Chunky Greyhound Knitwear

Val Charman of Coalville, Leicestershire is the owner of Greyhounds4me, home to knitting patterns for greyhound-related knitwear.

When Val began knitting chunky sweaters for herself in her unique style, using different colour yarns, it attracted the attention of a friend who had met Val through her work with retired greyhounds. She asked if Val could knit a greyhound sweater in a similar style – and Val thought ‘Why not?’!

She became self-employed in November 2011 after being made redundant from her telesales job and being unable to find any work locally. What started as a hobby has become a craze, with greyhounds all over the world sporting her knitted creations!

Val Charman knits chunky sweaters for retired greyhounds

Starting From Scratch

We asked Val why she thinks her greyhound coats have sold so well? Val answers, ‘The knitted coat business started because there was a demand for something out of the ordinary that looks stylish and is functional too. Greyhounds have less body fat than other breeds and have thin skin and thin fur so they feel the cold and need coats in winter or when sleeping in a cold house. ‘

After researching on the internet, Val found that very few knitting patterns existed for greyhound sweaters or coats that actually fitted a greyhound, and so began the task of designing the perfect garment. The long-suffering model was Reggie, a handsome black hound who was the perfect size and build for a coat that would fit the average hound. 

‘Long nights followed of knitting, measuring, adjusting and photographing and finally the Knitted Greyhound Coat was completed. Little did Reggie and I know at that time that knitted coats would become a 'boney-fide' business (you knew there was going to be at least one dog-related pun!) and lead to television and radio appearances enabling them to promote not only greyhound knitwear, but help retired racers into homes as well.’

The Joy Of Home Working

Being self-employed gives me great freedom to be creative and work on designing new garments for greyhounds as I can spend time with my own retired racers and gain inspiration from them.'

Word Of Mouth

Val says ‘The coats became popular by word of mouth at first and then other ladies wanted to knit their own and asked to buy the knitting patterns. This gave the opportunity to generate passive income by offering downloadable products on the website as well as selling garments in the online shop. 

The range has since grown to include hats, snoods, bags, knitted hounds as well as coats for other breeds and I encourage customers to use the knitting patterns to make items for fundraising for greyhound rehoming charities worldwide.’

Family Time

Val obviously relishes the time she can spend with her family. ‘My daughter, Felicity, helps me at dog shows such as the Great Greyhound Gathering where we have the Greyhounds4me stall and support the fundraising for the Retired Greyhound Trust.

Felicity hand paints mugs with greyhound designs and also makes greetings cards and funky items which add to the Greyhounds4me range. We are both very creative and bounce ideas off each other and it is great when we get chance to work together.’

The Best Part Of The Day

Val obviously likes the outdoor life as she replies ‘A sunny walk with the hounds!’


‘Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Ali Brown who have started businesses from nothing and grown them to massive enterprises are an inspiration to me.’

The Biggest Challenge

‘The main challenge I find is not being able to knit fast enough to cope with the demand, especially at Christmas and when the weather turns cold and demand picks up. 

I also find technology challenging. I have had to learn how to edit my website and add items to the online shop so learning how to use Wordpress was key and I am not a techie by any stretch of the imagination.’

Time For Treats

‘After all our hard work with the Christmas rush, the hounds and I went for a trip to Wales where we walked along the beach at Aberystwyth soaking in the December sun and feeling the energy from the crashing waves. 

We had a fabulous overnight stay in the Oswestry Travelodge where they don't mind if you have your greyhounds in bed with you!’

Now there's a 'Me Moment' for you! 

Thinking About Tomorrow

Over the past 2 years, Greyhounds4me has developed a huge following from greyhound owners in many countries and the popular e-zine which Val writes twice a month has seen its membership grow from just 19 members to almost 1,000 members in that time. 

In 2012 Greyhounds4me won the Runner Up prize in the Best Stall Competition at the Great Greyhound Gathering, run by the Retired Greyhound Trust.

Val says, ‘It is wonderful to have a business incorporating two of my passions: greyhounds and knitting. In these days of amazing opportunities, you can make real your dreams and do anything you put your mind to.'

The ideas just keep coming so for now it's more of the same!

Advice For Others

‘If you are passionate about a hobby, look for ways you could make a living out of it. If you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work.’

Read Val Greyhound Press Release, which iHubbub issued to the local Leicester media in our Members PR.


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