- My dogs
- Our kennel
It’s as if you asked ‘What is a human like?’ Each is different, has a unique and remarkable personality, some features, moods, favorite snacks and routines. It’s impossible to say precisely what an Italian Greyhound is like, but we can try to describe the common features and what types you can meet.
They are very lively and crazy dogs, jumping on furniture and their owner’s head. In the breed they differ a lot, from those that are energetic till late years and act like puppies, need everyday intellectual exercise to get tired, to those that are calm and sleep for most of the day.
Of course a puppy may show some personality features that stay with him in adult life, but the breeder won’t be able to say if the puppy will be calm or crazy in the future, because calmness is not in their nature.
They are very emotional and excited creatures, ‘burn up’ in everyday activities. Due to their emotionality IGs are more fragile to reality.
Italian Greyhounds are unlike any other breed and although they are dogs, sometimes they’re as far from dogs as possible, especially with behavior. Even during walks you can see that when IGs want to start playing with other dogs, their lively gestures may not be understood properly, their body language is weird for other breeds. That’s why they feel so well in their own company and recognize one another even from a distance.
For many years I have been noticing that IGs feel best among their own breed, they often don’t agree with others, or at least pointedly ignore them. IG will sooner make friends with a cat than with another dog. The exception proves the rule, of course, so we can’t exclude an IG from becoming an addition to another dog in our house.
In such cases it’s important to choose dogs similar in size and temperament, so that the other dog don’t hurt the IG, even during play.
What is also common for all of them? In many kennel websites we can find an expression “shadow dog”. I couldn’t agree more. Italian Greyhound is always with his owner, sometimes you even have to be careful not to step at them.
They are very attached, emotional, intelligent and most of them really sensitive. You don’t have to shout at an IG, the biggest punishment is when he is ignored.
I don’t want this description to be so stiff, so I will focus on some funny behaviors of my dogs.
One of my males has the same routine every day and it always makes me laugh. It’s so stupid and sweet at the same time that it’s impossible not to smile seeing it. He always gets under the quilt in the same place, on the right side, turns around and lies down heavily always in the same place, next to my belly. He sets himself comfortably, smacks a few times and it seems he will fall asleep. But a moment later he runs out into darkness and comes back with his favorite toy hahaha. He makes exactly the same turn, pushes the quilt away with his paw and lies down with all guns blazing at the same spot next to my belly. Only with his teddy bear can he fall asleep. I never understand why he doesn’t bring the toy in the first place. It’s so funny and moving! They are such little fools.
Another example, my oldest female has her funny behavior, every time I look at her, she quickly turns her face and pretends she doesn’t see me hahahahaha. I slowly turn my head to show her that I don’t look and she immediately starts to stare at me, but if I look at her again, she will turn her head! This game sometimes goes on for a long time and she obviously has a lot of fun with it.
The same girl, if I say “Tosia, smile!”, will show her teeth and gums. She looks as if she was laughing. I start to laugh and clap my hands and she runs to me, still smiling, and pats me with her paws.
Such situations make me feel they have their sense of humor.
My favorite, Pema, since she was a puppy, always watches me and she’s the only one to do so. She’s my stalker. While other dogs sleep and I work on my computer or do something in the kitchen, Pema sits and watches. She observes my every gesture, I have no idea how it doesn’t bore her. These are sometimes very monotonous works that take a long time, but she always watches them hahaha. I got used to it so much that after years I don’t feel her sight at me, but for someone who likes his private space such big eyes staring at him may be hard to stand in everyday life.
I think while talking about personalities, it’s important to mention differences in IGs looks. Someone who comes to the kennel having a miniature, pocket version of a sighthound in mind, may be really surprised.
In Europe among this one breed there is a huge variety of exterior types. Americans have one stabilized type.
European pedigrees are full of differently built dogs and the genes can show themselves in the offspring. Unfortunately it happens that in one litter there are very different puppies. Some IGs have heads similar to sighthounds, long muzzle and low stop, some have round heads, lightbulb type. The second one is more common in the smaller dogs. The first often occurs in the bigger IGs, even overgrown.
Tall doesn’t always mean skinny with long legs and small doesn’t have to mean ‘rickety shaking legs’. There are short IGs around 34cm that are heavily built with a deep chest and strong bone. There are also tall and very slim dogs or tall and heavy dogs, which gives the impression that the dog is really big, looking almost like a small whippet. It has to be mentioned that a responsible breeder should aim to breed dogs that are as close to standard as possible and litters to be similar in type. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.
So, you can have a small and crazy IG or a tall one, more like a whippet, but very calm. There may be one with a perfect height of 36cm but very anxious. In other cases, you can have a tiny dog of 32cm but with the charisma for Agility and personality of a big dog. That’s why it is so important to visit the kennel or ask a lot of questions about the personalities of parents or even grandparents. Ask about the parents’ height and at the beginning inform the breeder what kind of dog you are looking for. If in one litter there are sometimes such different dogs, with honesty and trust, it’s possible that you will get a puppy perfect for your needs and lifestyle.
Italian Greyhounds are so exceptional that breeders often repeat mating in order to get a particular type of dog. They want a female to give them a daughter similar in personality. I know examples when a female was too old to have more puppies and didn’t leave a heir that the breeder wanted. It’s always very painful when a breeding line couldn’t be prolonged. The exterior features are easier to inherit, with personality the case is more difficult. There are males that strongly pass the personality features and if they are well tempered, they become even more valuable stud dogs than a star with an unsure temper. No one wants a difficult dog in the kennel, one that will conflict the pack and create chaos. But even someone who isn’t involved in breeding and wants only to live a happy life with his dog, should be interested in the puppy’s and its parents' personality in the first place. You should remember that the next couple of years you won’t spend with a COLOR but with the personality of a living, thinking and loving creature.