Italian Greyhound: Your new pet
What do you think by hearing the world greyhound? Many think about a very long and agile dog, the best speed competition dog; well then, what would you think now if someone told you there is a minimum version of these velocities? Surely you’ll think it is a joke, but the reality is that this dog exists and is the Italian greyhound or little Whippet.
They are a very small dog breed, its lengths are between 32 and 38 cm and its weight is among 4 and 5 kg, and it may not be too much if you compare it with other greyhounds, but it isn’t an impediment for them to be great dogs in competitions or as domestic pets.
- NEEDED SPACE TO LIVE: Are very small dogs and for that reason, they don’t need too much space to live, they will feel the same in a country house or an apartment, but those which live in apartments will need a daily physical activity routine.
- NECESSARY EXERCISE: All greyhounds are dogs prepared to run, this is why the Italian greyhound has run in its blood, these thin dogs can even reach the 60 km/h, an amount that impresses many, especially for being them such a small dogs, because actually, they are the faster small dogs around the planet.
The greyhound balanced body its been formed around generations to resist the highest exigency runs, so leave them without physical activity may cause them several health problems, the owner needs to be conscious about it and care about give its dog the opportunities to exercise itself; constant walks and many playing hours at the park are some of the things you can consider.
- LIVING HOPE: In general they live much time, its life promethium goes around the 15 years, but there are some records about exemplars that have lived over 20 years. Many get confused because of the look of the greyhound and thinks it is a fragile dog, but the truth is that is health is very thick, and sickness don’t use to affect them (including congeneric).
Even though, these dogs need good feeding and vaccines to guarantee a long life; first years are particularly vitals, in this season its bones aren’t completely developed and could even break if you are not careful.
- FUR: It is very light, it is a short and straight blanket, its color uses to be uniform, with predominant colors as white, grey or yellow, but spots in its abdomen or feet are acceptable.
- ADEQUATE CLIMATE: The greyhounds generally are dogs that get very affected by cold climates, and we have to remember its thin bodies are prepared to refrigerate them so they can run with no impediments, but this makes no to can warm enough itself in winter, but even if the climate is wet too.
The Italian greyhounds keep this characteristic, but in its case, it gets accented due to its little size. So, when winter comes, we have to be careful to keep our little runner in warm environments. However, is possible to take it for a walk as long as you took the necessary previsions about its bearing, also we have to care it has a balanced feed to avoid colds.
Italian Greyhound personality
How it is an Italian greyhound? We could resume it in a single word: energetic. These dogs adore to jump, run, and climb, and it’s not insane for them to jump to its owner to say hi, or to jump over the dining room with just one big jump.
They depend too much of its owner, which they get close entirely and give their entire devotion. When the owner is at home the dog will follow him everywhere, this is why we have to be very careful to avoid step on them.
They are very sensitive dogs emotionally talking, too many screams or scolding could make them feel stressed or insecure, and this could even break the link they have with their owner. For this reason, you must use positive reinforcement when you are raising them, which is the best way to train them without giving them self esteem problems.
In general, they may have obedience problems if you don’t train them adequately, and also cold climate may be an impediment is you want to teach them to make their necessities outside the home, these are some obstacles an Italian greyhound’ owner face to live in harmony with it.
Aren’t aggressive dogs, its owners don’t use to have complaints about their barks, but are reserved with strangers, this can be solved getting close to other persons since they are puppies.
The Italian greyhounds aren’t the best option for a home with kids; its body is kind of fragile and maybe hurt if are treated abruptly, besides, its character is more as reserved with kids, so if you want to raise one you’ll have to teach the little of the house to treat them with care and respect.
They won’t have problems with other pets, use to get on, and even is common to see them laying next other dogs or cats without distinction, but still isn’t recommendable to put them next to other dogs of bigger breeds, because playtime or activities together may end in accidents where the fragile greyhound body may get injured.
History and origin
Many people get surprised when they found the existence of such a small greyhound as the Italian greyhound, these dogs are also known as a little whip and its name comes from its little dimensions, being the smallest greyhound breed that exists.
Of course, its origins are tight with the same of other greyhound breeds, but its history is different in some details which favored the appearance of the actual Italian greyhound.
