True creatures of comfort, the Italian Greyhound is unlike any other breed. Italian greyhounds are one of those dogs that you would call a Velcro dog, which is they can’t think of a place they’d rather be than on your lap!
These lapdogs are very cat-like and they love sunbathing and are so intolerant of cold weather or rain that many owners litterbox train them!
Intrigued? Hope so, so let’s find out a bit more about Italian Greyhounds and also to see if they are a great breed for you.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and read on!
Character and History Of An Italian Greyhound
Table Of Contents
- Character and History Of An Italian Greyhound
- Do Italian Greyhounds Make Good Pets?
- Training & Exercise
- Coat Care
- General Health
- Cost of An Italian Greyhound
Often referred to as a perfect mix of cat and dog, these loveable little dogs absolutely adore home life.
Snuggling up to their owners and anything in the house that is soft, warm, and safe and these little guys will absolutely be in their element.
They were incredibly popular in Italy during the Renaissance Period and this also transposed to the royal families of neighboring countries during that time, so by having one of these dogs in your life, you are really showing you are quite a classy individual!
On a serious note though, Italian greyhounds have graced the royal palaces of Charles the First, Catherine the Great, Queen Anne, and Queen Victoria just to name a few.
Frederick the second, the Great King of Prussia, owned over 50 Italian greyhounds and coined the phrase “the more I see of man, the more I love my dogs.”
Many people think that these dogs originate from Italy.
In fact, the Italian Greyhound is believed to have originated in Greece and Turkey more than 2000 years ago!
By the middle ages, this pooch was distributed throughout Southern Europe, often a symbol of wealth. The Italian Greyhound appeared in many paintings throughout the Renaissance, and they were a favorite of the Italian aristocrats and basically, that’s how they got the name Italian Greyhound.
Do Italian Greyhounds Make Good Pets?
These dogs adapt well to apartment living, and they are great companions for the whole family, including the kids and other pets.
The puppies are easy to groom, so even the most inexperienced pet parents will enjoy them.
In contrast, they don’t cope well with being left alone at home for long periods of time.
Their nature is one of belonging to a pack and you are or should be, in their eyes, the leader of that pack.
If you are not around these fairly timid little dogs will worry and suffer as a result.
They could be regarded as very clingy dogs and that is fine if that is what you are looking for in a dog.
They are smart dogs too so don’t underestimate them, just because they look quite vulnerable and cute!
Can Italian Greyhounds Be Left Alone?
As we stated above, it really isn’t a good idea for these dogs to be left alone at home.
Some breeds are more prone to separation anxiety and Italian Greyhounds could easily be classed as World Champions in this discipline!
Despite their tendency to show fear, you can – and should – work hard to train them. Eventually, you will probably have to leave them at home alone (unless you always get a sitter).
Are they Child Friendly?
Another consideration with these little guys is they are quite delicate and probably not best suited with young children.
They are certainly not aggressive in their nature, it’s more a case of them being on the receiving end of rough play that may well result in an injury.
If you are a great dog owner you will of course always monitor interactions with your children and dogs, and we always advocate that.
Are Italian Greyhounds High Maintenance?
It is common for Italian greyhounds to be clingy to their owners and to be very companionable.
If they are left alone for long periods, they have a tendency to be destructive chewers as a form of expressing their unhappiness.
So this would obviously be a cost worry, but generally, they are dogs that owners probably spend more on clothing for than anything else.
A well-loved and looked after Italian Greyhound is the sort of dog that most owners look after really well, but separation anxiety is an issue with a breed like this.
If you can avoid leaving them alone, they will be more content, relaxed, and less likely to be destructive.
Training & Exercise
These are sighthounds and as we have stated before in other articles about the sighthound breeds, this is where recall is of vital importance.
Italian Greys have always scored fairly poorly in this and they can really run very fast and if you can’t get them to come back to you, then you have a problem.
They have a huge prey drive just like their bigger cousins, the Greyhound, and the Whippet and because of this they really can’t be trusted in open areas like parks or fields.
