If you are considering adopting an Italian Greyhound there are some things you should know before welcoming it into your family such as, for example, its peculiar characteristics that will help you fully understand the character and needs of this canine breed originating in our country.
He is the smallest of the god family Greyhounds and it is no coincidence that even in its name this adjective distinguishes the appearance of this agile canine breed, the pride of our country. We are talking about the Italian Greyhound, a small dog belonging to the 10 Greyhounds group, short-haired Greyhounds section. of the ENCI.
The story of this very slender and lively little dog has very ancient roots. Suffice it to say that the remains of a small greyhound dating back to 3,000 BC have been found in the Mediterranean basin. References to this breed are found in the writings of Ovid, Horace and even Virgil, but also in European art and courts.
In our Peninsula, the Italian Greyhound spread mainly in the North around the current Pavia and was a breed much appreciated by the royals for its hunting skills and for its refined bearing. The appearance of this dog is, in fact, very elegant and his lean and curvy physique makes him a truly graceful athlete.
The breed became famous overseas as a “miniature greyhound”, also known by the nickname iggy. Its standard was officially recognized in 1886 by theAmerican Kennel Club. Today the Italian Greyhound as well as being a racing dog is a very docile and affectionate company.
His character is friendly, sweet and loyal
The Italian Greyhound is a pet dog very sweet. He loves being pampered and feeling part of the family. With his human friends he is not shy at all, which can happen instead with strangers. However, his very good nature does not hold him back from making new friends. Even with strangers he lets himself go after not long, if he doesn’t get scared first. After all, the Italian Greyhound is also a little cowardly dog.
Difference with the Whippet
The Italian Greyhound shares with the Whippet the same dog group and a very similar appearance, but the former differs from the latter of English origins mainly for two elements: weight and size. The Whippet is in fact classified as a medium-sized dog. Its height at the withers is on average 50 cm for males and 45 cm for females. The ideal weight varies from 11 to 20 kg.
As for the Italian Greyhound, on the other hand, the height at the withers must not exceed 38 cm for both males and females. The weight is also noticeably different. For this breed the FCI / ENCI standard establishes a maximum weight of 5kg.
His education is not complex
Educating a dog can be very difficult taking into account the temperament of this dog, but in the case of the Italian Greyhound the problem does not arise entirely. The breed is highly intelligent and can be raised easily if the attitude is there and as long as the upbringing is truly gentle. The Italian Greyhound is a very sensitive dog and pays close attention to the tone of the voice of us humans. With positive reinforcement, fixed cadence exercises and lots of gentleness you will get the best results with him.
As with any dog breed, it is essential that education is consistent and constant. All family members must take part in this long process so that the dog does not get confused and ends up behaving differently than one would like.
It doesn’t need as much exercise as you think
The Italian Greyhound is a dog with great energy, energy that unleashes in his favorite activity: running. Beyond this, she loves to play and lie down on the sofa next to his human friends showing all his affection. This dog does not therefore require who knows how much physical exercise, contrary to what one might think. When you cannot let your Italian Greyhound run outdoors, walks of at least 15 – 20 minutes will be enough to make him happy in the same way.
He has an innate instinct for hunting
The Italian Greyhound was selected mainly for hunting and instinct is still very present today. Unlike other dogs, however, this breed does not use the sense of smell to track down prey, but relies on sight and, of course, its speed. That’s why it could snap into nothing at the sight of something moving.
Diseases affecting the breed
That of the Italian Greyhound is a relatively robust breed with a life expectancy of around 12-15 years. The specimen is susceptible to a number of conditions among which:
- viral and bacterial infections
- patella dislocation and fractures
- progressive retinal atrophy
- dental problems
- hermaphroditism or testicular disorder
Relationship with children
The Italian Greyhound is an outgoing dog and usually gets along well with children. If the latter know how to behave well towards him then he will make an excellent family dog. However, this breed is afraid of sudden and unpredictable shots so in the case of turbulent children it is certainly not the most suitable.
It is not an aggressive dog, it responds to fear by barking and running away, but this will clearly affect it in the relationship with the puppies of the house. Precisely for this reason the Italian Greyhound relates better to not too young children.
It does not sweat and sheds very little hair
Unlike other dogs but also of us humans, the Italian Greyhound does not sweat or rather only sweats under his paws and nose. This is where the sweat glands of this breed are located. This causes the animal to “not stink” unless it is clearly dirty. Also with regard to the hair this breed can boast quite a lot.
Its coat is very fine and satin and except in the natural moulting periods which correspond to spring and autumn it does not lose who knows how much.
It is very susceptible to cold
The Italian Greyhound does not tolerate cold temperatures and why is not so difficult to guess. Having little hair in the coldest months, the dog suffers from the cold and much prefers to burrow under blankets and plaids than to step outside the house. The use of a special coat is therefore recommended.
Even in summer we must not forget to protect the dog from the sun and the heat of the period to avoid the notorious heat stroke.
He loves the company of other animals
The Italian Greyhound is an equally friendly dog to his fellow dogs. Although he lives well as a “single dog”, he shares his spaces with other small dogs with great pleasure. The presence of another dog definitely helps him feel less lonely when his human friend is not at home.
She is also tolerant with cats. It would certainly be better if the two grew up together to prevent the feline from turning into a game to chase in her eyes.
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