Whether you dream of having a derby contender or would like to visit your local track to watch your dog compete, owning greyhound is a wonderful hobby. Win or lose, there is nothing quite like the thrill of watching your own greyhound race.
Greyhound welfare is at the heart of our sport and, as an owner, you are responsible for overseeing the health and wellbeing of your greyhound. To this end, you will be registered with GBGB and must adhere to the GBGB Rules of Racing.
The FAQs below will give you an overview of the processes involved with becoming a new owner – from finding a trainer, choosing your greyhound to registering them with GBGB.
While all GBGB licenced tracks differ in their offer to owners, we also hope this will also give you a sense of the many benefits of owning your own canine athlete and the excitement and joy it brings.
If you have any further questions about greyhound ownership, feel free to email GBGB’s Owners Representative, Paul Carpenter, who will be happy to speak to you: email@example.com.
What ownership options are available?
Owning or co-owning a racing greyhound is a hugely rewarding experience and there are options to suit all individuals and budgets.
There are plenty of options when it comes to greyhound ownership – these fall into three main categories: single ownership, a partnership or a syndicate.
Syndicates are a group of more than four persons who are given a collective name and who all co-own a greyhound. It is a great way to spread the cost of greyhound ownership but also enjoy the experience with family, friends, or colleagues. For many, it is their first route into ownership.
Every syndicate must have a nominated Head member who will be solely responsible for all matters relating to the syndicate and, as an owner under the GBGB Rules of Racing, must act accordingly.
How do I apply to become an owner?
If you wish to register a greyhound, speak to your trainer or contact your chosen track’s Racing Office. Your chosen trainer will be able to provide you with a GBGB registration form and discuss the next steps with you – you can find details on how to pick a trainer below.
Greyhound owners, while not directly licensed by GBGB, must be registered as an owner with us. To do so, new owners must supply proof of identity (either a copy of a UK driving licence or passport) and a proof of address (recent utilities bill or letter showing your current address) during the initial registration process of their greyhound.
GBGB registration fees vary dependent on the type of ownership you are embarking on – if you would like more information on fees, please contact GBGB’s registry department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When registering your greyhound, you will also need to pay your owner contribution towards your greyhound’s Greyhound Retirement Scheme bond. This is normally £200 which is matched by GBGB if and when your greyhound enters a rehoming centre. This money will help pay for their care while they await their forever home. You can read more about GBGB’s Greyhound Retirement Scheme below.
Where will my greyhound live?
Most owners will work together with a GBGB licensed Professional Greyhound Trainer who will train and care for their greyhound during its racing career. This means that the greyhound will live with the trainer at their residential kennels and will be looked after by the kennel staff there on a day-to-day basis.
The exception to this is if the owner wishes to train the greyhound themselves, in which case they will need to apply for a GBGB trainers’ licence. For this, you will need to have a suitable kennel facility that will be inspected for suitability by GBGB. Many greyhound trainers also own – or part-own – greyhounds in their care.
Your trainer will be responsible for getting the best out of your greyhound and ensuring they are enjoying their racing career.
They will train your greyhound at their kennels and will transport them to and from their races – this will usually be at their ‘attached’ track, unless your greyhound is entered into an ‘open race’ competition which are held at tracks across the country.
What should I consider when choosing a trainer?
There are several things to consider when choosing your trainer. These include:
Welfare – as a GBGB licenced trainer, your chosen trainer must uphold the sport’s high welfare standards. It is important, however, that you are satisfied that your greyhound is getting the highest levels of care and attention.
Location – where do you plan to watch your greyhound race, and how far is this from you? Will you be able to visit your greyhound regularly?
Experience – there are trainers with a variety of experience levels across the UK, from Derby-winning kennels to younger trainers with plenty of potential and enthusiasm. Both options have their own benefits, so it is worth thinking about what is best for you and your greyhound.
Finally, communication between owner and trainer is vital – therefore pick someone whose company you enjoy and with who you can develop a good working relationship with.
Where do I find available greyhound trainers?
If you are interested in becoming an owner, we would advise that you first contact your local track who will let you know which of their trainers have capacity at their kennels. A list of all GBGB racecourses can be found here.
Alternatively, you may already have a trainer in mind who you are interested in training your greyhound. A list of GBGB licenced Trainers’ and their contact details can be found here.
Can I visit a trainer and their kennels before deciding?
Absolutely. The best way to decide which trainer is for you is to go and see their kennel facilities for yourself and meet their staff and greyhounds.
They will be happy to show you around, give you a run-down of their routine and answer any questions you may have.
Where do I buy my greyhound?
Your chosen trainer will be able to advise you on the right greyhound for you – it may be that they already have a suitable dog in their kennel for sale.
Alternatively, your trainer will be able to direct you to a greyhound sale. Sales take place throughout the year online and at tracks across the country – they are advertised in the GBGB Calendar which you can view here. When buying a greyhound at a sale, particularly as a new owner, it is important that you set yourself a budget and stick to it. Your trainer may also be happy to accompany you to make sure that you spend the appropriate amount for the greyhound.
If you are new to greyhound ownership, it is best to take the advice of your trainer. They will be able to properly assess your prospective greyhound’s value and whether they are suited to running at the track you would like them to race at. The most important element to keep in mind is whether the greyhound is healthy and fit – it is important to always ask the current owner or breeder to provide a veterinary certificate.
How much does a greyhound cost to buy?
Most owners purchase their greyhound at one of three different stages: as a puppy (with no training or racing experience), as a sapling (who has no race experience but some training) or as an actively racing dog (a greyhound who has already had some experience on the track).
