The Italian Greyhound is often thought of as a miniature Greyhound and sometimes even mistaken for Whippets, but they are a distinct breed of their own. Italian Greyhounds (Iggys) have been around since ancient times; there are depictions of a similar dog in the artwork from ancient Egypt over 2000 years ago.
Italian Greyhounds are tiny sighthounds, and when hunting, it would be their responsibility to “sight” prey and sprint to catch them; they can reach a top speed of 25 miles per hour which for such a small dog is pretty fleet-footed.
This article will discuss all about the Italian Greyhounds, their temperament, history, characteristics, and care needs; if you think about owning an Italian Greyhound and want as much information and facts as you can find, you’ve come to the right place.
Everything You Need To Know About The Italian Greyhound:
1. Italian Greyhound History
Although no one can say for sure, it would seem the Italian Greyhound or a dog very similar existed over 2000 years ago in what is now Greece and Turkey; skeletons found alludes to their existence back then. It’s also thought they may have lived in ancient Egypt because of artistic depictions of a dog looking remarkably like the Italian Greyhound.
Wherever the Italian Greyhound originated in the middle ages, they were hugely popular in southern Europe. They probably inherited their name because they became highly sought after by the Italian nobility. Proud owners would commission paintings of themselves and their dog; such was the Italian Greyhound’s popularity at the time, which is why you can see so many Italian Greyhounds in Renaissance paintings.
It wasn’t long before other European nobility took to the cute Italian Greyhound, and by the 1600s, many Royal families around Europe owned Italian Greyhounds. The AKC (American Kennel Club) registered the first Iggy in 1886, and it was the Americans who helped revive the breed after their demise during two World Wars.
2. Famous Italian Greyhounds
Many celebrities have fallen in love with an IG, in Matt Damon’s case, a whole bunch of them. Other stars include Will Smith, Cesar Millan, and Sasha Velour, just to name a few.
3. Italian Greyhound Temperament And Personality
IGs have a sensitive disposition and are often stubborn, so training requires patience but firm control. Harsh treatment and getting angry because they aren’t falling into line with your training isn’t going to work; they’ll get upset and will ensure they become even more stubborn. Kindness, patience, and consistency will work wonders with these people-pleasers, plus a few of their favorite treats and masses of praise when they get your commands first-time.
Italian Greyhounds have a sweet nature and are exceptionally lovable dogs; they will seek your attention and lap at every given opportunity. Very often, you’ll find them hunkered down under the cushions or wrapped inside a blanket. If you haven’t seen your IG for a few minutes (because they usually follow you wherever you go), check under the cushions on your couch; I would advise you to check before you sit down.
As mentioned, they are playful, and they have what I call a mad five minutes, where they’ll tear around the house or yard often at high speed; it ends as quickly as it starts. They are brilliant jumpers, so if you like them to go outside to exercise and burn off some pent-up energy, make sure you have a high fence.
First-time or novice owners might find the Italian Greyhound challenging to deal with because of their wacky personalities. But many first-timers choose Italian Greyhounds and get on famously. One area that might frustrate you is potty training; they are notoriously difficult to housetrain. IGs hate cold weather, and you’ll frequently see an Italian Greyhound shivering because he feels cold.
You must not let your Italian Greyhound grow up timid, shy, or anxious. To prevent this, IGs need early socialization; the ideal age is between 6 and 16 weeks of age. You must introduce them to strangers, other dogs and animals, sights and sounds that might startle them if they came upon them unexpectedly; they will grow to be a much more rounded character.
4. Italian Greyhound Size And Look
Iggys grow to a height between 13 and 15 inches, and they weigh from 7 up to 14 pounds, assuming they are in good health and are not obese. There’s no difference in height and weight between males and females of this breed.
5. Italian Greyhounds Coat Colors
Italian Greyhounds have a short, smooth coat close to the skin and very soft to the touch; Breeders and owners often describe it as glossy, and a healthy IG coat does appear to have a healthy sheen.
Italian Greyhound coats come in various colors, including light brown, cream, white, blue, red, chocolate, medium gray, and black. The breed standard desired by the AKC does allow particolored IGs (solid color with equal amounts of white); however other kennel clubs prefer one solid color, but white is acceptable on the chest and feet.
6. Italian Greyhound Grooming
Italian Greyhounds have a laid-back demeanor, but don’t let that fool you into believing they don’t need daily exercise. IGs are exceptionally playful dogs and love to play games, throwing balls or frisbees; playing catch will exercise and suit their exercise needs; they also enjoy a good run; after all, they are sighthounds and enjoy stretching their legs.
You will need to be cautious where you allow them off the leash; they do possess a strong prey drive, and if they see a small animal, especially a rabbit or hare, they can be off quick as a flash without you even noticing the creature.
Do Italian Greyhounds Shed?
Italian Greyhounds are not heavy shedding dogs, although they will shed some hair. But if you brush them once a week to remove loose hairs and keep their coats glossy, you’ll not notice too many hairs on your furniture. IGs are not hypoallergenic.
If you suffer from dog allergies, you might have some issues, but only if you have severe symptoms. If you only have mild reactions to pet dander, you might be okay with an IG; if there’s someone else in the home that is happy to brush down your IG once a week, then even better.
Italian Greyhounds do need regular bathing; probably around every four weeks will be sufficient unless he’s rolled in something unpleasant or trekked through some muddy fields.
Italian Greyhound FAQ
How Much Are Italian Greyhounds?
Italian Greyhounds can cost between $1000 to $3000, and generally, the average is $1500. Prices can vary so much because it always depends on the breeders and what they want or feel they can charge. Remember, the initial cost to buy is only the start, and the lifetime cost of owning any dog far outweighs the purchase price.
How Long Do Italian Greyhounds Live?
Italian Greyhounds have a very decent lifespan compared to many dog breeds; their average lifespan is 14 to 15 years, but it’s common for healthy IGs to live into their late teens.
Can Italian Greyhounds Swim?
If you’re looking for a dog to take swimming with you, this is not the breed. Italian Greyhounds might go as far as the water’s edge with you and dip their toes in, but that’s pretty much it. Being in water will lower their body temperature because IGs don’t have much body fat to keep them warm.
Are Italian Greyhounds Smart?
Yes, IGs are very smart dogs, but don’t confuse being clever with being easy to train; Italian Greyhounds can be stubborn, especially with potty training.
Are Italian Greyhounds Good With Cats?
Italian Greyhounds get on well with cats and can be in the same home. But IGs are exceptionally playful, and as we all know, when cats aren’t in the mood to play, they can get grumpy. The IGs impulse to always want to play can get on a cat’s nerves and affect a cat’s health.
Are Italian Greyhounds Good With Kids?
They do exceptionally well with older children who understand how a dog they need to treat a dog. Older kids can make great pals for IGs, especially if they play games with them in the yard or a park.
Younger children can be unintentionally clumsy with animals. Italian Greyhounds are tiny dogs and are easily spooked if mishandled, and their long limbs are fragile and easily broken; a toddler falling on an IG can easily break bones.
Do Italian Greyhounds Bark?
They might be tiny dogs, but surprisingly they have a natural bark and not your typical little dog yap. But they are not constant barkers. They will warn you of approaching strangers, but they are far from excellent watchdogs and are not guard dogs.
Italian Greyhounds are super, lovable speedsters. If you’ve been contemplating adopting an Italian Greyhound or purchasing a puppy, this guide will give you as much information as you need to decide if an IG is the best breed for you and your family. Remember to find out all you can about the breeder to ensure you get a fit and healthy puppy that doesn’t have any genetic illnesses.