Italian Greyhound Advantage and Challenges
Italian Greyhound Physical Characteristics
Italian Greyhound Personality
The Italian Greyhound is a true greyhound, an intentionally pint-sized dog created many centuries ago through selective breeding. Whether originally bred for hunting small game or strictly as a pampered companion, it isn’t known. No matter - this dog is equally comfortable chasing field mice in the country or parading down the avenue with leash and matching sweater. The IG has long been a favorite of royalty, and many monarchs such as Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great of Russia had their portraits painted with these beloved pets. Frederickthe Great was a well-known devotee of this breed and kept several as his constant companions.
Italian Greyhound History and General Information
History and Origin
The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the family of gazehounds (dogs that hunt by sight). The breed is an old one and is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago in Greeceand Turkey. By the Middle Ages, this little dog had become popular throughout Southern Europe, becoming an especial favorite in 16th century Italy, hence the name “Italian” Greyhound.
The IG needs warmth and hates to go outside when the weather is cold, wet or windy; some owners just keep the dog crated instead of addressing this issue, but that’s no solution. Extended crating often leads to the dog soiling his crate in desperation, which makes future training next to impossible. Early, patient and consistent training is crucial. The most successfully house trained IGs are the ones with free access to a dog door rather than having to ask to go out. Paper or litterbox training also works, especially in cold and/or wet climates.
Italian Greyhound Health
Despite its delicate look, the Italian Greyhound is overall a very hardy breed. Hypothyroidism and other autoimmune diseases, PRA, seizure disorders, luxating patellas, Legg-Perthes have been diagnosed in in this breed, but these medical conditions are not rampant. A few bloodlines have a predisposition for leg fractures due to lack of bone density.
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