Italian Greyhound: The Ultimate Guide


One of the dog breeds that you might have come across in your search for the perfect dog breed for you and your lifestyle is the Italian Greyhound. With their cute floppy ears and loving and affectionate personalities, what’s not to love about them? 

If you are on the fence trying to decide if this is the right breed of dog for you, then you have come to the right place. It is essential to do your research when it comes to any dog breed to ensure that they are the right match for you. Otherwise, your future with this dog could easily become challenging.

Italian Greyhound

To help you to decide if this is the right breed of dog for you, we have created the ultimate guide to the Italian Greyhound. You will be able to find out lots of important facts and information about the breed, so you can find out if they are exactly what you have been searching for.

Italian Greyhound Key Facts

Before we get started, there are some things that you will need to know about this dog breed, including their average lifespan, exercise needs, and more. We are going to share some key facts and information with you below before getting into the rest of the article.

Average Lifespan

On average, the Italian Greyhound will usually live between 11 and 15 years of age.

Minimum Exercise (Per Day)

An Italian Greyhound that is both fit and healthy is going to need a minimum of one walk a day. This walk should last for at least an hour, and if you can manage to fit in two walks, then this is even better.

Exercise is also not just about expending all of their physical energy, as walking will also satisfy the canine instinct to travel when hunting for food. 

It also helps to provide essential psychological stimulation for your dog as they will be seeing different things, different smells and hearing different sounds. Exercising them off of the lead is often recommended, but only if you do g is responsive to your recall and in areas where you can safely let them off the lead.

Coat Length

Italian Greyhounds are known for their short coats.

Minimum Cost (Per Month)

You can expect to pay at least $50 a month on caring for your Italian Greyhound. You will need to create a budget for food, accessories, insurance, and more.

Appearance

Italian Greyhounds are dogs that boast short legs and a deep chest for enhanced lung capacity. They have a long and pointed muzzle, a tapering tail,and a short and close coat. More often than not, the coat can come in many different colors like slate grey, fawn, red, cream, white, black or blue.

Size

Italian Greyhounds are quite small dogs and they are also very slim.

Average Height

The average height of an Italian Greyhound is between 13 and 15 inches.

Average Weight

An Italian Greyhound will usually weigh between 7 and 14 pounds.

Temperament

The Italian Greyhound is  a breed of dog that is known for being sensitive, alert, smart, and playful. They are very affectionate with their families, and they love to snuggle up to their owners. They will stick close to your side for most, if not all, of the day, but they might sometimes be a little bit more shy around strangers. 

Their temperament can actually be affected by a number of different factors, like heredity training, and socialization. The puppies that typically have the nicer temperaments are those that are curious and playful, and willing to approach people and be held by them.

You should try to choose the puppy that is in the middle of two extremes, avoiding those that are hiding out of sight or fighting the hardest to get close to you.

It is always a good idea to meet at least one of the parents when you are choosing a puppy, and it is usually the mother who’s available. This will help to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you are comfortable with.

If at all possible, you can also meet siblings or other relatives of the parents, which can be helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when they grow up.

Just like any other dog, the Italian Greyhound will require early socialization, which involves exposing them to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they are still young.

This will help to ensure that your Italian Greyhound puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. You may even benefit from taking your dog to puppy classes in the beginning. Make sure that you invite people over regularly, take them to busy parks, and go for lots of walks to meet new people and animals.

Apartment Living

Italian Greyhounds adapt well to apartment life as they are small in size and are great at adapting to new situations. 

Good for Novice Owners

Italian Greyhounds make a great choice for first time dog owners, as long as they understand the breed’s needs and have the time to devote to training and caring for them. The Italian Greyhound in particular would probably do best with either single people living with only this dog, or couples without children.

Sensitivity Level

Italian Greyhounds are known for being quite stubborn, but also sensitive. They typically respond better to gentle and upbeat interactions, especially with their training. 

You will need to give them lots of encouraging praise when you first bring them home as they can be quite sensitive to the change at first. They are also very sensitive to touch, which is why you should avoid ever giving them any physical corrections. They are easily startled when touched unexpectedly or grabbed suddenly. 

Tolerates Being Alone

Italian Greyhounds are definitely not independent dogs and they will often follow you everywhere. They crave lots of attention and they do not do well when left alone or ignored for many hours a day.

Tolerates Cold Weather

Italian Greyhounds feel the cold a little bit more than some other breeds as they have a very low body fat and they have short coats. Both of these things make it harder for them to retain heat. This is why many of them will need a waterproof coat if you are going to take them for a walk on a rainy and cold day.

Tolerates Hot Weather

Due to their lack of body fat and their short coat, these dogs do not have the insulation that other dogs have to heat. They much prefer to be in a controlled temperature environment, and they can easily overheat if they stay in the sun for too long.

Affectionate With Family

As long as they are provided with enough exercise and playtime to keep them calm, Italian Greyhounds are very gentle and affectionate companions when it comes to their families. They just love to snuggle up next to you at any opportunity.

Kid-Friendly

Even though the Italian Greyhound is relatively hardy, they are not well suited for rough play, as it is easier for their bones to break. This is why they are better suited to a household with older children that can be trusted to treat the dog with care and consideration.

Lots of breeders will not even sell an Italian Greyhound puppy to a household that contains children that are younger than 10 years old.

