Perhaps you’ve simply watched The Simpsons too much and have always wanted your own Santa’s Little Helper, or maybe you wish for a dog but have always felt living in an apartment vetoed that idea. Well, the Italian Greyhound just might be the perfect option for you…
Beautiful dogs, they are affectionate, intelligent and gentle-natured, and are receptive to training (provided it’s done correctly). Better yet, they don’t shed hair and adapt well to indoor conditions. Nor are they known for barking or making noise. Quiet creatures, they won’t tear around your unit or scratch things to pieces. For the most part, they’re kind, submissive dogs who live to please their owner.
The perfect apartment dog? They might be, but like all animals, they come with a degree of responsibility…
What you should know:
- Italian Greyhounds are quite fragile-boned, on account of their slender limbs, so they’re not really for young children. Boisterous play will not only stress the timid nature of the dog but is also a danger to them – their legs can break quite easily, especially when pups.
- Temperament-wise, they’re full of affection for their owners, but can be timid or standoffish to strangers. Their skittishness or ‘trembling’ can be attributed to a mix of things – nervousness, excitement and cold – so it makes sense to mitigate anything that factors into the above.
- They really feel the weather, so you might want to get them a little doggy shirt – or get your nanna to crochet one, if she’s handy with a knitting needle.
- Training and discipline-wise, they respond to a firm but gentle hand. Like many small dogs, while puppies, never over-dote or coddle them too much – otherwise they can develop ‘small dog syndrome’ and become snappish as they get older. Likewise, in a stressful situation, dog handlers suggest you should never stroke or cuddle them as it adds to their sense of stress because the dog thinks you’re in a more vulnerable state than it. Italian Greyhounds require you to be boss (or ‘pack leader’), so you have to project a strong stable energy and the dog will respond to that.
- Like any dog, they need their exercise once or more a day (and, let’s face it, so do you!) so walking them is essential, and they love to run when allowed. However, a tip: when coming and going from your apartment, gates, other residences, you should always go first, in or out. It’s a psychological thing with this breed – in order for them to see you as leader of the pack, you should initiate all entries and exits.
- In terms of grooming, they’re very easy to look after. They shed little hair but their toenails will need snipping if indoors a lot. Likewise, bath them sparingly and they really only require a wipe-down from time to time with a wet towel or chamois.
- Their lifespan is 12-15 years, and they need plenty of calcium at a young age. Also, epilepsy, bone and joint degeneration and cataracts in their old age are sometimes common in the breed.
Are Italian Greyhounds the perfect apartment dog? Don’t dismiss your dream of having a dog because you live in a small pad.