Greyhounds are one of the best dogs to have. They are gentle, friendly, loyal, independent, easy to maintain, and super-fast. In addition to these amazing characteristics, dog owners always want to think they have the smartest dog on the block. While that may be true, dog intelligence comes in many different ways. For instance, some dogs can learn commands quickly, and others are great working dogs who can herd livestock, while others are pretty adaptive in different situations and environments. That being said, let’s see whether or not Greyhounds are all muscular and speed with no brains.
Are Greyhounds smart? This breed is not among the Einstein’s of pups as it’s racked the 46th smartest dog breeds. But this is based on canine psychologist Stanley Coren’s test, which only covers obedience & working intelligence. Though they are just average in these areas, they make it up with incredible instincts and adaptive intelligence.
There’s no single way to rate dog intelligence, and there’s more than just obedience and work. You also need to note that all dogs are different. So, while scientists strive to collect data on how dogs experience the world and their level of intelligence, it’s important to use their findings as a guide. The real joy of dog intelligence is getting curious about how your particular dog thinks and acts. This article examines why Greyhounds are considered average for canine intelligence. We’ll also look at how and why they may actually be smarter than we think. Without further ado, let’s get started:
Are Italian Greyhounds Smart?
In dog intelligence ranking for obedience/working, Greyhounds fall into the average category. But how did experts come to this conclusion? The famed canine psychologist Stanley Coren ranked as many recognized dog breeds as he could using the following criteria:
- How many repetitions a dog needs to learn a new command. The fewer the repetitions, the more intelligent a dog is.
- The chances that a dog will obey a command on the first attempt. A higher success rate means the dog is smart and obedient.
Greyhounds participated in these trials and didn’t perform too well, but not too bad either. They understood and learned a new command with 25 to 40 repetitions while obeying the first command 50% of the time. On the other hand, the most intelligent dogs learned with fewer than five repetitions while obeying the first command 95% of the time. This puts Greyhounds average in terms of dog intelligence. This isn’t bad at all. In fact, it’s the largest dog intelligence category with so many breeds, including the Australian Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Great Dane, Dachshund, Whippet, American Foxhound, and Tibetan Spaniel, among others.
Why Are Greyhounds Smart
The problem with the above test is it only focuses on obedience and working intelligence. Just because Greyhounds don’t obey commands doesn’t mean they are dumb and won’t understand what you’re saying. These are extremely independent dogs, and their independent minds won’t follow your command just because you say so.
Obedience/work intelligence is just one dimension of dog intelligence. Two more components make up dog intelligence: instinctive and adaptive intelligence. So, are Greyhounds smart in these areas?
Well, instinctive intelligence is the innate ability, skill, or job for which a particular dog breed was bred. Greyhounds were bred for hunting and racing. Though Greyhounds are very good in these areas, most owners who keep them as pets don’t get to experience their brilliance on the field.
Adaptive intelligence is the dog’s ability to learn on its own from previous experiences. For example, they will likely figure out how to open doors after watching you do it. The Greyhound is high on this type of dog intelligence.
Are Greyhounds Easy to Train?
Greyhounds may be averagely intelligent, but don’t confuse being clever with being easy to train. These digs are independent thinkers and can be stubborn, making them hard to train. This doesn’t mean they are untrainable; no dog is, just that it may take you extra effort to train your Greyhound than most dogs.
Whether you have a puppy or adopted a retired Greyhound, training should start as soon as you bring them home. There are so many types of training you can provide your dog, including potty, obedience, behavioral, and protection training, among others. Here are some basic tips and behavioral tendencies that you should be aware of when training your Greyhound.
The ‘Sit’ Command
As you begin training your Greyhound, you may notice that they don’t seem to respond well to the set command. Don’t be alarmed. This is quite common in this breed because sitting is uncomfortable for them. The sitting position is somewhat unnatural for them, given their slender body types. So, when you tell them to sit, they will sort of balance on their tail.
Use Positive Reinforcement
This style of training involves rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad ones. Your Greyhound will quickly pick up basic commands if you train them properly. But if you’re always shouting or punishing them physically, they can become quiet and fearful and reluctant to train. Remember that Greyhounds are pretty sensitive to your moods and actions.
A lot of how your Greyhound is housebroken will depend on whether you got them as a puppy or an adult. Puppies tend to learn more quickly than adults, but if you have adopted a retired racing dog, chances are they already have the habit well-instilled in them. On the other hand, if they had developed bad habits, it would take longer and harder to housebreak them.
Training Takes Time
Don’t be fooled by infomercials; training is a process that requires consistency, patience, and effort. Keep it short, simple, and fun for a successful training session. You can find ways to incorporate their need to chase, love of running, and quick response to prey-like noises into the training.
Are Italian Greyhounds Difficult?
The only difference between the Italian Greyhound and the Greyhound is the latter is substantially larger than the Italian. This is both in weight and height. Their personalities are typically the same, though, which means that Italian Greyhounds can be as difficult as Greyhounds.
This breed is pretty stubborn and naughty, making training a bit difficult. But that shouldn’t keep you from adopting one. With some consistency and patience, you should have a well-behaved dog in no time. Potty training is particularly more difficult as these dogs often refuse to go outside in cold weather or rain. But can you blame them? They are prone to getting cold easily with such thin skin, so you may want to dress your dog in some warm dog jacket. Some tips for making training these dogs a bit easier and more successful include:
- Never shout or physically punish your dog
- Training sessions should be regular but short
- Your tone of voice is everything. Use a pleasing voice when applauding or praising and a firm tone when saying no. Just make sure you’re not yelling.
- Use positive reinforcement
- Socialize your Italian Greyhound as early as possible. Introducing your dog to many new people, animals, circumstances, and even locations makes them less likely to be anxious or aggressive.
- Exercise them. Physical and mental stimulation releases pent-up energy. It’s much easier to train a calm dog than one that’s hyperactive.
Italian Greyhounds have quirky, demanding, and inquisitive personalities, unique from other dog breeds. And with these special needs, they can be challenging to care for. The good news is that they are not as demanding when it comes to feeding, grooming, exercise, and other regular dog needs. This cancels out all the difficulties you may experience during training.
Is Italian Greyhound Good for First-Time Owners?
Getting your first dog can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. There’s a lot to learn about a particular dog breed to determine whether or not it’s the right one for you. Different breeds have distinct traits (physical and personality), training considerations, feeding needs, grooming needs, and even exercise needs. Needless to say, some require more effort and experience to care for them, while others are well-suited to first-time owners. The Greyhound is one such dog. They make wonderful companions and can make great first-time dogs. Let’s find out why:
Greyhounds love to lounge around and will likely spend most of their day napping. This makes them ideal for first-time owners who want a relatively quiet dog. While this can seem boring, these dogs love to play and sprint once in a while. Secondly, Greyhounds have short coats that are easy to maintain and don’t have the typically doggy odor. They also tend to be a healthy breed, although their thin skin is prone to cuts and can quickly get cold or hot.
Generally, they have average needs, no more than a regular dog, so you don’t need much experience, effort, and knowledge to take good care of them. Additionally, these dogs are calm, gentle, affectionate, friendly, and good with kids, making them great for many beginner homes.
That being said, you may want to note that they are independent thinkers, which can make training a bit more complicated. But if you practice patience and consistency, you can train and teach your Greyhound whatever you want. It’s also worth mentioning that these dogs have a strong prey drive and may not be the ideal choice for homes with small animals.
There’s no denying that dogs can enhance our lives in so many ways. But while we are receiving the love, companionship, and loyalty they offer, we must provide them with food, shelter, love, grooming, exercise, healthcare, and training.