All greyhounds’ breeds are very old; its ancients appeared in Egypt above 3000 years ago. In this time the Egyptians enjoyed the wonderful it was having a small-sized greyhound, but those exemplars were still bigger than their current descendants.
The little greyhound was very loved by the Egyptians, was admired to the point to be honored with the same care level as the required by pharaohs and their queens. Of course, by the moment of its death, they also received funerary royalty cares, which allowed some mummified exemplars, can be exhibited currently in Cairo’s museum.
These Italian greyhounds’ ancients should still have to move the half of the world to finally set on Italy, and that was possible thanks to the contributions of the Rome Imperium, the troops introduced this new breed in Europe around the 6000 years B.C., its agile bodies let them easily fought against the rats which threatened the villages, likewise this made the ideals to accompany Romans in their hunts.
Men weren’t the only ones who adore them, the patrician ladies also loved little whips, so they enjoyed a lot of time together. How it was expected, such a popular dog will call the artists’ attention and is possible to find sculptures of the breed from above I Century B.C.
In Pompeii rest other blunt evidence of the Italian greyhound existence by that time. In that city occurred a terrible volcanic eruption in the year 79 A.C., and because of all the volcanic ashes, the rests of the antique Romans and their pets were petrified and perfectly kept until nowadays.
It is possible that in this place born the legendary phrase “beware of the dog”, however, in this case, it wasn’t used as a warning for aggressive dogs, but for visitors to be careful about not to step on the dog.
The Italian greyhound in middle Ages
With the fall of the Roman imperium, the Italian greyhounds became in autochthonous Italian dogs, where were much appreciated while the Middle Ages and would be distributed to the South of Europe as the Kings’ dog, is in this period when they start to be known as the Piccolo Levriero Italiano (little Italian whip).
Many important families wanted to have them because they were fabulous for the hunt which was the favorite hobby of the upper classes. Among the powerful families which had them were the Medici, the Gonzaga and the Sforza.
By this time they were already in Germany where they were known as Windspiel (winter’s toy), probably because of its high velocity and love for jumps. By the XVII Century also arrived in England and since then its true glory period started in the Old Continent.
Many monarchs adore keeping them close, including Mary (Scotland queen), Anna (Denmark queen) and Carlos I; likewise, numerously artists captured their characteristics in its paints. Those characteristics had kept almost without alterations since Roman times, but since the XIX Century, they were raised to be smaller each time.
This trend came with some consequences for the breed, because new exemplars were smaller and smaller and thinner each time, but also started to have fertility problems. Likewise, its inducted dwarfism translated in rounded craniums and more bulging eyes.
The Italian greyhound nowadays
The dwarfism will be kept for many years until some Italian breeders decided to reconstruct the original breed after the end of World War I. However, the effort wouldn’t have success until the ’50s, and since then the breed was totally out of danger.
With the breed being restored, it was possible to create the Italian little whip Circle in 1956, and this circle had the support of the Marquise María Luisa Inontri Della Stufa. Thanks to the little whip circle, the first racial pattern was created, which would ensure it wouldn’t fall into the past mistakes.
Thanks to the hard job of the circle some greyhounds could show its past harmonic morphology again. And thanks to those changes it was possible to gain the recognition of the international dog associations, besides, it was allowed to participate in exhibitions where it would outstand for its beautiful look, its big agility, and its incredible obedience.
The Italian greyhounds have had a hard history no doubts, even when they aren’t currently one of the most popular breeds; they have become excellent company dogs and are loved by its owners.
Behavior with other dogs
The Italian greyhound becomes to a breed dog with a character and behavior more than adorable, usually shows sweet gestures, just as to snuggle close to its owners, no just to get love and affection from its family, but also does it to feel warm due to its skin and short fur. This dog as a pet is generally quiet and balanced, train it haven’t bigger considerations than those any other breed could have.
The socialization process it’s very important in the Italian greyhound, just as in any other dog breed. It happens that thanks to effective socialization since they are puppies, the Italian greyhounds will accept easily circumstances, people and new pals, just as other dogs or pets of any kind, it doesn’t matter if they are cats, turtles, or others. For this socialization process, the patient is one of the virtues you will need the most, due to the Italian greyhound takes its own time to create links with others, even though after it gets to lose to someone the friendship with this pup will last, it is a very good company.
