Legal requirements for greyhound owners

There are many legal requirements owners of greyhounds in Victoria need to know about. This information applies to owners of:

  • pet greyhounds — including those adopted from shelters, pounds, and rescue groups
  • Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) greyhounds
  • Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) dogs.

Pet greyhounds in Victoria

Racing greyhounds have a unique lifecycle that includes tailored training routines. They can take more time than other dogs to:

  • settle into their new homes
  • become familiar with their environment
  • become familiar with household routines.

Adopting a retired greyhound requires patience as there is a lot for them to learn during the transition from racing dog to pet.

Responsible greyhound ownership includes:

  • caring for your greyhounds needs
  • understanding your legal requirements
  • complying with laws including registration, microchipping and containment of dogs to the owner’s property.

Before bringing a new greyhound home, owners should have an understanding of its basic needs.

Responsible pet greyhound ownership resource

This document takes greyhound owners through the process of bringing a new greyhound home. It provides owners with an understanding of their greyhound’s:

  • body language
  • health needs
  • exercise
  • training requirements.

Download the resource:

Pet greyhounds are not legally required to wear a muzzle in public

Since 1 January 2019, pet greyhounds are no longer legally required to wear a muzzle in public. This includes retired racing greyhounds who have not undergone and passed a behavioural assessment as part of GRV's GAP.

Exemptions to muzzling and leashing requirements

The Domestic Animals Act 1994 (DA Act) specifies exceptions to the muzzling and leashing requirements in certain circumstances. For example, requirements to muzzle and leash greyhounds when in public places do not apply to greyhounds being:

  • raced, coursed, exercised or trained upon land which the owner is authorised or entitled to use for that purpose
  • exhibited for show purposes
  • participating in obedience trials or classes and under the effective control of a responsible person.

As above from 1 January 2019, pet greyhounds will no longer be legally required to wear a muzzle in public. A Governor in Council exemption under the DA Act gives effect to this.

See the FAQs on the removal of muzzling requirements for pet greyhounds.

Greyhound Racing Victoria greyhounds

Greyhounds that are racing or breeding and remain registered with Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) are exempt from the following requirements under the DA Act:

  • registering their greyhounds with local council and any associated council requirements (such as compulsory microchipping or desexing)
  • registering with their local council as a Domestic Animal Business and complying with the associated code of practice

This is because these greyhounds are already registered with GRV (and uniquely identifiable) and must comply with other requirements.

Owners of GRV greyhounds must ensure they comply with:

  • code of practice for the keeping of racing greyhounds
  • local council permit requirements where the number of greyhounds they house on their property exceeds the limits for their property type and zoning
  • GRV rules and requirements.

All other requirements of the DA Act apply, including leashing requirements in public places, along with not exercising more than four dogs at a time.

When a greyhound is no longer racing or breeding they classify as a pet greyhound and all dog ownership laws under the DA Act apply.

General advice and information

For more information on responsible pet ownership call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or email pet.welfare@ecodev.vic.gov.au

If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a dog owner, please contact your local council.

Page last updated: 05 Jul 2021