In keeping with my alpha female kick, I’d like to introduce you to the unique world of alpha female greyhounds.
Racing greyhounds spend more time with their mothers and litter mates than other dog breeds, since they’re training to fulfill their purpose of learning how to race against other greys.
Like other dogs, greyhounds are pack animals – so they learn who’s boss of the pack (or the litter) pretty quick. You might imagine, Mom ranks as alpha female for a good many months.
And it seems that matriarch mentality can linger – even into retirement. Males who are bigger or older, will often defer to a younger female in the house.
In our early days of greyhound adoption, we were told by one elder of the group that you could add as many retired male greyhounds as you wanted to a home with a female grey, but rarely would they add a female to the mix.
Sounds paranoid to you? It’s actually proven to be a sound theory and accurate in more cases than not.
Our first greyhound, Bubbles, was our only hound until late in her life. When Kayla was dumped during an event, Bubbles was fine until we brought her home. Then we got the withering look, “You realize she’s still here, right?”
After a vocal scolding or two from Bubbles, Kayla just gave her a little more room until they settled. (took about 2 weeks) We had no idea Bubbles harbored such alpha female tendencies.
Eventually they were good friends. I was told this was a rare accomplishment and it might be, but it really comes down to knowing the personality and tolerances of your greyhound.
When Bubbles and Kayla passed on, Faith came to live with us. She helped us foster many dogs, mostly boys, but a few girls.
Maybe it was mothering experience (she had two very successful litters, including an amazing champion), but Faith didn’t have any trouble maintaining order with the newly retired girls.
It’s fun to watch a good alpha female greyhound teach newly retired hounds how to live the post-racing life. The alpha tends to keep everyone in line, usually with just a look – or a quick verbal correction.
With a good alpha female in the house, dog beds and couches are allocated fairly and with the proper deference for age, rank, and need. Most often a female will rise to the alpha occasion as the joy of retired life sinks in.
(Boo is a prime example of a mid-rank female who learned from a guest how to run the show. She’s been enjoying her rise to power ever since. Tune in next week for her story.)
Alpha female greyhounds are a blessing on their adopted family. But once retired, we bestow a different moniker on the alpha female: Queen
Live the adventure!