The cost of a greyhound varies greatly depending on their pedigree and experience. For example, a well-bred unraced puppy can vary in cost from £500 to £5,000. Your trainer will help advise you on the right greyhound for your budget.
When purchasing any greyhound, is it worth setting yourself realistic expectations. With puppies, it is worth remembering that it is not a guarantee that the greyhound will race – there is always some possibility that it will not take to chasing or may not grade on. On these occasions, these greyhounds will need to be found a loving, forever home to enjoy life as a pet.
When considering whether to purchase a bitch or a dog, you must keep in mind that a bitch will have a seasonal break during which time they cannot race. Kennel bills must still be paid during this time.
As well as the initial investment of your greyhound, you will also be responsible for paying for their health and wellbeing throughout their careers and ensuring a plan for their retirement. A breakdown of typical costs associated with greyhound ownership can be found below.
What costs are involved in caring for my greyhound?
As an owner, you will pay kennel fees for the daily care of your greyhound – this will cover their boarding, food, heating, and exercise. On average, kennel fees range from £7 to £11 +VAT per day (some trainers charge VAT and some do not).
In addition to this, you will also need to pay for any veterinary care – this includes routine vaccinations (and yearly booster jabs), worming and flea treatment, as well as any specific veterinary treatment or physiotherapy they may need.
Each trainer will do things differently and will have their own payment arrangements. It is, therefore, vital that you get a clear idea of costs before you embark on your ownership journey to ensure that you can afford the process.
Can I name my greyhound?
One of the joys of becoming a greyhound owner is naming your new pride and joy. They will be given a name when they are registered with the Stud Book and, after this, they can have one further name change.
It does mean, however, that if the greyhound you are buying has already had a name change, you cannot change it again.
What are my long-term responsibilities as a racing greyhound owner?
Racing is only one chapter of a greyhound’s life. They typically race from the age of 15-18 months to the ages of three or four years old, which means they have a long life ahead of them once they leave the track.
Every greyhound owner is required to plan for when their greyhound’s career on the track comes to an end. This is a requirement under Rule 18 of GBGB’s Rules of Racing and you must inform GBGB of your greyhound’s retirement destination once they retire.
Retired greyhounds make wonderful pets and many racing owners decide to bring their greyhound’s home with them as pets. For those who can’t for any reason, GBGB has a network of approved homing centres that find forever homes for retired greyhounds. These have been verified as having the high welfare standards we expect for our retired greyhounds.
GBGB runs the Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) to ensure that the retirement of every greyhound is safe and secure before they even step foot on the track. As an owner, this means that you pay £200 at the point of registering your greyhound with GBGB. This £200 is then match-funded by GBGB to create a £400 bond which stays with the greyhound and is unlocked when it reaches one of GBGB’s approved GRS homing centres.
What if my greyhound picks up an injury?
While every measure is taken to ensure that greyhounds are racing on the safest possible surfaces, injuries do occur. In the majority of cases, this may be a minor strain which your greyhound – with proper veterinary care and rest – will recover from and they will be able to continue their racing career.
If your greyhound unfortunately sustains an orthopaedic injury while trialling or racing, you can access GBGB’s national Injury Recovery Scheme which is in place to support owners to pay the required veterinary fees. Many stadia also have their own schemes to further help owners and ensure that these greyhounds get the necessary treatment. In most cases, greyhounds with career-ending injuries are able, with the correct veterinary treatment and aftercare, to go on to enjoy long and fulfilled happy lives as pets.
When will I know when it’s the right time for my greyhound to retire?
This is a decision you will make together with your trainer based on the health and happiness of your greyhound.
This may be at any age and maybe earlier than expected due to injury or for medical reasons. It is therefore very important that you have a plan for your greyhound’s retirement from the start of their racing career.
Can I visit my greyhound at their trainer’s kennels?
Of course. Many kennels hold an open morning or afternoon for their trainers once a week – these usually take place on a Sunday. Your trainer may also be happy to have you come to the kennels on arranged visits on other occasions.
This is a great time to meet and get to know other owners at the kennel and spend some quality time with your greyhound.
What is the owners’ experience like at the track?
Win or lose, there is nothing quite like the thrill of watching your own greyhound race. Whatever their grade there is real joy to be gaining from watching them reach their potential on the track.
As an owner, you will be able to make the most of the facilities at your chosen track. While benefits differ from stadium to stadium, most will have free admission for owners as well as discounts at their restaurants.
Many also have special celebrations and trophy presentations when your greyhounds meet significant milestones, such as three or more wins – as well as presentations for dog or bitch of the month. Many also hold regular ‘Owner Nights’ where you can enjoy a meal and socialise with other owners’ at the stadium.
Will I receive prize money if my greyhound wins?
Every greyhound is awarded run money every time he or she races which helps towards the monthly kennel costs – run money varies from track to track but is usually between £30-£50 depending on the track and the grade of your greyhound.
If you are lucky enough that your greyhound wins a race, any prize money will be paid directly to the trainer who will arrange to pass this onto you. Each trainer will do this differently, so it is worth discussing this from the outset of your relationship.
Prize money varies greatly depending on the race-grade of your greyhound and the track at which it competes. It is worth noting that most greyhounds are not champions, so set your expectations at the outset. Greyhound ownership is a wonderful hobby but, in the majority of cases, it is not a hobby that you will make money from.
Unless you are looking to own a top open-race greyhound, the chances of them winning a major competition – while not impossible – are low. It is best to treat any prize money your greyhound receives as a bonus.