Is an Italian Greyhound the Right Dog for You?

Linda lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. She has been owned by two Italian Greyhounds.

You've seen them in pet stores and prancing around the ring at dog shows. Their quick, bouncy gait and perky little ears have stolen your heart, and you just have to have one. Stop! Do your homework. This is not the breed for every home.

IG's (Iggys) are precious. As puppies, they fit in the palm of your hand, and as adults, they fit perfectly in your lap. And that's where they usually want to be, too. They are known as Velcro dogs, you will never be alone again if you bring an IG into your home. This is a breed that wants and needs to be with you every minute. If you enjoy going to the bathroom alone or taking a long nap on a rainy day, it won't ever happen again if you have an Iggy. They just love you and that's that. Your trip to the bathroom will be shared with your Iggy sitting between your feet. Nap time will be yours, if and only if, your Iggy wants to nap too. Otherwise, they will turn your naptime into a battle of will. Trust me, the Iggy will win.

Italian Greyhounds are little clowns. When they want to play, there is little you can do to distract them. You can't force an Iggy to lay down with you if they don't want to. In fact, Iggys don't do much of anything they don't want to do. Prepare yourself. Once you bring an Iggy home, your life will never be your own again.

Major Considerations

Seriously, do the research before you get an Italian Greyhound puppy. Know what you are getting into and make an informed decision. Although adorable, smart, compact, and practically non-allergic, they are not perfect. Before you even start looking for a puppy, give serious consideration to the following and talk to other Italian Greyhound owners.

Costs: Italian Greyhounds aren't cheap. Buying a puppy from a reputable breeder will cost you at least $500. Then there are vaccines, licenses, heart worm testing and preventative medicine, and—of course—neutering or spaying. You've just added about $400 to the purchase price. Do you have funds available for medical emergencies? Iggys have very tiny leg bones that fracture easily. A fracture can easily cost you $1200 or more. Don't think it won't happen to yours. It can, and the odds are, it will. Are you prepared for it?

Time: Italian Greyhounds need you. They need you to be with them. Will someone be with them? If you work outside the home and will be gone for large blocks of time, an Iggy might not be a good choice. Not only is it unkind to leave an Iggy alone too long, but it can also be dangerous. Iggys will find something to entertain them and it may not be good for them. They are amazing little thieves and if they desire, will get into things you thought they could never reach. They also have very tiny bladders and most cannot control their bladder or bowels for long periods of time. They will potty, wherever it's convenient, even in their crate or on your floor.

Safety: We've already said that Italian Greyhounds can't be trusted to roam the house alone. They also can't be left off leash outside. Iggy's have no concept of danger and yet they tend to be a bit skittish. They are fast too. Any unexpected noise or movement can send an Iggy running and no amount of training will slow them down or bring them back to you if they have been spooked. Iggys require a secure yard or a leash to be safe. It's not an option.

Potty Training

Potty training is worthy of it's own subtitle. It is the primary reason that so many Italian Greyhounds end up in shelters or in rescue. As beautiful and precious as these creatures are, they are a nightmare to house train. Most never get it 100% right.

An Iggy will fool you when they are small. They will let you think they've learned and they'll either let you know they need to go out or they will use potty pads. Don't let it fool you. An Iggy will potty in the right place if it suits them. If it doesn't, they'll potty near the pad but not on it. Or, they might pick a favorite spot in your kitchen or bedroom. No amount of positive reinforcement or discipline will cure them. It's just an Iggy thing. Can you handle it?

If you're not willing to shampoo your carpet weekly, wash a lot of rugs or spend a fortune on pads, consider another breed. I cannot reinforce this enough. An Iggy will pee on your floors, carpeted or not. It's a fact.

Minor Considerations

If you bring an Italian Greyhound home, you will likely encounter dental issues at some point. It is well documented that most Iggys will develop periodontal disease at an early age. Iggys have relatively large teeth for such a small mouth which can result in crowding of the teeth. They also have a tendency to have dry mouths which can hamper clearing the mouth of food properly. Your Iggy will need vigilance on your part to keep those teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing and, regular dental exams by a trained veterinarian.

Some other health concerns that may show up in Italian Greyhounds with some frequency are:

  • Thyroid conditions. This affects the coat, weight, and energy.
  • Luxating patellas. This is a structural problem with the kneecaps.
  • PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), This is an eye problem that can lead to blindness.
  • Legg-Perthe's Disease. This is a disease of the hip joint.
  • Auto-immune disease. This is a cellular problem that causes the body to attack itself.

