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daunesheri

Is the Italian Greyhound the Breed for You?

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I thought I might take a moment, in respect to potential newcomers to the Italian Greyhound, to observe this particular breed of dog and why it may or may not be the breed for you.

To begin, as discouraging a statement as, "this may not be the breed for you" sounds, it should be taken in a receptive way. Certain personalities, lifestyles and environments make it very important to recognize whether a breed is or is not the breed for you. It should be one of the most important aspects in accepting a new member into your life. Taking on the responsibility of a dog means years and years of your life and this dog's entire life. Would you really want fifteen years with a breed that you are always angry or frustrated with, you don't want to be bothered with, you simply cannot enjoy... just because it is cute?

The Italian Greyhound is a very special breed to us, the owners, breeders and rescue workers, who love their endearing qualities and tolerate their quirky pitfalls. Yet this breed is no more special to another who has a specific breed that they endear and tolerate. This is because each breed has its own physical quality, character, temperament and personality that make it completely unique. This is why it can be so exciting to question, with an open mind, and learn all you can about several breeds to conclusively narrow your search to the closest in similarity to your character, personality and lifestyle.

As with any breed there are positive and negative traits (pros and cons) to each. As I continue from here, I will point out certain qualities that are appealing to the Italian Greyhound as a breed. With each positive quality, I will also give you the flip-side of that positive trait, which often is viewed as a negative trait. As with any breed, you can't choose which part of the trait you want. It's all or nothing. And so, it might be best to begin here...

The Italian Greyhound (IG) is categorized in the American Kennel Club as a toy breed. Some feel they have attributes of the hound group as they have vast qualities of a sighthound. The IG has a very unique aesthetic look. Their appearance is elegant and graceful. They have a fine narrow face with large dark eyes. This breed is deep chested and thin-skinned with short hair and long slender legs. This is the beauty of the breed. They are breathtaking to look at, however, with this beauty comes a price.

As with most small breeds, and with their narrow jawline and tight cheeks, IGs are prone to dental issues. It is very important to clean the teeth daily and often a routine dental is needed every other year, sometimes more often depending upon the dog. Since this breed is thin-skinned and short haired, cold temperatures aren't tolerated easily for extended periods of time and a coat is needed in cold climates. They are not fond of rain, snow and wind, so housetraining can be quite difficult if your decision is to have them eliminate outdoors. If an IG has a choice between going out in the blustery snow to urinate or urinate on the floor, they will choose the floor. They do enjoy the warmth and are often found on the couch or the bed burrowed under a blanket. If you don't want a dog that is on your furniture, this probably isn't the breed for you. They like the warmth of the sun and are also prone to sunburn and should be treated accordingly. Grooming is very minimal; however even though IGs have short hair, they do shed. Lastly, those graceful long slender legs can be one of the biggest issues with this breed. Leg breaks and fractures are very high on the list of medical emergencies.

Italian Greyhounds are very cat-like. They are fearless when it comes to heights. They love to play, are animated and curious and are very slow to mature. Although small, they are not a "mini-pet" and do not like to be carried around in a shoulder bag. They can be high-strung, excitable and very athletic. As that of a sighthound, some have a strong prey drive. This breed isn't known for barking in excess and is not considered a yappy breed. All in all, they are a wonderful, fun, witty breed. I can't recall a day I haven't laughed at some whimsical act my IG has gotten herself into. I also can't recall a day when I haven't investigated what mischief she's happened upon or what I need to do next to keep her amused.

One might wonder what the term "cat-like" infers. An Italian Greyhound can climb or scale just about anything. Often you will find your IG on the counters or tables, climbing over child gates or outside fences or flying from one couch to another. This type of activity, once again, puts this breed at a risk for leg breaks and fractures. They can and will insist on you playing or keeping them occupied. If they are not given the proper amount of physical and mental stimulation needed, they will use their excess energy in undesirable ways. Their curiosity will often get them into trouble if not well supervised. Since this breed is always in "fast-forward", both in mind and body, training can be quite a task. It often takes innovative approaches, on your part, to find what training methods work best, for you and your IG. This also applies to housetraining. Inside litter boxes, newspaper or potty pads are, most often, more readily accepted. Although difficult and time consuming, accomplishment can be achieved through persistence and positive reinforcement and striving for "habit" rather than "trained". Having a strong prey drive makes this breed a top candidate for chasing after small game. It's imperative to keep this breed on a leash or in a supervised fenced in area. Although IGs aren't considered a breed that barks excessively, they do have this wonderful shrill scream or cry that is voiced in pain, fear, disapproval, loneliness or "just because".

The Italian Greyhound's most endearing qualities are their sensitive nature, sweet disposition and affectionate charm. These qualities are what give the breed their reputation of being a "velcro-dog". This loving personality makes them the perfect companion when curling up on the couch or lying in bed. You will never be alone again...

You will not be able to move through the house without an Italian Greyhound shadow. They can often be clingy and will persist in their effort to be with you every moment. Sitting alone will no longer be an option. Often, sleeping alone will no longer be an option. Due to their sensitive nature, they don't do well with harsh training or negative reinforcement. Training must be done with a happy positive attitude. Separation anxiety can also be an issue. They are not a breed that can be left alone for hours and often have difficulty with changes in routine or lifestyle. This sensitivity can also lend to fear issues. Once again, an IG should always be kept on lead when outdoors as they can spook easily, thus inclining to a high propensity to bolt. Although they are a very affectionate breed, they can be shy toward strangers and early socialization is extremely important to make them a well-rounded confident adult.

And so in ending, please research and educate yourself with several breeds before making a decision. Receive as much information from as many reliable, reputable sources. Go and meet the breed, learn all you can on the qualities and characteristics of the breed, both good and bad, and make very certain it is the right breed for you as much as you are the right individual for the breed. We, as a society, have become consumed with appearance. Don't choose a breed of dog on looks alone. It is also a harsh reality that we have become a throw-away society and dogs are the latest victims. Don't choose a breed on the latest fad or on impulse, as it won't last. Please recognize the importance in knowing that each breed is vastly different than another.

If you feel the Italian Greyhound is the right breed for you, congratulations! When you open your home to this little life, also open your mind and open your heart and recognize, you can train and learn and tolerate and love each endearing quality and each quirky pitfall but you cannot change the breed...

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:thankyou::clap:

What a well written, comprehensive article.

Can we have this pinned?

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I agree! The only thing I might add is that when you have an Italian greyhound with you people stop you and ask what kind of dog is that? And lots of questions about them and sometimes they even want a picture. So if that would annoyed by this, then Italian greyhounds are not for you. Some of my friends really do not like it and say its like going on a walk with Brad Pitt and that's completely true it is kind of like being famous. I bring sandy with me every where and I've never taken him out without being stopped by people. When someone is really interested I always mention that they can break legs easily and are difficult to potty train and to do their research before thinking about getting one. I feel like once you have an Italian greyhound you are an advocate for the breed so I don't want someone running out and getting one without knowing what they are like. That being said I love sandy so much and I think the challenges iggys present are completely worth the love they give but I know not everyone would feel the way I do.

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lol this is great and so very true. I feel I have been blessed with my two as they've been amazing and are very well toilet trained and it really was no trouble at all.

I agree with the above post too, I've lost count on the number of times I have been asked for a picture of my two.... Also, every time we are out in public being stopped to answer questions. I love that people are interested and wish to learn about them and are genuinely fascinated by them....... WHAT I HATE are the accusations that I am an animal abuser because my dogs are too skinny and that I need to feed them more etc.

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Those costs are way too low. And while it talks about one iggy, several of those subjects are in fact subjective depending on the individual and the person.

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