Is an Italian Greyhound the right breed for you?
The personality of an Italian Greyhound is unlike any other breed.
They are cat-like in the respect that they enjoy sunbathing. Care should be taken that your IG does not become sunburned or overheated. A picnic-style blanket and chew toy laid out in the warmth of the sunshine in your back yard is an IG's idea of heaven. If you do not like cats, this may not be the breed for you.
Italian Greyhounds like to be up on high spots in your house (such as back of chairs, sofas and even on top of the dining room table). If there is a window view they are especially thrilled. Care should be taken with puppies and young adults that they are not given the opportunity to attempt dare-devil stunts off the back of such things! Most owners' hearts cannot take the thrills and dangers these little darlings enjoy and so have rethought living room furniture placement. Many have decided to push sofas and chairs against walls. If you do not like changes in your lifestyle, this may not be the breed for you.
Getting wet is usually avoided by IGs (unless by choice) and they will refuse to do any "business" outside when raining. Some owners have built little area shelters to protect their pets from rain. This keeps the house protected from iggy (affectionate, short term for Italian Greyhound) accidents. If the grass is wet in the morning, the sidewalk will do for an IG. They are creatures of comfort. If an occasional potty accident in the house is unacceptable to you, the IG may not be the breed for you. Some owners have resorted to the use of a litter box. This is one breed of dog that CAN be litter box trained (like a cat). The IG litter box is larger than the kitty type and is usually lined with newspapers. When the litter box is used, training is relatively easy and accidents are rare. Litter boxes are NOT necessary to successful training, however.
The liquid eyes of an Italian Greyhound can melt the hardest of hearts. These little dogs are masters at twisting owners around their paws. As a result, IGs can become spoiled-rotten rapidly and can turn into rulers of the house! Don't forget to teach them what "no" means. However, they do prefer to be companion and friend, but not master and dog. If an Italian Greyhound captures your heart, you will find that the process is painless and you will become a willing slave. If you are looking for a breed that will obey your every command, the IG is NOT the breed for you.
You must remember that their dreamy expression hides a deadly mind. They are very adept at getting what they want and can be persistent. Be prepared to give in on many issues because they are masters at laying a guilt trip! If you are not flexible this also may not be the breed for you.
Curiosity and the Italian Greyhound go well together. IGs love to be in, around and on top of anything that they find interesting. If an IG decides that an object is edible he will eat it! Care should be taken to make sure that they do not get into too much trouble or into danger. If you don't have eyes in the back of your head, this may not be the breed for you - grin.
Lounging in beds, preferably under covers is a favorite pastime. Sharing the bed with you is always the best! Some are very good at sneaking under covers. Others, who have learned to enslave everyone, are good at teaching owners to gently pick the covers up for them! Keeping the couch warm occupies a lot of their time. Care must be taken to not sit on a hidden IG! If you don't like sharing your bed, this may not be the breed for you.
Italian Greyhounds do love "dog company" and can get along well with other canine friends. HOWEVER, care must be taken when introducing an IG to larger dogs. A big dog can accidentally hurt an Italian Greyhound. IG's do not realize their own small size, so it is up to owners to protect them from themselves.
Cats can also be good companions to Italian Greyhounds. Many owners report IGs and cats romping merrily together through the house. One moment the IG will be racing after a cat and in the twinkling of an eye the cat will be chasing the dog! It is not uncommon to find cat(s) and IG(s) curled together for an afternoon nap in the warmth of the sun.
Some Italian Greyhounds are more active than others. Stuffed toys are a favorite plaything. While some IGs take good care of their possessions, others have been known to shred toy stuffing all over the house! Some IG's find the game of throw and fetch to be extremely entertaining. Others will look at you as if you're crazy to think that THEY would lower themselves to retreiving something.
Outdoor activites can include digging small (or large) holes, chasing squirrels or birds, eating unmentionable things and occasionally clipping grass (which then makes them sick!). While IG's prefer the company of people while outdoors, they will investigate your FENCED back yard by themselves. An IG SHOULD NOT be left outside while you are gone. They are NOT outdoor dogs! If small holes or torn grass is upsetting for you, the IG may not be the breed for you.
Your privacy will be a long forgotten memory once you are owned by an IG! You will find that no where in your house is there a place to hide from this inquisitive little personality. You will be followed everywhere... including the bathroom. Dinner time is of special interest to IGs. Care should be taken in not tripping over them. If you do not like constant company, an IG may not be the breed for you.
If you decide this is the breed for you, aquiring a second IG is a delightful option (once you've been properly trained by the first, that is!) This is known as the "Potato-Chip Syndrome" and many owners of IG's have fallen victim. Do NOT allow yourself to be overrun with IG's. If you are owned by more than two Italian Greyhounds, you also must be vigilant and take care that two dogs do not gang up on one. IG's are pack orientated dogs. This means that they will follow pack order. If one IG is injured or sick, it is not unknown for a "pack" to hurt or possibly kill the injured/sick IG.
IG's can be very possessive of their owners and I've known many owners who occasionally resist this possessiveness. No matter what you are doing, the IG may demand inmmediate attention. For example, iggies have been known to interrupt romantic interludes. If you do not have a good sense of humor, the IG may NOT be the breed for you.
I've frequently been asked the question, "Which makes a better pet...a male or a female?" Female Italian Greyhounds are a little "stand-offish". They are more independent and can even be a bit uppity at times. If you have more than one IG in your house, the female will ALWAYS be the leader of the house. Males are much more apt to cuddle and make ideal lap warmers. Males also seem to show their affection by keeping close. Most owners find that male IG's are easier and faster to housetrain than females. If housetrained correctly and neutered, a male IG will not lift his leg in your house.