Not all Italian Greyhounds will develop these conditions but it is important to research the breeder's history of producing medically sound dogs. Many of these diseases are genetic and we need to stop the bloodlines with the DNA for each of them. All of these conditions can be costly and heart-breaking. Please don't ever breed an Italian Greyhound without testing for PRA and Legg-Perthe's disease. For more information, I would encourage you to visit the Italian Greyhound Club of America site.

The many faces of the Italian Greyhound

The Brighter Side of Iggys

It's not all bad news. There are some super endearing qualities to Italian Greyhounds. They truly are little clowns and will bring a smile to your face on the darkest of days. When no one else in the world will love you, your Iggy will declare his/her undying love with just a look. They have a way of looking into your soul and seeing only the best in you. Iggys are not capable of holding a grudge and their sole purpose in life is to adore you and to have fun.

Italian Greyhounds can also be great sports enthusiasts. The Italian Greyhound Club of America provides great information on training Iggys to compete in fly-ball, lure-coursing, obedience, agility, and racing. Iggy's have an abundance of energy and thrive on the accolades that come with a good performance.

An Italian Greyhound will love you like no other and they make the best bed buddies when they are ready to sleep. In fact, they generally prefer your bed to theirs. Prepare to share your blankets with your Iggy. The good news here is that they are practically non-allergenic and a breeze to keep clean. Iggys do shed a little but their coat is so short and sleek that you may not even notice. A quick wipe-off with a damp cloth will suffice for a quick cleanup after a day in the sun.

My Personal Experience

I am not a breeder. I am a person whose heart has been melted by the love of an Italian Greyhound. My Luna is now 10 years old and I can't express the pleasure she has brought to my life. We are the best of buddies. Even after all these years though, she still rules the roost and yes, I have allowed it.

I wanted to write this Hub because these dogs are so very precious and yet, they warrant a word of caution. It breaks my heart that so many end up in rescue or shelters, or, get abused for things that they simply aren't capable of changing. I've accepted that I will shampoo carpet every week for the remainder of the time I have left with Luna. She is pad trained. She knows where to go but as long as she has one foot on the pad, she thinks she is on the pad. Never mind that her butt isn't. It's a real nuisance and some days I do wonder if I chose the wrong breed.

When I brought Luna home, I had a plan. I was faithful to my plan for potty training this one. Mistakes were not an option and would not be tolerated. Now, after ten years, I am only beginning to accept this as a way of life. It drives me nuts but for every potty miss, I get dozens of kisses and enough laughs to make up for it. Trust me, I've tried every training technique known to man for potty training. I bought all the videos; read all the books. It is my only complaint about my Iggy. She is the joy of my days and my snuggle buddy at night. At the end of the day, when she has stretched out those skinny little legs and pushed me to the very edge of the bed, I just smile and think—how did I ever live without her? Go figure!

Rest in peace, my precious Luna

I said my final farewell to Luna today, January 20, 2014. My heart is broken and there is an emptiness in my home that cannot be filled. A few weeks ago, Luna began developing small lumps under her skin. Our veterinarian thought they were sebaceous cysts. They looked and acted like cysts so that is how we treated them. Two weeks later, these angry appearing cysts began bursting through the skin and Luna was scheduled for surgery this morning to remove them. Her pre-anesthesia chest x-ray showed lungs that were completely filled with multiple tumors and I knew what I had to do.

With the help of medication, Luna fell into a peaceful and final sleep at 9:30 A.M. knowing that she was loved enough to be spared any additional pain and suffering. It was the most difficult thing to do but it was also the only compassionate act left to give her. I know she understood.

Run free and happy little Luna. You earned it. You gave me more love, loyalty, and joy than words can express. Run until your heart is content. Chase butterflies and bark at the wind my precious girl.

  • The Love of an Italian Greyhound
    Italian Greyhounds aren't for everyone but if one chooses you, be prepared to learn some important lessons about love.

