Maybe this column should be titled “How Not to Buy an Italian Greyhound Puppy.” There are some definite “no-no’s” when it comes to shopping for a purebred puppy of any breed, but there are actually some things that apply to IGs that might not be an issue for other breeds. The first “no no” that comes to mind would be to specify when contacting a breeder that you would prefer a brindle puppy. Brindle is genetically not possible for the IG. .For starters, please note that this is not an article on where to buy an IG puppy. We assume that an appropriate source has already been located. (If not, the AKC website can be very helpful—or you can e-mail this columnist at email@example.com, since I am the breed and breeder-information person for the Italian Greyhound Club of America.)
An Italian Greyhound who is brindle or is white with brindle markings is definitely not a purebred. While on that subject, it also will not endear a prospective puppy buyer to the breeder to make color the number-one issue. As far as the breed standard is concerned, there is no preferred color. There are only disqualifying colors. Brindle is one of them, and a black or blue dog with the tan markings as seen on a Doberman, Miniature Pinscher, or some terrier breeds would be disqualified. A preference for a certain color is all right, but a prospective puppy buyer who narrows his or her choice to a certain color may find it difficult to acquire a puppy from a responsible breeder.
One sure way of alienating a breeder is to initiate a conversation, whether in person, by phone or via e-mail, with a question such as “What do your pups go for?” My gut reaction to that has been to respond with, “Oh … rabbits, squirrels, and things like that.” The price breeders ask for their puppies is generally not negotiable. It is usually based on the cost of maintaining a residence in that part of the country where one can breed and keep a number of dogs. There is nothing that turns a responsible breeder off like the idea that the price of a puppy is the most important thing in a prospective buyer’s mind. It’s all right to ask about the price, but not until some kind of rapport has been established.
The best way to initiate a relationship with a breeder—and this should definitely be a relationship, rather than a “business deal”—is to state the reason for wanting a puppy. Are you interested in showing? Are you into performance activities like agility, obedience, or lure coursing? Is your new family member going to be strictly a pet? If so, are you an active person, or are you looking for a loving couch-potato? Some IGs can be very active, especially as youngsters. Sometimes if the pet is to be for an older person or for a less energetic individual, it might be better to seek out an older dog rather than a puppy, one who is old enough for his personality and activity level to be accurately assessed.
In any case, don’t be afraid to tell the breeder what you want. A responsible breeder will make sure that you get it.
L.S.B. (March 2015), Italian Greyhound Club of America