Posts tagged ‘italian greyhound’

Why You DON’T Want an Italian Greyhound

I copied this wonderfully informative post from Sandpipers blog named Impish Iggys.  I absolutely ADORE Italian Greyhounds, which is why I love pet sitting them.  But I understand that they are not for everyone.  I remember the day my daughter went to rescue one of the little guys from a man who’s daughter left the dog behind.  He didn’t want him but didn’t know what to do with him because he said “I can’t imagine anyone wanting this strange dog!”  Well Mister, no they’re not for everyone, but for the people who love and understand them, we can’t imagine life without them!  Thank you Sandpiper for sharing this wonderful information!

People sometimes tell me that Italian Greyhounds are their favorite dogs and they want to get one someday. However, some of these same people also reveal to me that my Iggy Dante is the first they’ve ever seen in real life, which makes me wonder if they really know what they’d be getting into. There are a lot of wonderful things about IGs, and they make great pets for certain people. But there are also a lot of difficulties to overcome with this breed, as with any dog, and if a person goes into buying or adopting one of these dogs without knowing the good, the bad, and the ugly, chances are it won’t end well for the dog.

Sites like Tumblr probably don’t help matters much, as you often just see enticing snapshots of people’s lives (including mine). What you don’t see are the number of times that cute puppy pooped on the floor, how he’s kept you up all night barking in his crate, or how his dental care will cost half your college tuition. So that’s the purpose of me making this post, as a grain of salt to all the cute pictures I post of my beloved Iggy.

Italian Greyhounds are great, but they are not for everyone.


Housetraining them is always difficult, sometimes impossible.

Do you have a problem with occasionally cleaning up small piles of poop off the floor of your house for the next fifteen years? If so, then the IG is not the dog for you. Housetraining IGs is not a matter of time like it is with many dogs. They never “grow out of” going in the house. To keep accidents at the minimum you have to be strict about your housetraining regimen from day one until that cold, distant day when Max finally passes over the Rainbow Bridge. Potty-training Italian Greyhounds is an ordeal that is never over. I cannot stress this enough. This is the number one reason IGs are surrendered to shelters and rescues, so apparently a lot of people underestimated just how difficult this can be to live with.


You should get at least two of them.

When I first asked my vet about getting an IG, his very first piece of advice was: “Get two.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have the money to afford two new puppies at the same time, so I threw caution to the wind and brought only one home. I can now say I totally understand why he gave me that initial advice. While it’s not impossible to have a single Iggy that lives a happy life, these dogs are extremely social and physically affectionate, and if you as their owner cannot give them the attention and cuddle time they need, they will not thrive. Though IGs particularly love forming piles of cuddles with others of their own breed (the more, the merrier), just having another dog period will help lighten the load on you to give them constant attention. They really cannot handle being ignored for very long, let alone being alone period, and if you can’t give them enough attention yourself, you need to get another IG. I myself have applied to adopt a second IG for both Dante and I to love.


They tend to be attention whores.

Look at the picture above. That little body wedged between me and my fiance is an example of what happens when somebody else becomes the center of affection when Dante is around. Basically, he always needs to be the center of attention. When you are home, you will be the center of your IG’s world, and they will be glued to your hip about 98% of the time (the other 2% they are sneaking off trying to take a crap under the dining room table). If you want a pet which is sometimes snuggly, sometimes aloof, get a cat. Iggies always want to be near you, and often on top of you, regardless of what you are doing. Dante also has a habit of standing on my lap, totally obstructing my view while I’m at my desk on the computer. To him, obstruction equals affection.


You will spend more on their clothes than yours.

This may or may not be true, depending on who you are and how much you like to shop. It’s true for me, at least, and the bottom line is Iggies cannot survive without warm clothes in cooler environments. For Dante, when the temperature drops below 70 degrees, he starts shivering and I have to throw a light jacket on him. Iggies in very cold, snowy environments like Alaska, Canada, or Scandinavian countries will require extra pricey and usually custom-made full-body suits, complete with water repellent booties. Does the idea of walking around a dressed up pooch embarrass you? Then IGs are definitely not the dog for you! (The flipside of this is that most IGs really seem to enjoy dressing up, unlike many dogs.)