Shortly after saying goodbye to Luna, I realized that I could not be happy without an Italian Greyhound in the house. I missed Luna's bigger than life personality and the love she gave to me so unconditionally. Thanks to an amazing group of people who are involved in Italian Greyhound rescue, I adopted my second Italian Greyhound. Sadie is adorable and I am totally in love with her. She's a different personality than my Luna but has all the characteristics that I love about Italian Greyhounds. Sweet Sadie, an Italian Greyhound, found her way to me in spite of my resistance. This is the story of our amazing experience with animal rescue.

More About the Breed:

  • How To Be A Responsible Owner Of An Italian Greyhoun...
    Italian Greyhounds need a responsible owner. If you're up for it, these little clowns will fill your days and nights with love and laughter. They trust you to keep them safe. Before bringing an IG home, make sure you are ready for the responsibility.

Questions & Answers

Question: I've never heard of a whole breed that cannot be house trained. Is this really true of all Iggy's?

Answer: No! It is not true. However, it is prevalent and anyone considering an Italian greyhound needs to know that. They are wonderful little dogs and if you are fortunate enough to house train one, then life is near perfect with them. For those of us who have not found that perfection, we learn to shrug it off and keep a sufficient stock of cleaning supplies.

Question: I have a cat, and I’ve been wanting to get an Italian Greyhound. How do they do with cats?

Answer: Italian Greyhounds, like any sighthound, can have a high prey drive. That means they could have a tendency to chase anything smaller than themselves. That said, many Italian Greyhounds are very cat-like and get along great with other small furry animals. Before you purchase one, ask if it has been cat tested. Responsible breeders will have done this or at least be willing to do it before selling you a puppy. Of course, I always suggest looking for an Italian Greyhound through the various rescue groups. There are far too many of these precious little dogs looking for a forever home.

Question: Can you have more than one greyhound dog in your house at once?

Answer: These dogs do very well in multiple Italian greyhound houses. They love each other and love to play.

Question: Are Italian Greyhounds good with children?

Answer: Most Italian Greyhounds love everyone regardless of their age. However, they do have very tiny tiny, somewhat fragile leg bones. My personal opinion is that they are not the best choice for a home with very small children. When a child can be taught to play Gently, Iggy's are great fun. Iggy's are high energy and love to play.

© 2012 Linda Crist

Linda Crist (author) from Central Virginia on March 02, 2014:

herunningman 3, I'm glad you stopped by and enjoyed this article. They are precious little dogs if you are patient and accept that they are not perfect in the house-training area. They love like no other breed.

therunningman from Rhode Island on February 05, 2014:

Very nice article. Years ago I had a friend who had an Iggy. It was one of the nicest dogs I've ever been around, a real beauty.

Linda Crist (author) from Central Virginia on February 26, 2013:

Kathryn, this is a very unique breed. They are easy to love and care for but darn near impossible to train. Still, I adore her. Thanks for reading this one and for loving my dog too.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on February 26, 2013:

What a beautiful dog! Such shiny fur.

Linda Crist (author) from Central Virginia on September 03, 2012:

otee, my first dog as a child was a blond cocker. I adored him until he decided to chase and snap at me. I was 10 when we had to re-home him because of his agressiveness. I cried for weeks. Thanks for reading and commenting. It means he world to me. I am sorry for your loss of your Pappa. I can tell how much he was loved.

OTEE from India on September 03, 2012:

Oof! That's a lot of work, and I thought that Cocker Spaniels were tough. Apart from their hair shedding and regular grooming needs they seem pretty low maintenance. Like IG's, CSs are just as strong-willed and do their own thing. CSs are prone to ear infections, and probably early onset of cataract. Our Pappa had cataract which we had operated.

We lost our dear Pappa last year and the void will remain forever.

Loved this hub.

Linda Crist (author) from Central Virginia on July 28, 2012:

Dear Vegaswriter. I am so sorry for your loss. I know that my heart will break when I have to say goodbye to Luna. She will be my last IG but she has a piece of my heart that no other can have. I'm glad you liked the hub. Thank you for reading it and sharing your story with me.

vegaswriter from Las Vegas on July 27, 2012:

Thank you for writing this hub. I was happy to see it. It made me laugh and smile thinking of those wonderful and aggravating traits and quirks even as the tears streamed down my face missing my beloved IG's.

They are one of the greatest loves of my life but it is a void that I most likely will not make the choice of filling again having had my life ruled by special needs IG's for many, many years.

I had to say goodbye to my darling yet very neurotic boy Chance last year when I couldn't fight his degenerative disc disease any longer. I miss him every day and every night and every time I think of taking a nap. No dog 'fits' like an IG.

