* A Guide to buying a Puppy *
Buying any puppy is a minefield. Buying an Italian Greyhound puppy is more difficult than most because there are so few available in this country. Unlike some other breeds, Italian Greyhounds have so far been spared exploitation by puppy farmers (breeders of large quantities of puppies of many different breeds) due to the fact that they are a comparatively rare breed with fortunately little commercial value. Unfortunately a number of 'back yard breeders' have seen a niche in the market in recent years and have targeted the breed as a potential source of income with little or no regard as to the health or future welfare of these delightful little dogs.. Sadly it is nearly always others including rescue organizations, that are left to pick up the pieces not the breeders themselves.
Before buying an Italian Greyhound take care to find out if this is the breed for you. The only way you will do that is to do research via books and websites, visit breeders and / or shows where Italians are exhibited and by speaking to as many owners as possible.
Where can I go to find out about Italian Greyhounds?
There are many dog-related web sites and quite a number related to the Italian Greyhound. The majority are based in the United States but are still worth a visit just to get a general idea about the breed. There are also a number of good books on the breed available through bookshops and web-sites like Amazon.
However if you fancy having an Italian but have never met one then there are options available to you to get up close and personal with the breed such as Discover Dogs. This is held twice a year. In March it is held at the Crufts Dog Show at the NEC Birmingham and in November at Olympia in London . Each breed has its own stand. The stand is manned by people who already own and are passionate about Italians Greyhounds. They will be able to give you information about the breed as well as giving you an opportunity of seeing these delightful little dogs in the flesh. Discover Dogs is meant to be informative and breeders are encouraged not to use these occasions as a method to sell their own puppies.
If you cannot get to Discover Dogs do try the Kennel Club web-site where you can find out if there happen to be any Championship dog shows being held near to you and on which days Toy dogs are being judged.
Where can I buy a Puppy from?
Hopefully you will be able to find a reputable breeder to sell you a healthy puppy that is reasonably priced. Puppies are few and far between but some are still sometimes advertised in free papers and weekly publications, notorious for adverts from multiple breed outlets .It is wise to avoid buying a puppy advertised in this way. Reputable breeders would never advertise their puppies in these publications.
They are only rarely advertised in the dog papers and magazines. The Kennel Club has a sales register but this does not mean that the breeder is an anyway endorsed or recommended by them.
General Dog sites sometimes advertise breeders so it will be a case of contacting them to find out whether they have a puppy that may be available. Sometimes a breeder will be running on several pups with a view to keeping one to show so would be prepared to let a puppy go in a few months time once they have made their choice.
Why is it so hard to find a Puppy to buy ?
Most breeders will only breed when they wish to keep a puppy for themselves. Generally Italian Greyhounds do not have particularly large litters, three probably being about the average. They are gaining in popularity and many owners, once they have had one tend to stay with the breed. Demand certainly exceeds supply which is a good thing as far as welfare is concerned. It also means that most people are not able buy on a whim. Those potential owners that are prepared to wait some time for an Italian greyhound do genuinely want this breed and will give them the home they deserve.
How much should I pay?
Paying a high price for a puppy does not guarantee that you will be buying a healthy, well reared baby. The average and sensible price is around £500 for a dog and £550 for a bitch but some potential owners have recently been quoted prices considerably higher.
Obviously rearing puppies properly is time consuming and requires hard work. It is however very pleasurable and puppies are time wasting in the nicest possible way. It is only right that puppies should not appear to be given away however no caring breeder is rearing puppies for the purpose of making high profit so beware of over inflated prices even though the demand for the breed makes it possible to obtain 500 pounds and above!
Should I have a dog or a bitch?
By tradition many people will automatically assume that a bitch is more suitable than a dog. IG dogs are very loving and as long as they are house trained correctly, are generally clean. However like many small and toy breeds, Italian Greyhounds can mark their territory, bitches as well as dogs but this is not the same as not being house trained. Castrating a male will reduce this potential as will only keeping a single dog or dogs of the same sex. Castration can incline a dog to weight gain and a life or perpetual dieting so the pros and cons must be carefully considered and discussed with the breeder and your vet. The same remarks also apply to spaying a bitch.
Bitches will sometimes come with endorsements put there by the breeder on the Kennel Club registration papers that will prohibit you from breeding. This is sensible. It is very tempting to want to breed puppies of your own but most breeders are experienced on the genetic pitfalls of the breed and do not consider selling breeding stock to inexperienced owners.
While most only want a pet and have no intentions of breeding some of us do fall in love with this breed and with help and advice do start showing and breeding after some years getting to know about the breed.
Beware getting in to the realms of accepting a bitch puppy on breeding terms.
Is there any way to say whether or not a puppy will be show quality at 10 weeks of age. Many faults can and do appear as the pup begins to mature and also permanent dentition is not in place until the dog is 6-7 months old.
An experienced breeder can make an educated guess as to the possible potential of the puppy but many would prefer to sell to a permanent home not to one where it is dependant on whether the puppy is show quality or not.
What would happen if your circumstances change and you can no longer keep the puppy? Is the breeder willing to have the dog back or agree to help you find another suitable home?.
Under no circumstances should you buy a puppy without seeing it first nor should you ever be asked to pay a deposit. A breeder requesting a deposit smacks of someone more interested in the money than the home that is being offered. A deposit also puts pressure on you to have the puppy when you should be given time after seeing it to consider whether an IG is really for you.
Never buy a puppy under 8 weeks of age and preferably not until they are at least 10 weeks old. Do not be forced into accepting a puppy earlier than you would like just to fit in with the Breeder.
Neither should you be forced into collecting it from a public area away from the breeders' home so that you do not get a chance to see the breeder's premises for yourself.
Are there any health issues I should know about?
Yes! All breeds, Italian Greyhounds included do have hereditary problems however Italian Greyhounds are on