In the world of dog ownership, there are many things you discover about the various breeds that will surprise you. Perhaps one of the most unusual is that of the Italian Greyhound. These small, svelte dogs with slender faces and pointed ears are often seen in art galleries and on Instagram. They’re also one of the most challenging dogs to own. But what makes them so unusual? Are Italian Greyhounds difficult to own because they’re small? Or is there more to this story? Follow us to learn more about this mysterious breed and if it might be right for you as a pet owner... Who Is This Tiny Dog, and What Makes Them So Unique? The Italian Greyhound is one of the oldest breeds of domesticated dogs, having been around for over 5,000 years. They are one of the smallest breeds of dogs, but the IG’s diminutive stature shouldn’t be confused with fragility. They have dogged stamina and resilience that are more commonly associated with larger dogs. The IG is a natural athlete, and a regular walk won’t satisfy their needs. They are working dogs, bred to run alongside horse-drawn carriages in the days before automobiles. They need plenty of opportunities to move, stretch their legs, and get their hearts pumping. Why Are Italian Greyhounds So Unusual? Most dogs are said to have a “wolf-like” appearance. The Italian Greyhound’s appearance, on the other hand, is more cat-like. The IG bears a striking resemblance to the Egyptian Mau. Their slender build and tapering heads are unlike any other breed of dog. This, of course, leads to the question of how this odd-looking dog came to be. The Italian Greyhound is a relatively new breed, with the studbook being open for business in the early 1900s. Their origin story is shrouded in mystery, though it is thought that the Italian Greyhound descends from an even older breed, the Spanish Greyhound. How to Care for an IG? The IG is a delicate dog and requires a delicate touch. They are highly sensitive, so loud voices and rough handling are not welcome. The IG has been bred for so many years that they’re accustomed to being a lapdog, so expect to have frequent cuddle sessions with yours. They are indoor dogs by nature and cannot tolerate extreme weather conditions. They cannot be left out in the garden, exposed to the elements, and still retain their delicate nature. They must be kept inside, but access to a small, well-fenced yard is best suited to apartment life as long as you can provide them with enough exercise. The IG must be kept on a leash, as they tend to bolt. This means that if you want to take them out to a park, you must bring them on a leash at all times. If you want your IG to be well-behaved, you must train them regularly. Problems with owning an IG The IG is not a dog for everyone. Owning one is a commitment, and they’re not the best option for someone with a busy lifestyle and a short attention span. They are not happy when left alone for long periods, and can become destructive. If you only have the IG for company, you’ll need to be home at the appropriate times, or be prepared to hire a dog walker. This is not the breed for you if you want a low-maintenance pet. The IG is a very clean dog, but they also enjoy playing and chewing, so you’ll need to provide them with toys. They also need regular grooming, which is not a big task, but something you should keep in mind. Setting aside a little time for grooming every couple of weeks will keep your IG happy and healthy. The Bottom Line The IG is a dog that requires a lot of attention. Their mental and physical needs are high, which is why they are not the best choice for everyone. If you have plenty of time to spend with your dog, and lots of patience, they make you a wonderful companion. Italian Greyhounds are a very playful breed that loves to cuddle. They are very good at getting what they want, so you have to be firm with them to teach them boundaries.