The Italian greyhound (IG) is one of the most prized dog breeds in the world and for good reason. Boasting streamlined good looks and a playful demeanor, these dogs are adopted almost immediately from kennels and breeders. If you want to become a proud owner of Italian greyhound puppies or an adult, you should research the breed first. Here are some things you should know before you bring this beautiful dog home:
The IG is the smallest of the sight hound breeds and is almost 2,000 years old. Originating in what are now Greece and Turkey, the breed was used not only as a companion, but also as a small game hunter. In the Middle Ages, southern Europe saw a proliferation of the dogs which were prized for their beauty, grace, small size and sweet natures.
IGs derived their name from the Italians who loved the breed more than anyone else especially during the 16th century. A favorite with European royalty such as King James I of England, the dogs can often be found in Renaissance paintings from the likes of Carpaccio and Giotto.
The first Italian greyhound was introduced to the US in 1886 via the American Kennel Club but the breed was not as popular till about 20 years ago. Today, home owners across the state love to get Italian greyhound puppies for their children and for themselves due to their sweet disposition.
Italian greyhounds are regulars in dog shows and their striking appearance has a lot do with it. Coveted for their small size, IGs have a barrel chest which slims down to a concave stomach. The neck is slim, slender and tapers to an aerodynamic head and pointed snout.
The miniature greyhound is low maintenance since it has a short and single coat that sheds minimally. What is remarkable is that it has a multitude of colors in its fur including grey, black, blue, red and even yellow. You may also find a bi colored Italian greyhound which is black and blue or fawn and blue in hue.
An IG’s eyes are large and always alert, which is natural in the breed. The dogs were bred to be small game hunters after all. They are always ready to give chase at the slightest provocation.
IGs are bright, but they also have a highly sensitive and emotional disposition. Harsh training methods and shock collars WILL backfire whether you are an owner or a trainer. The breed responds well to positive reinforcements such as treats and a loving approach.
Since Italian greyhounds are quite emotional, they can get anxious if they are left alone for long periods of time. The result? Panic barking, wetting and nervous chewing. However, the good news is that they get along well with other dogs, so get two if you want to ensure it doesn’t destroy your home when you are at work!
Kennel training is also important for this breed, especially for Italian greyhound puppies. Remember to not use the kennel to punish the dog, use it to make him feel safe. Rather than shoving him in there, acclimatize him to it by training him gradually. That way, he won’t get upset when you walk away or are not there.
IGs are hunting dogs and have very strong prey drives. If they see something small scurrying from them, they will chase it. So it might be best if you don’t get a cat or a kitten as a playmate for your IG.
Even if you try to socialize them with a cat, their hunting instinct can still kick in without warning. For this reason, make sure your IG is always on a leash when you go for walks. Anything can make him bolt and since the breed is known for its speed, good luck catching it.
The breed is fairly easy to train and enjoys learning new tricks and stimulating activities. However, they are poor candidates for Frisbee throwing competitions since they tend to get distracted easily. They do quite well in lure based competitions though and don’t require a lot of training to be good at them. Their instinct takes care of that.
Italian greyhounds can thrive on quality dog good whether you make it at home with fresh ingredients or buy a good dog food. However, the breed can get a bit overweight if its calorie consumption is not strictly monitored. It can be easy to overfeed the hyper, miniature dog since they are quite active, but it will be to their detriment.
You can and should give treats as positive reinforcement, but don’t go overboard or your IG will get fat and slow. The hip bones and ribs should be apparent under a thin coat of flesh. An overweight dog will be rounder and you will not be able to feel its bones. Ask your vet for diet recommendations before choosing a dog food brand or making a recipe.
Exercise and Training
Since this breed is known for being quite active, making sure your IG gets regular exercise is extremely important. Take him to the dog park only if it allows small dog breeds. Large ones can get overly aggressive with miniature dogs especially if they are new to the park. Plus, make sure your dog is always on a leash in unfenced areas.
The breed responds best to reward based methods of training rather than forceful ones. These dogs can get stressed out easily and a harsh training method can traumatize them for months. So shower your IG with treats and praise when he learns a trick successfully.Appropriate supplements digestive for dog.
This lovable and sensitive dog breed is perfect for dog lovers who are looking for an energetic pup for their children. Just make sure you take care of it as per the instructions in this guide.