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The Italian Greyhound is a toy-sized Greyhound standing 33 to 38 centimetres and weighing 6 to 15 pounds. Despite its size, this dog breed inherits the sweet and affectionate disposition of its taller Greyhound relatives. It is not clear whether it was originally bred as a hunting dog or companion dog. A healthy Italian Greyhound can have a lifespan of up to 18 years. It is very adaptable and can live anywhere but are known to be a challenge to housetrain.
Are you planning to get an Italian Greyhound? Here is a brief background of this small dog with a big personality.
Brought to Europe by the Phoenicians sea traders 2000 thousand years ago, the Italian Greyhound is a slim toy dog version of the Greyhound. It was bred small to develop a more robust hunter and companion. The little sighthounds won the favour of many European nobles especially in Italy where it became extremely popular in the 16th century, hence the name.
Depictions of Italian Greyhounds are seen in the artwork of Giotto, Bosch and Memling. They were said to be the most favoured dogs in the royal courts of James I of England Frederick the Great of Prussia, Queen Anne of Denmark, Catherine the Great of Russia and Queen Victoria.
During World War I, the breed was close to becoming extinct in England. Luckily, there were a few Italian Greyhounds imported to America, albeit a low number. British breeders used these American-bred Italian Greyhounds to revive the breed in Europe.
Italian Greyhounds are basically toy-sized Greyhounds, weighing 6 to 15 pounds and standing 33 to 38 centimetres. They have sleek, well-built and lean frames. Their long, slender heads have thin muzzles, dark, keen eyes and, small folded ears. They have moderately long, slightly angular necks, slope down broad chests and tucked-in abdomens. They have slim and slightly curved tails.
The Italian Greyhound sports a short and glossy coat that is satin soft. The coat colours come in shades of cream, fawn, black, blue and red. They can be solid or with white markings. The Italian Greyhound doesn't shed much and is easy to groom. All one needs to do is brush it occasionally when it gets dirty and bathe it when necessary or when it has that doggy smell.
Aside from its coat, other grooming regimens must not be overlooked, or you risk a sudden unscheduled visit to the veterinarian. Make sure to brush your Italian Greyhound's teeth at least twice a week to remove tartar and lessen the chance of gum disease. Trim the nails regularly, once or twice a month, to avoid overgrowth and painful cracking. Its ears should also be checked for any signs of infection such as redness or bad odour, which should be cleaned with a vet-approved solution as a preventive measure.
The Italian Greyhound makes an excellent companion dog and loves the company of people. It is well-behaved most of the time, but often prone to bouts of energetic frenzy, which makes it suddenly leap up and run around the house or yard, for no reason. It is a sensitive dog content to stay quiet around the house but must not be left alone for long periods of time. Italian Greyhound make good watchdogs as they tend to bark to alert especially when they hear unfamiliar sounds. However, thinking they can be guard dogs is stretching it a bit as they are likely to be aloof or shy around strangers.
Italian Greyhounds are intelligent dogs, which they often use to do things their way making them a little challenging to housetrain. Training them consistently at an early age will help them obey "recall" commands, although they may ignore these commands at times especially if they spot something more interesting in the distance. The Italian Greyhound is calm and docile by nature and is great with older children. It does not do well in a household with small and boisterous children since most Italian Greyhounds prefer a quiet environment.
Remember that despite its small frame, the Italian Greyhound was also bred as a hunting companion. If you happen to own one with a strong prey drive, care should be taken when it is around smaller pets such as cats or hamsters.
A typical serving for an adult Italian Greyhound is 1/2 to 3/4 cup of high-quality dog food per day. Then again, the serving size will depend on the dog's age, gender, size, build, activity level, metabolism and health. The best course of action to determine the most appropriate nutrition for your Italian Greyhound is to ask a veterinarian for assistance.
Typical daily calorie needs of an adult Italian Greyhound weighing 10 pounds:
Always choose high-quality dog food, preferably from vet-recommended brands. Dog food should be rich in animal protein such as chicken, turkey, lamb or beef for muscle growth.
Italian Greyhounds are generally healthy but are known to suffer from certain health issues such as Epilepsy, Legg-Perthes Disease, Luxating Patella, Von Willebrand's Disease, Liver Shunt, Cataracts, Hypothyroidism, Corneal Dystrophy, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Thrombocytopenia, and dental issues.
The Italian Greyhound is known for its spontaneous fits of running, so it should be given the opportunity to run several times a week. However, this dog breed has a low stamina and is not built for endurance activities. It will happily retire to its bed after a few sprints. Italian Greyhounds, like any dog, must be provided with enough mental and physical stimulation to make them happy and fit.
Not everyone knows how big of an investment it is to own a dog, not only emotionally but also financially. To buy an Italian Greyhound puppy alone will cost £700 to £1,000, but of course one can save if they instead adopt an Italian Greyhound puppy. Nevertheless, other considerable costs to raise this dog breed may cause one to think twice before proceeding.
For one, getting a pet insurance will cost around £20 to £40 a month. While the cost to buy quality dog food for a small dog is about £20 to £30 a month. On top of these, regular veterinary checks are to make sure the Italian Greyhound is not suffering from any illnesses, or you'll soon need to use the pet insurance. The cost for veterinarian consultations including vaccinations and boosters will not go lower than £900 annually. Consider all these expenses before you go and find a breeder for this dog.
Are you sure the Italian Greyhound is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Do you think the Italian Greyhound is the right breed for you? If you're not sure, find more suitable breeds using our Pet Finder.
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