Ex-racers make wonderful companions; they are quiet, affectionate and good-natured dogs that often get along well with children and other pets.
Greyhounds come in a variety of colors (see chart at bottom of page), they range in hight from 26" to 30" tall at the withers, and their weight is anywhere from 50 lbs to 80+ lbs - with males generally being larger than the females.
Greyhounds bark rarely, are very calm and gentle, have almost no "doggy odor", and though they do shed it is minimal to near non-existent compared to other breeds - oftentimes people who are allergic to dogs can live comfortably with Greyhounds (after a brief adjustment period to the new allergen in their home, usually about a month).
Most Greyhounds who are at the end of their racing careers are from 2 to 5 years old, but they still have a lot of life to live as their average lifespan is 12 to 14 years (and some have been known to live much longer!).
A Greyhound's health is generally very good; the issues that plague many larger dogs (such as hip dysplaysia) have been bred out of the breed long ago. Yes, you may have to attend to their teeth a bit more than other dogs, but that is because of their soft diet on the tracks. And the instances of cancer in Greyhounds is no higher than in any other breed.
Though Greyhounds are bred and built for speed they are best known as "40 m.p.h. couch potatoes." Greyhounds are not at all hyper - they are exceptionally calm dogs, to the point of making great dogs to visit nursing homes with, and make excellent over-all therapy dogs as well!
Some people having seen Greyhounds with muzzles think that they must be vicious - nothing could be further from the truth! Muzzles are used only to prevent accidents; Greyhounds have delicate skin for a dog and if snagged by another dog's tooth or nail just as they are running or playing they could be easily hurt. Not all Greyhounds are this delicate, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Some book suggestions for where to find information:
"Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies" by Lee Livingood
"The Best Finish: Adopting a Retired Racing Greyhound" by Carolyn Raeke
"Guide to Adopting an Ex-Racing Greyhound" by Carolyn Raeke
"Greyhounds (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)" by D. Caroline Coile Ph.D.
"Greyhound: An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet" by Daniel Braun Stern
"Adopting the Racing Greyhound" by Cynthia A. Branigan
Any of the wonderful booklets by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. (an expert applied animal behaviorist) are highly recommended as well; each deals with particular issues and are a great reference point - not Greyhound specific, but helpful none-the-less.
The speed of a Greyhound around the track averages out to be about 40 mph, with the fastest speed being attained at the beginning of the race at about 50 mph!
Greyhounds can see clearly for the distance of about a half mile.
In 11th century England, the law forbade "commoners" from owning a Greyhound.
The mythical Greek goddess Diana is often pictured with a Greyhound by her side.
Greyhounds are one of the very oldest breeds and the only breed mentioned in the Bible. (A well-regarded book about the breed's history is "The Reign of the Greyhound" by Cynthia A. Branigan)
The name "Greyhound" is possibly derived from several different sources, with the "Grey" part of it from words meaning "fair, dawn, shining, bright", and hound of course from the old Germanic word "hund" for dog
The first circular track was opened in the U.S. in the 1920's.
For every 1 Greyhound registered with the AKC, about 150 are registered with the National Greyhound Association.
Websites & other info pages:
Wikipedia has a greYtly informative page about Greyounds.
Greyhound Articles Online - "The World's Only Articles Anthology for Greyhound Lovers"
forums such as GreyTalk are a great place ask questions and share stories & information.
The Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine's Greyhound Health and Wellness Program
1st Greyhound Dog Care - a guide to care in honor of the site creators' beloved Greyhound
Good webpage for explaining how to wrap "happy tail."
Great article about "Loving a Shy Dog"