OVERVIEW OF THE ITALIAN GREYHOUND
The epitome of regal grace, the Italian Greyhound has been a crowd favorite for years. These miniature dogs have a larger-than-life personality and are extremely easy to train, making them perfect for any household that values an energetic spirit. Unaware of its own scale, the Italian Greyhound is a living example of never judging a book by its cover.
We say this because the Italian Greyhound can often be found trying obstacles too challenging for its physique or challenging canines twice its size to a face-off. This can sometimes be overwhelming for the dog owner, who always needs to keep an eye out for the next disaster; however, their affectionate and adorable personality more than makes up for this. These crowd-pleasers are very easy to train and have extraordinary athleticism, making for a perfect show dog.
The Italian Greyhound is a miniature dog that reaches an average height of 15 inches. These dogs make the perfect house pet with their exceptionally playful nature and tiny stature. This breed is considered to be incredibly gentle regardless of being good field hunters of small prey. Their need for affection and drive to please their owners make them exceptional lap dogs that can thrive in a household that contains children. Being a greyhound breed, these canines still have a regal aura with long fine legs and distinguished torsos. Given its smaller figure, the Italian Greyhound adapts very well to smaller living spaces such as apartments and houses without yards.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE ITALIAN GREYHOUND
Although the exact origin of this breed is unknown, it is speculated that the Italian Greyhound originated from the Mediterranean Basin around 2000 years ago. Most experts agree that these hounds were bred in Greece or Turkey. There are countless ancient depictions of miniature greyhounds in the arts of these regions, and quite a few skeletons assumed to have belonged to the Italian Greyhound have also been uncovered.
Although unsure of the purpose behind the development of this breed, many believe that these dogs were bred specifically to be ornate dogs. Breeds that are bred to be ornate dogs are bred to serve as a pet to royalty. The act of a royal keeping a personal pet has been a common practice for centuries — even Catherine the Great had a pup! This claim has been backed by history as many European royalties have kept this breed as a pet. Additionally, quite a few Renaissance artists of the time have also presented their depiction of these canines in a royal setting. Being favored by the rulers of that region also led to the derivation of the current name of the breed, the Italian Greyhound.
ITALIAN GREYHOUND FOOD AND HEALTH
Italian Greyhounds are a generally healthy breed due to their active lifestyles and typically have a life expectancy of almost 15 years, which is higher on average than other breeds. Being a small breed that weighs a measly 7 – 14 pounds on average, the food intake of this breed is only half a cup every day. However, as the breed is prone to dental diseases, it is suggested that you provide them with slightly abrasive food to promote dental health and take care of their dental hygiene.
Additionally, note that the above-mentioned food intake is just a general estimate. The actual intake will depend on various factors, such as age, size, weight, and activity.
Dogs, similar to human beings, are prone to medical conditions. In the case of the Italian Greyhound, there are a few you need to be on the lookout for specifically. Although not all of them are dangerous diseases, you still need to be able to discern a problem by identifying the symptoms and making a trip to the vet if the need arises.
Cataracts are a common disease amongst canines and often start appearing as the dog begins aging beyond a certain point. This disease is quite common in Italian Greyhounds, as they have a longer than average lifespan. If left untreated, this may lead to blindness; fortunately, it is easy to identify as a dog suffering from cataracts will start developing a cloudy film over its eyes. A surgical procedure can be used to eliminate cataracts.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland is producing low levels of hormones. Although the disease is not immediately dangerous to the dog, there are still many implications that come with it. Some of the more severe implications include obesity, irregular heat cycles, and mental dullness. While other minor implications can appear in the form of droopy eyes or lethargy. There is no cure for this problem, but that doesn’t mean that your dog cannot live a healthy and happy life. With the appropriate medication and diet, most greyhounds with hypothyroidism live a long life.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY
The genetic degenerative eye disorder, progressive retinal atrophy, is commonly seen amongst small breeds. A dog suffering from this disorder will slowly lose its eyesight, as it suffers the loss of photoreceptors. Luckily for greyhounds, this disorder is relatively easy to identify and can be treated years before manifestation.
