Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Toy > Italian Greyhound - "Iggie" or "IG"

Italian Greyhound - "Iggie" or "IG"

Quick Checklist
with kids
with seniors
with other animals
with strangers
Energy & Exercise
Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Small (10 to 25 lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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Italian Greyhounds, the daintiest of all sighthounds, have been favored companions of both the elite and egalitarian for millennia (reputed to have origins in Cleopatra's court, and purportedly got their name due to overwhelming popularity in Renaissance Italy.) Very similar in appearance to the Whippet and standard "racing" Greyhound, the "IG" or "Iggy" shares many of their traits--including the need for speed--but in a compact size. IG's are sweet, sensitive, loyal, and affectionate to the point of neediness, and do best with owners or families in warmer climates. IG's make great family pets in both city and country, but are definitely not for anyone looking for an independent or "indoor" dog. Italian Greyhounds thrive in a "pack" with constant companionship and don't do well left outside unattended. The saying goes with veteran owners that two IG's are easier than one: this is not a low-maintenance breed due to their big hearts and personalities, but the IG gives back tenfold in love what they take in time and attention. Italian Greyhounds do best in households with older, more considerate children and experienced dog owners due to their fragile bodies and demeanors, but IG's also make great Pet Therapy dogs for the disabled and elderly.

General Care

Italian Greyhounds are like cats--they clean themselves and only require monthly bathing, brushing, nail clipping, and teeth cleaning. Greyhound breeds are cuddlers, known for demanding to sleep under the covers. Don't be fooled by their reputation for racing when it comes to exercise: Greyhound breeds have an "on" and "off" switch, only needing short spurts of off-leash exercise, known as Zooms, a few times a day and then they become the World's Greatest Couch Potatoes. Because of their lean and slight build, IG's will start to shiver once the temperature drops below 60 degrees, and in general Greyhounds aren't fond of rain, so be prepared with a sizeable wardrobe for various weather conditions (raincoat, fleece, booties, etc.) Greyhound breeds do best with positive reinforcement in training and are difficult to ever completely housebreak (rescues site accidents, along with high activity level, as the #1 reason this breed is often surrendered). Greyhounds drink a large amount of water by volume compared to their size, so they need to be let out every few hours, but are also easily litter box trained. Common health problems include broken bones (usually from jumping off furniture), reverse sneezing, seizures, hair loss, skin tags and fatty deposits, and bladder issues. Sighthound breeds cannot metabolize barbiturate-based anesthetics, so please work with your veterinarian closely if your dog requires surgery.

For more information about Italian Greyhound ownership and care, check out The Italian Greyhound Club of America.

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