How do you read a Greyhound tattoo? Essential Tips

Step One — Determine their Track name

The first step is to locate and read the tattoos in his/her ears or get that information from the FastFriends paperwork you received when you adopted your greyhound. If the tattoos are very hard to read, it helps to shine a flashlight beam through the ear to illuminate the digits. If your greyhound was registered in the U.S., the left ear should contain a 5-digit litter registration number. The right ear will have 2 or 3 numbers and a letter. The first number (s) identifies the month they were whelped, and the last number is the year of birth. The letter is an identifier as to the order they were tattooed in the litter (not necessarily the birth order). For example, 78B would be July 2008 and “B” would be the second dog tattooed. 111G would be November 2011 and “G” would be the seventh dog tattooed. Please note that if your greyhound’s tattoos are hard to read, then FastFriends volunteers were also challenged in reading them, so there may be errors on the paperwork.

Once you have the tattoos, go to Greyhound-Data and search by “Tattoo”. Start by typing only the left ear number since much of the right ear information does not seem to be in the database. Here is where some detective work and luck is involved. If your greyhound is in this database by the litter number, then you will get a list of your dog and its littermates. Check through the list for a dog that matches your dog’s color and sex. Once you find the dog that seems like the right one, check the “Races” and see if it matches. One indication may be that it recently (in the last 3 or 4 months) raced at Caliente or in Arizona. We have noted that sometimes there is a long delay between the last race and our Retirement Day. In some cases the greyhound may have been in the pet kennel or may have been held back in the racing kennels, but not raced.

If you have followed the above steps and cannot find your greyhound, then the next step is to contact the National Greyhound Association (NGA) as they have the master greyhound racing database. You can e-mail them at [email protected] or call them at (785) 263-4660. Please note they are the national racing organization and they check their databases for adopters as a courtesy. Please use the service only after you have tried out your own detective skills.

Finally, sometimes the tattoos are just too hard to read or have been marked over and you simply cannot find their lost track name and history. When this happens it is unfortunate but remind yourself that you have a beautiful companion who adores you and it probably really does not matter what they were called in a prior life.

Step Two – Find them in the database

After you have located their track name, go to Greyhound-Data and use the “Dog-Search” feature. If all goes well, you can find their pedigree and race record. You may also be able to figure out what state your greyhound came from by researching the tracks that they raced. Also, check out the littermates and the parents, especially where the Dam came from.

Many racing records are also available from and enter your dogs racing name.

Name Search on Greyhound Data

You can also search for your dog by racing name on Greyhound Data. If you don’t have the entire racing name you can also use the * at the beginning or end of the name to pull up all dogs with similar names. In this example I know my dog was named Stutz but don’t remember the rest of his name so I enter the name as “*Stutz” and all dogs with a name ending in “stutz” come up.

If I didn’t find the dog doing this I could also search for dogs that have Stutz as the first part of their name by searching “Stutz*”

I can quickly eliminate all the females from the second search because my dog is a male and can see that all these dogs are too old to be the dog I am looking for. Going back to the first search all the males are much too old to be my dog with the exception of Happy Stutz. Found him again!

Not all dogs are entered into Greyhound Data, sometimes names and or tattoos are not entered or not entered correctly. If you still can’t locate your dog call the National Greyhound Association with the tattoos, color and approximate age of your dog and they can usually help you.

Now that we found out that our dog is Happy Stutz we just have to click on his name to get to his bloodline. You can click on any dog in his bloodline to get information on that dog too. Some of his relatives have photos so you may be able to actually see your dog’s relatives.

At the bottom of the dog’s pedigree page is a list of all the littermates and all the dogs by that dam. You can usually find your dog’s littermates by finding all the dogs born to that sire and dam on the same date even if there are several litters of pups on the list.

If your dog has a photo above his name, like Stutz does, you can click on that photo to get to a photo page to see others. Stutz has 3 that his racing owner or trainer posted of him when he was at the track.

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