Just like with any other breed, you will need to teach your children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any unwanted behavior from either the child or the dog.

You should also teach your child to never  approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No matter how friendly your Greyhound is, they should never be left unsupervised with children.

Dog Friendly

Italian Greyhounds usually get along well with other pets, although you may need to keep an eye on them when they’re playing around with bigger dogs. This is because they could accidentally get hurt by the bigger dog while they are playing. 

Friendly Toward Strangers

You can expect your Italian Greyhound to be shy and reserved around strangers. It won’t take them long to warm up to new people, but they might be on guard at the start of the interaction. Even though these dogs are quite timid, they do have a surprisingly deep bark, which can come out when strangers are around.

Health And Grooming

Now that you know more about the loving nature of the Italian Greyhound, and you are aware of what you can expect from their temperament and personality, it is time to take a look at the health and grooming requirements.

Shedding

Italian Greyhounds are a low shedding breed with short and single coats, which means that they hardly shed at all. This is also great as they are a low maintenance breed that don’t require never ending brushing.

Drooling

Italian Greyhounds don’t usually drool. So, if you notice that they are drooling excessively, this could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Grooming

One of the main benefits of living with an Italian Greyhound is that their coat does not shed much and they are really easy to care for. A quick brush every now and then will suffice. You will also need to bathe the dog if they manage to roll in something that smells unpleasant.

You will also need to brush your Italian Greyhounds teeth at least 2 or 3 times a week, but the more often that you can do this, the better. This will help to remove a buildup of tartar and bacteria.

You should also check their ears on a weekly basis for redness or a bad odor, as these can both be signs of an infection. When you are checking your dog’s ears, you should wipe them out with a cotton ball that has been dampened with a gentle dog ear cleaner, as this will help to prevent infections. 

General Health

IGs are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all IGs will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

Common Health Problems

Some of the most common health problems for Italian Greyhounds are:

  • Cataracts
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Vitreous Degeneration
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Portosystemic Shunt

Potential For Weight Gain

Italian Greyhounds are not very likely to put on too much weight, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Trainability

Italian Greyhound

The best way to train an Italian Greyhound would be through positive reinforcement. When they are treated harshly, they can quickly become fearful and snappy. They also often won’t do things in their training unless there is something in it for them, which is why food provides the perfect motivation to keep them working.

When these dogs are well trained, they often succeed with things like dog sports, especially when it revolves around obedience training, agility, and rally. These dogs are known for being both athletic and graceful, like they are built for agility, and lots of them love this sport and do it well.

Easy To Train

Italian Greyhounds are easy to train as long as you adopt the right attitude when training them. These dogs can be quite stubborn and they often have short attention spans, which can be challenging when you are trying to train them.

This is why you will do best with motivational methods that use play, treats, and praise to encourage the dog to get it right, rather than punishing him for getting it wrong.

Although, they don’t always do well in house training. Like other small breeds, the Italian Greyhound can be difficult to house train, and some of them will never be completely trustworthy in the house.

Intelligence

Italian Greyhounds are moderately intelligent, but this isn’t one of their main traits. They will pick up on training well, but it might take them a little bit longer than other breeds to pick up new commands or behavioral expectations. Due to this, you will need to be very patient with them and try not to move forward too quickly.

Potential to Bite

Italian Greyhounds are unlikely to bite unless they are startled. Something that often startles these dogs is when you touch them unexpectedly or without them seeing you coming, which can lead them to be a bit snappy. This is why they are not recommended for living with children, just in case.

Tendency To Bark Or Howl

Italian Greyhounds are not the kind of dogs that will sit at home barking at anything and everything that they encounter, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t bark at all.

They are moderate barkers, and they will usually only bark at things or people that they are unfamiliar with. This is why proper training and socialization when the dog is young is so important.

History

The Italian Greyhound is an old breed that has been around for more than 2 millenia. 

Miniature greyhounds are seen in 2,000-year-old artifacts from what is now modern-day Turkey and Greece, and archaeologists have even found small Greyhound skeletons. Their original purpose is lost to history, but they may have served as hunters of small game as well as being the best furry companion around.

By the Middle Ages, the breed had made its way to southern Europe and was very popular among the aristocracy, especially in Italy.

Lots of Italian Greyhounds, along with their owners, are in portraits by famous artists such as Pisanello and Giotto di Bondone. In the 1600s, the Italian Greyhound made its way to England where they became popular among royalty.

The American Kennel Club registered its first Italian Greyhound in 1886, and not long after, American breeders started to establish the breed in the United States. This actually saved the breed from extinction following on from the World Wars. Today, the Italian Greyhound is the perfect companion.

Costs

An Italian greyhound puppy that comes from a registered breeder, with microchipping and vaccinations, will typically cost around $2000. Italian Greyhounds should be tested for hip, knee, thyroid, and eye diseases which may come up in the breed.

The more health clearances a dog has, the more you are likely to pay for the dog. This is because having a dog cleared of health concerns comes at a cost to the breeder. Dogs that show great potential could cost even more than this, but you could find a puppy for as low as $1400.

Italian Greyhound Fun Facts

  • It is unknown why this breed was originally created
  • This breed has been around for more than 2000 years
  • Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Victoria both owned an Italian Greyhound

 

Kerry White

Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.

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