Full of love, sweet-tempered, and often described as cat-like, the Italian Greyhound can make a big impact, delivered in a small package!
This little breed is believed to have cousins from 2,000 years ago during the Middle Ages, but Italy is where this breed became popular and was a favorite among royalties like Catherine the Great, Queen Victoria, and Princess Anne of Denmark. They are thought to have originally been bred to hunt small prey, but are well-known for their gentle and kind companionship.
Sighthound in a Small Package
The Italian Greyhound has the speed and sprint factor of a large standard Greyhound, as well as their natural prey drive. Although they typically do well with a household feline, it is important to socialize them well around cats, other animals, and children due to this instinct.
Because of their size and "toothpick" legs, they typically don't do well in a house with very young children who can easily drop them when carried, step on them, or cause accidental injuries by rough housing.
Don't let their size fool you; this little package of sweetness enjoys running, making them great short-distance running partners, but they are typically very low key with their energy otherwise.
Need Structure and Training
Italian Greyhound's are known to be submissive, needy, affectionate, yet stubborn. But don't let this deter you. With some early training, confidence building, and rule establishment in the household, your Italian Greyhound will be well-rounded. Otherwise, this little Greyhound may develop Small Dog Syndrome and have an attitude of a lion with a splinter in their paw!
Potty training can be difficult for this breed, and some may take up to two to five years to become fully potty trained. They can't stand wet and cold weather, so they often refuse to do anything outside in those elements. My recommendation is to get your Italian Greyhound in the beginning of the summer so you can kickoff potty training on the right paw in comfortable weather!
Lurecoursing can be a Fun Sport
Lurecoursing can be a sighthound's dream sport! They get to sprint after a moving object while tapping into their speed and prey drive - a win-win!
Doggy daycare, dog parks, and dog beaches can all be fun places for your little pal to visit, but do take care that they should avoid playing with big dogs that are overly rambunctious, as they could easily get hurt. (Remember those delicate legs.) Also, be careful with having them off-leash. Because they are a sighthound, they have no qualms sprinting off and not returning.
This breed is very low energy and will make a great breed for apartment/condo living. They do need a daily walk, but after that, they are content with curling up on the couch underneath a blanket and chilling out for the rest of the day!
Grooming Is a Breeze
The Italian Greyhound only needs weekly brushing, regular nail trimmings, and as needed bathing. It doesn't get any "breezier" than this!
Italian Greyhound health concerns include epilepsy, fractures, hyperthyroidism, autoimmune disease, luxating patellas, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Their average lifespan is 12-16 years.
Consider looking for an Italian Greyhound through rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe