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UPDATED: Jun 10, 2021
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The Italian Greyhound is an older breed that has been around since the middle ages.
The breed was originally found to be from Turkey and Greece and was not only a companion to its owners but a hunter of small animals.
The Italian Greyhound then found its way to the southern portion of Europe where it was known to be popular in Italy, particularly among the aristocracy. Many were immortalized and found in famous paintings.
The Italian Greyhound than populated England in the 1600s and was known to be owned by many different royals: Princess Anne of Demark, Queen Victoria and even Frederick the Great of Prussia.
Today, Italian Greyhounds are merely known as quick runners, agile little athletes and great companions.
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Italian Greyhound Breed Characteristics
The Italian Greyhounds are smaller dogs that usually range from 13 to 15 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds. There are some larger Italian Greyhounds that can weigh up to 15 pounds.
Their longer wiry legs are solid muscle and with their little bodies, these guys move fast!
The Italian Greyhounds are renowned for their short, glossy coat that almost feels like satin. Their coat comes in blue, cream, black and red with either white markings or just the solid color.
Their coat is very easy to maintain and doesn’t shed much. A regularly brushing is all you need unless your dog rolls in something. Then, it’s bath time!
The Italian Greyhound is considered a hypoallergenic dog, which means they are well-suited for owners with allergies.
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The Italian Greyhound Personality
The Italian Greyhound is a smart, sensitive and playful companion. He loves to stick by your side all day and is very affectionate with the family.
Guests and strangers might see a more reserved pup than how he acts when he is with you.
Their temperament is usually upbeat and a playful fun pup but can depend on early socialization and what his parents are like. For the most part, Italian Greyhounds are happy, loving dogs.
Just like any other dog, the Italian Greyhound requires early socialization to become a well-rounded dog. Training as a puppy can really help your Italian Greyhound thrive.
Take your dog out and about to make sure he’s comfortable meeting new people and is comfortable with the sights and sounds of the outdoors.
The Italian Greyhound can become snappy when treated harshly.
To train your pup, motivational and positive reinforcement is the best assurance to get your desired results in learning new tricks or for proper behavior. Praise and encouragement are always the best way to handle your pup and, really, any other dog!
Some say that Italian Greyhounds are a challenge to house train.
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Common Health Issues In Italian Greyhounds
Italian Greyhounds are generally healthy but similar to all breeds, they’re predisposed to certain health issues.
Not all Italian Greyhounds will get any of the below or all of them, but it’s important to know:
A cataract when the lens of the dog’s eye becomes cloudy and makes it difficult for a dog to see. Cataracts usually become an issue in older dogs. They can be removed to help improve the dog’s vision either in one or both eyes.
Cryptorchidism occurs when one or both of the dog’s testicles fail to descend properly. This is common in many small dogs. The testicles should descend completely by 2 months old. If it doesn’t hang properly, it can become malignant. The treatment is to neuter your dog and correctly align it before removal.
Some Italian Greyhounds will suffer from epilepsy which is a condition that causes seizures in a dog. While epilepsy is not fully curable, it can be treated with medication. A dog can still live a full healthy life with proper care and treatment.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition when the femur doesn’t fit correctly into the socket of the hip joint. While not all dogs show signs of hip dysplasia, some will have lameness in one or both of the legs and others will clearly be in pain. Arthritis can result and dogs with hip dysplasia are not supposed to be bred.
Hypothyroidism is a condition when there is an abnormally low level of the thyroid hormone which is produced by the endocrine gland. Some of the symptoms include a dog’s fur becoming brittle and falling out and the skin can become tough.
Hypothyroidism is treatable with medication that is to be given daily for the rest of a dog’s life. Dogs with hypothyroidism can still live a long, happy life.
Legg-Calve’-Perthes Disease is a lesser-known ailment that is usually found in smaller breeds. The condition is a deformity of the ball that is at the base of the hip joint and is sometimes misdiagnosed as hip dysplasia.
This condition can cause the joints to wear down and become arthritic. The usual treatment is surgery and the prognosis is positive with rehabilitation therapy following the surgery.
Patellar Luxation is a condition that is common in smaller dogs and is when the femur, knee, and calf are not line up properly. This condition can cause lameness or an abnormal gait for the pup.
It is a genetic disease that can be present in puppies but the misalignment does not occur until much later in life. In severe cases of patellar luxation, surgery is required to repair the affected knee.
A portosystemic shunt is when the flow of blood between the liver and the rest of the body. The liver, which is responsible for detoxifying a dog’s body and metabolizing the important nutrients that the dog might need.
Some of the symptoms, as a result, are lack of appetitive, low blood sugar, stunted growth, and even neurological issues. Treatment usually includes a specialized diet and in severe cases, surgery can help.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a genetic condition that is one of many eye diseases that causes the deterioration of the retina. It usually affects a dog gradually where, at first, it is the loss of night vision and then total blindness can occur.
There is no treatment which is why it’s always a good idea to find out if the parents of your Italian Greyhound had this condition.
Vitreous degeneration is when the vitreous, which is a clear jelly that and a larger structure of the eye degenerates. It can liquefy, become cloudy or its’ position can move which can cause impaired vision or total blindness. This condition is also thought to be inherited.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Von Willebrand’s Disease is a blood disorder that reduces the von Willebrand factor in the blood and can cause clotting. Some of the symptoms include bleeding gums, bloody noses, extra bleeding from surgery and/or after birth. Sometimes blood is found in the dog’s stool.
The disorder is generally diagnosed between 3 and 5 years old. There is no cure. However, the disease can be managed with some different treatment methods and include suturing, avoiding certain medications and even the transfusions of the von Willebrand factor before a dog has any type of surgery.
Should You Purchase Pet Insurance For Your Italian Greyhound?
When you decide to bring an Italian Greyhound into your home and become part of your family, it is very important to consider the value of purchasing pet insurance.
With certain breeds, particularly the Italian Greyhound, that are predisposed to so many potential health issues, it’s almost irresponsible not to purchase pet insurance! Pet insurance can be so incredibly helpful if your Greyhound even gets one of the above conditions.
When a pet insurance plan can pay up to 90% of your vet bill, this can be a huge saving for you and allow you to get your dog the best care possible.
It is not unusual for a vet bill for even the most basic illness or injury to cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000. And with pet insurance, you can rest easy knowing that you can pay these bills.
It is important to purchase pet insurance when your Greyhound is still a puppy and before any pre-existing conditions occur.
Make sure if you purchase an Italian Greyhound from a breeder that the parents are in good health and you get all the paperwork to make sure you have a healthy puppy.
And, of course, purchase pet insurance.
In fact, if you are looking for a new pet insurance company, our list of the top 10 pet insurance companies is a great place to start!
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You may be interested in one of these dog breeds: