The beginnings of this beautiful breed are shrouded in a historical mist, it is believed by some that they were first bred about 2000 years ago, but some believe that they were owned by the Egyptian Pharaohs, but very little evidence remains of this. The Italian Greyhound could have been from Turkish decent, or indeed Italian.
More recently, the high stepping front leg action of the IG caught the eye of many famous personages ie Queen Victoria, Mary Queen of Scots, and many more. The breed became quite popular amongst the aristocracy of the mid Victorian times, culminating with the setting up of the Italian Greyhound Club in 1900 – now the oldest Italian Greyhound Club in the world, and still in existence.
The I.G. love to run, and chase small animals such as mice, birds etc which they will catch, the I.G. can run very fast, and thoroughly enjoys it, but they should not be allowed to run free in places where they could be attacked by larger more ferocious dogs, lead training is a must.
The I.G. can be trained to do most normal things that one would expect of a pet dog, in fact several have been known to gain the KC Good Citizens Awards, - even the gold one!
The Italian Greyhound is a sighthound of small size, maximum 15 inches to withers, and is directly related to the bigger Greyhound. The Kennel Club Breed Standard starts with the words “ A Greyhound in miniature”. The I.G. as they are affectionately known, is a very loyal friend, and will benefit from being one of two or three in a household, it will make an excellent companion dog, it is not a guard dog, but is a very good ‘watch-dog’ in that it will let you know of any strange noises, or people that come to your house – ie postman!
Owing to the dogs’ small frame it can be rather fragile, and may not be suitable for a family with small boisterous children, or much larger animals in the house.
The ideal collar for the I.G. is what is known as a ‘hound collar’ with a much-widened part that goes under the neck where the dog will pull against, this lessens the risk of damage to a delicate windpipe.
The I.G. is known for front leg fractures – this happens sometimes because of ignorance, ie. not looking after the dog, stairs should be avoided, as should shiny floors, a good Pet insurance is definitely recommended.