Greyhounds are one of the most unique-looking breeds in the canine world. These dogs have long legs and sleek coats that may span many colors and patterns.
However, there is one question that people have about these dogs.
Why do Greyhounds wear muzzles? Greyhounds are most likely to wear muzzles while racing. However, these dogs may also wear muzzles for other reasons at the owner’s discretion. We’ll look into the reasons for muzzling below.
What Were Greyhounds Used for Before Racing?
Although Greyhounds are best known for racing, this sport was not their original purpose.
Greyhounds and similar breeds were initially bred for coursing, a hunting technique dating back thousands of years in the Middle East. These sighthounds were bred to pursue the game as quickly as possible.
The European nobility adopted this practice during the Middle Ages. Some of the games these dogs hunted included hares, foxes, deer, and rabbits.
Hare coursing was a predecessor to Greyhound racing, involving two Greyhounds chasing the same hare. Whichever dog caught up with the hare won the challenge.
Greyhound racing on a track replaced hare coursing in modern times. Instead of pursuing a live hare, the dogs would chase a mechanical lure around the track.
Despite the sport’s popularity at one time, humane issues have come to light that has caused a decline in popularity. Greyhound racing has been banned in 39 states.
Are Greyhounds an Aggressive Breed?
Because Greyhounds wear muzzles while racing, many people wrongfully assume these dogs are aggressive. Many who want to adopt retired racing dogs have concerns about aggression, mainly if there are children at home.
Greyhounds, however, are used to being around other dogs from a very young age. These dogs usually play very well with others and learn to read other dogs’ body language quite well.
Aggression is a bad trait for a Greyhound on the race track. When a dog shows too much aggression, his career may end abruptly.
According to experts specializing in adoptions, track officials take aggression issues seriously. Race tracks will ban dogs from the premises if they show aggression while racing.
Could a Greyhound on a Track Injure One of the Other Dogs?
Many are genuinely confused about Greyhounds wearing muzzles, despite not being aggressive. Because most people associate muzzles with bite prevention, using muzzles on non-aggressive dogs might seem puzzling.
Muzzles used during racing prevent accidents as these dogs race nose-to-nose. Greyhounds race with their mouths open, and the race causes excitement, which could set the stage for injuries.
Greyhound racing speeds can meet or exceed 40 mph, which makes a bump from a tooth more serious. One of the essential things to remember is that these hounds have delicate, thin skin subject to severe tearing.
What Other Purpose Do Greyhound Muzzles Have on the Racetrack?
Another reason to muzzle Greyhounds when racing is to prevent artificial lure damage. The lures usually take the form of windsocks or stuffed animals, which a dog can rip to pieces quickly.
Although track officials don’t want to see anything damaged, another reason is to keep dogs from savaging lures. The materials used for lures can break into small pieces capable of causing choking or digestive tract obstructions.
Another reason Greyhounds wear muzzles while racing is because these races often have a photo finish. The presence of muzzles makes it easier to determine which dog crossed first.
Can Muzzling a Greyhound Be a Good Idea Around Unfamiliar Dogs?
Even if your Greyhound hasn’t shown aggression, muzzling around unfamiliar dogs might be a good idea, especially if the dogs are smaller. When the muzzle fits properly, your dog should be able to drink, pant, and breathe without problems.
Although Greyhounds love dogs by nature, any dog without proper socialization can have problems with acting out. Sometimes the behavior manifests as aggression in stressful settings. Many rescue dogs retired from racing have had abusive owners.
Retired racers may require muzzling around smaller dogs until they have gotten used to their new friends. A small dog’s movement and behavior may mimic a hare or racing lure to the hound.
Many small breeds, for example, tend to show aggressive behavior. These dogs might invade a giant dog’s space and start biting or snapping. A Greyhound’s reaction to an aggressive smaller dog might mean severe injury or death to the small dog.
Muzzling your Greyhound during introductions to other bigger dogs can also be a good idea. These dogs may take time to get used to other breeds and their body language and behavior.
However, you may want to consider whether muzzling your dog in a public setting is a good idea unless required by law. A muzzled dog cannot defend himself properly if a dog not under the owner’s control attacks.
If Your Greyhound is Anxious, Can Muzzling Help?
Muzzling can be crucial in getting your dog accustomed to handling if he has anxiety issues.
Many dogs wearing muzzles get unfairly labeled as being mean or bad. Confusion and fear, as well as pain, account for these behaviors. However, it is essential to remember that dogs cannot act out of spite or malice as people are.
Dogs usually show their owners that they are upset through fearful r defensive postures, like tense bodies. However, if we miss these crucial signals, dogs will likely resort to defensive or aggressive behavior, including biting.
In an ideal situation, low-stress handling can calm an anxious Greyhound. However, having your dog muzzled is the safest bet when you can’t calm your dog enough to reduce the chances of biting.
If your dog is used to wearing a muzzle, trips to the vet are much easier if the dog has anxiety issues. Veterinary visits are stressful for many dogs. However, muzzling your hound will help prevent biting incidents.
Basket muzzles offer the best breathing room and are closest to the muzzles that Greyhounds wear while racing. Whenever you use a muzzle, you’ll want to ensure it’s properly adjusted so your dog stays comfortable.
Should Injured Greyhounds Wear Muzzles Around Other Dogs?
Greyhounds can end up with injuries from playing too roughly with other dogs.
These dogs have long, somewhat delicate legs and thin skin. Either of these situations can lead to your dog getting injured.
Despite otherwise sweet dispositions, an injured dog can become very reactive.
Your dog’s survival instincts will prompt him to do everything possible to protect himself from further harm. Sometimes, self-protection includes lashing out at his owner.
If your dog is a retired racer, he is probably already used to a muzzle. However, a sick or injured dog might resist handling more than usual. You’ll need to be careful and deliberate in dealing with your dog under these circumstances.
Keeping your dog muzzled at the vet’s office is a good idea, especially if other dogs get too curious. However, you may consider alternatives to muzzling at home once your dog has received treatment.
If your dog has an injury you don’t want him licking or otherwise bothering, an e-collar or con can help bar access to the injury. These collars or cones allow regular activity.
You may also want to consider crating if keeping your dog away from your other pets will be challenging. Crate rest can be especially helpful for dogs recovering from injuries.
Greyhounds wear muzzles for a variety of reasons not necessarily related to racing. When appropriately used, muzzles can be very effective tools.