Getting them to do their business outside in inclement weather is like pulling teeth.

Is it snowing, hailing, raining, sleeting, windy, or just plain cold? Good luck getting your Iggy to go to the bathroom outside! Iggies are famous for standing miserably shaking outside for as long as you let them, then eliminating immediately as soon as you bring them back inside. It’s basically a battle of wills, and unless you’re consistent about making your dog eliminate outside before going indoors, you will lose.


Speaking of pulling teeth, be prepared to brush theirs daily and spend thousands on dental cleanings or their pearly whites will completely rot away.

The image above is of Lily, an Italian Greyhound rescued from a puppy mill and the inspiration for the founding of the National Mill Dog Rescue. The reason her face looks as it does is due to years of neglect of dental hygiene, leading to her teeth and ultimately jaws rotting off. While this is an extreme case, Lily serves as an example for responsible IG owners of the importance of good dental care for the breed. If you’re not committed to taking care of your dog’s teeth both with frequent brushing and veterinary care, you really shouldn’t be getting an IG of all dogs.


They love jumping off high places, which often leads to broken legs, costing you thousands to fix.

This Iggy is an example of bad ownership: Rosa was found abandoned with both her front legs broken, totally unable to walk. Her owner likely abandoned her because they didn’t have the resources to pay for her legs to be fixed, which can cost thousands of dollars for a single broken leg! To make matters worse, most IGs are not aware of the relative fragility of their tiny legs, and enjoy launching from the highest perches they can find if you let them. Before adopting an IG, you must consider whether you have a financial safety net in case of a broken leg, as well as commit to responsible supervision of your pup to prevent such a scenario from occurring. Buying a dog from a reputable breeder also lessens this risk, as some bloodlines and poorly bred dogs have a greater chance of leg breaks. Investing in pet insurance is also a good idea with this breed, though you must research carefully to avoid any breed-specific coverage loopholes.


Every operation requiring anesthesia will be much more expensive and risky than with other dogs.

This is true of most sighthound breeds, including IGs. This can result in unexpected expenses accumulating more quickly, as well as increasing the chance of the horrible possibility of losing your dog during even a minor surgery such as a spay/neuter. Though they may not be as costly as say a bulldog or a pug, Iggies are not cheap to maintain in terms of veterinary costs. If you’re looking to save on vet fees, a mixed breed will be your best bet.


Most will need daily exercise or they will drive you insane.

There is a myth floating around that Iggies are generally couch potatoes. This is absolutely not true. Iggies are built to run and need to be able to exercise daily or else they can become destructive. Ideally, this exercise will include at least 20 minutes to an hour of running free in a fenced-in area. However, Iggies also enjoy walks, hikes, and running alongside their owners. Indoor playtime only is just not going to cut it with this breed. IGs can  be snuggly couch potatoes after exerting all their stored energy, but their default mode is hyper go, go, go!


Dominance-, fear-, or punishment-based training will not work on them.

This isn’t really a con to some people; however, for others, it really shakes up their dog behavior paradigm. Iggies are very intelligent, however, it requires a lot of patience, respect, and rewards to train them. Every IG enthusiast I’ve ever talked to has emphasized this with me: be gentle with your IG. Treat him like a friend. When my fiance and I first started hanging out, he would try to intimidate Dante into doing what he wanted. He was baffled when Dante would listen to me, who used clicker training and positive reinforcement, but not to him, even though his method seemed to work with other dogs. These dogs will really test your patience, that’s for sure!


They cannot be trusted off-leash in unfenced areas.

