Italian Greyhound | Information & Dog Breed Facts


Representatives of the Greyhound breed will absolutely please a true connoisseur of greyhounds. The Italian Greyhound differs from the rest of the species in grace and miniature build.

Thanks to such a beautiful appearance, manners, character, the Italian greyhound was proclaimed a symbol of the aristocracy in ancient times. In the modern world, this dog still corresponds to this title and can become a devoted, somewhat timid, but endlessly loving pet for you.

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

The small Italian Greyhound is a calm and peaceful dog, with a slender and refined figure, and small dimensions, being one of the 5 smallest dogs in the world! Its image is reminiscent of Spanish greyhounds, but of a notably smaller size. This does not mean that they are, like all sighthounds, incredibly agile and fast. Next, we will discover all the information about these miniature greyhounds in Pets feed.

Breed history

One of the oldest types of dogs is the Italian greyhound. This fact is confirmed by archaeological finds in the form of Greek vases. These ancient exhibits date back to the 5th century BC.

It is also believed that the first representatives of the breed arrived in Italy from Greece. The formation, improvement of this greyhound took place already in the Roman Empire, therefore Italy is considered the birthplace of these miniature greyhounds.

The Italian hound’s purpose was to chase rabbits, but for the most part it was prized as an ornamental sofa dog.

The peak of the breed’s popularity falls on the Renaissance period. The most famous artists of the world depicted the Italian greyhound on their canvases next to their noble owners.

Almost every royal palace contained Italian greyhound dogs. For example, miniature Italian greyhounds were the favorites of such famous persons as Catherine II, Queen Victoria of Britain, King of Prussia Frederick the Great.

There were hard times in the history of the breed. The October Revolution and both World Wars led to the almost complete extinction of purebred Italian greyhound dogs.

The sad fact is explained by the fact that during the revolution in Russia, the working people hated small dogs as pets of the rich. During the World Wars, there was neither time nor opportunity to breed Italian greyhounds.

When, by the twentieth century, an obvious threat of extinction hung over the breed, there were breeders who began to work closely to restore the number and purity of this species.

For the purpose of improvement, the Italian Greyhound was crossed with a whippet and a dwarf pinscher. Whippet supported the greyhound type in the breed, and the pinscher contributed to the consolidation of a miniature physique.

After the Second World War, the Italian greyhound was reborn, it was no longer threatened with extinction. In 1968 the breed standard was adopted.

The Italian greyhound, having survived all the hardships, has now regained popularity in all countries of the world. It is also called the Little Greyhound.

Italian Greyhound

Physical characteristics of the Italian Greyhound

Among all the species belonging to the group of greyhounds, the Italian greyhound is the smallest and most graceful. It can be safely called an ornamental dog, although its musculature is much more developed than that of other ornamental breeds. The growth of adults is 38-40 cm, weight is about 3-5 kg.

The body of the Italian greyhound is so fragile that it gives the impression of the exhaustion of the animal, of malnutrition. In fact, protruding ribs and slender limbs are characteristic of all representatives of hunting greyhounds.

A round, elongated head rests on a strong neck. The length of the neck is equal to the length of the head. The small ears are bent on cartilage and set high. The dark, large eyes are oval in shape.

Studying look, alive. The elongated muzzle tapers towards the nose. Cheekbones dry, scissor bite.

The back is straight, strong, and muscular. Slightly arched in the croup. The rib cage is narrow. Legs are muscular, straight. The musculature on the hind legs is more developed than on the front. The tail is thin.

The coat of the Italian greyhound is short, the hair is smooth and shiny. According to the standard, the following color is allowed: gray, blue, black, fawn. White spots on the legs and chest are not considered a defect.

Italian Greyhound

Character and temperament of the Italian Greyhound

A distinctive character trait of the Italian greyhound is the ability to subtly feel the mood of the owner and the ability to adapt to him.

Such a dog is willing to share the owner’s lifestyle, so long as he does not leave him alone. So that the Italian greyhound does not suffer while the owners are absent, it is recommended to keep several pets of this breed at once. They get along well with each other.

The Italian greyhound is a very sensitive animal. He does not tolerate harsh, loud sounds, although he himself reacts to any stimulus with a loud, harsh bark.

If such a dog is treated roughly, it will become depressed or turn into a frightened creature, trembling at the slightest rustle. Caress, attention, care on the part of the owner is a vital condition for keeping.

Owners of miniature greyhounds compare their pets to cats. All because of their desire to find a place higher, climb there and observe everything that happens. This can be a wardrobe, table, back of a chair or sofa.

The Italian greyhound gets along with children, she readily plays with them. He behaves friendly with small dogs, avoids and fears animals that are superior in size.

He does not trust strangers until he is convinced of their friendly intentions. But even after establishing contact, the Italian greyhound will be on the alert if a stranger is nearby.

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound


The average life expectancy of the little Italian greyhound is 12-15 years. With proper maintenance, such a pet can live up to sixteen years of age.

To maintain the dog’s body in a healthy state and to prevent many diseases, the owner must carry out treatment against external, internal parasites, do timely vaccination, for the sake of prevention, periodically show the pet to a veterinarian.

