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Buying Greyhounds

There are several ways to buy a racing greyhound but for the newcomer, the best advice is to talk to one of the trainers at the track where you want your greyhound to race. Most trainers have young dogs in training that they have bought themselves with a view to selling them on to current or new owners.

By adopting this approach, the newcomer to greyhound ownership will know he or she will have a greyhound that, barring illness or injury, should be racing on a regular basis at their chosen track.

The best way to make contact with trainers is to speak with the Racing Manager at your local track who will be able to supply you with names and telephone numbers.  Most racing managers are only too willing to give advice on the subject.

To keep costs to a minimum, try and find two or three friends who may also be interested in sharing the ownership of a greyhound. This way the costs are split and your new acquisition will not become a burden on your pocket.

Others ways to buy a greyhound:

Auctions/Sales Trials
An alternative way of purchasing a greyhound is at a public auction (sometimes also termed a “Sales Trial”). At an auction, the greyhounds are put through a trial, usually two or three at a time, to test their ability and are then sold to the highest bidder afterwards. There are regular sales in Ireland at the stadia in Shelbourne Park, Dublin and in Cork, as well as at several venues in Britain.

If buying at auction, it is important that you are given the correct documents on completion of the purchase. These should include the greyhound’s Stud Book and the Transfer of Ownership Form with the auctioneer’s stamp.

Internet/Classified Advertisements
The trade publications (including Racing Post, Greyhound Star and Sporting Press) regularly carry adverts for greyhounds for sale. Here are some useful pointers to help you make a good purchase:

  • Golden Rule: Get the deal right before you hand over your money.
  • A greyhound, unlike a second hand car, does not have a ‘book price’. In Britain, people seldom haggle.  In Ireland, it’s more common and a greyhound’s price is usually open to negotiation.
  • If you are buying from Ireland, try to deal with the owner, not the agent. Some dogs are advertised by the agent prior to being bought from the original owner. The difference between good and bad value is frequently the agent’s profit.
  • Never buy a greyhound without an up-to-date vet’s certificate. Make sure the certificate is from a known vet who has a good knowledge of greyhounds.
  • Beware the pup who has won his first race by a wide margin – it was almost certainly competing against mediocrity. Greyhounds with moderate pace can be made to look like champions.
  • Study comparative form before you buy. The difference between 29.50 on soft ground and 29.50 on good ground can be up to half a second. What was the fastest time of the night? What was the fastest time of the week? Form from British tracks can be found at www.thedogs.co.uk and from Irish tracks at www.igb.ie
  • When you purchase your greyhound be sure to obtain the necessary transfer documents required to change the ownership.
  • Although it may seem a long way off, make sure you have retirement plans for your greyhound for when they finish racing. Will you be able to find the greyhound a suitable home? Will you continue to pay to have them in retirement kennels?
  • Finally, if something doesn’t feel right or you’re just not sure, don’t do the deal. Ownership is a big responsibility and purchasing a greyhound should be given a great deal of consideration.

How much does it cost to own a greyhound?

The cost of a greyhound can vary enormously. An unraced puppy at 16-weeks-old will fetch between £350 - £1,500 depending on its breeding and that price will increase as they get older. Those already racing will often be in the same price range but will, of course, probably be of limited ability.

The better the greyhound, naturally, the bigger the price. A top-class greyhound at one of the bigger tracks will fetch up to £5,000, while the best in the country and those capable of winning races worth between £5,000 and £50,000 often change hands for anything up to £20,000 and, in some cases, even more.

Keeping a greyhound in training is relatively inexpensive, usually £5 or £6 per day plus veterinary fees when and where required. Again, having partners in a greyhound will help to keep training costs down, though your greyhound will earn prize money every time it races.

When your greyhound’s racing career comes to an end
It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that his or her greyhound is cared for once its racing days have finished. Many greyhounds race until they are four or older, but it must be remembered that injuries do occur which can end a racing career prematurely.

There are home finding schemes which will help to find suitable homes for retired racers but many owners take their ex-racers home with them and are rewarded with the most doting and gentle of pets.

It cannot be stressed enough that the sport of greyhound racing values its reputation for putting greyhound welfare as its highest priority. If you do not have plans or have not considered what you are going to do with your greyhound when its racing days are over, then we would rather you think again before purchasing a racing greyhound.

Of course, we want you to become an owner and become a part in this fantastic sport. However, we want responsible owners, not irresponsible owners.

For further advice on the care of your greyhound at the end of his racing career, click here to visit the Retired Greyhound Trust website: www.retiredgreyhounds.co.uk

More information
The Federation of British Greyhound Owners Association (FBGOA) represents affiliated owners associations from a number of licensed tracks. For more advice and information on greyhound ownership visit their website by clicking on this link: www.fbgoa.org.uk