The Italian Greyhound is a small breed of dog of the sight hound type, sometimes called an "I.G.", or "Iggy" for short.
The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthounds, typically weighing about 8 to 18 lb (3.6 to 8.2 kg) and standing about 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm) tall at the withers. Though they are in the "toy" group based on their weight, they are larger than other dogs in the category due to their slender bodies, so owners must be careful when sizing clothing or accommodations.
The Italian Greyhound makes a good companion dog and enjoys the company of people. However, the breed's slim build and short coat make them somewhat fragile, and injury can result from rough or careless play with children under the age of 12.
The breed is often best with the elderly or a couple without any children for it prefers a quiet household. It also is equally at home in the city or the country, although they tend to do best in spacious areas. They are fast, agile and athletic. Like any dog, daily exercise is a must for a happier, well-adjusted pet. Italian greyhounds love to run. The young dog is often particularly active, and this high level of activity may lead them to attempt ill-advised feats of athleticism that can result in injury. Due to their size, and in some lineages poor bone density, they are prone to broken legs which can be expensive to repair.
Italian Greyhounds make reasonably good watchdogs, as they bark at unfamiliar sounds. They may also bark at passers-by and other animals. However, they should not be considered "true" guard dogs as they are often aloof with strangers and easily spooked to run.
As gazehounds, Italian Greyhounds instinctively hunt by sight and have an extremely high predator drive. Owners of Italian Greyhounds typically keep their dogs leashed at all times when not in an enclosed area to avoid the risk of even a well-behaved pet breaking away at high speed after a small animal. Like most sight hounds, the Italian Greyhound’s slender skulls are near the same width of the dog’s neck, and the use of a “martingale” style collar is advised for walking Italian Greyhounds, it tightens up when pulled while remaining comfortable slack when the dog is walking politely. This prevents the dog backing out and escaping. Breakaway collars are advised for identification, because this active and acrobatic breed could easily injure themselves when put in a collar they cannot escape from, possible neck injuries and strangling.
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