Linda Crist (author) from Central Virginia on July 24, 2012:

Thanks so much for reading my hub DrMark. Iggys have so much charm and I really do adore my Luna and the breed. That said, Luna will be my last Iggy, at least until I am retired and have a fenced in yard with a doggie door. lol I don't think there is another breed that has a personality equal to an Iggy but it really isn't the breed for everyone and I hope that I conveyed that appropriately. Thank you for the comment and the vote up!

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 23, 2012:

Nice article. It does not sound like the right dog for me but I really like how you present the good and the bad points. Great photos too. Voted up!

Vital Stats:

If you're an art lover, you may have seen the Italian Greyhound in centuries-old portraits, immortalized with their noble owners by famous artists. This slender, elegant dog is the smallest of the sighthounds — the group of dogs bred to hunt by sight and give chase — and closely resembles his much larger Greyhound cousin.

Agile and athletic, he has a small, muscular body and an elegant high-stepping gait. The IG, as he's often called, retains his instinct for hunting small game and will chase anything that moves. He can reach top speeds of 25 miles per hour, so if he gets loose he won't be easy to catch. Although he's small, he has lots of energy and appreciates plenty of opportunities to exercise. A fit IG can even make a good jogging partner.

The Italian Greyhound has a gentle personality, loving and affectionate with family members, but often reserved or shy with strangers. Despite his mild nature, he has a surprisingly deep, big-dog bark, making him a good watchdog — although he's too small to back up his barks and provide any actual protection.

This is an intelligent breed who can be easy to train, but you'll need to make it fun for him to overcome his "what's in it for me?" attitude. When well trained, he can shine in dog sports such as obedience training, agility, and rally. The athletic, graceful IG seems built for agility, and many love the sport and do it well.

What they don't do well is housetraining. Like many small breeds, the IG can be difficult to housetrain, and some dogs are never completely trustworthy in the house.

Aside from the occasional cleanup, life with an IG is both restful and zestful. He loves snuggling with his people for a while, then flying around the house and jumping on furniture and tabletops. IGs are catlike in their love of high places, and you'll often find them perched on the backs of chairs, on windowsills, or any other high spot they can reach. Older IGs are more sedate and will cuddle with you on your recliner and just enjoy the day.

On sunny days, expect to find your IG sunbathing in the yard, one of his favorite pastimes. He loves warmth and is fussy about getting cold or wet. It's not unusual for IG owners to have a sheltered area in the yard so their dogs can go potty on rainy days without getting their feet wet. At night, he'll burrow beneath the covers on your bed.

Your IG will demand attention if he feels he's being ignored. Privacy becomes a distant memory once you own an Italian Greyhound, because he'll follow you everywhere at all times. He's also curious and will investigate anything that catches his interest.

The Italian Greyhound is one of those small dogs with a big personality. He's affectionate, possessive, and loving, charming his way into your life. If you can give him the attention, exercise, and training he needs — not to mention tons of love — then the Italian Greyhound can make an elegant and loveable addition to your household.


  • Italian Greyhounds were bred to hunt and still have the hunting instinct. They'll chase anything that moves, including cars, so when you're outside keep them on leash or in a fenced area.
  • This breed is sensitive to drugs such as anesthetics of the barbiturate class and organophosphate insecticides. Make sure your veterinarian is aware of these sensitivities, and avoid using organophosphate products to treat your home and yard for fleas.
  • Italian Greyhound puppies are fearless and believe they can fly. Broken bones are common in pups between four and 12 months old, particularly the radius and ulna (the bones in the front legs).
  • Although they're clever, Italian Greyhounds have a short attention span and a "what's in it for me?" attitude toward training. Keep training sessions short and positive, using play, treats, and praise to motivate your Italian Greyhound to learn.
  • This breed can be extremely difficult to housetrain. Even if you follow a housetraining program religiously, your Italian Greyhound may never be totally trustworthy in the house. It helps to have a dog door, so your dog can come and go as he wishes. And if your dog gives you the signs that he needs to go outside, take him out that instant — they're not good at holding it.
  • Italian Greyhounds need lots of love and attention, and if they don't get it, they'll become shy or hyper.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.


