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|Italian Greyhound general features, temperament, health|
Breed: Italian Greyhound is an ancient breed. It's history stretching back many centuries, can be traced back to the Pharaohs times. Little Levriero Italiano comes from the small sized Sight hounds, which were met already in the Ancient Egypt.
In one of the tombs near the body of the first wife of Pharaoh Psammetichus-I there was found the mummy of a miniature dog. This is the first documentary evidence of the existence of small Sight hounds in the VI century BC.
Shapes and sizes of the find virtually are no different from the modern Italian Greyhounds. This breed "polished" for centuries, is a perfect combination of "form and content." This breed, the same mysterious as the ancient Egyptian pyramids, is accompanied by many legends.
In XVIII-XIX centuries in the northern Europe there have been widely distributed the small Greyhound looking dogs, in the south there have also been many similar dogs, but they differed from the northern by the long and coarse coats. At the beginning of XIX century, the breed began to decline, and the main work on it's recovery was held in England. One of the most outstanding producers in 1859 was the male named Gowans Willie. At that time every large house had several Italian Greyhounds as a companion dogs, most often in the company with the Greyhounds, which at that time were still hunting. In the color of Italian Greyhounds there was a lot of white, sometimes these dogs were of a pure white color. Later, however, the preference was given to the dogs of a solid fawn color.
The aspiration to get Italian Greyhounds as small as possible has caused a great harm to the breed. As a result, many dogs weighed slightly more than two pounds and were too fragile, with a round skull, that nowadays is most acceptable with the chihuahua, but not with a Greyhound.
Salvation from the excesses for many breeds was the appearance of the English Kennel Club in 1873, and in 1884 - the American Kennel Club. Clubs adopted the standards for the breeds, which contributed to the improvement of a breeding stock and the consolidation of typical breed characteristics in the best representatives.
In the UK, Miss Henrietta McKenzie (1836 - 1909), later known as Mrs. Shearer, started her work with Italian Greyhounds in 1867. Her dogs were mostly fawn-colored, sometimes with the white markings, and they weighed about 8 pounds. McKenzie, like many breeders of Italian Greyhounds, was close to the aristocratic circles, she was a professional singer. The emergence of noble persons with Italian Greyhounds in the show rings of the UK contributed to the prestige of the breed. Prior to the introduction in 1898 in England the law of quarantine, the dogs were free to import into the country. For example, from Spain was brought a dog named Flip, who won the first prise at the Crafts exhibition in 1875. Miss McKenzie was bringing her dogs form Italy, and the first Greyhounds of her breeding were larger than the British ones, but the breeder steadfastly adhered to the pure breeding and did not use the blood of some terriers to reduce the size of her dogs - what was very often among the British breeders of Italian Greyhounds of that time. Gradually, she managed to reduce the size of her dogs through the directional selection.
In 1900 in England under the guidance of Bessie Scarlett (1854 - 1934) - the great fancier of the breed - was established Italian Greyhound Club and developed the very first breed standard. Scarlett was of the opinion that Italy is undoubtedly the birthplace of the breed, which is a dwarf form of an African Sight hounds.
According to the English Kennel Club, Italian Greyhound for a long time was still a rare breed, because in the period from 1906 to 1950 there were registered annually less than a couple of dozens of these dogs, no more than twenty. Between the First and Second World Wars there were recorded only few Italian Greyhounds, and sometimes there was no litters at all. However, since the 1950's there were several dozens of Italian Greyhounds registered, and in 1958 this number reached 100. After that, until today this figure is held around this level, sometimes rising to one and a half or two hundred dogs, sometimes going down to fifty. In working with the Italian Greyhounds British used the dogs, imported from USA, Austria, Germany, France, Sweden, South Africa and other countries.
General Features: Elegant and fragile Italian Greyhound is the true embodiment of grace and elegance. Externally, the Italian Greyhound - the smallest of the Sihgthounds - resembles a miniature English Greyhound.
The head of Italian Greyhound is long, narrow, with the flat skull. Ears in the shape of a rose, the upper end does not close the shell, is taken aside, thin, tender to the touch, should not stand, planted as far as possible from the nose. Eyes rather large, bright, attentive. In the appearance of the Italian Greyhound with his beautiful long neck and his high-step, of course, the similarities can be traced to the larger English Greyhounds.
