How To Find An Italian Greyhound Breeder
photo courtsey of Kristan U.
The BIG decision of adding an Italian Greyhound puppy to the family is only step one in the process. Finding a responsible breeder is no easy task!!! Do NOT even consider purchasing from a pet store. Pet stores charge exorbitant prices for less than top quality dogs. To a pet store owner a dog is just another item of perishable merchandise. Pet stores keep puppymillers in business and that industry is a nightmare of human greed and corruption at the expense of innocent dogs. Once a sale is made the pet store owner loses interest in the transaction immediately. Furthermore, most pet store owners are not particularly knowledgeable about the breed. Good breeders will sell healthy, beautiful, quality puppies MUCH cheaper than can be found at a pet store. Finding a good breeder will require a real expenditure of time, dedication and effort.
FIRST ADVICE: *********BE PATIENT********
Good dogs do not grow on trees and neither do good breeders..
photo courtesy of Melissa Nagel
If a pet is wanted right this instant, save a life and adopt from the pound. If an Italian Greyhound is wanted..have patience.
Here are some suggestions for locating responsible breeders of Italian Greyhounds:
1. Visit the Italian Greyhound Club of America on-line and check out their breeder referral service at:
2. Send a self addressed, stamped envelope along with a letter asking for names and addresses of IGCA (Italian Greyhound Club of America) local breeders and also breeders in neighboring states to:
Mrs. Lilian Barber
35648 Menifee Rd.
Murietta, California 92563
While this does not guarantee a top notch breeder...it is a step in the right direction. IGCA breeders have signed a statement regarding the ethics of breeding.
3. Check the local newspaper.
4. Ask a local veterinary clinic for names of area IG breeders.
5. Check in the telephone book for local AKC Dog clubs to inquire after possible referrals. Also AKC clubs can be found by visiting: http://www.akc.org.
6. Subscribe to the Italian Greyhound Magazine. This magazine is dedicated to Italian Greyhound enthusiasts and has seven issues each year. In this magazine there are many breeders advertising their dogs. Breeder names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses are all usually listed. Once again, just because someone appears to be successful in this magazine is no guarantee that he/she is a good breeder. There are breeders that only breed for the "win" and forget about health, fitness and temperament! Ask those questions! To subscribe to the Italian Greyhound Magazine please write to:
The Italian Greyhound
8410 Kingsgate Road
Potomac MD 20854
The last edition listed a year subscription price at $23.00
7. Surf the Web:
Using a search engine it is possible to find breeders on the web showing off their pride and joy! Be careful! Commercial breeders have also found the web a great place to sell their products! If they take major credit cards - KEEP LOOKING!
8. Join an Italian Greyhound email list:
There are several free on-line lists dedicated to Italian Greyhound lovers. Some are targeted toward the serious breeder, some for pet lovers and some are just for bragging! On these lists are many owners of Italian Greyhounds. Some of the best places to find that special breeder is through these types of lists! Ask other pet lovers who subscribe to the list about where they acquired their Italian Greyhound and ask specific questions about breeders.. HOWEVER, keep in mind that some lists do not allow open discussions about breeders. It is usually best to ask people to respond privately to you. One way to find out about the various lists is to visit:
and search using the key words "Italian Greyhound".
Or subscribe to the IG-L following these instructions:
Leave subject line blank
In message box type in Subscribe ItalGrey-L <firstname> <lastname>
These really are not the best places to look for breeders. While some good reputable breeders advertise through this type of venue, most do not and the chances of finding a good responsible breeder can be slim to none. Remember, most responsible breeders have a high demand for their dogs and usually do not need to advertise but for rare occassions.
After a breeder is located here are some questions that should be asked:
1. How old are the parents of puppies?
The IGCA and many breeders recommend that the parents be at least 3 years of age. Two years of age is acceptable but if the puppy's parents are under two years of age .... be cautious. Many genetic diseases do NOT show up until dogs are 2-3 years of age. Many health tests cannot be performed until dogs are over 2 (24 months) years of age. Accidents do happen and perhaps the breeder didn't mean for the dogs to breed under the age of two. However, as the potential buyer from this type of litter remember that because of the age, it is impossible to say that the parents of such pups are free from genetic problems.
2. What tests have been performed on the puppy's
The absolute minimum test that should be performed on Italian Greyhounds is CERF testing. If the breeder merely states that a vet said, "my dogs are in good health" ..but no testing has been done...it is not good enough! Eliminate that breeder from any list of possibilities. CERF testing can only be performed by a board certified opthalmologist. Other tests that can be mentioned are OFA (for hips and patellas). These tests are a big plus. Not only will access be gained to important health information regarding the hips and patellas of a potential puppy.. but an important clue will be given as to the quality of the breeder. Top notch breeders have their dogs tested!
KEEP IN MIND: No amount of testing can guarantee a genetically perfect dog free of health problems. No breeder can guarantee this. Breeders can only guarantee that they bred dogs who passed health exams.
3. Ask breeders about health problems that may
have affected their bloodline in the past.
RUN from a breeder who is not honest about this as there are NO BLOODLINES FREE OF HEALTH PROBLEMS. If a breeder claims that he/she has never had any health problems in the bloodline... then one of two options is the case...either A. the breeder is new at this or B. the breeder is lying. It is better to go into this with open eyes than shut! A good breeder will have a few problems.. some extremely minor. Look for the breeder who allows the buyer to make the decision as to risk. A good breeder isn't looking to dump the dog in just anyone's home... but to find a loving home for much-loved pups.
4. What age is a breeder willing to allow the
Italian Greyhound pup to be taken away from its mother and sent home with a new adoptive
The minimum age should be 8 weeks but the best age is between 10 and 12 weeks (12 weeks is better). Do not buy an Italian Greyhound under the age of 8 weeks as temperament and behavior problems can occur that may have lifelong consequences.
RESCUE & ADOPTION:
If a buyer has a soft heart and lots of love to give ...a good place to obtain a dog is through Italian Greyhound Rescue. Usually the wait is not long for a rescue depending on the location. Some states have several rescue reps and as a result there are many dogs available for adoption through IGCA Rescue. Other states have few or no rescue reps. Being willing to travel really helps to expedite the process of adopting a rescue. There are many Italian Greyhounds from young adults to seniors looking for cushy pet homes. Potential adopters should be aware that most dogs in the rescue program are not puppies. Remember, dogs WILL bond with their new owners regardless of age. For confirmation of this fact join one of the lists described above and just let these owners tell you about their rescue dogs! Check out the IGCA website listed above to find out more about rescue or keep looking at this website for more information!
Italian Greyhounds have grown in popularity, some of it for the wrong reasons. There are breeders who are not commercial breeders who have jumped on the bandwagon of breeding for profit. We call them "back yard breeders". Beware of them! They won't bother with health testing and so are usually identified fairly easily by a few pointed questions. While there are no guarantees, at least through responsible breeders those risks are slightly reduced as the breeders are not breeding for money, but for the love of the breed.
It cannot be said enough, good dogs do not grow on trees but take lots of patience, love and hard work. Much patience, time and hard work must be employed in the search for a loving, healthy Italian Greyhound. With the right attitude.. this process can be a lot of fun too!!!