With just the right balance of sweetness and playfulness, an Italian Greyhound might be the dog breed for you. However, new dog owners may have to think twice about getting this breed as a pet. Learn more about the Italian Greyhound breed below!
What To Remember With Italian Greyhound Dog Breeds
Italian Greyhound Personality
- Can get a bit sensitive
Italian Greyhounds, also known as IGs, have two extreme sides to their personalities. On one hand, they can be a total couch potato, snuggling into a corner of a couch or on the crook of your arm. On the other, they can jump over fences and wreak havoc around the house.
These companion dogs are agile and athletic; his long and lean body allows him to run up to 25 mph. This makes bringing them outdoors a bit of an adventure, especially if it decides to chase a squirrel or other creatures in the park. Don’t worry about other dogs though, IGs do get along well with other canines. Although, they can get a bit aloof around strangers.
You have to be careful when training them as they tend to react negatively to harsh treatment. They can have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude making them a bit difficult to house train them. However, they respond well to gentle prodding and positive reinforcement training.
Size & Color
- Long and lean body
- Long legs
- Short hair (does not shed)
Standing, Italian Greyhounds can grow 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder. They can weigh from 6 to 10 pounds, sometimes growing as large as 14 or 15 pounds.
Their coat colors range from fawn, brown or black. Coloring can be solid or with patches of white and black or white and brown. The best thing about IGs is their short hair, which means they don’t shed much. This is ideal for those suffering from asthma or some kind of allergy who really want to own a dog.
- Generally healthy
- Can be prone to certain health issues
If you decide to buy a puppy, make sure the breeder provides a health clearance certificate to make sure you’re bringing home a healthy pup. However, Italian Greyhounds are generally healthy, with some risk factors for a few diseases.
Nevertheless, make sure to take your dog for checkups and needed shots to keep him healthy.
Some of the diseases you have to look out for include:
- Cataracts – Like humans, dogs can get cataracts when they’re old. Eyes turn cloudy, causing blurriness and eventually, blindness.
- Vitreous Degeneration – Another eye disease, this sickness affects the eyes’ vitreous, a clear jelly that helps them have normal vision. Believed to be genetic, a damaged vitreous could hinder your dog’s eyesight.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – A degenerative eye disorder, PRA can eventually cause blindness in dogs.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease – This is similar to the human version, as well. The blood will have a hard time clotting, making nose bleeds and bleeding gums frequent as well as prolonged bleeding from wounds. Symptoms generally come out when the dog reaches 3-5 years but can be managed with treatment and care.
- Hypothyroidism – This illness causes the thyroid to produce very little hormones which affect a dog’s weight, energy level, heat cycles, and even mental capacity. This could also cause infertility. Treatment involves medication that must be taken daily throughout the dog’s lifespan.
- Hip Dysplasia – Genetically passed onto breeds, hip dysplasia is when the femur doesn’t fit into the joint of the hip. Symptoms may include limping on one leg, with arthritis developing as the dog ages. Dogs with this illness should not be bred.
- Leg-Calve-Perthes Disease – Usually confused with hip dysplasia, this diseases causes the hip joint to be deformed. Thankfully, it can be cured surgically and later managed with physical therapy.
- Patellar Luxation – A common problem with small dogs, patellar luxation causes lameness in the leg or an unsteady gait. This can eventually lead to arthritis.
- Allergies – This is a common health issue with dogs. While dogs with allergies to certain food, liquids or materials can live a normal life, loss of care can lead to serious problems. This can be treated by taking away allergens around the house so that the dog doesn’t accidentally eat or inhale them.
- Epilepsy – A neurological disease, epilepsy causes seizures. While it can be treated and managed with medication, no cure has yet been found for the illness.
- Cryptorchidism – If a puppy’s ball sac does not descend by the time it’s 2 months old, it may have cryptorchidism. This may become cancerous if not treated right away. You will have to neuter your dog to prevent the disease from progressing.
- Portosystemic Shunt (PSS) – This disease happens when the blood flow between the liver and the body doesn’t work well, making it hard for him to eliminate toxins. Symptoms include lack of appetite, low blood sugar, gastrointestinal issues, stunted growth, urinary tract problems, and intolerance to certain drugs. Surgery and a special diet can help treat the disease.
You should look for certificates from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia as well as from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) for any eye issues.
If they have no health issues, Italian Greyhounds can live up to 14 to 15 years.
Food & Diet
To keep Italian Greyhounds healthy and active, you need to feed them a half to three-quarters cup of high-quality, high-calorie dry food. You can divide this into two meals a day. Then again, you also have to take into consideration your dog’s weight and metabolism level when feeding it. Avoid making your pet overweight by encouraging it to exercise daily.
- Brush hair
- Brush teeth
- Trim nails
- Check ears
Unlike breeds with long hair, Italian Greyhounds only require some brushing when the fur gets dusty to make him look shiny and healthy. Since they don’t shed, IGs would be great companions for those allergic to dogs who shed.
While still a puppy, make your IG puppy accustomed to teeth brushing and nail trimming. You need to brush his teeth 2-3 times a week. On the other hand, you have to be careful in trimming his nails. Unlike humans, dogs’ nails have blood vessels in them. If you’re not careful, you may cut too far and cause bleeding.
It’s also ideal to check his ears for bad odor or blisters every once in a while to avoid infections and other problems. Make it a weekly habit to wipe any gunk on your IG’s ears with a wet cotton bud or swap. However, make sure you only clean the outside layer of the ear. Do not insert anything into the ear canal.
Being an old breed, it’s believed that the IG’s breed goes as far as 2,000 years ago. They’re reportedly bred for hunting in addition to their role as human companions. The breed arrived in England in the 1600 and later to the United States in 1886.
If you’ve seen royal paintings, you would notice Italian Greyhounds lounging at the feet of aristocrats. Royal owners of IGs include Mary Queen of Scots, Frederick the Great of Prussia, Princess Anne of Denmark and Queen Victoria.
Get to know more about the Italian Greyhound with this video.
As for any other breed, it’s important to know the personality and details of the dog you want to get. If you don’t want to have a hard time training an Italian Greyhound, adopt an adult one from a dog pound or adoption center.
Do you have an IG of your own? Share your experience in the comments section below!
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