How does the IG behave in the house?
They are an in-your-face breed. They want to be with you constantly, even accompanying you to the bathroom. In addition to this, they can be active in the house, jumping on and off the furniture, and never settling down until you do.
How difficult are they to housetrain?
They can be very difficult to housetrain. It takes longer than with other breeds and needs to be constantly reinforced especially in foul (rainy, snowy or cold) weather. We are not talking weeks of work to housetraining, but rather months, and with some particularly stubborn dogs, years. Some dogs are never truly 100% housetrained. Many people resort to “pee pads” in the house.
How much grooming do they require?
While they do not have long coats that require brushing on a daily or weekly basis, they do need to have their teeth brushed every day (this comes with being a small dog) as well as yearly visits to the veterinarian (in addition to vaccinations) for a dental cleaning. They also require nail trimming as often as once a week.
Are they indoor dogs?
Because they have very little fur or body fat, these dogs cannot live outside; they must be allowed to live indoors. They simply do not have the ability to stay outdoors for extended periods of time.
How much exercise does the IG require?
Although the occasional couch potato does exist, by and large the IG is an active breed. They enjoy daily walks or runs, amounting to an hour of exercise per day. They excel at agility and while obedience is not their favourite exercise, they also do well at this. I do not recommend off-leash walks. The dogs can be easily startled, and the “flight” mechanism is easily engaged and they can take off, at which point you will not be able to catch them. They may not recall, and things can just get bad.
Are they fragile?
While they are more sturdy than they appear, there is no doubt that they are more fragile than other breeds. Broken legs are definitely a factor that must be considered when you are considering an IG as a dog for your household. Broken legs are very expensive to fix, and can take 6 months for full rehabilitation.
How are they with children?
Generally, we do not recommend the IG as a pet for homes with small children. They are rather fragile, and rambunctious children can hurt an IG quite unknowingly.
How can I tell if my dog is too fat (or too thin)?
A dog that is a good weight should have a waist, tuck up and a hint of ribs showing. The following photos will illustrate some of the extremes.