The Italian Greyhound naturally received good health, but a predisposition to certain diseases and health problems are still observed:

  • Fractures of the extremities – most often occur due to the excessive activity of the animal. Young Italian greyhounds tend to overestimate their strength, resulting in injuries.
  • Dental diseases – early tooth loss is observed in many individuals.
  • Eye diseases – retinal atrophy, cataract.
  • Partes articular disease is aseptic necrosis of the femoral head.
  • Epilepsy – seizures of unexplained etiology occur.
  • Baldness – it can be of different intensity.
  • Cryptorchidism – leads to a decrease or complete extinction of spermatogenesis.
  • Colored mutational alopecia is a hereditary disease.
  • Dysplasia – joints suffer, the disease gives the dog severe pain and leads to lameness.
Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

Basic care

The small Italian Greyhound is not designed to be kept in the yard. It is thermophilic, does not tolerate dampness, cold, loves comfort and loves to sleep on the master’s sofa.

It is not surprising, because the ancestors who lived in the royal chambers slept on silk pillows. They were served by specially assigned people.

A miniature dog, properly educated, will not cause any particular inconvenience to the owners, living in an apartment or in a house. This Italian dog quickly learns the rules of behavior in the home and quickly gets used to the litter box.

For this dog, you need to determine a resting place with a soft couch, but it will still strive to settle in an armchair, on a sofa, or at least at the feet of the owner. It is important for the Italian greyhound to be with him all the time.

The Italian Greyhound is extremely active. Therefore, the owner must provide the little greyhound with daily active walks. It is ready to accompany him on his morning jogging or run next to the bike, rejoicing in the owner’s company and the fact that she is involved in his affairs and worries.

In order for an active dog to throw out the accumulated energy, while walking, allow him to run, jump, using a ball or stick in a playful way. The owner should know that the Italian greyhound loves to dig holes in the ground or swarm in the grass.

It is in it that the abilities of a hunter for burrowing animals, rabbits, are manifested. It is not worth forbidding to engage in such exercises, the dog thus does exercises for the paws.

If you are walking with a greyhound in crowded places, do not let it off the leash. The hunting instinct in her is so strongly developed that she can at any moment rush in pursuit of a cat, dog, or just a piece of newspaper. This can lead to tragic consequences in the form of injuries and even death under the wheels of the car.

In cold, frosty weather, we reduce walking time to a minimum. Be sure to buy clothes for the short-haired pet for the fall and winter. Neither the coat nor the minimal layer of subcutaneous fat can protect the Italian Greyhound from the cold.

Taking care of a small Italian greyhound is not difficult. Just follow these care procedures on time:

  • Brush the coat once a week with a gentle brush. It is prohibited to use the furminator.
  • We bathe this small dog only as needed. The rest of the time we wipe the coat with a damp towel and wash the paws after each walk.
  • We cut the claws as they grow.
  • We brush our dog’s teeth regularly.
  • We clean our dog’s ears and examine them carefully once a week.

It is important to provide your dog with a balanced diet. In puppyhood, the Italian greyhound must receive sufficient amounts of protein and calcium, otherwise an adult greyhound can often injure limbs (fractures, pricks).

It is recommended to feed the Italian dog: chicken, beef, vegetables, cereals, cottage cheese, offal. We feed the puppy 3-6 times a day, adult dogs 2 times a day. The water in the bowl should be fresh and cool at all times.

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

Training and education

From an early age, the Italian greyhound must master the rules of behavior in the home. If you do not show it who is the boss in the house, this greyhound will think of itself as the head of the “pack” and will establish its own laws.

Early socialization is also very important for this sensitive dog. The puppy should not be afraid of cars, people passing by. Adequate behavior in public places is one of the rules of education.

The Italian greyhound is difficult to train. It has a very stubborn disposition and hard training lessons are given to it. This greyhound can master basic, simple commands: you can’t sit next to me, etc. It is difficult to remember more complex commands.

It is recommended to start training at 4-5 months. Remember that the representatives of the breed have a delicate psyche. Such a dog reacts badly to a yell, to rough treatment. Therefore, during classes, the owner must be patient, calm and consistent. For success, encouragement is mandatory.

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

Italian greyhound Fun Facts

  • The name of the breed “Italian greyhound” is translated from French as “hare” (Petit lévrier italien), from Italian – “small” (Piccolo levriero italiano), from German – “toy of the wind” (Italienisches Windspiel)
  • King Frederick never parted with his Italian greyhound, even when he had to hide with it under the bridge from enemy soldiers. When the dog died, Frederick buried it next to the royals. Catherine II did almost the same. She ordered to build a tomb for its deceased Italian greyhound Zemira, resembling a reduced Egyptian pyramid.
  • The Italian greyhound has exceptional vigilance, which is what it uses while hunting. With regards to scent, she has it very weak.
  • The Italian greyhound is capable of speeds up to 40 km / h.
  • The Italian Greyhound is a hero in the works of F. Dostoevsky and A.S. Pushkin.
  • The Italian greyhound is able to distinguish the slightest shades of intonation and timbre of a human voice.
  • Nefertiti, Catherine II and other famous persons put Italian greyhounds in their bed, comparing them to heating pads. They claimed that the pets promoted pleasant dreams and relieved joint pain.
  • Little Italian Greyhound puppies can be longhaired. After the first shedding, the coat acquires qualities corresponding to the standard.
Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

Italian greyhound Dog Breed Highlights

If you decide to purchase an Italian Greyhound puppy, consider whether you can provide the extremely active dog with sufficient physical activity and regular walks. Such a pet requires a lot of attention and care from the owner. To make the right decision, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the strengths and weaknesses of the Italian breed.

Positive points:

1. Not complicated care, not expensive maintenance.

2. Suitable for apartment maintenance.

3. Friendly character, dedication.

4. Get along well with other miniature dogs.

5. Easy transfers, travel.

Negative points:

1. Does not tolerate cold.

2. Requires long walks, is overly active.

3. Poor loneliness.

4. Shows hunting instinct in the wrong places and at the wrong time.

5. Can easily become panicky.

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