The Truth about Italian Greyhounds

Italian Greyhound in a dog bed with belly band (diaper) around his waist

Below is a list of the most common questions we hear about Italian Greyhounds. If you read nothing else before acquiring an Italian Greyhound, please read this page. This page was compiled by Italian Greyhound Rescue volunteers who have many years of experience with the breed and the people who adopt and surrender Italian Greyhounds.


Italian Greyhounds are a snuggly, sweet, beautiful breed, but every breed has its price. Some chew, dig, knock grandma over, or bark at house guests. With Italian Greyhounds, that price is housetraining. Italian Greyhounds are more difficult to housetrain than other breeds. We are very truthful about this. If someone selling an Italian Greyhound tells you otherwise, they are looking out for their own interests and not yours. The number one reason Italian Greyhounds are surrendered to rescue is because of housetraining. If you have wall to wall white carpet, this is not the breed for you. Italian Greyhounds can be housetrained, but many of our own well trained dogs will regress and have an accident every now and then, especially when the weather starts getting cold in the fall. Italian Greyhounds do not like to go outside when it’s raining, windy or snowing and many of us have built outside shelters to make it easier for our dogs to potty outside in the winter. For more information, please read Housetraining your IG.


Italian Greyhounds are a timid breed and they do not like loud noises or rambunctious toddlers. If you have small children in your home or are planning a family in the future, an Italian Greyhound may not be the right breed for you at this time. Italian Greyhounds are generally fine with gentle children over the age of 8. Scared, small dogs are more likely to bite and almost all dog bites are young children.

If you do not have a fence, also remember every time your Italian Greyhound wants to go outside, you have to drop everything you are doing to take them outside on a leash. This can become very time consuming when you have a young family and especially a baby to care for.

For more information, please read IGs and Children.

Electric Fences

Electric fences do not work with Italian Greyhounds for many reasons.

  1. They are a timid breed and one shock can make them never want to go outside again. When you combine that will a breed that is hard to housetrain, you can easily have a disaster.
  2. They are sighthounds and have a strong prey instinct. When chasing a small animal, all reason goes out the door including anything pain they were taught about leaving a border. This is the reason Italian Greyhounds must always be in a secure fence or on leash. They cannot be taught to stay in a yard because you said so.
  3. Their fur and skin is so thin, we’ve heard of people who have tried electric fences and the dog ended up with burns on their neck.
  4. Italian Greyhounds are a frail breed and an electric fence or a tie out gives them no protection from neighbor dogs who wander in your yard. IGs have broken legs just playing with a large dog. If they are attacked, they stand little chance of survival.


Italian Greyhounds must always be in a securely fenced in yard or on-leash when outside. Italian Greyhounds are sighthounds. This means they are highly excited by small animals that run. They will chase a rabbit, squirrel or chipmunk and no training can change what 1000s of years of breeding has created. Italian Greyhounds can run up to 30 miles per hour and can cover a lot of ground very fast when they are on a chase. By the time they catch or lose the animal (many Italian Greyhounds have killed bunnies in their own fenced yard) they may not know where they are or how to get back to you – if they survived all the streets they crossed while running.

They hate Cold weather

Italian Greyhounds have thin fur, low body fat and do not like going outside when it is raining, windy, freezing, or snowing. Most tolerate clothes, but it takes awhile to dress up your dog with boots and jackets before letting them out for potty – every time. Even with winter layers, they will want to come right back in and neglect what they went outside to do.

They love to sleep covers

It is super cute and fun to have a dog that wants to snuggle right next to you. Your partner, however, might not be totally on board with a dog in their bed under the covers – 365 days a year.