Where to source a greyhound
Sounds obvious, but in order to buy into a Greyhound, you need… a Greyhound, of course! There are many ways to get involved, and you can talk to any of these people, and they’ll be able to help you out.
Your very own Greyhound
In Western Australia approximately 600 pups are whelped each year, some are retained by the breeder whilst others may be offered for sale to the public. The litter will stay together until approximately 12 weeks of age after which owners are free to move their pups to other rearing establishments should they wish. RWWA provides whelping information in CHASING WA which is published on a bi-monthly basis (www.rwwa.com.au). This may be useful in knowing what pups are about and could potentially be for sale.
Choosing an accredited breeder
A breeder must be registered and accredited with Racing and Wagering Western Australia and abide by a Code of Practice to ensure appropriate animal welfare standards are met. That safeguard provides confidence that a WA bred pup is fully vaccinated, micro-chipped and healthy when placed on the market. There are substantial benefits from acquiring a locally bred pup through the lucrative WESTCHA$E Scheme so shopping locally has plenty of on-going advantages
If you prefer to get amongst the racetrack action without the wait, then buying a performed greyhound (one that is named and racing) is the way to go.
Generally, the most competitive racing span of greyhound is between the ages of 18 months and four years. In recent years there has been initiatives to increase the longevity of careers with Master’s races, so it not uncommon for some dogs to be 5 years still competing.
There are quite a few avenues offering dogs for sale including industry publications, on-line advertisements, and word of mouth. A strongly recommended method is to provide your trainer with a budget to select a suitable greyhound for you. This will take advantage of a trainer’s experience and industry contacts and will help avoid common mistakes brought about by not really understanding how dogs will suit WA grading, distance availability and conditions generally.
What to look for
A good start when buying a puppy is identifying proven bloodlines (pedigrees) and progeny from successful racetrack performers. Invariably breeders will utilise a well-credentialed sire (father) to mate with their dam (female) where their progeny is expected to produce Group racetrack performers on a consistent basis. Whilst most sires are domiciled in Victoria and New South Wales, their straws are most often stored in approved veterinary practices ready for insemination in all states including here in the West.
When deciding what pup to buy, it is advisable to check its pedigree, do your research on the success of past litters and/or racetrack performances and compare value for money against other pups that are for sale at the time.
As for what colour to choose or whether it is a male or female is entirely up to you. It really does not make any difference other than for gender specific feature races such as Derby (males only) and Oaks (females only).
A win and/or placings within the past few months and exhibiting a continuity of starts without long absences from the track are other indicators that the dog is sound and without longer term injury concerns.
When buying a performed Greyhound, a very sensible and popular strategy is to select your trainer before you select your dog. A 50/50 agreement sees the trainer “invested” in the choice of greyhound as the only payment they will receive is half the stake money it earns. It’s in their best interest to help you buy the best Greyhound available.
The great Greyhound journey
Rearing your pup (3 months to 13 months old)
After purchasing a pup, rearing is the next phase when your new acquisition will spend the next 10 to 12 months “becoming an athlete”. Rearing is about providing the opportunity for your young pup to mature into a strong and healthy adult that is ready to transition to a racing kennel environment.
Generally, they are reared at a property where the pups are given ample access to a quality diet to grow healthy bones and muscles whilst having plenty of exercise, fun socialising with dogs their own age and being exposed to new experiences involving human contact.
The cost of rearing in Western Australia is generally around $70 per week.
Education and Pre-training (13 months old – 18 month old)
At about 13 or 14 months of age your Greyhound is likely to be ready for the next part of the journey. Some owners will place their dog in the hands of a pre-trainer for a few weeks to ensure they have more handling and an improved level of fitness before being sent to an education facility. It is here that the youngster is introduced to the most important facets of track racing, including how to enter and jump from a starting box, chase the lure, negotiate turns and compete with other dogs.
At the completion of the education period, the educator will provide a proficiency report as across key areas including times recorded in trials at that facility and how keen it chases. The education period is generally four weeks with a total cost of about $600.
Often the pre-trainer will provide the greyhound with an opportunity to trial on tracks (e.g. at Cannington, Mandurah, and Northam) and trialling with a few other dogs to improve its field craft.
Pre-training after education usually spans between 4 to 8 weeks, with pre-trainers charging about $150 per week.
Racing debut (18 months old)
By the age of about 18 months your Greyhound should be mature enough to join a professional training establishment. It is here, under the trainer’s care, that your dog will be prepared for a racetrack debut.
In WA it is a requirement that a Greyhound must successfully complete a Qualifying Trial before being eligible to nominate for its maiden start. To “pass” the trial, the Greyhound must chase keenly and record a time inside the qualifying standard for that distance. These trials generally consist of four starters and are conducted prior to race meetings on Tuesday at Mandurah and Wednesday at Cannington.
Naming your Greyhound
Naming your Greyhound can be an existing process and one that will be shown on television screens nationally and internationally, as well as race books, newspapers, and other media outlets!
That said, there are several common-sense rules by which you have to abide:
- It can’t be the same (or sound the same) as an existing Greyhound
- It can’t be any more than 16 characters long, inclusive of spaces and apostrophes
- It can’t include any offensive material, so no expletives or those that sound like it
- It can’t be stolen from someone else, such as a famous brand or celebrity name
- It may be rejected if it is too difficult to pronounce
To be safe, visit the Greyhound Recorder and type in your name in the availability search. The Greyhound Name Search should be used as a guide only. Even if a name shows as available, this is not a guarantee the name will be approved when submitted.