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All About Greyhounds (Part 2)

This is a continuation of Part 1, which you can access here:


Italian Greyhounds (IGs) have short coats and are easily chilled, hence they are not an outdoor breed. They must stay inside with their families, especially in harsh weather. Give your IG a jumper or jacket to keep him warm on frigid outdoor outings. During the summer, use dog sunscreen to protect his sensitive skin. Many Italian Greyhounds suffer skin cancer, possibly because they enjoy lounging in the sun, so don’t leave your dog out in the sun for long periods of time.

These little dogs have a lot of energy, especially as puppies and young adults, but as they become older, they often adapt to their owners’ activity level. A regular walk will help your Italian Greyhound get his ya-yas out, but keep him on a leash at all times. Despite his small size, he has the same hunting instinct as a larger sighthound and will pursue after a squirrel, rabbit, or anything else that runs by. A leash is your only hope of keeping him under control.

His hunting proclivity implies that you’ll require a safe fence in your yard. Italian Greyhounds are fantastic jumpers, so don’t think that a four-foot wall will keep him in. Also, avoid using an underground electronic fence; the little shock will not dissuade your Italian Greyhound if he spots something he wants to chase.

If you have the appropriate mentality, IGs are intelligent and simple to train. They, like other hounds, usually approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” mentality. Motivational training methods, which utilize food, praise, and play to reward the dog for doing the right thing rather than punishing him for doing the wrong thing, are the most effective way to persuade them that they want to do what you ask. Because sighthounds have short attention spans, training sessions should be kept short and sweet.

Like many little dogs, they struggle with one component of training: housetraining. Even with perseverance and consistency, you may never achieve complete success. The most common reason people surrender their Italian Greyhounds to rescue organizations or animal shelters is that they are unable to housetrain them.

Harsh punishment frequently backfires, making the dog fearful or even snappy. Your best bet is to acquire a dog door so he can come and leave as he pleases. Italian Greyhounds can also be taught to use a litter box, though this is not always effective if you have more than one IG because you may have up cleaning it fairly frequently.

Prevent accidents by bringing your IG outside as soon as he shows you any indication that he needs to go – no “just a minute.” You can teach an Italian Greyhound to go potty outside, but if it requires going out in the rain or snow, or if he doesn’t have direct access to the yard, he’d rather go inside.

Common Health Issues

Many Greyhounds are killed by cancer, particularly bone cancer (osteosarcoma).

Bloat, a deadly emergency gastrointestinal disease, can kill a Greyhound bus in a matter of hours.

Most pet Greyhounds are ex-racing dogs who may have special health problems related with their prior racing environment:

illnesses transmitted by ticks (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease)
Bacterial infections in the intestine (e-coli, salmonella, and campylobacter)
Infections caused by protozoa (giardia and coccidia)
dental illness
Early osteoarthritis as a result of racing injuries
The frequent rubbing against the metal bars in their little cages causes widespread alopecia (hair loss).
Vasculopathy is a potentially fatal condition in which small blood arteries get blocked, resulting in enlarged rear legs, skin ulcers, and, in certain cases, kidney dysfunction.
Greyhounds are especially vulnerable to being killed by a car since they are instinctively chasers and will take off and not return. This is not a leash-free breed.

Greyhounds’ itchy skin is caused by chronic allergies. Their bony elbows with thin skin can develop large calluses, and their footpads are prone to hard “corns” (digital keratoma). Greyhounds lose hair on their thighs as they age.

Pannus, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (as early as 12 months), and vitreous degeneration are all serious eye problems in Greyhounds (which can lead to retinal detachment).

The breed is plagued by a number of heart disorders.

In terms of orthopedic illnesses, Greyhounds have been documented to have osteochondritis, and hip dysplasia does occur, but at a low rate. The Orthopedic Foundation of America examined hip X-rays from 350 Greyhounds and discovered that 3% were dysplastic. That’s fantastic for a dog of this size.

Despite this, osteoarthritis and intervertebral disk degeneration are widespread in Greyhounds due to the tremendous stress placed on their joints and vertebrae during racing.

Epilepsy, blood-clotting illnesses (von Willebrand’s and hemophilia A), chronic kidney disease, hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, and megaesophagus are among the other health challenges that Greyhounds face.

All sighthounds are extremely susceptible to anesthetics because to their minimal body fat. Look for a veterinarian that will strictly adhere to the Greyhound Anesthesia Protocol.

Sighthounds NEED OPEN SPACE TO RUN. A Greyhound who is unable to stretch his legs and gallop off-leash for a few minutes each day will not build the necessary muscle tone for excellent health.

When slender-legged sighthounds race, musculoskeletal problems (fractures, torn muscles or ligaments, broken toes, paw injuries, and so on) are prevalent.

Greyhound buses have little or no insulation and cannot withstand frigid temperatures. When the temperature falls below 40 degrees, put a sweatshirt on them.


Greyhounds make amazing pets and family members. If you’re thinking about adding one to your family, make sure you adopt or purchase from a reliable source and always avoid puppy mills!