Italian Greyhound

avatarJenna Kahn, MBA, VMD

Height12 - 15"
Weight6 - 10 lbs
TypeToy
Life Expectancy13 - 15 years
Area of OriginItaly

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

The Italian Greyhound is a graceful, endearing breed that has noble European roots. Today, they are well-known for being both a beloved household pet and an award-winning dog show competitor. Dainty and good-natured, the miniature Greyhound stands as a testament to its heritage as a toy version of site hounds, heralded for their ability to chase prey by sight rather than scent. In the home, Italian Greyhounds are affectionate, playful, and friendly. They make great family dogs and are very amenable to urban living.

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Italian Greyhounds From?

The Italian Greyhound is best known for its origins in Italy, where owning one was considered a symbol of wealth and prestige during the Renaissance.

However, various artistic works and archeological findings suggest that the breed truly originated over 1,000 years prior, in present-day Turkey and Greece. Nonetheless, the miniature Greyhounds gained popularity in the 1600s as a royal pet, owned by the likes of Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, and Anne of Denmark. It was nearly 300 years later when the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club and popularized in North America.

Standardization efforts were most successful in the United States, and, after World War II, Europe began importing stock from America. Today, the breed is as equally regarded as an affectionate family pet as it is a champion show dog, with numerous lure coursing and “Best in Show” titles awarded in recent years.

Where Are Italian Greyhounds From?

The Italian Greyhound is best known for its origins in Italy, where owning one was considered a symbol of wealth and prestige during the Renaissance.

However, various artistic works and archeological findings suggest that the breed truly originated over 1,000 years prior, in present-day Turkey and Greece. Nonetheless, the miniature Greyhounds gained popularity in the 1600s as a royal pet, owned by the likes of Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, and Anne of Denmark. It was nearly 300 years later when the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club and popularized in North America.

Standardization efforts were most successful in the United States, and, after World War II, Europe began importing stock from America. Today, the breed is as equally regarded as an affectionate family pet as it is a champion show dog, with numerous lure coursing and “Best in Show” titles awarded in recent years.

Care

What Kind of Diet Does an Italian Greyhound Need?

The Italian Greyhound thrives on a high-quality, small-breed diet. If in an urban environment with limited outdoor exercise, careful portion control is required to prevent overeating.

Caring for an Italian Greyhound

What Kind of Diet Does an Italian Greyhound Need?

How Much Grooming Does an Italian Greyhound Need?

Are Italian Greyhounds Healthy Dogs?

How Much Training Does an Italian Greyhound Need?

How Much Exercise Do Italian Greyhounds Need?

What Kind of Diet Does an Italian Greyhound Need?

The Italian Greyhound thrives on a high-quality, small-breed diet. If in an urban environment with limited outdoor exercise, careful portion control is required to prevent overeating.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of an Italian Greyhound?

The Italian Greyhound perfectly resembles a Greyhound, but in tiny form. They have a thin, deep-chested, agile body with long, limber limbs. A high-stepping, graceful gait is also characteristic of the breed. They average between 12 – 15 inches in height and weigh between 6 and 10 pounds.

The Italian Greyhound has a narrow, long head and flat skull. The nose is also long, and tapers as it extends from the skull. The eyes are medium in size and typically dark brown. The ears are thin, folded over and pulled back when relaxed.

This breed boasts a long, slender neck that is set atop an arched, medium-length torso. The chest is deep and the hind end slopes downward into the back limbs. Although still well-muscled and defined, the body is generally thinner and less muscled than a full-sized Greyhound.

The tail is slim, long, and tapered. It is carried low and with a slight curve.

The forelimbs are quite long and straight. The musculature is average, and the bones are delicate. The feet are strong.

The coat of the Italian Greyhound is short and silky. There are a large variety of potential coat colors. The most popular colors include blue, cream, grey, and fawn. White markings are commonly part of the color scheme as well.

The hindlimbs are similar to the front limbs in that they are long, but they are far more muscular. When seen from behind, the hindlimbs are parallel. The feet are similar to the feet of a hare, in that the middle toes are longer than the outer ones.

Italian Greyhound Facts

1

Italian Greyhounds are known as Piccolo Levriero Italiano in their native Italy.

2

The Italian Greyhound is one of the oldest dog breeds on record, dating back roughly 4,000 - 7,000 years.

3

The breed was a popular muse for many Gothic and early Renaissance painters, including Giotto and Carpaccio.

Other Breeds to Explore

Greyhound
Choosing an Afghan Hound
Basenji

References

  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.