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Short History of the BreedThis is the smallest breed of the Gaze (or Sight) hounds. Gaze (or Sight) Hounds hunt by sight and speed. They include Greyhounds, Afghan Hounds, Borzois, Whippets, etc. The Italian Greyhound (also known as I.G. or Iggy) is an old breed and thought to orginate about 2,000 years ago in the area known today as Greece or Turkey because of the ancient art that seems to depict I.G.'s. Tiny Greyhound skeletons have also been found by archaelogists. By the Middle Ages they were found in Southern Europe and were popular in France which is why they are called the Italian Greyhound. The Italian Greyhound club was first registered with the AKC in 1886. The Italian Greyhound Club of America was founded in 1954 and an Italian Greyhound won Best of Show for the first time in 1963.
Physical Description and Size
It is a matter of debate as to whether the I.G. was bred to hunt small game or just for a small pet and companion dog. The Italian Greyhound can weigh as little as 7 lbs. or as much as 14 or 15 lbs., but the average weight is about 10 lbs. His coat is short, smooth and requires little grooming. He is odorless, sheds little, and is not yappy. Narrow and long, tapering to nose, with a slight suggestion of stop. Skull Rather long, almost flat. Muzzle Long and fine. Nose Dark. It may be black or brown or in keeping with the color of the dog. A light or partly pigmented nose is a fault. Teeth Scissors
bite. A badly undershot or overshot mouth is a fault. Eyes Dark, bright, intelligent, medium in size. Very light eyes are a fault. Ears Small, fine in texture; thrown back and folded except when alerted, then carried folded at right angles to the head. Erect or button ears severely penalized. Long, slender, gracefully arched neck. Shoulders are long and sloping. Shoulders are long, straight, set well under shoulder; strong pasterns, fine bone. The hindquarters long, well-muscled thigh; hind legs parallel when viewed from behind, hocks well let down, well-bent stifle. Harefoot with well-arched
toes. Removal of dewclaws optional. They normally live to be 13-15 years old but it's not unusual to live to be older, up to 18.
They are sweet, loving, sprightly dogs. Their need for love is almost needy. They are very attached to their owners and are not the type of dog that can be left alone for long periods of time. They need their people and they need love and attention. They just meld into you and need you. They have high energy levels as young dogs but adapt to their owners as they mature. I.G.'s have a short attention span. They are cold intolerant and need to be kept warm. They must be inside dogs because their coats are not thick enough to insulate against cold or heat.
Lilian Barber (Author of The New Complete IG) says "Again, these are sighthounds and individuals vary greatly in these characteristics. If they were human they would do better in a liberal arts school than at a military academy. Some do superbly in obedience competition, and others don't do well at all. Much depends on the trainer's ability to keep the IG interested. Agility is a sport that could have been invented for the IG, and they make excellent therapy dogs." House training depends on the dog. Some are easy and some are stubborn. Barber says, "IGs are lovers of warmth and really despise going outside when the weather is cold, wet or windy; and there is a tendency for owners to just keep them crated instead of addressing this issue. Extended crating often leads to the dog soiling his crate in desperation, which makes future training exceedingly difficult. The most successfully house trained IGs are the ones that have free access to a dog door rather than having to learn to ask to go out. Paper or litterbox type training works very well also, especially in cold and/or wet climates."
Dog CareThey shed but their fur is so short and fine that it's not noticeable. They rarely need full baths. A wipe down with a damp washcloth is usually all that is needed after being outside. (I would recommend wiping them down after visits to places where other dogs have been like the Vet, pet supply stores, dog parks, etc to prevent illnesses.)Like all dogs, they need their ears cleaned, their teeth brushed and their nails clipped regularly. In cold weather (or cold AC) they need a coat or sweater. They love to snuggle under the covers and will snug up tight to their humans in the bed. They need to be kept indoors and only outside on a leash or in a secure, fenced area. Sight hounds tend to see their prey and run to chase it down. If they see a chipmunk, squirrel, cat, another dog, they will lose all sense and give chase. This bolting happens super fast and they are gone! They should always be on a leash or in a fenced yard. They do fine in an apartment as long as they get a walk or some play every day. It is a good idea to have 2 to play together. They probably don't need to be around dogs bigger in size or muscle mass because, in playing together, they can run into an Iggy and those delicate legs can snap easily. An I.G. is as agile as a cat and other dogs may not make the stops and turns as quickly as the Iggies and therefore can barrel into them at full speed. As long as children can be gentle with an I.G. they should do well because they are very loving dogs. But children must be aware of their fragility and the need to be gentle.
Additional Link Resources:
- Italian Greyhound - Online Community & Information
- IG Whispers - Italian Greyhound Forum, Galleries, Blogs, Chat, and more
About Time Italian Greyhounds - Informative site full of IG information, articles, and photos.
Italian Greyhound Place - Italian Greyhound and Italian Greyhound mix rescue, fostering, & rehoming. Lots of Italian Greyhound information.
Latest page update: made by blpetal
, Dec 1 2010, 12:17 PM EST
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