Italian Greyhound | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

Italian Greyhound

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.

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.

Dog sheet Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound photos

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Character and behavior

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.


Distinctive features

  • Head: The head is flat and narrow with prominent superciliary ridges. The muzzle is pointed, fox-like. The transition from forehead to muzzle and back of the head is weak.
  • Jaws: The jaws are elongated, rather powerful. The teeth are strong, snow-white with crown-shaped incisors. Bite “scissors”.
  • Ears: The ears are miniature, hanging from fine cartilage and slightly pulled back, movable. When alert, the ears assume a vertical position and move aside.
  • Eyes: The eyes are round, shallow but not prominent, rimmed with black eyelids. The color of the iris is light hazel, but more often dark brown.
  • Frame: The body is closer to a square shape. The neck is strong with a steep arch. The back is straight with a slight bend in the lower back. The croup is broad and powerful. The chest is deep, narrowed, but strong, lowered to the elbow joints. The belly is well in.
  • Limbs: Legs lean, straight, well parallel. The legs are oval, but the hind legs are much rounder. The pads are small and flexible. The fingers are curved with strong claws.
  • Coat: The hairline is very short, soft, shiny, even in structure, evenly covering the body. The undercoat is missing. The color is solid beige, black and gray in different shades.

Character and behavior

The Italian Greyhound is a friendly, outgoing and incredibly playful animal that loves to be the center of attention.

By temperament – a typical choleric, which is characterized by instant excitability and excessive manifestation of emotionality. The main goal of his life is constant contact with a person, but he has a well-developed mind, so the measure of tact is not alien to a dog.

This is a loving and tender dog, sincerely loves the owner and all family members, preferring to express his feelings with tactile caresses. Easily adapts to his lifestyle.

With the children

Despite the active disposition and hyper-emotivity, the Italian Greyhound is an excellent friend with children, and is happy to participate in children’s games.

With other animals

He gets along wonderfully with cats and dogs, forming strong friendships. However, at the sight of small living beings, a greyhound instantly triggers a hunting instinct.


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.

Life expectancy

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.


The Italian Greyhound has a very short coat and should be brushed once a week. Also make sure the dog always has clean ears, clean the eyes daily and trim the nails three times a month.

You should bathe the animal once or twice a month or more often, since small dogs often sleep in one place with their owners and in general are often in close contact with people.


The Italian Greyhound is sensitive to the cold, and therefore in winter he must wear overalls to walk around.

Fun facts

  • 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.

History of the breed

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.


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