The Italian Greyhound is an old breed, and dogs like it may have been around for more than two millennia. Miniature greyhounds are seen in 2,000-year-old artifacts from what's now modern-day Turkey and Greece, and archaeological digs have turned up small Greyhound skeletons. Although the breed's original purpose has been lost to history, the Italian Greyhound may have served as a hunter of small game in addition to his duties as a companion.

By the Middle Ages, the breed had made its way to southern Europe and was very popular among the aristocracy, especially in Italy — hence its name. Many Italian Greyhounds were immortalized, along with their owners, in portraits by famous artists such as Pisanello and Giotto di Bondone.

In the 1600s the Italian Greyhound arrived in England, where, as in Italy, it found many fans among the nobility. Royal owners throughout the centuries include Mary, Queen of Scots, Princess Anne of Denmark, Charles I, Frederick the Great of Prussia, and Queen Victoria, during whose reign the breed's popularity peaked.

The American Kennel Club registered its first Italian Greyhound in 1886, and American breeders began to establish the breed in the United States. Although the American population of Italian Greyhounds was small, they may have helped save the breed from extinction. During World Wars I and II, when dog breeding became an unaffordable luxury for most people, the numbers of Italian Greyhounds in England dwindled dangerously low. Each time the wars ended, British breeders used those American-bred Italian Greyhounds to restore the breed in Europe.

Today the Italian Greyhound is enjoying a second renaissance, as modern dog owners rediscover the elegant little hound who's delighted his human companions for at least 2,000 years.

Italian Greyhounds stand 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder. Weight ranges from 6 to 10 pounds, with some as large as 14 or 15 pounds.


The Italian Greyhound is sensitive, alert, smart, and playful. He's affectionate with his family, and loves to snuggle with you and stick close to your side all day. Strangers may see a more shy, reserved side of his personality.

Temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's beating up his littermates or the one who's hiding in the corner. Always meet at least one of the parents — usually the mother is the one who's available — to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.

Like every dog, the IG needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they're young. Socialization helps ensure that your IG puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.

When treated harshly, the Italian Greyhound can become fearful or snappy. Like other hounds, he can have a "what's in it for me?" attitude toward training, so you'll 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.


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.

If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In IGs, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease from Auburn University for thrombopathia and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (

  • Cataracts: A cataract is an opacity on the lens of the eye that causes difficulty in seeing. The eye(s) of the dog will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur in old age and sometimes can be surgically removed to improve the dog's vision.
  • Von Willebrand's Disease: This is a blood disorder that can be found in both humans and dogs. It affects the clotting process due to the reduction of von Willebrand factor in the blood. A dog affected by von Willebrand's disease will have signs such as nose bleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from surgery, and prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping. Occasionally blood is found in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed in your dog between the ages of 3 and 5 and cannot be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions of the von Willebrand factor before surgery, and avoiding certain medications.
  • Vitreous Degeneration: The vitreous is a clear jelly that is the single largest structure of the eye. A healthy vitreous is essential for normal vision. If the vitreous becomes cloudy, liquefies, or moves from its position, vision may become impaired or lost. The condition is believed to be inherited, but the exact method of inheritance is unknown.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Fortunately, dogs can use their other senses to compensate for blindness, and a blind dog can live a full and happy life. Just don't make it a habit to move the furniture around. Reputable breeders have their dogs' eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist and do not breed dogs with this disease.
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is an abnormally low level of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. A mild sign of the disease may be infertility. More obvious signs include obesity, mental dullness, lethargy, drooping of the eyelids, low energy levels, and irregular heat cycles. The dog's fur becomes coarse and brittle and begins to fall out, while the skin becomes tough and dark. Hypothyroidism can be treated with daily medication, which must continue throughout the dog's life. A dog receiving daily thyroid treatment can live a full and happy life.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: Generally a disease of small breeds, this condition — a deformity of the ball of the hip joint — can be confused with hip dysplasia. It causes wearing and arthritis. It can be repaired surgically, and the prognosis is good with the help of rehabilitation therapy afterward.
  • Patellar Luxation: Also known as "slipped stifles," this is a common problem in small dogs. It is caused when the patella, which has three parts — the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not properly lined up. This causes a lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait in the dog. It is a disease that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until much later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis, a degenerative joint disease. There are four grades of patellar luxation, ranging from grade I, an occasional luxation causing temporary lameness in the joint, to grade IV, in which the turning of the tibia is severe and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives the dog a bowlegged appearance. Severe grades of patellar luxation may require surgical repair.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dyplasia is a heritable condition in which the femur doesn't fit snugly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. Hip dysplasia can exist with or without clinical signs. Some dogs exhibit pain and lameness on one or both rear legs. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. Ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and found to be free of problems.
  • Allergies: Allergies are a common ailment in dogs. Allergies to certain foods are identified and treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog's diet until the culprit is discovered. Contact allergies are caused by a reaction to something that touches the dog, such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, or other chemicals. They are treated by identifying and removing the cause of the allergy. Inhalant allergies are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. The appropriate medication for inhalant allergies depends on the severity of the allergy. Ear infections are a common side effect of inhalant allergies.
  • Epilepsy: The Italian Greyhound can suffer from epilepsy, a disorder that causes seizures in the dog. Epilepsy can be treated with medication, but it cannot be cured. A dog can live a full and healthy life with proper management of this hereditary disorder.
  • Cryptorchidism: Cryptorchidism is a condition in which one or both testicles on the dog fail to descend and is common in small dogs. Testicles should descend fully by the time the puppy is 2 months old. If a testicle is retained, it is usually nonfunctional and can become cancerous if it is not removed. The treatment that is suggested is to neuter your dog. When the neutering takes place, a small incision is made to remove the undescended testicle(s) the normal testicle, if any, is removed in the regular manner.
  • Portosystemic Shunt (PSS): This is an abnormal flow of blood between the liver and the body. That's a problem, because the liver is responsible for detoxifying the body, metabolizing nutrients, and eliminating drugs. Signs can include but are not limited to neurobehavioral abnormalities, lack of appetite, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), intermittent gastrointestinal issues, urinary tract problems, drug intolerance, and stunted growth. Signs usually appear before two years of age. Corrective surgery can be helpful in long-term management, as can a special diet.