Likewise, the behavior problems by coexisting at home with other dogs or by the time they go walking to places where you will find other dogs or animals, just as a park or a square, can be avoided if you start the socialization process since it is a puppy. This makes the coexisting more effective with the other pets at home.
Also, it is recommendable for the Italian greyhound to coexist with other dogs of its size and lookalikes to it, due to it’s a small, thin dog, and other bigger and stronger breeds may accidentally hurt it while innocent playing. The Italian greyhound y a dog that used to emotionally relate with dogs, with cats, and share with them man moments just as lay down at the sofa, run around the house or backyard, and other activities as games or sports.
The Italian greyhound has a sweet and charming character once it coexists without shyness with others, it is submissive but with a nice personality, obedient and loving. It will enjoy other dogs’ company whit those which can run, jump, and play while its owners are outside home. It has to be mentioned that those pet games could make some disorders and even disasters inside the home, so it is recommendable to avoid scolding with a high voice, because the Italian greyhound it’s a sensible and sentimental dog, and don’t tolerate stressful situations.
If at home are other pets, the Italian greyhound well educated, trained and socialized will be able to coexist in harmony with other dogs, as long as they are balanced and not aggressive dogs; if they have a territorial sense, the greyhound is submissive and wouldn’t have any leadership fight problems. Are advisable small to medium size breeds with a similar complex as the Italian greyhound.
Diet and feeding
The Italian greyhound is a dog with finesse features and thin complex; these breed members generally are adopted as company dogs. It is because of these characteristics that this little dog burns energy in a high quantity because metabolism is fast. Likewise, in the Italian greyhound anatomy, we find the particularity it has a small stomach, which added to the last-mentioned let us know that the feed of a dog with the Italian greyhound characteristics has to be in small portions but frequently.
For these dogs, you can give three or four principal food portions per day, which you will divide in two-thirds in the morning and one third in the afternoon when the night is close. Sometimes you can offer some cookies or snacks between a portion of food and the other, but without making this a routine.
At markets exists the possibility to find special food products for small breeds, which are specifically composed of the right nutrients portions the small dogs need. Also, these prepared foods came in feed grains smaller, which adapted to dogs’ small mouths and this way makes easy the chewing process and improves digestion in general.
The Italian greyhound is a dog that needs an adequate and enriched feed so it will keep an elegant look and strong and resistant health. The principal offered nutrients have to be the high energetic values proteins as the derivate from beef products; these must be the principal component in this dog diet, and in less proportion offer fatty acids and carbohydrates. It is necessary to advise you to avoid or reduce the added food products, just as those presentations rich in cereals (rice, barley, corn) because these are rich in carbohydrates but poor from a nutritional point of view and could generate some allergies.
In synthesis, the Italian greyhound feeding hasn’t bigger particularities than other pets could have. The ideal is to buy a dry feed high-quality brand, composed firstly by proteins. The portions, in the case of this small dog breed, will manage to offer 200 and 400gr of food each time. To offer some variety in the diet, you offer some canned products and wet feed occasionally.
The ingest of food will rise some particular situations just as in females cases when they are in their last three or four gestation weeks, and also in the case of those dogs that are very energetic and actives that do to much sports and physical activities.
Last, but not less important, there is a topic about water and hydration. It is ideal the Italian greyhound to have fresh and clean water can he can use every time it needs it; thin and small dogs, with a high metabolic rate, just as this breed member, will need to be well hydrated to improve its organisms functions.
Health and general cares
The Italian greyhound is a simple and easy to care dog, so doesn’t mind if its owners have a lot or nothing of experience about pets caring. You just need to pay attention to its clean, its feeding and exercise, and of course of the checks about its health.
About hygiene, this breed is known for being extremely clean, as much as it is a dog that doesn’t have the particular smell some other dogs have. It simply needs a bath once per month to be well cleaned. In any pet store, you can buy products like shampoos that are adequate for this bath. Another advantage of the breed is that it doesn’t even lose hair, so the Italian greyhound can be considered as a hypoallergenic breed, a good option for those who want to have pets but are limited because they are allergic to pet hairs.
After bath time, you need to dry them right with a clean towel, because its skin is very sensible about the cold and could easily catch a cold; then you can apply the dryer in a reasonable distance from the dog’s body and in medium temperature, to avoid cutaneous burns. Just when it is completely dry, the Italian greyhound could walk outside the home again.