This is a rule for all sighthound breeds. Unless you are a trained professional, letting your IG off lead in an unfenced area is unsafe. A lot of sighthounds will simply pursue anything that looks like promising game, leaving you in the dust. What seems to be more common with Iggies is fear-based bolting, where something spooks the dog into running away as fast as she can. Either way, the end result is a lost dog that is very difficult to catch, much to the dismay of well-intentioned people everywhere who will try to recover your dog for you.


They can be very fearful if not socialized well at a young age.

Another thing emphasized to me by my vet, breeder, and other IG enthusiasts I consulted was “Socialize early, socialize a lot.” Iggies are not like some dogs which are naturally inclined to trust and like all humans. Iggies can be anxious and high-strung, including being timid of people and fearful of new situations. I can recall a time when a client brought her IG into the vet where I work, and the adult dog did not stop shaking or whimpering the whole time, even though her owner never left and the owner’s other IG was there too! You will need to work hard to expose your IG to many situations and people to avoid them becoming trembling nervous wrecks who retreat when a new person comes into their home.


You will constantly hear the question: “Is that a Whippet?”

No, and it’s a not a “Georgia deer,” either!

Here is the link to Impish Iggys


January 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm 23 comments

Pet sitting in Kelso



I just returned to the Seattle area after spending a week with sweet little Roma.  I have to say we didn’t have a super exciting week.  For the most part the weather was wet and cold so we stayed in most of the time.  However, spending a week with Roma is still very entertaining 🙂

Roma with her new toy

Roma with her new toy

Her mom left a new toy for her to play with while she was gone and Roma LOVED it!

DSC07893She got pretty frisky playing with it!

But most of the time Roma cuddled up in her blankets and slept…as all good Italian Greyhounds love to do!

Sleepy girl

Sleepy girl


Sorry Roma, I just had to get a picture of this.

December 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

Pet sitting in Snohomish

Last week I was pet sitting in Snohomish for a couple of my favorite pups.  Brody, a Viszla and Calla an Italian Greyhound are such a joy to watch.  They are a couple of pretty pampered pups.  They have their own bedroom…

Brody is hanging out on his bed

“This is my bed!” Says Calla

Not only do they have their own special bedroom, they have a huge yard to run and play in!

Brody chasing the stick

“I think my feet got wet!”

And when they aren’t hanging out in their bedroom or running around the yard chasing sticks and rabbits, they cuddle together on the couch.

Like I said, these are a couple of pretty pampered pups, AND I LOVE IT!!!

November 27, 2012 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – 8 Essential Dog-Related Photos to Store on Your Smartphone

A photo isn’t just worth a thousand words — it might just save your dog’s life. Here are some you should have on hand at all times.

Your smartphone’s photo album can be much more than a brag book filled with snapshots of your favorite four-footed friends. It can actually be a life-saver — especially if, say, you’re traveling and you forgot not only your dog’s medication, but its name and dosage — or your dog sitter runs out of said med and needs your help refilling it.

If you’re like us, you already use your notes app to keep track of everyday reminders. But a photo is worth a thousand characters, and images are so much more effective as mnemonic devices!

Dogster EIC Janine Kahn keeps many sharp photos of her Italian Greyhound, Moxie, on her iPhone.

Here are eight items that can easily be recalled — not to mention texted or emailed to the appropriate person — with a snap of your camera’s shutter button. Please take these pictures without delay!

8 Important Dog-Related Photos to Have on Hand:

1. Pictures of your dog’s current medications; make sure the RX name and dosage are clearly visible in the photos.

2. Pictures of your dog, in case (heaven forbid) he or she goes missing and you have to create a Lost Dog flyer on the double.

A snapshot of Moxie’s tag collar and license.

3. Closeup shots of your dog’s license and vaccination tags — make sure they’re in focus so all letters and numbers are legible.

4. A picture of your dog’s microchip ID info, and a Web site screen shot of Home Again (or whichever company’s chip is implanted in your dog).

Some vaccines Moxie received as a puppy.

