Virtually all colors and markings are acceptable, including solid gray, slate gray, cream, red, fawn, black and blue.
The tiny Italian Greyhound (nicknamed Iggy by fanciers) is inquisitive, gentle, loyal and submissive, yet fast and often mischievous. Affectionate and strongly bonded to his owner (often to the point of becoming a one-person dog), he makes a complex and compelling companion. He can be shy, so socialization from puppyhood is essential to help him cope in all situations.
The Iggy's petite size makes him an excellent dog for almost any living situation - some apartment dwellers even litter train their dogs. However, the very size and stature that make him so adaptable also mean that he needs some special care. This is especially true for dogs living in cold climates. His short coat and thin skin require that he be kept warm, and on very cold days, he may even need a sweater to retain some body heat. In the summer, he should wear sunscreen when outside. If you plan to let your Iggy run off-leash, it must be in a securely fenced area, as these dogs are surprisingly quick and agile and will take off on a rodent chase at a moment's notice.
With his natural grace and speed, the Italian Greyhound can excel at agility and lure coursing.
A few brisk walks a day will give the Italian Greyhound all the exercise he needs to stay healthy. He is playful as a puppy, so his activities should be monitored so that he doesn't overexert himself while his bones are developing.
Italian Greyhounds can be surprisingly voracious eaters, so it's important to keep them on a nutritionally balanced, size-appropriate diet and not let them get overweight.
The Italian Greyhound is a quick learner and eager training participant when properly motivated with positive methods. Short training sessions that involve energetic praise and sufficient rewards will capture the Iggy's attention.
Iggys get along well with people, although they can be reserved around strangers. Children must be very mindful of these small dogs. They are fragile companions for other dogs and do not always get along well with them. Their favorite and best friends are other Italian Greyhounds, and some breeders recommend keeping more than one because they are happiest when they have playmates.
The average life span of the Italian Greyhound is 12 to 15 years. The most common health problem affecting the breed is fragility - until he is nearly 2 years old, the Italian Greyhound's bones are quite delicate and can easily fracture. As an adult, however, he is strong and able. The breed can also be prone to cataracts and epilepsy.
The Italian Greyhound's short, fine coat sheds little, and he is a very easy dog to groom, requiring a simple wiping down with a soft cloth every so often, with particular attention paid to his face. He has thin skin and so must be kept warm.
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