Its fur is short and has the advantage that just by rub it with a towel it will be silky, shiny and ready to be shown, but it is also recommendable to brush it with a soft bristles brush once per week.
In the same way, the Italian greyhound needs a regular tooth cleaning, because it is susceptible to have caries because of the accumulation of tartar and dental plaque in is teeth, also making it have halitosis and dental infections. Since it’s a puppy it is recommendable for the owner to get it to use to have a regular dental brush, among twice per week. There exists special dogs’ toothpaste without flavor that you can buy in pet stores.
Another thing about the care of the Italian greyhound is the exercise. The Italian greyhound is a small dog but as every greyhound y a runner by excellence. It’s ideal to take it to space where he can freely run outside, best if it is enclosed and safe, at least once or twice a week, and take it for a walk daily, at least for one hour, because this exercise also contributes to its good health state.
And to watch out its health, grow and develop, it is necessary to go to the veterinary with a frequency of once every six months at least, depending on what the specialist says and every time you suspect about sickness. The veterinary also will keep updated the vaccines and deworming calendar and will recommend those medicines you can administrate to your dogs, such as eye drops, ear drops, antiparasitic collars, vitamin supplements, and others.
In general, the Italian greyhound is a very healthy dog, and just a few congenital pathologies are described on it. However, some of the most common illnesses that can affect the breed are epilepsy and eye problems like blindness and cataracts, musculoskeletal pathologies as pallet dislocation and fractures of the extremities caused by the disproportion to its body in relation to its feet while they are in its development period, hip dysplasia, and also the hypothyroidism and periodontal disease.
How to train or educate an Italian greyhound
Train an Italian greyhound isn’t a complicated job, thanks to its alert, vivacious and affectionate personality and the fact it is smart and intelligent, so it is very easy for it to follow orders, learn tricks and also behaviors which make it adapt with no difficulties to the life in its adoptive home.
The same way as to other breeds, the greyhound training will start above three months old. This learning process is facilitated by the amazing intelligence qualities and curiousness of the breed; the Italian greyhound is always up to learn, is attentive and is always alert watching its trainer.
One of the first aspects you have to cover about its upbringing of this dog is the socialization and the management of new situations and events. The Italian greyhound is a scary, submissive dog, much more if it has been saved from abuse and street life, so they could show behavior problems such as anxiety and even aggressiveness when it feels in panic, caused by some situations. In those cases it just thing of love, patience, and new teachings.
You have to introduce the Italian greyhound into the home environment slowly, where he will coexist with other family members, visitors, friends, neighbors, and take it to the park and places where he could be in contact with strangers and other pets. This interaction with the environment gives the greyhound the possibility to socialize with its environment and learn to handle itself in different situations.
The next step in training is the basic obedience orders that every dog must learn. The trick at this point is to practice something that makes the dog understand why it is good to obey, just as the positive reinforcement does, the Italian greyhound is curious and smart, and will quickly learn commands like sit, lay down, bring something, and much more if after an order they have a reward. Likewise, you can incorporate games that exercise its intelligence as searching and memory games.
While walks, that are necessaries for the greyhound to have its daily physical activity dose, you have to make sure that this walk will be in a secure environment, preferably enclosed to avoid danger by the time it is running, due to its great nose let them detect smells over 300m far, so they are capable to chase until tired some rabbits, or ferrets, squirrels, and other small animals considered as preys.
If it runs without control and doesn’t listen to your call, don’t run behind it to catch it, just call it with a firm voice and retire off the zone. When he sees you’re not around, the Italian greyhound that is a familiar and close dog will note your absence and will search for you, and at that time it wouldn’t receive any reward. On the contrary, if it obeys an order you have to recognize it with a compliment and if it’s possible a reward such as a cookie or another snack.
In case it gets scared or gets nervous when you tied up by the neck, you can replace it for a harness in which it would feel more comfortable and you will control its movements in a better way.
Behavior with humans
The Italian greyhound is a wonderful dog to be the company of any family. Its sweet behavior, friendly, submissive, and affectionate makes this exemplar a very adorable dog. This puppy is a calm exemplar, but at the same time enjoys exercises and activities, loves to run side to side, chase prays and jumps.
