Usually the fi rst two questions asked are how much will it cost me to buy a greyhound and should I buy a puppy or a race dog that is already on the track.
Determining the size of your budget is probably the best starting point.
Generally speaking, buying a greyhound is like buying a motor vehicle. Like cars, they come in a range of colours, ages, some are luxury ones, others are not roadworthy - and the prices vary accordingly.
When dealing with the purchase of race dogs or pups the best advice is similar to the advice given to punters, spend only what you can afford to lose. Prices can vary from $1,000 through to tens of thousands of dollars depending upon your budget. This is not to say that you will lose all of your money but there are no guarantees in racing and while you can make a profi t you can just as easily have some bad luck and cop a loss.
Once your greyhound is at race stage you will be faced with training fees. Some trainers operate on 50/50 stakemoney deals with their owners whereby there are no ongoing fees and winnings are shared. Other trainers charge more, between $80 and $120 per week, but claim less percentage of any stakemoney earned.
This process involves purchasing a greyhound from the age of 3 - 6 months. The price of pups varies depending upon the pedigree and race performance of the Sire (Dad) and Dam (Mum). Pups can vary in price anywhere from $500 through to $12,000, however as a rule you can normally buy a well-bred pup in the $2,000 - $4,500 range.
On top of the purchase price of the pup you will have to pay rearing fees (approximately $40 a week for 12 months), plus breaking in costs (approx. $750) before they are eligible to race.
There are no guarantees with pups, they can be fl ying machines or on the fl ip side they can be very disappointing. The beauty of buying the greyhounds as pups is that you get to see them develop from a young age and if they mature to be nice race dogs you get to win all of their graded races along the way which increases their earning capacity. When looking for a pup a handy hint is to seek pups from a bitch that has proven herself to be a good producer in the past or look for a bitch from a successful litter with a good race performance as they are also more likely to throw winners.
The cost of a racedog will fl uctuate depending upon the race performance, age, prior injuries and convictions and the grade of the greyhound. As a guide if you are looking to buy a country or provincial grade greyhound to race at Mandurah and Northam you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 while a city grade greyhound which races at Cannington will generally start from $5,000. The better performed or more promising the dog, the greater chance to earn stakemoney resulting in a more hefty price tag. For the fi rst-time owner buying a proven race dog can generally be the safest way to commence your venture into the sport. By purchasing a proven race dog you can research it's form and credentials and watch it compete in races prior to putting an offer in on the canine. The old adage is "no one sells a champion", however many owners are happy to sell handy performers at the right price and many greyhounds who are just shy of city class in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland come to WA and measure up well.
By buying a proven race track performer you are a lot more likely to guarantee yourself some runs for your money on race night. Most greyhounds perform quite consistently throughout their life and barring injuries or bad habits most proven racing greyhounds can race on a weekly basis.
When looking for racedogs or pups as a fi rst timer it is always a good idea to speak to a few trainers/ breeders/current industry members to receive a bit of guidance.
It is likely you will have a rapport with one of the trainers you talk to and from there they can often help you to fi nd your race dog or pup.
Both racedogs and pups are advertised in the free local greyhound advertising publication the Woofer, which is produced every second Wednesday and distributed on-course as well as on line at www. greyhoundswa.com.au in "the woofer" section.
The Greyhounds WA website includes a links section and if you go to the "other greyhound related sites" section there are a host of websites with racedogs and pups for sale. Other publications such as National Greyhound Form and The Recorder have greyhounds of all ages advertised for sale. For more help or assistance in this area please do not hesitate to contact Greyhounds WA or the Club Promotions and Development Offi cers at Racing and Wagering Western Australia.
When purchasing greyhounds, be it pups or race dogs the general rule is "you get what you pay for!" The majority of the time if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Of course there will always be fairytale stories where people have taken big risks and prevailed, but the reality is that this is not a common occurrence.
Always check the form of any race dog you intend to look at with the thought of purchasing and get the greyhound graded! If possible, speak to people, such as friends and trainers, to see what they know about the greyhound. All too often people rush into the purchase of a greyhound, only to discover the dog is nothing like they were told it was. This rule also applies to puppies at the breaking in stage. If people are selling dogs that are of the age of breaking in, then there is a good chance that the dog has been tried and tested. It is rare for a person to sell a dog, especially at a bargain price, if they think the dog possibly has a bright racing career.
Try to deal with people you trust, and ask around about people to get an indication of what they are like. Most important is to always form your own opinion. Never follow the group. Make your own decisions, and pave your own destiny throughout your involvement.
One aspect that new participants and owners of the sport tend to forget is that there are no guarantees in racing. Just because you purchase well bred pups or well performed race dogs is no guarantee that the future will be prosperous and as straight forward as collecting your prizemoney each week.
One day is a long time in greyhound racing, let alone 12 months in the case of pups developing to the breaking-in stage. For this reason it is vital that newcomers and current owners allow for these unexpected incidents and mishaps in their budgets, when calculating their expenditure. There are always ongoing fees and unexpected bills (eg. Veterinary costs) throughout a greyhound's racing career.
Another important aspect is to remember to always respect the trainer, rearer and/or breeder. They usually have a wealth of knowledge that they are only too happy to share if asked. Their jobs involve long days and very little time off, as greyhounds don't take days off - they always need to be cared for. For this reason, if you wish to visit your greyhound it is advised you make an appointment or phone ahead, to ensure that your greyhound as well as all the others on the property, are given the time they need and deserve.