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Where to Get, and Not Get, an Italian Greyhound 




There are many dogs, both mixes and purebreds, in shelters across the United States. These dogs have been abandoned, lost, abused or neglected, and are all waiting for forever homes. Many shelters list their dogs on, where you can search for dogs by numerous criteria such as breed, size, sex, age, and location. Shelters vary in how much they know about any particular dog, so make sure that, prior to adoption, you take the time to get familiar with the dog that you are interested in. Also, be aware that there will be an adjustment period once you bring the dog home, as well as possible "issues" to deal with. Make sure that you are committed to the dog so that he/she does not have to deal with the trauma of being returned to the shelter.


There are breed specific, mixed breed, and even size specific rescue groups. Although some shelters have foster programs, the fostering of the dogs in their care tends to be a distinguishing feature of rescue groups. Since these dogs are living in a home environment, more is generally known about the behavior and habits of the dogs. In addition, the foster family works to prepare the dog for life with a forever family; some shelters, to the extent that they are able, also do this. The adoption requirements of rescue groups are often more rigorous than those of a shelter and may require a home visit. An emphasis is placed on matching the "right" dog to the "right" home.


Not all breeders are reputable and, with the proliferation of Internet sites selling puppies, it is very important to know how to determine if a breeder is reputable; to be able to distinguish a responsible breeder from a puppy miller or back-yard-breeder (BYB). A reputable breeder:

  • Will not sell to a pet store - you will not find their puppies there

  • Usually only breed one or two breeds; will be knowledgeable about breed standards, characteristics, and health; and will usually show their dogs in conformation competition.

  • Will not necessarily have photos of their puppies on a website (or even have a website), and will not have page after page of available puppies. In fact, they do not always have puppies available, but will keep a list of people interested in a puppy. They will also often refer you to another breeder that does have puppies.

  • Will have done health and genetic testing / screening on the dam and sire (parents) and will have health certificates (CERF and OFA) on both. This information should also be available for each breeding dog's parents, and will generally also be available for generations going further back. Reputable breeders are interested in improving the breed, not in profit, and test for breed-related hereditary diseases prior to breeding.***

  • Will not have a website that lets you "click and pay" for a puppy. They will want to talk to you, possibly having you fill out an application first, and check your references. The homes that their puppies go to are important to them. Although most will not ship, some reputable breeders will.

  • They will not only allow you to visit and see the puppies and dam, but will encourage this. Meeting you prior to selling you a puppy might be a requirement.

  • Will have spent time socializing the puppies, will know their emerging temperaments, and will want to make sure that the puppy is a good match for you.

  • Most reputable breeders will not allow their puppies to go to new homes before the age of ten to twelve weeks. Studies have indicated that it is beneficial socially for puppies, especially small breed puppies, to remain with their dam and litter mates until older than the traditionally accepted eight weeks.

  • Will be feeding their dogs and puppies a high quality dog food.

  • Unless going to a show home, puppies sold by reputable breeders will be spayed / neutered prior to going to their new home or will go with a spay / neuter requirement in the contract. These breeders take breeding a pup very seriously and will not breed dogs that do not “pass” genetic health screening or who have a feature making them undesirable for breeding; this does not mean that these dogs are not perfectly good pets, but that they might not conform to breed standard or could have a personality feature that the breeder does not want to promote. It is not possible to know at a very young age whether a specific dog should be used for breeding.

  • Will not only take the puppy/dog back at anytime during its life, but t requirement that you to return the dog if you are unable to care for him/her or, at the minimum, involve the breeder in choosing a new home for the dog. 

  • Will offer guidance on caring for the puppy and will be available if you have questions after taking the puppy home.


Reputable breeders will occasionally have young adult or older Italian Greyhounds available.


Health screening databases are available to the public, with the largest one compiled by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) - the CERF (eye) database is on this website. Features include the ability to search for heath tested dogs and for the genetic health screening that a specific breed should have. Screening done often includes eyes, patellas, Leggs Perth, thyroid, and Von Willebrand's disease, a blood clotting disorder. The OFA database enables potential owners to verify that the testing was done (assuming the breeder entered the data), but a reputable breeder should provide the information if requested. Some breeders screen for conditions not listed on OFA such as Enamel Hypoplasia which, along with other testing, is available through The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis also offers testing (available tests are searchable by breed).

Shelters, Rescue Groups, and
Reputable Breeders

+ Shelters

+ Rescue Groups

+ Reputable Breeders

***Health screening databases



There are several reasons not to get a puppy at a pet store. These reasons include the following:

  • Regardless of what the pet store tells you, these puppies have not been bred by reputable breeders. Reputable breeders do not utilize pet stores.

