will compensate you on a percentage basis, which is typically anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the purse per race, according to the Texas Greyhound Association (TGA).
Choices, Choices: When to Buy Your Racing Greyhound Dog
As you can see from reading through the information in the previous section here, you will have some decisions to make regarding when to purchase your racing greyhound.
Your two main options are:
For you as the prospective racing greyhound owner, there are lots of things to think through as you make up your mind. But the cost of your dog can be a significant factor in which option you select.
Purchase a Young Greyhound Puppy
According to the National Greyhound Association (NGA), the general price range you can expect if you purchase a greyhound puppy might run you anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for a fully weaned puppy.
This is clearly the more economical option in terms of your up-front cash investment. However, there can be significant ongoing expenses such as veterinary care, food, training and supplies.
Breeding Business estimates that the cost you will bear to get your young greyhound puppy ready for their first racetrack race at age 15 months is likely to be around $5,000.
Purchase a Young Adult Race-Ready Greyhound Dog
As Breeding Business explains, the pedigree of the greyhound you wish to purchase can greatly influence the price.
The initial buy-in for an older greyhound is typically between $3,500 and $5,500.
Three Ownership Tiers for Greyhound Owners
If these prices sounds a bit steep, it is important to understand that you have options in terms of how you "buy in" to the greyhound racing world. In fact, you have three different options: single-owner, partnership or syndicate.
So let's take a look at the differences between each type of ownership using an example price of $4,000 per racing greyhound.
Single ownership is fairly self-explanatory. In this type of ownership, you would purchase the racing greyhound yourself for the example price of $4,000.
In each race, your name would appear beside your dog's name since you are the single owner of the dog.
A partnership is a joint purchase between two owners. So in this case, you would each pay $2,000 and purchase the racing greyhound together. Your names would appear together beside your dog's name in each race.
A syndicate ownership, as the name suggests, involves multiple owners for a single racing greyhound.
The typical syndicate ranges from four owners to up to 20 owners. The syndicate will share the costs of owning, training and maintaining the dog.
Syndicates may have a designated name that appears beside the dog's name in each race.
How to Find a Racing Greyhound Puppy or Dog to Buy
The next obvious question is one of procurement. How do you find a racing greyhound puppy or older dog (called a "sapling") to buy?
There are three main ways to locate a suitable dog to purchase: by breeder or former owner advertisement or by auction.
Let's look at each type of purchase option separately here.
Purchasing a Greyhound from a Breeder
This is the most common option if you want to purchase a younger greyhound puppy and oversee the dog's care, raising and training yourself.
Purchasing a Greyhound from a Private Owner
This is a more common option if you are purchasing a share of ownership from a private owner through buying into a partnership or syndicate.
Purchasing a Greyhound at Auction
Twice per year the National Greyhound Association (NGA) will hold a buyer auction. In most cases, it will be breeders who are bringing their dogs to the auction to be sold.
At the auction, you can actually watch the young dogs racing and examine and learn about each one in person.
Then you can bid to purchase the dog you want to own or buy into.
How to Choose a High Quality Racing Greyhound Dog to Purchase
Probably the single most stressful part of the whole process is doing your homework to decide who to buy your greyhound dog from.
This part is not going to be the sole determinant of your success in greyhound racing, but it will for sure play a part.
In this section, we will walk you through the important research you need to do before you decide who you will purchase your greyhound from.
In dog breeding, genetics can have a tremendous impact on a dog's future racing success.
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, greyhound dogs as a breed are known to suffer from genetic (heritable) cardiac issues.
Breeders voluntarily submit pre-breeding screening test results to the database. Any reputable breeder should also willingly provide you with test results for the parent dogs so you can be sure your puppy hasn't inherited heart trouble.
You also want to be sure the parent dogs have healthy hips, shoulders and elbows and pleasant, trainable temperaments.
Lineage and Pedigree
While you will pay more for a puppy that comes from a championship line, this doesn't necessarily guarantee your pup will grow up to be a winning racer.
However, there is also a reason that owners are often willing to pay significantly more to invest in a greyhound puppy that comes from a championship breed line.
In addition to genes, how your greyhound puppy is raised, trained and treated can also impact the dog's success during their racing years.
If at all possible, work with a breeder who will allow you to visit their kennel in person, meet the parent dogs and ensure that all of the necessary pre-breeding pre-screening health tests have been performed with clear results.
While greyhounds are not the typical dog breed associated with puppy mill breeders, it is still advisable to check out the breeder's reputation in the greater world of greyhound breeding.
This is particularly significant if you plan to purchase a greyhound at auction.
You want to learn as much as you can about that breeder, read any testimonials from past buyers and just reassure yourself that the breeder is reputable and produces healthy puppies.
Just like there can be a long waiting list at the best daycares for children, so too do many greyhound owners arrange for the placement of puppies at premiere racetrack kennels in advance.
You may need to execute a lease in advance guaranteeing that you will place your puppy with that racetrack kennel in exchange for knowing you have a guaranteed placement lined up in the future.
Looking Ahead to Expenses and Profits in Greyhound Racing
It is only natural to wonder what kind of investment you are looking at when you buy a greyhound puppy or sapling - and also what kind of return your investment might make.
According to the National Greyhound Association (NGA), these numbers can give you at least an idea of what the numbers might look like over your dog's racing lifetime.
Return on investment (ROI)
So now you have the basic information you need to decide if buying a racing greyhound puppy, sapling or adult dog makes smart sense from a business and investment perspective.