Italian Greyhound Information

Overview

Classified in the Toy Group, The Italian Greyhound is very slender and just over a foot tall. They are just as elegant and affectionate as their taller cousins. They were likely bred for both hunting and as a companion. They are just as happy in the country as they are in the city. They are well-suited to apartment life, but love a small yard as well. A depiction of the breed can be seen in Mediterranean ancient decorative art dating back 2000 years ago. Italian noblemen adopted them, hence the name Italian Greyhound. They are playful, intelligent and a friend for both adults and children.

Italian Greyhound
Basic Info
NameItalian Greyhound
Other Name Italian Greyhound: French: Petit Levrier Italiane, Italian: ,Piccolo Levriero Italiano; German: Italienisches Windspiel; Spanish: Galgo italiano
OriginItaly
Size Type Small Dog Breeds
Breed Group Toy Dog Breeds
Life Span 12 - 15 years
TemperamentAffectionate, Intelligent, Mischievous, Agile, Athletic, Companionable
Height13 - 15 inches
Weight7 - 15 lbs
ColorsRed Fawn, Blue, Tan, Fawn, Chocolate, Red, Yellow, Slate Grey, Grey, Black, Sable, Blue Fawn
Puppy Price$500 - $700 USD

Italian Greyhound

Physical description

Body Type

The Italian Greyhound is very similar in general appearance to the Greyhound. Much smaller, it stands 12-16 inches as measured from the shoulder to the ground. Weight is from 6-10 pounds. The long, narrow head tapers to the nose with a slight hint of a stop. The skull is long and almost flat. The muzzle is long and slender with a dark black or brown nose. Medium eyes are bright and intelligent. Small, fine-textured ears fold back at rest and are carried at right angles when alert.

The neck is slender, arched and graceful. The body is of medium length, short-coupled and high at the withers. The back curves and droops at the hindquarters. The highest point of curve is at the beginning of the loin and creates a defined tuck-up at the flanks. The long shoulders are sloping and the chest is deep and narrow. The forelegs are set well underneath the shoulders, long and straight, fine-boned with strong pasterns.

The hindquarters are well-muscled. Hind legs are parallel, stifle is well-bent and hocks are well let down. The feet are long and narrow, toes are well-arched. The tail is slender, tapers to a curved end, set and carried low.

Color

The Italian Greyhound is a short-haired dog. The skin is fine and supple. The coat is glossy with a sheen like satin. They are susceptible to chills in cold weather and may need a sweater outdoors.

The breed comes in many colors including gray, slate gray, fawn, red, white, cream, blue or black.They may be of color with white markings or white with color markings. Brindle and black are not accepted into the AKC show ring.

Coat

The Italian Greyhound is a short-haired dog. The skin is fine and supple. The coat is glossy with a sheen like satin. They are susceptible to chills in cold weather and may need a sweater outdoors.

The breed comes in many colors including gray, slate gray, fawn, red, white, cream, blue or black.They may be of color with white markings or white with color markings. Brindle and black are not accepted into the AKC show ring.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  Yes

Grooming

The Italian Greyhound is a "wash and wear" dog. It is known as one of the easiest breeds to groom. It sheds little to none. Keep the fine, silky coat glossy with a daily rub down using a chamois cloth.

A bath is only necessary when the Italian Greyhound is really dirty. After a bath, dry the dog well and make sure it is warm. Trim the toenails as needed. Use a canine toothpaste to brush the dog's teeth two or three times weekly.

History

The Italian Greyhound is a breed from ancient times. The dogs may first have been bred by the Greeks to hunt rats. Their likeness is depicted on 2000-year-old Mediterranean art and even a 6000-year-old Egyptian tomb. The breed grew popular with noblemen during the Renaissance. A dog of its type was found in an ancient lava flow in the old city of Pompeii, a partially burned, ruined city near modern Naples, Italy.

As with the Greyhound, the breed was introduced to Europe by the Phoenician civilization. They grew popular with European nobility. James I of England, Anne of Denmark, Catherine the Great of Russia and Queen Victoria owned Italian Greyhounds.

Fredrick the Great of Prussia took one of these small dogs to war with him. After its death, he buried it a the Sans Souci Palace with his dying wish to be buried next to it. On August 17th, 1991, on the 205th anniversary of Fredrick's death, his family had his remains transferred to Sans Souci where they were placed beside the grave of his Italian Greyhound.

Temperament

The Italian Greyhound is intelligent and playful. It is generally kind-mannered and submissive, wanting greatly to please its owner. It does not respond well if it senses that it is stronger-willed than the owner. However, it also will not respond to harsh disciple. They need an owner will a calm and natural air of authority.

The breed can be wary of strangers and needs early, thorough socialization. Adult Italian Greyhounds dogs are not as fragile as they may seem. Overprotecting can cause the dog to be high-strung and shy. They are easily trainer if the handler is consistent. The owner should display leadership to avoid problems such as excessive barking and snapping.

This breed does best in a calm, quiet household. Stroking and cuddling during stressful situations does not reassure the dog. Rather, they see this as submissiveness on the part of the human, making them even more insecure. They do well with children and other pets as long as the owner is seen as the pact leader. A daily walk will go a long way in helping to maintain a well-behaved Italian Greyhound.


Interesting Italian Greyhound Facts

  • A 19th century African chieftain was so impressed with the breed he traded 200 cattle for one Italian Greyhound
  • Designer breeders failed when crossbreeding to produce an even smaller Italian Greyhound as the offspring were badly deformed.
  • The dog Nelly in the film Good Boy! is an Italian Greyhound.