Italian Greyhounds (also known as IGs) have short coats and get the shivers easily, so they're not an outdoor breed. They need to be inside the house with their family, especially in bad weather. To keep your IG comfortable on chilly outdoor walks, give him a sweater or jacket. During warm weather, protect his thin skin with sunscreen made for dogs. Many Italian Greyhounds develop skin cancer, possibly because they love lying in the sun, so don't let your dog bake for hours.

These little dogs have lots of energy, especially as puppies and young adults, but in their golden years they'll often adapt to the activity level of their owners. A daily walk will help your Italian Greyhound get his ya-yas out, but make sure to keep him on a leash. Even though he's small, he has the same instinct to chase as a larger sighthound and will take off after a squirrel, rabbit, or anything else that runs by. A leash is your only hope of hanging onto him.

His hunting drive also means you'll need a secure fence in your yard. Italian Greyhounds are fabulous jumpers, so don't assume that a little four-foot wall is enough to keep him in. And don't use an underground electronic fence the momentary shock won't deter your Italian Greyhound if he sees something he wants to chase.

IGs are intelligent and easy to train if you have the right attitude. Like other hounds they usually approach training with a "What's in it for me?" philosophy. Motivational training methods — those that use food, praise, and play to reward the dog for getting it right, rather than punishing him for getting it wrong — is the best way to persuade them that they want to do what you ask. And since they have the short attention spans common to sighthounds, it's best to keep training sessions short and sweet.

Like many small dogs, there's one aspect of training they don't pick up as easily: housetraining. Even with patience and consistency, you may never be completely successful. The number one reason people give up their Italian Greyhound to rescue groups or animal shelters is because they couldn't housetrain them.

Harsh punishment will backfire, often making the dog fearful or even snappy. Your best bet is to get a dog door, so he can go in and out at will. Italian Greyhounds can also learn to use a litter box, although this doesn't always work well if you have more than one IG as you might end up cleaning it quite often.

Prevent accidents by taking your IG outside the moment he gives you any signs that he needs to go — no waiting "just a minute." You can teach an Italian Greyhound that outdoors is the place to go potty, but if means going out in rain or snow, or if he doesn't have immediate access to the yard, he'd just as soon go indoors.


Recommended daily amount: 1/2 to 3/4 cup of high-quality, high-calorie dry food a day, divided into two meals.

NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

Keep your IG in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.

For more on feeding your IG, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

Coat Color And Grooming

An Italian Greyhound's short coat looks glossy like satin and feels soft to the touch. You'll find it in all shades of fawn, cream, red, blue, or black, either solid or with white markings.

