Italian Greyhounds are sighthounds
in minature. In appearance they closely resemble Greyhounds but are much smaller
in all proportions. IGs usually range from 13 to 15 inches in height but 16 to 19 inches
is not uncommon. Weight can range from seven to fifteen pounds with ten pounds being the
average. They are an AKC registered breed and are considered part of the "Toy
Italian Greyhounds are NOT outdoor dogs.
Italian Greyhounds are NOT like Labradors or German Shepherds. Occasionally, housetraining can be difficult and usually takes anywhere from one month to one year to complete. It is very hard, if not impossible, to convince an Italian Greyhound to go outside in extremely cold, wet, or very windy conditions. Some owners get around bad weather by using an indoor litter box. Like cats, IGs CAN be trained to this. The IG litter box is larger than a cat's and is usually lined with newspaper. It works like a charm and these dogs train to litter boxes relatively easily. The key to successful housebreaking, however, is: consistency, willingness to work over an extended time frame, and patience. Harsh punishment doesn't work for Italian Greyhounds. Puppies should never be given free roam of your house, unsupervised, until they are absolutely housebroken. If allowed to roam too soon, they are not above using a beautiful carpet as a personal toilet. Waiting until they are older before allowing them freedom of the house is always sound advice. Usually the tone of voice is sufficient reprimand.
The fur of the Italian Greyhound is very sleek and short. IG's carry virtually no odor. Some owners, who are allergic to dogs, report the ability to successfully live with Italian Greyhounds (sometimes even to sleep with them in the same bed!). Because of short hair and low body weight, IG's are uncomfortable in extremely cold weather conditions. Owners should consider using sweaters and perhaps even boots on the animals during this kind of weather. Ears should be monitored also so that frostbite does not set in.
Italian Greyhounds can do extremely well with children, even infants, but I recommend well-behaved, younger children or older, grown children. The problem isn't so much what the IG might do to the child but what the child might do to the IG! Many owners have reported IG's and young children doing well together when both have learned gentleness. This is not a rough and tumble breed. Children tend to do best with IGs when they are around ten years of age.