Saturday, June 4, 2011

From One End of A Greyhound To The Other!

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 -


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!  

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.
Hanniberyl Lecter!
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.

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, which I still miss anyway!  It's hard to believe it's been almost 3 months.

And almost finally, Frankie, Beryl and I are honoured to have been presented with the Versatile Blogger Award not once but twice recently. 
Thank you My Life With Flyball Dogs

And thank you Rescued Insanity
I'm still surprised than anyone bothers to read my blog, it's nothing fancy, just 'Life With a Greyhound, a Pigdog and Our Friends' as my header says.  So awards are lovely:)  Of course there are the conditions to fill when getting one of these awards but I'm not going to do that tonight.  I am going to finish off by joining in on the Saturday Pet Bloggers Hop and wish you all a wonderful weekend:)


Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! Happy BLOG HOP Weekend. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

houndstooth said...

I think you did a great job of explaining both issues! I'll have to post a picture of Bunny with her muzzle on, just to prove that a muzzle can be rocked! lol

I'm so used to seeing Beryl with her little docked tail now, I think it's very cute on her!

A Couple of Misfits said...

Excellent explanation! When I first started at the shelter, I wondered the same thing. But seeing four Greyhounds playing chase out in the yard answered all my questions! Does Beryl ever seem at a loss without her tail?

gyeong said...

Great explanation. Wish some people would muzzle their non-greyhound dogs who have thick coats to protect them when playing with our kids.

Cherie K. Miller said...

Thanks so much for sharing your greyhound "tales" with us!

Stopping by on the blog hop today - check out my video about the tornadoes that hit the south. I volunteer at the Etowah Valley Humane Society and we have 5 dogs that were left homeless - Hoss, Heidi, Dozer and Goldie & Marley. They all need homes...

Sue said...

Great post on muzzles.

We don't have to muzzle here, but the RGT (Retired Greyhound Trust) do suggest you muzzle for a few weeks to see what your dog is like.

I only muzzle song when she is int he car, as she chewed through a brand new leather lead once and once is enough:)

rottrover said...

We'd wondered about Beryl's tail. We find it quite normal!! And quite beautiful!! We'd also wondered about the muzzeling. It makes perfect sense. Had no idea about the 'thin skin' aspect though. Very interesting. Beryl is always beautiful in our book!!

-Gizmo, Bart and Ruby

Kristin G. said...

Hanniberyl Lector! LOL!!

sam said...

Hi Sam here from the blog hop! I learned a lot reading your post today! I'm part Heeler (Austrailian Cattle dog) and my tail looks like somebody cut it off half way! That's the way some of our tails are! And I did not know that about muzzles. Thanks for telling me!

BZ Training said...

Thanks for the explanation about the muzzles. Didn't know that.

I don't think my golden boys know how to play except to chew on each other, but they have thick coats and thick skin for protection.

Honey the Great Dane said...

What a great post! I know so many people get confused about greyhounds and muzzles - I always thought it was because of dog laws - didnt realise it was actually a voluntary thing to protect them. But what happens if Beryl plays with other types of dogs? Wouldn't they hurt her sensitive skin too when they play together?


georgia little pea said...

thanks for the info! i believe i was one of those who commented on the muzzle in your last post! i think they're trying to get rid of it here in NSW. interesting to learn that it has more to do with the protection of the greys themselves.

i guess most people would see a muzzle and equate it with "vicious dog". sad really. statistically, i believe greyhounds are THE most docile dog [last i read the list of such things.] when we used a halti on rufus, lots of people thought he was wearing a muzzle and was vicious. i guess the tendency is to equate headgear with bad behaviour!

now i know better. thanks :)

Michelle said...

You did a great job explaining muzzles! We often get that question too and people do automatically assume the dog is aggressive if they see them wearing a muzzle.

Suzanne said...

king the time to explain about the muzzles. I had a bit of muzzle envy. As I mentioned the ones we have are plastic and cover the majority of the face. That makes for blah photos because you can’t really see their expressions. I agree completely with you; it’s hard for them to rock that look. The wire muzzles you use on the other hand… I love that they work, yet you can still see their faces and expressions. Willow has happy tail as well. We sympathize with the blood spray all over the house.

