Top Notch Toys August 2018


by Lilian Barber

multitude of questions once it has been established that the pretty little dog is not a “baby Greyhound” but a full grown Italian Greyhound. Considerably more knowledge about pedigrees and inheritance factors and more easily done genetic testing have also brought about a transforma- tion in the appearance of the breed. One hardly ever sees what used to be called “Toy type” in the show ring anymore and very seldom even in a pet Italian Greyhound. Movement is much more sound and mostly there is the lift and reach with a break at the pastern that is considered typical for the Italian Greyhound. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING IG’S TODAY? That is a difficult question to answer because there are many huge prob- lems facing not only Italian Grey- hounds and their owners but also the entire world of purebred dogs. Many otherwise normal people seem to think that breeding dogs is a crimi- nal offense and consequently breed- ing should be outlawed. Since this

a healthy breed in those days. Along with seizure disorders bone density problems were common, causing a widespread fear of leg breaks, which also led to a very small number of new people coming into the breed, espe- cially those who were interested in showing. Another thing that prevent- ed the breed from becoming more popular was temperament. Most IGs were shy of strangers and new situations and were seen as shrink- ing violets. They were often referred to as “those little dogs that shake and shiver when approached by a stranger or something different fromwhat they are used to seeing.” With modern methods of health test- ing and considerably more knowledge about raising puppies with proper so- cialization, much of this has changed over the years. Today’s Italian Grey- hounds are very likely to be great participants in Agility, Obedience, Lure Coursing and other canine ac- tivities. Their popularity as pets has also grown considerably, although it remains quite common to be stopped by strangers when walking an IG in a public area and being asked a

CHANGES YOU HAVE SEEN DURING YOUR TENURE AS GUARDIAN OF THIS WON- DERFUL BREED? T here have been many changes in the Italian Greyhound in the past 52 years. Yes, I got my first IG in 1966. She was typical of what one saw in the breed at that time—consid- erably more Toy type in appearance than houndy. This mostly manifest- ed itself in the rounded head, short muzzle and, at least what was seen in the show ring, on the small side of the standard. Most IGs were fawn or blue, with or without white markings. Seals, blacks and reds did not appear, at least not in large numbers, until several years later. However, the big- gest difference in the breed then and now is in its overall health. In the six- ties and seventies epilepsy was very common and it was not very unusual to see an IG at ringside having a sei- zure, usually with its owner frantical- ly trying to hide what was occurring. Whether it was the small gene pool or lack of knowledge about genetics or a combination thereof this was not

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