Diavolino Italian Greyhounds

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Temperament

Canada: It is intelligent, agile and vivacious. It has a very affectionate and sensitive nature and is sometimes reserved with strangers.

When evaluating an Italian Greyhound, it is important to remember that reserved is a very acceptable trait for the IG.  They are not naturally trusting of each and every person that approaches them, and to disregard an otherwise exceptional dog because it isn't wagging it's tail and leaping all over you is to do a disservice to the breed.  Like many sighthounds, IGs cannot focus easily on objects too close to them, so they may back away to gain better comprehension of what is being presented to them.  Do not confuse that with a bad temperament! 

Aloofness, a hallmark of most sighthounds, is not a fear of strangers, rather an arrogance, almost like those people simply aren't good enough for them.  A IG with a sound temperament will allow an examination, even though sometimes it may be reluctantly.

If you are judging the Italian Greyhound, allow the handler time to get the dog set up before approaching it, and whenever possible, approach from a 3/4 angle, so the dog can fully see you but you are not coming from an aggressive position.  Place your hands on the dog's shoulder first, as many IGs are resentful when you touch the head first.  Now, a well trained and well presented IG should not have a problem with you touching it's head first, but a young dog may shy back.  By touching the body of the IG before the head, whether the dog is a seasoned Special or a first time puppy, you will be demonstrating to the handler your understanding of the breed.

Puppies can go through a difficult stage.  The most outgoing puppy can turn into the most frightened youngster for no apparent reason.  With careful handling and continued socializing, most puppies overcome that stage.  As a judge, it is important that you are aware of this stage so that your impatience doesn't damage a promising puppy.  If it is clear that the puppy is so frightened that you will not be able to examine it without pinning it down, sometimes the kindest thing to do is to stop trying, and disregard the puppy for any awards.  We handlers understand this.

Many years ago, I'd say probably 20, I was in the ring under judge Clinton Harris.   My dog was frightened of him and would not allow him to examine her.  He was very patient, and quit trying.  He told me to stack my dog and keep petting her, allowing my hands to caress her from shoulders to hips.  As I did so, once she relaxed, he placed his hands on top of mine.  Together, we petted her for a few more strokes, then he told me to slide my hands out.  I did so, and he continued to examine my dog.  Before she realized what was happening, he fully examined her, in a non aggressive manner.  Not only was it a non-aggressive manner, it was a pleasant experience for her, and she turned a corner after that day, becoming the #1 IG in Canada!

That few minutes in the ring told me that Mr. Harris understood the breed!  A minute extra from him changed the world for one dog.

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