Scratch Dog or Not – Are Italian Greyhounds Hypoallergenic
Allergies are a massive problem in the US with approximately 10% of Americans likely to have a reaction, when in close proximity to our furry friends, these people might think having a dog in their life is out of the question, the good news is; there are breeds which can live quite happily with allergy sufferers without triggering the classic symptoms of wheezing, watery eyes or itchy rashes.
Step forward the Italian or miniature Greyhound, also known as "Iggies" and IGs, this dainty dog is not everyone's cup of tea, but could be an ideal canine companion for people suffering from allergies.
Is It True, Are Italian Greyhounds Hypoallergenic?
The breed is classed as hypoallergenic due to its extremely short, odorless coat that sheds minimally if at all. making them a fantastic choice for allergy sufferers and the more house-proud among us.
What does hypoallergenic actually mean?
Before you rush onto the internet looking for Italian Greyhound puppies for sale, it's worth noting that hypoallergenic does not necessarily mean allergy-free. Reactions vary and can occur even with so-called hypoallergenic dogs, this is because the true definition of the word means, there is a reduced chance of triggering symptoms, not, zero chance.
The Italian Greyhound is small and less dog means less hair
Do Italian Greyhounds shed?
Yes, but only minimally and their extremely short coat means less hair, even when shedding, the likelihood of a serious reaction is slim.
A lot of hypoallergenic breeds have high maintenance coats, not the Italian Greyhound, a daily wipe down, outside, will ensure your Italian Greyhound's coat stays in top condition and your home hair-free.
Italian Greyhounds and allergies - What should I do?
Allergic reactions to dogs are not exclusively caused by hair, in fact some are triggered by a protein found in saliva, dander or even urine, so it is still possible to break out in hives or experience a sneezing fit even with hypoallergenic breeds, that's why it's important to do your research, spend some time with your chosen hound before bringing them into your home.
One of the most common reasons a dog ends up in a rescue or shelter is allergies so establishing that you can share your home with a particular breed is vital to prevent more unwanted dogs. If you suffer mild to moderate symptoms an Italian Greyhound should present no problems,
5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of an Allergic Reaction from Your Pooch
All about the Italian Greyhound - Origin of the Breed
The miniature greyhound did not originate in Italy, in fact, no-one knows exactly where the Italian Greyhound came from. Mummified dogs resembling the breed have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back thousands of years ago.
It's not clear either whether the dog which is classed as a 'toy' breed was always that small, or whether it was bred down from the larger sighthounds to make a small lapdog.
They became one of the most popular dogs in ancient Rome with much been written about the Vertragus, thought to be an ancestor of the modern breed and by the Renaissance, this adaptable little dog had taken off in Italy, becoming the subject of many paintings, and sculptures this led many people to believe the breed originated there. So, they became known across the world as the miniature Italian greyhound.
By the 17th century, many Italian dog breeds were being exported across Europe and the Italian greyhound was commonly found in England and Scotland, used as hunters of small vermin and rabbits, but by Victorian times the daintiness and elegance of the breed made them the pet of choice for the upper classes. Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria both doted on their miniature greyhounds and the breed remains popular with the rich and famous with Uma Thurman, Sigourney Weaver and Kylie Jenner all owning "Iggies".
The Italian Greyhound came to America and was recognized by the AKC in 1886. Today the breed which represents "la dolce vita" is ranked 72nd in the most popular dog breeds in America.
The Italian Greyhound is an elegant, small, fine-boned dog which has a high-stepping gait rather like a horse. An Italian Greyhound size is between 13-15 inches. They have an arched back, a tucked abdomen and long, straight forelegs, similar to all sighthounds, with a long slender neck and narrow, streamlined head.
The chest is deep, the shoulders sloping and the ears are narrow and sit close to the head, the long, slender tail is carried low, tapering out to the end. The Italian Greyhound should weigh around 8 pounds and have a slender frame, they come in a variety of colors either solid or with white markings although a black Italian Greyhound with tan markings and brindle Iggies are not acceptable in the show ring.
Many small dogs have large personalities, and this is definitely true of this mini Greyhound, playful, agile and energetic, he will run and run just for the pure enjoyment and fun of it and requires plenty of exercise, especially when young.
Like his larger cousin he will chase after a ball but is unlikely to return it and if there's a squirrel to chase instead, all the better. When inside, he loves nothing hurtle around a room using furniture as a substitute for an assault course. The Italian Greyhound is curious and can often be found on the back of furniture peering out of the window to see what is going on.
