The Italian Greyhound personality is what makes it one of the best pets you could ever bring into your home. It’s not the type of greyhound that might immediately come to mind – the one you might picture running at warp speed around a dog track. The Italian Greyhound is more of a pint-sized version.
But even though Italian Greyhounds are small dogs (they’re similar in appearance to the Whippet), they’re just as graceful and elegant as their larger cousins. They also love cuddling with their pet parents.
Here’s a look at one of the most amazing dog breeds around, along with information on what to expect if you decide to make an Italian Greyhound the newest member of your family.
The Proud History Of Italian Greyhound Dogs
Italian Greyhounds have been around for thousands of years. The name of the breed is actually a bit of a misnomer. It is believed they first appeared in Turkey and Greece. But since they became enormously popular in Italy (in the 1500s), they became Italian Greyhounds.1
It didn’t take long for the breed’s popularity to spread across Europe. Catherine the Great loved Italian Greyhounds, as did Queen Victoria.2
The Italian Greyhound Personality
The Italian Greyhound only stands about 15 inches tall and usually weighs between six and ten pounds. This breed is incredibly gentle and loves to be near people. Italian Greyhounds are also fantastic with kids. They know not to be too rough with babies and toddlers.3
Italian Greyhounds are also very smart. As a result, they can get bored pretty easily. It’s important that they stay both mentally and physically stimulated. Otherwise, he or she might decide to turn your favorite pair of shoes into a chew toy. Also, the breed tends to become frightened at times. They can be a little timid around people who are on the loud side.4
Italian Greyhounds: Nutrition, Training, Exercise Needs, And Health Concerns
Like all dog breeds, of course, Italian Greyhounds have certain needs when it comes to how you’ll care for your new pet. Here’s a quick look at how to meet those needs so your puppy or rescue dog will have the happiest, healthiest life possible.
Basic Care Tips For The Italian Greyhound
This goes for any dog’s diet, of course, but Italian Greyhounds will typically thrive on high-quality food.
The breed can pretty easily become overweight, so you’ll need to watch the portions you provide. Ideally, the bones of the hips should be barely visible – but you should not be able to see the ribs.5 Your vet can tell you how to make sure your Italian Greyhound stays at a healthy weight.
Make sure you check his or her teeth regularly and get dental cleanings as your vet recommends. You won’t have to bathe an Italian Greyhound that often thanks to its short coat. Occasional brushing should be sufficient. But you do need to check to make sure the toenails don’t get too long.6
Speaking of coats, the Italian Greyhound’s coat is very thin. The breed gets cold very easily as a result. If you live in a colder climate, make sure you cover your pooch in a sweater or coat when he or she is outside.7
Training Your Italian Greyhound
There’s good news – and not so good news – when it comes to training your Italian Greyhound. This breed is exceptionally intelligent and very easy to train. You need to be very gentle when training, however. Again, Italian Greyhounds are energetic and loving, but they also tend to be on the shy side.8
The bad news is that, like a lot of small dogs, Italian Greyhounds have a tiny bladder. Housetraining a puppy – or an adult, for that matter – will be a challenge.9 Your vet can give you some tips on how to do it properly.
A Breed That Needs Plenty Of Exercise And Love
Italian Greyhounds love to chill out and snuggle with their pet parents. However, they also need plenty of exercise. They’re best suited for homes with good-sized yards because they love to run. Otherwise, they’ll probably choose to run circles around the inside of your house. You’ll need your yard to be securely fenced-in. This is because Italian Greyhounds love to chase things.10
It’s actually very important that an Italian Greyhound is allowed to run. This helps make its bones strong. If it can’t run, its bones may be more prone to breaking. The breed must have the chance to run – or at least go on a brisk walk – every day.11
Watch Out For These Potential Health Concerns
Italian Greyhounds are typically healthy. They are small and thin, however, and are at a higher risk for broken bones as a result. The breed is also susceptible to thyroid and autoimmune issues.12
There are certain health problems, however, that tend to strike Italian Greyhounds more than other breeds. Here’s a look at some of them.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – PRA is an eye condition that can lead to blindness. Unfortunately, it cannot be reversed once it develops.13
- Portosystemic shunt – This is a condition that results in the blood not flowing properly into and out of the liver. Portosystemic shunt can lead to stunted growth, gastrointestinal problems, and neurological issues. Thankfully, though, it can usually be addressed through diet and surgery.14
- Color dilution alopecia (CDA) – CDA is a skin problem that leads to patchy hair loss. It’s more common in Italian Greyhounds with a bluish-grey coat. It can be managed through the use of medications and special shampoos.15
Info For Pet Parents: What You Must Know Before You Adopt Or Rescue An Italian Greyhound Puppy
If you’re bringing home a puppy of this breed, get ready for a lot of love and loyalty. Whether you get your pup from a breeder or a rescue organization, it won’t be long before that companion dog is a cherished family member. The Italian Greyhound temperament is perfect for just about every situation.
There are some things you’ll need to keep in mind when bringing your new pet home. For example, Italian Greyhounds will sometimes have separation anxiety. They may chew on furniture or other household items when left alone for too long.16
They also need certain types of physical examinations that other breeds typically don’t need. Italian Greyhounds should have hip X-rays when they turn two years of age, and should also have their thyroid and eyes checked regularly.17 Like any breed of dog, Italian Greyhounds should also be checked for any lumps and bumps on the skin that could be a sign of a developing problem.18
If you have any questions about Italian Greyhounds, your vet or local kennel club will be great sources of information.
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