The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of all greyhounds and one of the oldest companion dogs today. Although it is occasionally used for hunting small animals, its main use was always as a companion dog. It has also been used for dog racing, but never as much as its older relative, the greyhound. Let’s get to know the Italian Greyhound a little more!
Italian Greyhound: origin
The Italian Greyhound was one of the first known companion dogs. And it is that, records of Italian greyhounds have already been found in ancient Egypt.
It is believed that it was the Phoenicians who transferred the ancestors of the Italian greyhound from Egypt to Rome in the 5th century BC. Along the way, these dogs became popular with the Greeks.
The greatest development of this canine breed took place during the Renaissance period, 16th century, in the country that we know today as Italy. This is where the Italian Greyhound became one of the favorite dog breeds among the nobles. Many famous painters of that time even recorded the important presence of the Italian greyhound in their lives.
Physical appearance of the Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound is a “square” bodied dog, which means that the height at the withers is equal to (or slightly less than) the length measured from the shoulder to the rear. Its morphology is very similar to that of the greyhound, but in a smaller dog with a finer bone density.
The head of an Italian Greyhound is long and narrow, with a narrow snout pointing straight ahead. Their eyes are large and expressive and generally appear darker in color. Their ears are small and extend back, folded over on themselves.
The body of the Italian Greyhound has a straight and muscular but somewhat arched back. His chest is narrow but deep and reaches the line of the elbows. Its tail is set low and is fine throughout.
The little Italian greyhound has short, fine hair. It can be black, gray, slate gray, or with a light yellow coating (Elizabethan).
The height at the withers, for both males and females, can range between 32 and 38 centimeters. The weight should not exceed five kilograms for either sex.
Italian Greyhound: character
Italian Greyhounds are known to be very loyal, loving and docile dogs. They are usually reserved with strangers, and can even become very shy, so it is very important to socialize these dogs since they are puppies.
They are very vigilant, so they will alarm your family when they hear strange noises or see unfamiliar people, making them good watchdogs, despite their small size.
Regarding training, Italian Greyhounds do not respond well to traditional training. When training Italian Greyhounds we always recommend using positive reinforcement.
Italian Greyhounds are friendly with children, but they do not tolerate rough play. Also, due to their delicate bone structure and small size, these greyhounds are not recommended for families with young children who cannot supervise the relationship between the two.
If they have been properly socialized, Italian Greyhounds will get along well with other dogs. However, their hunting instincts are strong and they tend to chase and attack small animals such as rabbits and hamsters.
Italian Greyhound Health
The Italian Greyhound has a life expectancy that ranges between 12 and 15 years. Bone problems are the most common health problems for this type of greyhound. Due to their small size and fine bones, Italian Bloodhounds are susceptible to fractures, fissures, and dislocations, especially when they are less than 18 months old. Therefore, it is advisable to handle them with care.
Other ailments that can affect this breed of dog include: epilepsy, autoimmune disorders, progressive retinal atrophy, and hypersensitivity to chemicals and medications. Due to their small size, Italian Greyhounds are also very susceptible to cold, so you can protect them with dog clothes when necessary. Also for this reason, it is advised that this dog lives indoors, not outside.
Italian Greyhounds are apartment-friendly and can demand a lot of exercise or play indoors. This does not mean that they do not need outdoor exercise. In fact, exercise outdoors is incredibly important for all dogs to socialize and receive sufficient mental stimulation.
The Italian Greyhound is a hypoallergenic breed of dog that does not shed much hair. Their coat is very easy to maintain and requires occasional brushing and cleaning. You should only bathe these dogs when it is strictly necessary and, in those cases, be sure to dry them well so they do not catch a cold.
Do you have one of these Italian greyhounds at home? If you want Glòries Veterinary Hospital to become your trusted center, our veterinarians who are experts in internal medicine will be happy to assist you. Make an appointment now by calling 932 460 805 or contact us by clicking here.