On the other hand, this breed loves their comfort. They tend to not like the rain and will point blank refuse to go out in cold weather if they can get away with it, their short hair and low body fat make them extremely susceptible to the cold so you will need to invest in a couple of doggy sweaters if you reside in a chilly climate.
If there's a spare sofa your Iggy will make it his own and he likes nothing more than to doze in the sun.
This dog breed loves company and hates to be left alone, a sociable, people dog he will not sit at your feet if he can be on your lap or shoulder instead and he will suffer if left alone for long periods.
Although a friendly dog, Italian Greyhounds are extremely delicate and are not suited to rough and tumble with young children, they are difficult to house-train which could be a problem for allergy sufferers as urine can trigger symptoms. Intelligent and manipulative an Italian Greyhound can be difficult to train and needs consistency to prevent him becoming timid and destructive.
The Italian Greyhound lifespan is officially 12-15 years but their delicate bone structure can make them susceptible to accidents, which account for the deaths of more than 25% of the breed, common health issues include;
Responsible breeders will have their breeding stock checked regularly for inherited disorders and should provide prospective owners with documentation from the OFA for at least some of the above-mentioned conditions. Discuss any concerns about the health of your Italian Greyhound puppy, the breeder should be happy to answer questions.
Italian Greyhounds, in general, are not fussy eaters and don’t have any special dietary needs. Many Iggy owners use raised feeding bowls as this long-legged breed can be uncomfortable, stooping down to a bowl which on the floor, resulting in them gulping down air with their food which can lead to stomach problems.
Most are happy with a good quality kibble which is high in calories and designed for small dogs, ask your breeder what they feed their Italian Greyhounds? If you decide to change the diet, introduce the new food gradually to prevent digestive problems. The majority of Italian Greyhound owners feed their dogs a small amount twice a day –
Never walk your dog straight after feeding; wait at least an hour after your pooch has eaten before setting off on a walk.
Many Italian Greyhounds are greedy and will steal food if, given the opportunity, they should be lean, yet well-muscled, too many treats will result in a fat and unhealthy dog.
Finding A Good Italian Greyhound Breeder
If you decide to start looking for Italian Greyhound puppies for sale, don't be in a rush. Your goal is to find a happy, healthy hypoallergenic puppy with a cheerful, outgoing temperament.
Make a short list of breeders and contact them to see if they have any litters available. A good breeder will be knowledgeable about their breed, happy to answer any questions you may have and will be keen to know about you and the lifestyle you live in order to ensure a good home for their puppies.
The Italian Greyhound Club of America is a great place to start your search for they can provide lots of information on local events, clubs, rescues and the ongoing care and training of your new canine companion, they also have a list of breeders.
3 Red Flags to Look Out for When Searching an Italian Greyhound Breeder
Adopting an Italian Greyhound from a Rescue or Shelter
Adoption is an option for potential owners of one of these discerning little sighthounds. A puppy needs a lot of time, patience and as we have mentioned can be extremely difficult to housetrain, whereas an adult Italian Greyhound may already be housetrained and may not be as hyper as an active youngster.
Many people presume that dogs end up in rescues or shelters because of behavioral issues, but this is not always the case. They may be there because of a change in circumstances, homelessness, death, divorce and yes allergies can all be reasons why these little dogs are looking for a new home. There are numerous breed specific Italian Greyhound rescues across the USA, to find one click here
How Much Will an Italian Greyhound Set You Back?
How much does an Italian Greyhound cost? You can expect to pay from $600-$1500 for a purebred puppy. For this price, you will receive a healthy, cheerful puppy with all the relevant health screening. The puppy should have been vet-checked and have had its first shots, it should also have been treated for fleas and worms. Most breeders should provide a sales contract with written information on the puppy's diet, socialization, along with registration papers.
An Italian Greyhound is not usually an expensive dog to care for as they are low maintenance, but you will need top quality insurance, as they can be prone to accidents and broken bones are common in this breed.
It's a Wrap
The Italian Greyhound is not a dog for everyone, they can be a challenge to housetrain, stubborn and do not do well in rowdy homes with young children as they can easily be hurt. They love companionship and are happiest when they are close to their owner.
They are loving, energetic, cheerful, loyal and like all sighthounds have a strong prey drive, although they do tend to get on well with cats. They can be suitable for those who suffer from mild to moderate allergies as they have a very short coat which sheds little if at all.
They can be greedy and treats need to be limited to avoid them becoming overweight, they also need regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive. Most do not like the cold and wet and are happiest lying in the sun.
However, for the right family who suffers from asthma or allergies, they can be the "Perfecto" addition to the home.