Italian Greyhound : A Complete and Reliable Handbook

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Italian Greyhounds are very cute little sighthounds, which stay playful long after puppyhood. They have long been bred as companion dogs, and though they retain their sighthound instincts as hunters, and like to chase small animals, they are also trainable.

They need gentleness and consistency in training, and can switch off if their handlers lose patience. Italian Greyhounds are good sources of warmth in winter, and are clean, elegant and graceful. They don't take up much room - they are smaller and more refined-looking than whippets - nor do they cost a lot in food, but they are agile, and can be good escape artists.

They are a little too delicate to live with bigger dogs, though they can get on well with other Italian Greyhounds. There are risks from mixing them with bigger sighthounds, due to the tendency of sighthounds to enjoy mad chasing and barging games, which could result in an injury for the smaller playmate.

It may be tempting to keep several Italian Greyhounds, since these are a small, cute breed, but retaining litter-mates if you breed them is not usually a good idea with any breed, due to the extra work of training litter-mates properly. Serious pack fights can also happen if you have several dogs, even of apparently peaceful breeds like Italian Greyhounds and Whippets.

Generally, this breed is also healthy and long-lived. Are they good with kids? Yes, usually, so long as the children are gentle with them. They are slightly built, and could be hurt by children being rough with them. Some individuals can be a little nervy and snappy with children. However, well-socialized Italian Greyhounds are generally gentle and affectionate, and don't knock children over, so they are a good choice for sweet-natured, older children. Italian Greyhounds don't need much grooming, or shed much.

Common health problems include eye trouble and epilepsy, but this breed is generally healthy and long-lived, so long as they are kept safe from traffic and rough play with bigger dogs. Younger dogs especially are prone to fractures, and they have little protection against bites from other dogs. They also need protection from the cold, though generally they like walks and running around.

Dean Keppler's guide to the breed is very well illustrated, and has a lot of information for a relatively short book. It's a good introduction to Italian Greyhounds, though experienced owners are likely to want more.