The smallest member of the Gazehound or sighthound family, the Italian Greyhound, is a sensitive, alert, and playful dog that radiates grace and elegance.
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the Italian Greyhound, from history to health, so you can decide if it’s the right pet for you.
A Brief History of the Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound is a breed that has been around for thousands of years. Its origins can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, where these dogs were used for companionship and hunting small game.
In the Renaissance era, Italian Greyhounds became a favorite of aristocrats who coveted their regal appearance and charm. Today, Italian Greyhounds are primarily known as loving pets.
Origins in Ancient Egypt
The Egyptians believed that Italian Greyhounds had mystical powers, and they even mummified some of them alongside their owners to accompany them in the afterlife. This shows how much the Egyptians loved and respected these dogs.
Interestingly, the Italian Greyhound was also popular in Ancient Rome, where it was known as the “Piccolo Levriero Italiano.” They were often depicted in art and were kept as pets by the wealthy.
The Renaissance Era and Noble Companions
During the Renaissance, Italian Greyhounds became a symbol of nobility and refinement. They were often featured in images alongside aristocrats, including Catherine the Great and Mary Queen of Scots.
The Italian Greyhound’s popularity continued to rise in the 18th century when they were brought to England by Italian traders. They quickly became a favorite of the royal family, including Queen Victoria, who had many of them as pets.
Italian Greyhounds in Modern Times
Today, Italian Greyhounds are still popular pets among owners worldwide. The breed is characterized by its loyal and loving nature, and many people choose them as family dogs.
In recent years, the Italian Greyhound has become a popular breed among celebrities, including George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, and Hugh Laurie. Their unique appearance and loving personality make them a favorite among dog lovers worldwide.
Physical Characteristics of the Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound is a small dog with a slim and graceful physique. It has a lean and muscular build that exudes elegance and athleticism.
Size and Weight
The Italian Greyhound is a small breed, weighing between 7 and 14 pounds and standing at around 13 to 15 inches tall. Despite being a small breed, it is incredibly agile and has a high level of energy.
Coat and Colors
The Italian Greyhound has a short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors, including black, blue, fawn, red, cream, and white. Some dogs may have a combination of these colors, and their coats require minimal grooming.
Italian Greyhounds have a distinctive head shape, with tall, upright ears and a long, narrow muzzle. They also have long and slender legs, which contribute to their athleticism and agility. The tails are slender, carried low, and tapering to a point.
One of the unique features of Italian Greyhounds is their expressive eyes, which are typically dark in color and almond-shaped. The eyes are set wide apart and give the dogs alert and curious expressions.
Personality and Temperament
Despite the small size, the Italian Greyhound has a big personality. It is affectionate and loyal to the owners and forms strong bonds with its family.
Affectionate and Loving Nature
Italian Greyhounds are devoted pets, and they form strong bonds with their owners. They often follow their owners around the house and even snuggle up in bed with them. Italian Greyhounds also interact well with children and other pets, making them great family pets.
Intelligence and Trainability
Italian Greyhounds are intelligent dogs that are quick to learn new commands. They respond well to rewards-based training techniques and are eager to please their owners. However, like all dogs, they require patience and consistency during training.
Socialization and Interaction with Other Pets
Italian Greyhounds are friendly and social. They interact well with other dogs and pets and are generally not aggressive. Proper socialization is essential for Italian Greyhounds, as they can become timid or anxious if not exposed to new environments and people early on.
Health and Lifespan
As with all breeds, Italian Greyhounds are susceptible to some health issues. Regular checkups and preventative care are essential to ensure a long and healthy life for your pet.
Common Health Issues
Some of the most common health problems that affect Italian Greyhounds include:
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: An orthopedic issue in which the head of the femur loses blood supply causing joint problems
- Hypothyroidism: An endocrine condition in which the lack of thyroid hormones causes weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues
- Anesthesia Sensitivity: The breed is very sensitive to certain anesthetic agents because of the very low percentage of body fat
Preventative Care and Regular Checkups
Preventative care is essential for Italian Greyhounds, and owners should pay close attention to their pet’s dental hygiene. Regular checkups at the vet are also necessary to detect and manage any health issues early on.
Italian Greyhounds have a lifespan of around 14 to 15 years, depending on their overall health and wellbeing. Owners can help their pets live long and healthy lives by providing proper care, including regular veterinary checkups and a healthy diet and exercise.
In conclusion, the Italian Greyhounds is a charming and loving breed that makes an excellent pet for owners of different ages. It is affectionate, loveable, and fun to be around.
By understanding the history, physical traits, personality, and health issues, you can make an informed decision about whether an Italian Greyhound is the right breed for you.