Italian Greyhound - Temperament & Personality
The Italian Greyhound was developed in Ancient Egypt, and many Pharaohs' tombs contain mummies of these highly esteemed dogs. IG's are well mannered most of the time, but are prone to fits of energy which cause them to suddenly leap up and tear around the house or yard, for no apparent reason. IG's are sensitive dogs who prefer a quiet house and a gentle touch. They do not like cold or wet weather, so coats and sweaters are a must in winter months and getting an IG to relieve himself in rain or snow can be impossible. They are quiet and clean housemates, so light on their feet that they can sneak up on you in a room with hardwood floors.
Though they are prone to unprompted fits of running, you don't need to be a runner yourself to raise this breed. Italian Greyhounds should be allowed to run several times a week, but they are not built for endurance activities. A few sprints and an Italian Greyhound is done for the day, happily retiring to his bed for some rest and relaxation. They are fine city dwellers, as long as they are allowed to get to a park for regular sprints. Other than that, regular walking will keep the IG happy and healthy. Their size makes them suitable for apartments, but there should be enough room to accommodate random fits of running.
Taking your Italian Greyhound to the agility track where he can use his mind and body also provides an excellent outlet for exercise.
Italian Greyhounds are docile animals who need to be treated gently at all times. They are hardly ever aggressive, and tend to freeze up when another dog postures towards them. Treating an IG harshly can cause them psychological harm, as they are incredibly sensitive dogs. Gentle consistency and lots of praise and treats are all you need to train a Italian Greyhound. Though they are independent, they pick up on tasks fairly quickly. They are naturally well-behaved so training is usually quite easy, even for first time dog owners.
Housetraining an Italian Greyhound can be a nightmare. They are clean animals and don't want to soil the house, but they absolutely refuse to go out in rain or snow. Having a covered area in the yard can help this situation, but if they have to cross the rain or snow to get to the covered area, you're going to have problems.
Early and frequent socialization is very important so that their natural tendency toward shyness does not become all out fearfulness.
Their chasing instinct is strong. Cats and small dogs an be in peril if your Italian Greyhound's hunting instinct is as strong as his need to chase moving objects. Running should always happen in an enclosed area, and IG's should never be trusted off-leash for both their safety and the safety of other animals.
IG's are prone to broken bones. Their running fits and propensity for jumping can lead to fractures and breaks. They shouldn't be allowed to climb onto tall furniture, as leaping from the backs of couches is what usually leads to injury. Play should be supervised, as well. If they get too rowdy with a large dog, they can get hurt.