Italian Greyhound originated more than 2,000 years ago in the regions now known as Turkey and Greece. By the 1600s, the breed was a favorite in Italy, and as the breed’s popularity spread, it became a favorite of many royal families in Europe, in countries including England, Prussia, Russia, and Denmark. The Italian Greyhound is very much a sighthound but in miniature.
Italian Greyhound dog breed Stands 13 to 15 inches tall and these delicate dogs weigh just 7 to 15 pounds. The head is long and tapered, the eyes are dark, and the ears are folded at half-mast. The back is curved, body is compact, and legs are those of a runner. The tail is slender and curved. The coat is short and fine and can be any color except brindle or black and tan. The fine coat needs weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush or soft curry comb.
Italian Greyhound puppies can be quite active and need daily exercise to prevent destructive behavior. The exercise can also help strengthen fine bones and build muscles. Italian Greyhound puppies should be prevented from jumping from heights (even a sofa), as they can break fragile leg bones. Italian Greyhound adults are not nearly as active, although they will always enjoy a good run. All exercise should be on leash or within a fenced yard.
Italian Greyhounds are affectionate and personable, but should meet a variety of people during puppyhood, as they can be aloof with strangers. Obedience training should be fun and fair. Housetraining can sometimes be a challenge. Italian Greyhound puppies need to eliminate often, and bowel and bladder control can take a few months to develop.
Italian Greyhound owners need to be patient and consistent in their training. This breed does not do well when left alone for many hours each day. This is an inside breed; the fine coat offers no protection at all from inclement weather. Italian Greyhounds usually get along with children and other small dogs but are fragile and should be protected from rough play. Health concerns included broken bones, dental problems, and drug sensitivities.
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The Italian Greyhound is sweet-natured and gentle, yet also exceptionally playful and athletic.
This warmth-seeking, comfort-loving dog can usually be found basking in sunspots or snuggled into soft furniture, often hidden under a blanket, pillow, or towel. When you own an Italian Greyhound, you need to watch where you sit!
But if this breed sounds like the perfect couch potato . . . he isn’t! In between his placid snuggles, Italian Greyhounds will suddenly explode into a burst of vigorous running and leaping, tearing pell-mell around the house or yard, darting and zigzagging at breakneck speeds and literally bouncing off the walls, fence, sofa, or beds.
Perching themselves up high on the back of your sofa to better see out the window, young Italian Greyhounds are notorious for breaking their long fragile legs as they launch themselves fearlessly into space and crash to the floor. Their spurts of reckless abandon can be nerve-wracking to live with!
The same is true outdoors. A yard that hopes to contain an Italian Greyhound should have a high (at least six-foot fence), because this racy, agile breed is a fantastic jumper. Off-leash walks would be foolish for a similar reason: he can be out of sight in seconds.
Polite (often a bit aloof) with strangers, there is potential for timidity, so he should be socialized early and thoroughly.
The Italian Greyhound is amiable with other dogs and cats, but some have a high prey drive and will run squeaky creatures into the ground.
IGs (pronounced eye-jees) or Iggies are mildly stubborn and very sensitive. They respond favorably only to gentle, upbeat training methods that emphasize cheerful praise and food rewards. Physical corrections upset them because they can be “touch-sensitive”, startling when touched unexpectedly or grabbed suddenly (one reason I don’t recommend these dogs for young children).
Italian Greyhounds have marvellously quirky, inquisitive, demanding personalities that are unique from other breeds. With all of their special needs, they are not good choices for inexperienced dog owners.
Housebreaking is especially difficult, as Italian Greyhounds often refuse to go outside in the cold or rain.