Many people around the world have dogs as companions. Some like them big and fluffy, others like them tiny and almost hairless. If you're the latter, the Italian Greyhound dog is just for you! Standing just a little over a foot tall and weighing around 10-12 pounds, the Italian Greyhound, also called the "Miniature Greyhound", is an elegant companion for the dog lover who enjoys a pet who lavishes in its owner's affections.
Despite its name, the Italian Greyhound did not originate in Italy. Evidence shows that the breed may go back as far as Ancient Egypt. Mummified Miniature Greyhound remains were found in the tombs of Pharaohs, while images of the toy breed had been painted on the walls and also depicted in the form of statues. The term "Italian" Greyhound was believed to have originated during the Renaissance, since the breed was very popular during that time. Italian Greyhounds were very popular among royalty and the privileged class.
The Italian Greyhound stands around 12-15 inches at the withers and weighs approximately 7-10 pounds. They have very sleek bodies and very short, fine hair. Their ears are rose-shaped and their tail is long and thin. They come in a variety of colors: black, blue, gray, cream, red, fawn, white and sometimes a combination of colors. Often you will find a dog with a main color infused with white.
The Italian Greyhound is one of the few dogs that are inherently elegant. Its sleek body resembles a miniature version of the regular Greyhound of racing fame. The dog walks with a high-stepping gait, very similar to a prancing horse. I won't doubt that you will attract the attention of friendly passersby when you take your dog for walks!
Small dog equals small clean up! Because of it's diminutive size, Italian Greyhounds are easy to clean up after and it doesn't cost much to feed them even if you buy the most expensive dog food from your pet store. Depending on your dog's appetite, a 20-lb bag of dog food could possibly last about 3 to 4 months. They also don't need acres of land to reside in. If they have the run of the house and yard and get routine walks, they're happy.
Because of its short, fine fur, grooming is very minimal, and you won't find clumps of fur all over your house! Italian Greyhounds are not barkers. Other than the occasional bark, this dog is very quiet. They are also not biters. Only under extreme situations that place the dog in great fear will it lash out, which is normal for any dog. Italian Greyhounds make loveable companions. They are very affectionate and will always want to sit with you, if not in your lap! You'll often find the Italian Greyhound close at your heels, following you wherever you go. Because of their mild temperament, they are great family dogs and get along well with children. These dogs are very intelligent and quick learners.
Because they have such short fur, Italian Greyhounds get cold very easily. If you live in an area that gets cold, you may have to get your dog a sweater, which can be purchased at most pet stores. Italian Greyhound owners must also be cautious about letting the dog leap from high places, like from a table, or high bed. This delicate breed, although hearty, is prone to broken legs.
Because they're quiet and tend to follow you around the house, owners may have to be extra careful to not step on the dog's little toes. As silly as it sounds, this happens quite often. Always check the dog's foot for any signs of broken bones. Be cautionary for the sly Italian Greyhound! These dogs are extremely intelligent and will learn your routine. An inattentive owner will find his dog defying him behind his back! Be affectionate, but firm with your dog, and you won't have too many problems.
Because the Italian Greyhound's temperament is mild and amicable, these dogs do not make good watchdogs. They were specifically bred to be pets and are more comfortable lying around a warm blanket instead of standing near the door listening for strangers! At a young age, as all puppies are, Italian Greyhounds can be a bit hyper. They're fast and love to run around the house. Often times though, after 10 or 15 minutes, the dog will settle down. Because of their big "puppy-dog" eyes, it's easy to be manipulated by them. They're so cute that sometimes you may find yourself unable to say "no", especially when they stare up at you with those big, soulful eyes. Just remember to stay firm!
WHERE CAN YOU FIND AN ITALIAN GREYHOUND?
The best place to find one is through a reputable breeder. Once in a while you may see one in a pet store, but it's rare. It's also generally not a good idea to buy from pet stores because they may not come from reputable sources and will usually cost a lot more. To find a breeder, contact your local AKC or search the Internet.
All in all, it's easy to see why this breed was valued by royalty and were considered valuable gifts. The Italian Greyhound is a soulful animal that is loyal to its owner and very affectionate. If you're the type of person who is interested in a loveable, quiet, tiny companion, then the Italian Greyhound is for you.