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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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  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Italian Greyhounds are one of the most beautiful dogs you will ever see but they are not for everybody. My daughters 17 year old greys still are not potty trained, they have ruined 3 houses. And they bark constantly especially when you are on the phone. When you have visitors they walk up to the visitor and potty at their feet. Be careful about buying one.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Some of the things mentioned in the article are true, but it depends on the size of the IG. I also heard about how delicate IGs are, but I think that really pertains to the standard size IGs. My IG is 5 yrs old and is larger and weighs about 18 lbs; he is sometimes mistaken as a Whippet puppy. He is always jumping on and off the couch and bed with no injuries. When he was a puppy he was full of energy and I think that is more of an injury prone period. He has the same personality traits as described. In addition, in some ways he is like a cat; he does not like to get his feet wet, he loves to take naps, he prefers to sleep off the ground and up higher (back of the sofa and in my bed), he is easily distracted-so that makes training him more challenging. He is also a bit of a thief and likes to take things that are within his reach; so I pretty much have to child proof my home. LOL. All that being said, I cannot imagine my life without him.

  • Miss Lil' Atlanta profile image

    Miss Lil' Atlanta 

    8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    I adore italian greyhounds and most any of the sighthounds in general, which is why I own a greyhound/lab mix. IG's are just such beautiful little delicate dogs, although I'll probably never actually own an IG. I find owning larger dogs are more of my cup of tea since large breeds tend to suite my personality and lifestyle best, but I still love IG's and other toy dog breeds just as much in comparison.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I can agree with how easy it is for them to break their legs!! I had adopted my IG, brought it home, not even 10 min after we got took only her jumping off the couch once, and she had a compound fracture, on a Sunday of course! LOL but she's find now, pink cast on and so much attention I think she will milk it for ever! LOL so yes I would recommend starting a fund for your IG its very expensive

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I have an Iggy I adopted,and he is a joy to have around. I love watching him sprint across the yard and tickled when he prance like a horse when he walks. He gets along with my cat very well and as for potty training, after the first couple of days I have no problems with him spraying in the house. He usually taps me on the head in bed or dances around the door barking to go outside. They love lots of attention so if you don't have the time do not get one. I don't know about any one else Iggy, but mine likes to sleep like a person with his head on the pillow and under the bed covers. Now medically they are expensive because some like mine have severe allergies during the spring and summer and have to be placed on steroids but during the fall and winter he is just fine. Do your homework before getting one.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    The cost are a little iffy here, You should NOT buy an Italian greyhound from a pet shop, they have a vast array of health issues as does every breed. The pet shops do not test or attempt to screen out health issues from the breed.

    A good breeder would sell an italian grey hound for 1000$-3000$

  • livingfit4life profile image


    9 years ago

    I absolutely adore my IG! He is the only dog I have ever held that doesn't cause a severe allergic reaction. He is so loving and loyal, even more so than most other dogs I have seen. Potty training took some time for us, too. Now I put him in the kitchen with a baby gate across the doorway at night and when we are gone. I have a puppy pad down and he will go on that if he needs to, but about 99% of the time he doesn't go at all! He's the best!!!

  • entertaininstyle profile image


    10 years ago from Southern California

    I love the picture, beautiful dog! :)

  • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

    Cindy Lawson 

    10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

    They sound lovely. My Mum has a normal Greyhound, who also lived with me for 2 years. They are gentle, loyal and devoted dogs, and contrary to popular belief she is great with cats, rabbits etc. I highly recommend any greyhound as a pet, (especially as they hardly want any exercise, another common misconception).


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