VON WILLEBRAND’S DISEASE
The Von Willebrand Disease is an ailment found in both dogs and humans. It is a blood disorder that leads to excessive bleeding during heat cycles and surgeries. This disease manifests when there is a reduction in the Von Willebrand factor in the blood of the creature, which causes the blood clotting process to slow down. If your dog suffers from nosebleeds and blood in its stool during heat cycles, it is suggested that you make a trip to the vet as soon as possible to get it diagnosed.
TOP-RATED CRATES, BEDS, AND DOGHOUSES FOR AN ITALIAN GREYHOUND
The Italian Greyhound is an indoor dog that prefers affection and the comfort of humans. This is why it is essential to invest in a proper crate for the dog, as it may otherwise become distressed when alone. Italian Greyhounds might be miniature, but they are full of energy and suffer from separation anxiety, leading to destructive behavior if left alone.
When picking out a crate for your Italian Greyhound, you need something durable as the dog will move around quite frequently. Additionally, you want one with a smaller mesh as the tiny and slim legs of your Italian Greyhound can often get stuck between the openings of the crate.
BEDS AND BEDDINGS
Italian Greyhounds are, without a doubt, very docile. They won’t go ripping around curtains or their bedsheets unless left without any physical stimulation for a few days. So buying a bed for your dog is relatively easy. All you need to do is look for a bed that is soft and comfortable for your dog to lay down on. Your greyhound will adore you if they have a nice bed to rest on after all that running around.
A doghouse is a great investment for your greyhound. Italian Greyhounds typically enjoy laying in the sun and soaking up some warmth, so they will be over the moon to find a place to lay down in. For this, all you need is an adequate doghouse able to provide your canine with a place to rest and hide in the shade if the warmth gets too overwhelming.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR AN ITALIAN GREYHOUND
The Italian Greyhound is naturally a huntsman, regardless of being a small indoor dog. Although its low prey drive can be quite disarming, you need to provide them with proper training and physical stimulation in the form of leashed walks. You will need a leash to keep your dog under control as they are often unaware of themselves and enjoy taking on challenges. A good leash for an Italian Greyhound would be soft and gentle, as the small breed doesn’t pose much of a threat when on alert.
Additionally, the dog’s small stature demands gentleness, as a firm tug with a rugged collar might even injure the dog. Another good way of ensuring that your Italian Greyhound remains under control without having to risk injuries is to invest in a vest.
BEST TOYS FOR AN ITALIAN GREYHOUND
Italian Greyhound’s are naturally playful dogs, so they will appreciate any toy that you buy for them. However, there are a few fool-proof toys that every greyhound will enjoy — consider buying your dog a simple stuffed animal. As these dogs are natural hunters, this gift would be the ideal fit as it will incite their predator senses and allow them to act on their instincts. Additionally, you can rest assured knowing that they will be chewing on their new toy and not your shoes.
Another good option is chewing toys. As we have mentioned earlier, Italian Greyhounds are prone to dental problems and require constant monitoring of their dental health. A chew toy is a perfect way of providing your dog with the necessary stimulus while also letting him have fun.
Food dispensing toys are also an excellent fit for Italian Greyhounds, as most breeds are more than happy with toys that gift them treats. This is why if you invest in a food-dispensing toy, you can rest assured that your dog will be occupied with it. These toys are great for dogs that eat too quickly and can aid in any dieting needs.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR ITALIAN GREYHOUND OWNERS
Grooming an Italian Greyhound is relatively easy as the dog has a short coat that does not cause much trouble. The coat of this breed is short and has the feeling of satin, so you can be assured that this breed will not be leaving a trail of its hair all over your house. It is recommended that the greyhound receives brushings when its coat begins to look less shiny than usual. The same rule goes for bathing this breed: a semi-regular bath schedule is perfect for Italian Greyhounds unless they appear outwardly dirty from playing outside.
You must pay special attention to the Italian Greyhound’s dental hygiene, as they are prone to dental disease. Because they are susceptible to dental issues, negligence in brushing their teeth can lead to long-lasting ailments. This is why it is suggested that you partake in brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice a week. Brushing them daily would be optimal to avoid bad breath and gum disease as well; however, that can be overwhelming for some owners. You can always supplement these brushings with teething chew toys and dental treats.
Finally, you will need to trim out your Italian Greyhound’s nails regularly. Not only will unkempt nails lead to many household items becoming torn apart, but they can also be uncomfortable for your dog. Long nails can eventua