Every so often someone asks in the comments section about why Greyhounds are wearing muzzles in some of my photos, usually when I post about a GAP (Greyhounds As Pets) walk. So I thought I’d do a post about the reasons behind this. I’m no expert and while I did some Googling around for references on the subject in general I didn’t really find anything comprehensive and decided I could either keep Googling all night or write my post … and I’m writing my post:) I did find an article at Wikipedia which seems to cover Greyhounds in general quite well and it includes this –

Temperament

The Greyhound is not an aggressive dog, as some may believe due to muzzles worn during racing. Muzzles are worn to prevent injuries resulting from dogs nipping one another during – but more likely immediately after a race – when the ‘hare’ has disappeared out of sight and the dogs are no longer racing but still excited. The thin skin of the Greyhound can tear easily from a small nick from teeth so even a minor skirmish can result in stitches and time out from racing.

If a Greyhound is aggressive then it won’t make the race track. The Greyhound’s job is to chase the lure, not fight with it’s fellow competitors. But Greyhounds are no different from any other dog in that when they are playing and tearing around they get excited and can mouth and nip each other. Where Greyhounds do differ from other dogs is that their skin is extremely thin and easily ripped under these circumstances. So basically they wear muzzles as a precaution. Shortly after getting Beryl and before I started blogging and I had more time I used to spend a lot of it reading the Greytalk Forum and saw some pretty horrific photos of injuries sustained by Greyhounds playing. These were always written by owners who wished they had muzzled their dogs!

greyhound wearing muzzle
Hanniberyl Lecter

The law in New Zealand for pet Greyhounds is that they don’t have to be muzzled when out in public. In know they still do in some states of Australia and that will hopefully be changed soon. The policy on our GAP walks is to have all dogs muzzled. On our last walk Beryl was in her wire racing muzzle which they come with when they are adopted, or she can wear her plastic muzzle

It’s not a real good look for photos, I don’t think even Beryl can make a muzzle rock! I did take Beryl’s wire muzzle off after the free running in the fenced area on our last walk, not that she participated in the running around. Everyone else went back on lead so there was no need to take precautions.

What about Greyhounds being adopted by people who already have another dog or dogs? Obviously nobody wants to keep their other dog muzzled so they don’t hurt their Greyhound. There are many, many people who have a Greyhound with other dogs, and I would say injuries are extremely rare. I know in Frankie’s case he has extremely good bite inhibition and also if a tooth touches Beryl he gets told off in no uncertain terms! I’m sure he’s got a lot more loose skin around the neck and throat from it being grabbed and pulled, lol.

One thing I didn’t mention in the previous post and House of Carnivores brought it up in the comments is a muzzles’ usefulness when bringing in a new Greyhound to a house with a cat. Even if the Greyhound is cat friendly it is advisable to keep it muzzled for the first week or so when the cat and Greyhound are together (never unsupervised, of course!). Everybody is relaxed then and it makes introductions and acceptance much easier:)

Also, if your Greyhound does have an injury that normally would require an Elizabethan collar to prevent it being licked or stitches pulled out then a plastic muzzle is probably even better. I did read somewhere that the Elizabethan collars aren’t a great success with Greyhounds due to the shape of their head and it being so narrow. Has anyone had experience with them and could shed some light?

Then there are those dogs who eat their own poop! Thankfully I’ve never had one but a plastic muzzle would be useful in that situation. Never Say Never Greyhounds has a post here showing Riley wearing a plastic muzzle with a ‘poop guard’ to stop her licking an injured foot.

Which leads me to the other end of the Greyhound, Beryl’s tail or lack of.  Some new followers (welcome, lovely to have you here!) have wondered why Beryl hasn’t got a tail. I won’t bore ‘old’ readers with the whole saga again but it was an on-going saga. Briefly, Greyhounds (and other breeds with thin, bony tails) can be prone to ‘happy tail’ which happens when they wag it and hit the tip against something hard and the skin splits and it bleeds. And boy, can it bleed. A little blood goes a long way. My house has looked like a battle zone more than once because they keep on wagging it! The first few times it happened I managed to bandage it up myself and it would heal, then it would happen again, lather, rinse, repeat. If you want to read up on the fairly recent events that lead to me having no choice but to have Beryl’s tail docked the posts are here, here and here. There are no gory photos, but in the second post I did put a selection of photos of Beryl and her tail.