5. A picture of your dog’s food — the package it comes in — to make it easier for your dog sitter to restock in case the supply runs out in your absence.

6. A picture of the business card of the pet-supply store where you buy your dog’s food, especially if it’s a prescription diet.

Moxie’s microchip number.

7. A picture of your veterinarian’s business card, clearly showing the phone number, email, and physical location address (or a screen shot of the hospital’s Web site).

A screen grab of the emergency hospital that’s nearest Janine and Moxie.

8. A picture of the business card of the nearest 24-hour emergency vet hospital (or screen shot of the hospital’s Web site).

Written by Julia Szabo, July 9th 2012

Posted on For the love of dog dogster website @

July 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm Leave a comment

Rain, rain, rain

Wow, this week in Snohomish has really been a wet one.  When I arrived there was a skiff of snow on the ground but since then it’s been rain, rain, and more rain.  Although I haven’t been able to get out much and enjoy the outdoors, I’ve been comforted by lots of snuggling with Calla and Brody who are without a doubt the best snugglers in the world!

Brody and Calla

March 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Spring is here…almost!

I’ve been watching two precious little Iggys and a Shiz Tsu in the Seattle area this week.  This is one of my favorite places to pet sit, not only because I absolutely LOVE these little pups, but because I love the area.  Everything is within walking distance of the house.  Restaurants, grocery stores (including Whole Foods), little shops, bars, you name it.  I often think I could retire in this area.  I guess time will tell.

Cinnamon and Mighty


While taking our walks, between the rain, cold and wind, I’ve noticed that there are finally signs of spring!

The crocus’s are coming up!

 And the trees are blooming!

 I don’t know about you but it’s a very welcome sight to me.  I am so ready for nice weather again!  I can’t wait until Easter at my sister’s house in Wenatchee.  All her tulips will surely be up and the apricot tree should be in bloom, and the kids will be running around the back yard looking for Easter eggs.  Aah, just thinking about it warms me up!

March 13, 2012 at 3:27 am Leave a comment

Guest Post: Italian Greyhound Transport

The following post comes from my daughter, Heather Kalinowski, who lives in the Seattle area. It was originally published on her blog, Family and Fur. You can follow Heather on Twitter at @familyandfur.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of helping to transport an Italian Greyhound in need to her foster home in Snohomish. I volunteer with Italian Greyhound Rescue (the same group where I adopted Ava) and we have quite the community! Several of us volunteered to help get two needy dogs from Eugene, Oregon, to the Seattle area. All I had to do was pick up one of the dogs from Capital Hill and take her to her foster home in Snohomish.

And, like always, I fell in love with this girl during the short period she was in my care. (This always happens. When I meet a dog in need who is in the program, I fall hard and normally come home broken hearted for the poor thing and I spend the evening just hugging Ava and trying to tell her how lucky she is.)

This girl is named Trinity and she is about 10-12 years old. She spent much of her life outside (and if you know IGs, you know that is NOT ideal) and she was not in great health. However, I have to assume that while her previous owners were very misguided on how to care for her, they did love her, because she was not scared of people, and instantly glued herself to me and wanted to be held close.

The crate she came in was absolutely disgusting, and I couldn’t bear to put her back in it for the ride to her foster home. So, while I don’t suggest this for dogs you don’t know, I allowed her free range in the car for the ride. She ended up on my lap, snuggled up to me as close as she could get. Like I said, I fell a little in love with her because of how absolutely sweet and loving she was. It was hard to drop her off, but it always is. (Obviously with the move and a baby on the way, I’m not in a position to be able to foster myself right now, so I always have to let them go…)

She will be taken to the vet soon and will start on the road to good health with a much-needed dental and loving care. I hope she finds a home because I’m telling you, she is going to give her new family nothing but love and adoration.

If you are interested in Trinity or want to learn more about Italian Greyhound Rescue, email Heather at

June 15, 2011 at 6:45 am Leave a comment