One of the benefits of living with an Italian Greyhound is that his coat doesn't shed much and is easy to care for. All you really need to do is brush it when it gets dusty, and bathe the dog when he's rolled in anything smelly — a favorite activity.

Brush your IG's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you're not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.

His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don't insert anything into the ear canal just clean the outer ear.

Begin accustoming your IG to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.

As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

Children And Other Pets

Italian Greyhounds can do well with children, but because they're small and delicate, it's especially important to teach kids that the dog is living animal, not a toy, who must be treated with love and respect. Many breeders will not sell a puppy to a household with children younger than ten years old.

As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

Italian Greyhounds usually get along well with other pets, although you may need to keep an eye on them when they're cavorting about with bigger dogs, who could accidentally hurt them while playing.

Rescue Groups

Italian Greyhounds are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many IGs in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward an IG rescue.

Overall, Italian Greyhounds make amazing companions. With adequate exercise and affection, they are excellent pets for apartments as they are clean, quiet, and often enjoy lounging indoors rather than running around. These dogs are very sociable animals, and love nothing more than to be with their people. Their slender, aerodynamic bodies make them excellent candidates for a variety of dog sports – most notably “Lure Tracing”. They are essentially a non-shedding dog that drools very little and has a minimal amount of health problems. Though they are highly intelligent, they require a patient master who is willing to train them in short sessions, using only positive reinforcement. When properly loved, trained and nurtured, the tiny Italian Greyhound will capture the hearts of everyone around them.

Do Italian Greyhounds shed?

Italian Greyhounds shed very little. Their sleek coat is easy to maintain with a quick wipe over with a hound mit, and the occasional bath when needed.

Do Italian Greyhounds bark a lot?

IG’s tend to be a fairly quiet dog. They don’t bark excessively, but will bark to warn if they notice anything unfamiliar or see strangers approaching.

Are Italian Greyhounds good for allergy sufferers?

Italian Greyhound owners with allergies report that they have little to no issue with their Iggy’s, whereas they may have severe reactions to other dogs. Some people with severe allergies are able to manage by being particularly fastidious about keeping the house and bed sheets clean (IG’s love to sleep in your bed!), wiping their dog daily helps to remove any loose hair and allergens they may bring in from outside, and if needed, air filters can help keep the air clean and free of allergens.
If you have severe allergies, the best advice is to spend some time on a trial basis with an Italian Greyhound or two and see how you go. Finding a local dog shelter or reputable Italian Greyhound breeder will give you the best option to trial an IG before you welcome them into your home.

Italian Greyhound Dog Breed Information – 13 Things to Know

There are a lot of adjectives to describe the Italian Greyhound: little, strong, agile, fast, smart, stubborn, loyal, and athletic top the list.

The Italian Greyhound goes by at least two nicknames: Iggy and IG.

They’ve been associated with royalty practically from the time that they were first bred, and, just like their relative the Greyhound, are known for their speed.

These dogs are small but mighty, and we’ve just scratched the surface in terms of what you should consider about this breed if you’re looking to make one part of your family. Read on for 13 specific things to know about Italian Greyhounds.

  • Italian Greyhound Height: 13 to 15 inches
  • Italian Greyhound Weight: 8 – 11 pounds
  • Life Span: 12 – 15 years
  • Italian Greyhound Coat: Short Coat in Red, Blue, Cream or Black with white markings
  • Gait: High Stepping
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate
  • Enjoys chasing small game, Good with Children
  • Health problems / Health Conditions: Epilepsy, Obesity
  • Recognized by the American Kennel Club

These dogs are small dogs but don’t tell them that.

This dog breed is a classic case of a big personality in a small body. Stats from the AKC report that Italian Greyhounds will typically grow to between 13-15 inches tall and weigh between 8-11 pounds. That smaller stature makes these little dogs members of the Toy Group, but their personality is far bigger than their body, and they’re known for attempting to do things like jump on top of or off of furniture that’s very high because they overestimate their size.

Bella is almost 14 years old. She weighs 14 pounds and is very healthy for her age. She has the typical IG form with the long tail, sloped back, and long pointed snout.

Watch the video: ENGep 2 IG 동백씨의 하루 아기 동백 공개ItalianGreyhound 쿠키영상

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