Cats, rabbits, or smaller fluffy dogs are all fair game to these guys and they will chase them and again, this can have serious consequences.
Anywhere that is securely fenced like a training paddock or your own large garden that is secure is perfectly fine, but I would say to be safe, never let them off if you are unsure whether you can get them back.
Exercise-wise, 2 or 3 decent 20 to 30 minute walks a day is an excellent amount of exercise to keep these little guys fit and healthy.
They don’t like the rain or cold so make sure you protect their thin skin from the elements and keep them warm and dry during the colder and wetter months.
Training-wise, these are smart dogs that pick things up really easily.
Positive training methods and repeat instruction along with consistency are the keys here and your super-smart little dog will certainly get it!
Puppy training classes are an excellent way to hit the ground running if you get one of these dogs from a young age.
Training should start early since this breed has a tendency to be shy, temperamentally, and highly strung.
My emphasis with these guys would always be on introducing them to the world, socializing them with other dogs and children.
Italian greyhounds can sometimes be hard to recall due to their strong prey drive.
So they should always be on a leash in open areas.
This is a dog if he gets away from you or he bolts, you’re not going to catch him.
Although rarely used to its capacity, the Italian Greyhound has a deep chest which gives him great endurance. This is a dog that has immense speed versus immense ability to get out in the road bus if it’s running.
The tail is long and slender and ends in a slight curve.
They have very long tails, which when you see them run very quickly, they kind of use it as a rudder to keep their balance and to turn on a dime.
In addition to their running skills, the Italian Greyhound also has acute sight and hearing ability also called flying ears or propeller ears.
The Italian Greyhound has high-set ears with dropping tips when they are alerting.
They are super fast too. Not as fast as a Greyhound of course, but these little guys can easily hit 25mph or more.
A super low-maintenance dog with a very short tight coat that is easy to groom. Don’t be too rough as they have very thin and sensitive skin that can easily mark and get very sore.
As we said earlier, keep them warm if you live in a colder climate country during wet and cold months.
Don’t over wash these dogs and gentle brushing is the best formula to keep them feeling well.
They are very clean and are low odor dogs too so they are excellent for people who suffer from allergies.
Overall, these dogs are actually a very healthy breed with no real underlying health issues.
Keeping their nails short and teeth clean is a priority as injuries to their paws can occur if they run at speed with overly long claws.
Dewclaw tears are common, so keep on top of that.
They often have teeth issues, so brushing regularly with canine toothpaste.
Luxating patella is another condition these “fleet of foot” dogs can get, just like their bigger brothers and sisters, the Greyhound and the Whippet.
Maintaining a good diet is also very important as this is a breed that can easily suffer from upset tummies.
Find a decent quality and balanced diet for them and stick to it.
Minimize treats too as again, these can easily cause loose stools and upset bellies.
Some health problems that can occur are due to injuries and these can range from fractures to legs and toes and torn ligaments.
This is down to the fact that although they are super fast, they are not that robust so if they slip or hit something, injuries can easily occur.
They must be safely confined when unsupervised for the first 12 to 18 months until their bones are fully developed, you need to be very careful that they don’t jump off the couch or the bed because they could fairly easily break a leg.
These are delicate dogs!
What is the difference between a whippet and an Italian greyhound?
The most obvious difference between them is their size; the Italian Greyhound is in fact a small dog breed (in comparison to its ancestor) but it has many other characteristics in common with its bigger counterpart that set him apart from other toy breeds.
His impeccable hunting abilities, for instance, make him an outstanding companion since he is so quick on his feet.
The Whippet is more robust and generally a much tougher and more hardy dog. If you get an Italian Greyhound be prepared for people thinking they are Whippet’s but, you will have to correct them!
Cost of An Italian Greyhound
These have become so popular in recent years and because of it, they command a high price.
You are looking at somewhere in the region of $1600-$2000+ for one of these little guys from a professional registered breeder.
So there you have it. A truly wonderful little dog that is huge fun to have in your life and if you are looking for a low-maintenance dog to keep you company this is the guy for you!
They are really special and require an equally loving owner and that way, it will be the perfect match.
Thanks for reading.