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What You Need to Know Before Adding an Italian Greyhound to Your Family

Updated on October 8, 2008

I have an Italian Greyhound. I love, love, love my little doggie to death, but I’ll be the first to admit, he’s not the perfect dog. Italian Greyhounds have a lot of wonderful qualities and some annoying ones too. My Italian Greyhound is the most cuddly thing you’ll ever meet and great with the kids. He’s also got potty training issues. Here are some things to consider before adding an Italian Greyhound to your family.

Finding an Italian Greyhound to Buy or Adopt When I first started asking around about Italian Greyhounds a lot of people told me to look into getting one from a shelter. It turns out this breed ends up in a shelter a lot for a couple of different reasons:

  1. Leg injuries – Italian Greyhounds have very thin legs, which one pet store owner told me could break from something as gentle as jumping off a chair.
  2. Potty training problems – small dog = small bladder

If that doesn’t scare you away, then you can probably find a shelter fairly close to home. I found one with an available Italian Greyhound about two hours away. However, the first thing they asked me was whether or not I had small children. Apparently many shelters will not place a rescued Italian Greyhound in a home with young kids. They are supposedly too rough on the dogs’ fragile legs.

Out of luck with the shelter, I started to make some calls to the local pet stores. Everyone there tried to talk me out of an Italian Greyhound and into a Chihuahua. (This was 2006 and apparently there was a big inventory of Chihuahuas.) Next, I took to the want ads. I finally found a small breeder who had one for sale. (And this is a whole other topic that is much bigger than this post.)

Can You Afford an Italian Greyhound? Whether you buy from a pet store or local breeder, you’re looking at between $200 - $600 for an Italian Greyhound. Monthly costs for food, medications and incidentals (treats, new equipment, etc.) can cost you anywhere from $50 to $150 a month. This of course doesn’t include visits to the vet. Keep in mind that an Italian Greyhound is likely to suffer those leg injuries. I put money aside every month for ‘doggie emergencies’.

Note: Although my dog is petite and thin-legged, he’s not as delicate as the nay-sayers had  me believe. He’s actually pretty sturdy. His best friend is a Lab and they play rough all the time. He’s never gotten hurt.

Potty Training an Italian Greyhound Potty training has been the biggest issue with my Italian Greyhound. It simply took forever. Even now, I cannot completely trust him. I recommend using a crate or modified crate type method. What we did when our dog was a puppy was keep him in a large master shower. This was nice in that he had enough room to sleep in one corner and potty in another. I just ran the shower in the morning. While it got us through the first year without having to get up every two hours, my dog didn’t really learn that outside was the only place to potty.

He’s two and a half now, and when we’re home he very politely taps on the back door blinds when he’s ready to go out. When we're away and at night however, the only way to keep him from having ‘accidents’ is to keep on a short leash. The only place he won’t potty is IN his bed. He’ll go NEAR his bed, but not in it.

There you have it, the pros and cons of Italian Greyhound ownership. Good luck!

Photo: madaise,Flickr
Photo: madaise,Flickr

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