House of Carnivores said...

We have a track muzzle for Argos, but don't have to haul it out to use it very often. Definitely when playing with new greys, though! We also used it on him in our home when we first got him... if he was in the same room as the cats, he had the muzzle on for the first week, until we were reassured the he was definitely not going to go after them.

Kristine said...

You are very welcome! I love reading your blog and only wish I had time to comment more often. You always provide such a unique perspective. That and your dogs are just gorgeous!

Thanks for answering this question so well. I have tried to explain the muzzle thing to several people but I don't think I did a very good job. Now I know where to direct people!

PS. I also love your new comment form. The issues I was having with the old one have now vanished!

jcp said...

Very nice description. Thanks for sharing!

Pamela said...

One of the best things about blogging has been learning all kinds of interesting things about greyhounds. You greyhound folks are great ambassadors for the breed.

I have a friend who keeps a wire muzzle on her cocker spaniel. Not for any of the reasons you cited but because he likes to eat rubbish on his walks and he got very sick and need thousands of dollars in treatment.

It's a shame people worry about the looks of muzzles instead of just assuming it's there for a good reason and not sweating it too much.

Oskar said...

Great explaination of both issues. My tail was docked when I was a day old and my people didn't know about it. Since schnauzers aren't prone to Happy-tail, they probably will let their next doggie keep it's tail. I hope you don't miss your's too much.

Nubbin wiggles,

Celia said...

Those big muzzles can make even the kindest dog look scary!!

Cynthia said...

That is interesting that it's a law that Greyhounds have to be muzzled when out. They are such sweet dogs. I did greyhound rescue years and years ago, xracing greyhounds. I had some leftover muzzles too but I think I gave them away finally. :p

whygreyhounds said...

Muzzle or No Muzzle....Beryl Rocks!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I've missed this post. First of all, congratulations on the award(s). It shows you're loved, and you deserve it.
Secondly, I think it's great you posted about muzzles. Whippets are pretty much in the same boat, especially when they've been used for racing. People don't seem to understand the association, probably because of their soft look. We haven't yet used a muzzle on George, but have been out with people who muzzled their whippets, and people stopped them in the street to 'tell them off'. I wish I had had your post to refer them to...


greygirl25 said...

As the proud owner of several greyhounds, muzzles are our best friend.

The president of the group that Iadopted my first greyhound from said it best, muzzles for a greyhound is just like us putting on our glasses.

Anonymous said...

I actually grew up in the greyhound industry, and work with racing greyhounds every day. A lot of the "must wear a muzzle out in public" thing (at least in parts of Australia) is more about the size of the dog, than the breed. I have a dalmatian as well, and because he is listed as a "large breed" (same as greyhounds), when he is out in public he MUST be muzzled. But most people who own large dogs, or extra large dogs (like the Great Dane), don't bother to muzzle their dogs, and they get away with it. Greyhound people, because they are under the rules of groups like the City Councils, the Canine Control Council AND the various State Greyhound Racing Authorities, tend to stick to the rules. If a greyhound is seen being walked out in the street without a muzzle, and someone from one of those councils/authorities sees them, they have the right to stop them and ask if the dog is still racing or is retired. If the dog is retired, there is a tag you are supposed to attach to the collar of the dog that states this, or else there is a hefty fine, apparently! As to wire muzzles vs plastic ones. The racing (wire) muzzles are fantastic, but please, please be aware that they can get caught on things very easily and the little wire struts of the muzzle cage can break and get entangled on fencing wire, and chicken wire and such. What results is a terrified greyhound freaking out and screaming because he's caught his muzzle up. We've had this happen a few times, the worst resulted in the wire being wrapped around one of the dog's top canine teeth (the big pointy ones) and his jaw being unable to close until we cut the muzzle from his face and carefully unwrapped the wire from his tooth. Please check your wire muzzles daily! They can be dangerous. As to the happy tail issue. One of our racing dogs recently had that. We were regularly covered in blood, and I was forever cleaning his kennel out! No matter what we did, he kept knocking his tail (he is what is known as a "circular tail wagger"). Our vet suggested putting a touch of bleach on it, covering it with a bandage, and leaving it a few days, and repeat if necessary. It's been fine ever since.

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