Is an Italian Greyhound the Right Breed for You? 5 Pros & Cons of Owning an Iggy

Italian Greyhounds (or “Iggies”) are all over Instagram. People love their pretty faces, cute outfits and quirky personalities. Some even fall in love with them so much that they are considering to adopt one.

Are you also thinking about becoming an Italian Greyhound parent but not sure if it’s the right breed for you? No worries, we got you covered. In this blog post you’ll find 5 reasons why you should (and shouldn’t) own an Italian Greyhound to help you with this decision. Let’s go!

Why You Should Own an Italian Greyhound

1. Italian Greyhounds Have the Most Amazing Personality

Italian Greyhounds are a breed like no other. They have the most amazing personality:

  • You Will Have a Strong and Unique Connection to Them – It almost feels like they can read your mind and know exactly what’s going on. When you are feeling down, they can feel it and support you. 
  • Sweet but Psycho – They are super funny and entertaining and always in a good mood. 

We have not met one person who didn’t fall victim to their charms!

2. Italian Greyhounds Are Super Cuddly

They are super cuddly and always want to be close to you. No wonder some people call Iggies “velcro dogs”. So with an Iggy, you will definitely never feel alone or cold anymore. 

Nello will even try to get in your jumper to be as close to you as possible.

Personal space – what’s that?

3. Italian Greyhounds Are Both Athletic and Calm

Despite their small size there is hardly anything you can’t do with them. Going for a run? No problem. Hiking in the mountains? Let’s do it!

Unlike most other small breeds they are super athletic and enjoy being challenged. They love physical activity but are just as fine on days where there is not much going on.

When they get enough exercize and are grown-up (which they normally are around 2 years) they are mostly super calm at home – which makes them the perfect companion for people with an active lifestyle but due to their small size they are also good city/apartment dogs.

4. Italian Greyhounds Are Low Maintenance 

Nello’s “beauty regime” is pretty simple. All we have to do is

  • cut his nails – once a week
  • brush his teeth – once a week (find out how to clean their teeth here)
  • clean his ears – once a month
  • give him a bath – only when he is super dirty (which is almost never the case). Most of the time it’s enough to just clean his paws and belly with baby wipes.

Most Iggies don’t shed a whole lot (there are exceptions though). We only notice a little bit of shedding in spring time.

Interesting fact: Italian Greyhounds are hypoallergenic! We know of many people who are allergic to dogs but are fine around Iggies.

5. Italian Greyhounds Are Good for Your Health

Last but not least they have a positive effect on your health. They will help you live a more active and healthy lifestyle because you will have to go for a walk with them every day – no matter what the weather is like.

But they are good for your mental health, too. Their positive personality will make you smile every day. Owning an Iggy will definitely reduce your stress level and help you to remember to live in the moment!

Why You Should Not Own an Italian Greyhound

1. Italian Greyhounds Don’t Like Being Alone

Italian Greyhound are super clingy and don’t like to be left alone. So if you are away from home most of the day and can’t take them with you, they are probably not the right breed for you.

We have never left Nello home alone for more than 3 hours. It’s probably not like we could not do it, we just don’t feel comfortable with it. When he’s home alone he sleeps most of the time (we have a camera to watch him) but he’s always super happy when we come back. 

Most Iggies have separation anxiety and while you can train some of them to stay home alone for a few hours (we’ve heard of Iggies who can spend up to 8 hours alone) we just would not recommend leaving them alone for too long. They just love their human’s company and are not the type of dog that is usually fine with being alone.

2. Italian Greyhounds Are Very Sensitive

Iggies are super sensitive. While they don’t need to be pampered, they definitely need to be protected against all kind of things. For example:

  • The Cold – Italian Greyhounds don’t have a lot of fur or fat. Therefore, they need clothes when it’s cold. When it’s below 10 degrees Celsius, we make Nello wear a jumper or coat. And of course it looks cute too. Be careful! 2-3 coats and jumpers would probably be enough but it is quite likely you end up spending more money on their clothes than on yours soon 😉
Onesies, jumpers, coats…we have them all!
  • Leg Breaks and Other Injuries – Iggies can be crazy little monsters, especially as puppies. You need to be careful they don’t break a leg when jumping off the couch or playing with bigger dogs. The problem here is that you are in a constant battle with yourself with wanting to protect them and raising them to become confident little dogs. When pampered too much they tend to be very skittish and shy.
  • Anesthesia and Other Drugs – Anesthesia can be quite risky for Iggies. Also they are known to be allergic to some vaccines and other drugs. Always keep that in mind!

3. Italian Greyhounds Are Not “Normal Dogs”

Italian Greyhounds are just not like normal dogs.

  • Training an Italian Greyhound – As they are so sensitive, dominance-, fear- or punishment-based training will not work for them. They are quite clever and have their own little minds. So while you can’t expect to train them like a German Shepherd, you will be able to teach them some tricks with positive reinforcement and a lot of patience.
  • They Are Super Fast – Iggies are super fast. They can run up to 40 km/h – and some have a very strong prey drive too. When going for walks and letting them run off leash (which is definitely possible in a safe environment with the right training) you will always have to be alert. From one second to another they can be on the other side of the field – and you have no chance to catch them. 

Recall training is essential. But if you want a dog that always listens, an Iggy is not the right dog for you. 

4. Housetraining an Italian Greyhound Can Be Very Difficult

Many people are struggling to get their Iggy potty trained – and some never really get it 100%. So if that is a no-go for you, don’t get an Italian Greyhound.

Find out more on how to potty train an Italian Greyhound here!

5. Owning an Italian Greyhound Comes with a Lot of Responsibility

Lastly, owning an Iggy comes with a lot of responsibility. Getting a dog is kind of like deciding to have a baby and it will definitely change your life. So ask yourself the following questions

  • Are you willing to accept the responsibility of owning a dog for the next 15 years?
  • Are you okay with giving up the freedom of traveling whenever you feel like it? (Of course you can still travel, but you will need to find someone who will take care of your dog when you can’t take them with you)
  • Do you have the time and money to meet the dog’s needs?

Only if you can answer all of those questions with “yes”, getting a puppy is the right thing to do.

Seeing double?

How to Find out if an Italian Greyhound is the Right Dog for You

Now you know what it’s like to own an Italian Greyhound. But before you get a puppy you should do the following:

  • Meet an Iggy in Person – Iggies are cute, yes. And so are photos of them. But have you ever met one in person? You should! Not only do they look bigger on Instagram than they actually are (no joke!), but also you can only understand what their personality is like after you’ve met one. So try to find someone in your area (maybe a breeder or even someone on Instagram) and ask them if you could meet their Iggy. 
  • Talk to Iggy Owners – A great way to find out if an Italian Greyhound is the right dog for you is to talk to Iggy owners and ask them everything you want to know. We’re sure most Iggy owners are happy to help you!

Conclusion on Finding out if an Italian Greyhound Is the Right Breed for You – Do Your Research!

Italian Greyhounds are amazing and we fell for them so much that we will probably own an Iggy for the rest of our lives.

But they are not for everyone and getting a puppy is a life changing decision that should not be made without due consideration. 

If you still want to adopt an Italian Greyhound after reading this blog post, an Italian Greyhound is probably the right breed for you!

Just a few words of advice to finish off this post: Only buy from reputable, registered breeders. There is more to breeding than just mating a male and a female dog. With the rise in demand there are some backyard “breeders” out there trying to make a fast buck – without doing any health checks at all. But there are health issues amongst the breed and while getting a puppy from a non-registered breeder might be cheaper, you will pay the price in medical bills, stress and worries.

But with good research and preparation you will soon have a new best friend for life!