  • Most of these puppies come from puppy mills (large-scale commercial operations where profit has a higher priority than the welfare of the dogs, there is no pre-breeding health sreening, and no regard for breed improvement),  or from back-yard-breeders (small scale breeding, without genetic health testing which is necessary for the betterment of the breed).  

  • Pet store puppies, bred without genetic screening or temperament assessment, are more likely to have or develop physical ailments, inheritable health conditions, and temperamental problems. Contributing to this situation, in many cases, is a lack of professional veterinary care, kennel conditions, and little, or no, socialization.

  • When you purchase a puppy from a pet store, the store fills the empty cage with another puppy mill or BYB dog. The purchase of pet store puppies actually supports puppy mills and BYBs. If the store cannot sell the puppies, it will stop purchasing them.



You've found an adorable picture of an Italian Greyhound on an Internet website, but what is the background of this puppy? If you purchase the puppy, will you be supporting irresponsible breeding by inadvertently buying from a puppy mill or back-yard-breeder (BYB)? Will your puppy arrive sick, have a poor temperament, or develop genetically inherited conditions as he/she gets older?

How do you know if the puppies are from a reputable breeder? Check out the description of a reputable breeder in the left column of this page.  Then consider the following:

  • When you buy an Internet puppy, you usually have no way of seeing the puppy, the puppy's breeding environment or of meeting his/her parents, or at least the dam.

  • People who sell puppies through the Internet do not have to comply with the Animal Welfare Act regulations, minimal as they may be, and are not inspected by the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture.

  • Those who sell Internet puppies (puppy millers and back-yard-breeders), do not perform health screenings on the dams and sires (parents) to find out if the puppies that they are breeding are prone to genetic diseases. These diseases result in costly veterinary care and, most likely, an earlier death for the dog.

  • Internet puppies are often sold at too young an age and without proper socialization. 

  • Internet puppies may experience traumatic situations before reaching you.

  • "Breeders" of Internet puppies often use the term "champion bloodlines." This is meaningless and generally indicates that the sire and dam have not been shown in competition. In fact, all it means is that one of the pup's ancestors was a champion in some competition.

  • The term "AKC" puppy does not ensure the quality or health of the puppy. The AKC, American Kennel Club, is the leading dog breed registry in the USA. It only ensures that both parents are purebred, are the same breed, and are registered with the AKC. That's it - nothing about quality, temperament, or health.


When looking for a puppy, remember that the following are not good signs:

  • "Click and Buy"

  • Pages of staged puppy pictures

  • Many breeds sold by the same Internet "breeder"

  • No mention of genetic health screening on dams and sires; do not confuse this with a meaningless health guarantee on the puppy

  • No interview, application, request for a meeting, or checking of references

  • No contractual spay / neuter requirement if the puppy is not spayed / neutered prior to purchase

  • Puppies sold at a young age

  • No requirement to return the dog to the breeder at any time during his/her life if you can no longer care for him/her


A website does not necessarily represent reality; Internet puppy sites have a knack for making themselves look reputable, when, in fact, they may not be.

If you would like assistance evaluating whether an Italian Greyhound being offered is from a reputable breeder, email Italian Greyhound Place for an opinion.

Pet Stores and Internet Puppies
(puppy mills and back-yard-breeders)

-- Pet Stores

-- Internet Puppies

Links  Links  Links  Links  Links

Italian Greyhound Breeders - breeder listing on the Italian Greyhound Club of America website

PetFinder Site - puppies and dogs in shelters and with rescue groups

Where Do Pet Store Puppies Come From - a good, simple video from National Mill Dog Rescue

IG Rescued from a Puppy Mill - are there IGs in puppy mills? Unfortunately, yes. Lil' Olive, who was rescued from a puppy mill by National Mill Dog Rescue, was one of them (a documentary film to honor her was produced).

No Pups for Sale? - an article about cities that have banned pet sales.

Puppy Mill Red Flags – Don’t Be an Accidental Supporter

You aren't alone and your dog is no less deserving of love than any other. In fact, most rescue group and shelter dogs come from these sources. The difference is that buying a puppy from a pet store, puppy mill, or back-yard-breeder supports the breeding of puppies in that manner. So what can you do?

  • Do not give your business to stores that sell puppies. After all, if they are not successful, they will go out of business.

  • Avoid the future temptation to purchase pet store puppies by not going into these stores.

  • Educate other people about where pet store puppies come from and why they should not support these establishments.

  • Educate other people about Internet puppies; more and more people are becoming aware of where pet store puppies come from and that keeping these store owners in business perpetuates the breeding of these dogs. Fewer people are aware of how Internet puppies are bred or how to distinguish a reputable breeder's website from an Internet breeder's website. With the Internet, these irresponsible breeders have a direct way to sell to unsuspecting consumers. You can help spread the word.

Already Bought a Pet Store or Puppy Mill Puppy?

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