Also, it is known than the Italian greyhound is a sensible exemplar that needs adequate attention from its adoptive family. It doesn’t tolerate scolding, screams or abuses, these situations trigger anxiety, stress and other behavior disorders in this dog. This is why the greyhound isn’t the most adequate dog to play with children, who can be a little bit abrupt and heavy with its games. With older kids and adults, the relationship is quite.
We can say that from a hygienic point of view the Italian greyhound is an excellent dog, very clean, also it is balanced, discreet, and quite, you will never hear disorders or barks from a dog of this breed that has been well educated. As such, this puppy is very sentimental, and emotionally is a dog that becomes extremely fond of its owner, it links is stronger, it makes it want to follow its human everywhere, always close to its feet, so you have to be careful to not step on them, even more, because its feet bones are very thin which makes it fragile. The Italian greyhound is an affection demanding breed and needs attention, they can get sad, depressed or even aggressive if they are abandoned or careless, it can adopt these inappropriate behaviors even as a way to call your attention.
Even when most of the Italian greyhounds are obedient, some exemplars have a hard time following orders. With strangers are very reserved and elusive, they also act jealously when it’s about its owners. It may be guardian dogs, but not all the exemplars, because some use to bark and alert when strangers, and others are could hide shyly.
A curious characteristic of this breed is that the little Italian greyhound is kleptomaniac, which means it could steal foreign belongings and hide it at some nook, so be careful with your shoes, socks, keys, and even when the TV control.
When they are puppies are very active and happy dogs, also are agile for sports and regular physical activities are the best way to entertain them.
Old people are simply adorable. The Italian greyhound is the perfect company for those lonely grandparents, which would have company, affection, and love all the time, the greyhound will be its complement.
Over the years, this dog breed has played roles as pet dogs and company dogs. Because of its running and jumping abilities, it is a good little rodents’ hunter, and also it has been trained to participate in dog sports competitions and agility and skills tests.
The Italian greyhound or little Italian whip how is also known as the smaller kind of greyhound in the world. This furry pal is very friendly, a little bit curious and special surprise by the agility it has in its thin legs which can reach 60 km per hour; this is a dog that has wonderful characteristics that will make everyone fall in love with it. It is a sweet and tender, very sensible and attached, and also it is smart and intelligent.
The ideal environment for this dogs’ breed it must be considered not just since the physical point of view, but also from the emotional point of view, because the Italian greyhound personality is extremely sensible and could be easily affected for stressed situations as screams, scolds or another abuse forms as abandon or even abrupt games. The adequate emotional environment with a family which offers it the necessary attention will create an exceptional dog behavior, health, energetic, trustable, affective, kind and faithfully close to its beloved.
The Italian greyhound needs a committed owner about its necessities and attention that gives it emotional security and helps it in coexistence processes, learning, and socialization. Even though it isn’t necessarily the person who’s going to adopt an Italian greyhound for being an expert in dogs’ caring, it is recommendable for him to have the attitude and necessary time to take care of the breed. Likewise, the owner must offer, interactive games that stimulate not just its body but also its intelligence.
From the physical look point of view, the Italian greyhound is a short hair dog, which makes easy the care and attentions about its hygiene. However, this advantage of cleaning can be a disadvantage talking about its resistance to diseases and its health, because its skin is very delicate and sensible in extremes temperatures, cold or hot. So when the climate is cold, you can buy any kind of toy dog’ coat in pet stores that will make your Italian greyhound looks fashion and will comply its function to protect it from colds and hypothermia, and you should avoid to let them outside home or night walks on those cold days.
You can prepare a little warm corner for it inside the home, in a basket with pillows, just as a cold bed where it can rest inside of the house and you could keep it safe with a soft blanket. In sunny days with good temperature, it is recommendable to take them out for a walk and play with it for a longer time period, but in extremely hot climates you have to remember to give it enough water and don’t expose it to much to the sun to avoid burnings, because its skin is very sensible.
Another point is where this dog will rest. The Italian greyhound prefers the company and to be close to its family, for this reason, it would hardly adapt to live in a dog house outside the home, this dog will enjoy being inside the house having people around whit those it can play and spend time. You can let them inside the home, but make sure you take it for a walk when it needs to make its necessities and to rightly educate it to avoid disorders in your home.