Life span: 12-15 Years
Height: 12 – 15 inches
Weight: 8 – 12 lbs.
Often called “Iggy”, the Italian Greyhound is a smaller-sized relative of the Greyhound. Like its cousin, the Italian Greyhound is very quick and agile with a graceful gait; all traits of a capable coursing dog. It is believed that they were originally developed for hunting purposes, but have since found their place as friendly companions. The short, smooth coat of the Italian Greyhound ranges in colors, such as black, blue, red, yellow, and, of course, grey.
This breed is loving and playful with its family. They are kind and please their owners whenever they can. This breed is not normally shy, so be sure to socialize them properly in order to have an emotionally stable adult!
Their ears are small and fold down, and their tail is long and thin with a slight curve. The eyes are brown with a black or brown nose. They have dewclaws, and their short coat is sparse and straight. Coat colors include black, grey, blue, red, brown, light brown, cream colored and white. If white, they may have markings, or if colored, they may have white markings.
Their exact origins are unknown, but artworks dating as far back as 2,000 years portray dogs similar to the Italian Greyhound. Many believe that it was the Phoenicians who brought the breed into Europe, with the specific purpose of being a companion. Greeks, Egyptians and Romans were particularly fond of this breed, with the Romans providing the most to its development. It was a breed owned by royals, who loved them deeply. Frederick the Great of Prussia, for example, was said to have been buried next to its beloved Italian Greyhound. In the 1800s they were brought to America. In the 1900s, their popularity started decreasing, as well as their numbers. In an attempt to increase its popularity, some breeders began trying to make the breed smaller, causing a decrease in its health. Now, their popularity has begun to rise again.
This sweet breed is extremely loving to its owners, and quite playful. They are kind, and will attempt to please its owner whenever it can. It is, however, considered an active breed, meaning it must have some form of daily exercise. They are quick, and may climb your furniture when they are excited or energetic.
This breed may suffer from a lot of illnesses, including:
- Allergies that produce the same symptoms you see in humans, and depending on the cause, different treatments can be used.
- Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
- Cryptorchidism, in which one or both testicles may not descend, meaning the testicle will not be functional and may eventually cause cancer.
- Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.
- Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
- Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.
- Portosystemic Shunt, which is a congenital disease in which blood vessels let the blood bypass the liver, causing it to not be cleansed properly by the liver. It can be noticed through lack of appetite, hypoglycemia, urinary tract problems, etc. Surgery is recommended.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
- Legg-Perthes is a disease caused by the lack of blood reaching the femur bone, causing the cartilage around it to crack and for the bone to eventually collapse, affecting the hip joint, and noticeable through the dog limping.
- Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease, which is a blood disease that affects the clotting process, its symptoms can be nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from surgery, occasional blood in stools, etc.
Bathing must be done only when necessary, as well as brushing. Their teeth should be brushed daily if possible, with dental cleaning done yearly by a professional. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, and the two middle nails can be left relatively long. Their ears should be checked regularly as well for any dirt to prevent infections. They do need daily exercise, but not in excessive amounts, with play sessions and/or a daily walk sufficing. However, they should not be left without a leash in areas that are not fenced. Training can be difficult given that they are stubborn, but with positive reinforcement (especially involving treats), it can be accomplished. When training be firm, yet kind. Early socialization is a must.