As for the color of Italian Greyhound - by the FCI standards any solid color is allowed, it may come with the small white markings on the chest and paws. By the standards of the English and American Kennel Clubs, the parti color is also acceptable.
Temperament: The emergence of such dogs on the street is always calling for the continuous interest and admiration. From the questions being asked by people, it becomes clear that the small Italian Greyhound remains a mystery to many until now.
It is believed that the Italian Greyhound is a dog of one man. Yes, of course, like any dog, he will choose "the head of the pack" in a family, but in his loving heart there is enough room for all members of the household. Italian Greyhound is getting along easily with any other animals, but nevertheless, he requires a lot of personal attention. With all his immense love and devotion to the owners they are entitled to expect us to respond their feelings.
This breed is very plastic in shaping the behavior and character. Taking a puppy at an early age, you can easily create the dog that meets your aptitudes and interests.
Someone wants to be near the cat - dog, which does not necessarily needs a walk and can be carried on one's lap, holding her as a living toy - he will receive what he is looking for. Many elderly people choose themselves the Italian Greyhounds as a friend and companion. For the middle-aged or just a lonely man this creatures will brighten the long nights with their amazing tenderness.
Italian Greyhounds have a tremendous need for physical contact with a person - they are simply not able to be next to you and not to touch his beloved master with the paw, nose, or at least the tip of the tail. The greatest happiness for your pet will be the opportunity to lie on your lap. If you leave the house for a long time, give your dog the opportunity to arrange a "nest" - leave for him a rug or a blanket.
It would be great if you can buy or make by yourself a cozy house. This will be a real home for the dog. Inside they feel secure, it's warm and cozy, it's a place where you can hide your favorite toy, "bury" delightfully scented bone and in general the house is something to brighten your Italian Greyhound's life during the painful waiting for his master to return from work.
Many would like to have a dog, but do not dare to do it. And often it is due to the fact that people have long periods away from home. They know that they can not afford enough walks to their dog - for such people the Italian Greyhound may be a solution of their problems.
One of the big advantages of this breed is the ability to do his "business" in the house.Toilet problems can be solved as well as in cats. Tray or newspaper will suffice. A dog can quietly do their "dealings" at home in your absence or in case of a bad weather outside.
Another person sees in the Italian Greyhound not just a decoration for the sofa, but as a Sighthound - a strong, hardy, having all the features of a serious working dog - excellent agility, persistence, tireless in running and a healthy instinct. (It should be noted that in Italy until now some people are hunting hares with a pack of well trained Italian Greyhounds).
Italian Greyhounds have a feline grace, agility of monkeys and amazing jumping ability. If you come home, too lazy to bend over and say "hello" to your pet, you will be instantly reminded of your forgetfulness.
After a second this little "miracle" jumps on your hands, his front paws gently grasp the neck of his beloved master, and your nose will be certainly favored with the kiss.
Purchasing a puppy, you must understand that in order to raise up a healthy and happy dog will take from you a lot of effort. Italian Greyhounds are active and mobile dogs. Representatives of this breed, as well as some other types of hounds, require fairly frequent walks, or the ability to do their business at home, at a special place.
Raising a puppy of this breed, you undoubtedly will need soft and consistent perseverance. However, these rules apply to the education of all living creatures.
Italian Greyhound is an expression of an absolute elegance, sophistication, and at the same time power, hidden in a well-developed musculature. Not without a reason one of the official names of this breed is a "small Italian Sighthound." The refined elegance of Italian Greyhound must not be confused with the fragility and tenderness, which are often attributed to them. No - this little dogs are hardy, have a great life power and energy.
By their infinite charm, the representatives of this breed will win any skeptic, who does not understand why so many people love dogs. These creatures combine nearly human soul and a refined elegance of the cat, and, most importantly - the quality of all members of the canine tribe - an endless devotion to their masters. They just can not help falling in love. Tenderness and grace of these little dogs, a cheerful disposition and dedication to the owner allowed them to take place in the hearts of many people.
Health problems: The adult Italian Greyhounds are quite hardy, but the puppies are a lot more fragile and should be supervised. This dogs are sometimes prone to epilepsy and cataracts.