Italian Greygound

Italian Greyhound: A Small Sighthound

Although the Italian Greyhound has been around for many years, it is unknown where this dog originated. They appear in artwork from more than 2000 years ago in places like the Mediterranean, Greece, and Turkey.  Italian Greyhounds (IGs), also called “Miniature Greyhounds,” were widely distributed throughout southern European countries.

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthounds and is part of the AKC Toy Group.  The Italian Greyhound Club of America is the AKC parent club for this breed.

Italian Greyhound History

Italian Greyhound
Height: 13-15 inchess; 7-14 Weight: pounds; Lifespan: 14-15 years ; Country: ; Italy; Popularity (AKC 2021): 73

This dog breed arrived in England in the 17th century, gaining favor with the aristocracy. They gained the same level of popularity in England that they did in their native Italy.

Only two distinct dog breeds were mentioned in a book about dogs in 1820. It included the Italian Greyhound. This breed continued to gain popularity, primarily among the wealthy but peaked during Queen Victoria’s reign.

The number of Italian Greyhounds began to fall significantly after the Victorian Age. In actuality, these dogs had all but vanished after World War II. Although the cause of this drop is uncertain, it is believed that generations of subpar breeding practices were to blame.

Even though they were at the point of extinction due to a decline in numbers, the Italian Greyhound breed was saved when a large number of them immigrated to America in the late 1800s.


Girl with Italian greyhound in her arms in the park.The Italian Greyhound is a small dog. IGs are Greyhounds in miniature. It has a long neck, long, slender legs, and a tucked-up tummy. It has a relatively wide chest. Its legs are short and elongated.  It has a thin head.  High-stepping and well-sprung stride, good forward extension in the trot, and a quick gallop are desirable.

The exquisite Italian Greyhound is a smaller version of a real Greyhound and makes a watchful, amusing, and devoted toy friend. Although they are attractive couch dogs, IGs are fast-moving coursing hounds with a hunting instinct.

More slender yet with all the grace and elegance of a Greyhound. They have the sleek, curved lines characteristic of all coursing hounds and should stand between 13 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder. The long, fine-boned legs are distinguishing characteristics.

IGs mix the sophistication of old, aristocratic hounds with the attentiveness of lapdogs. These high-stepping charmers won’t go unnoticed because they were bred for ages to be devoted companions and jesters. According to an IG expert, the breed prefers to be in your lap or bed rather than on the floor. However, they are real sighthounds and will run after swiftly moving prey or at the first sign of a cat.

The coat may be various solid colors, including black, grey or isabelline; white markings are only accepted on the chest and feet.


The Italian Greyhound is a relatively little dog that enjoys dashing after anything that dares to flee. The cautious, timid, and affectionate Italian Greyhound is an excellent family pet, even for those with young children. These dogs are incredibly kind and slightly sensitive.

Caring For

Girl with Italian greyhound in her arms in the park.This particular dog breed is best suited to a household with active children. They require a dynamic way of life that includes lots of outdoor running. In other words, the Italian Greyhound would not be the best pick if lounging on your couch all day long is how you envision spending time with your dog.

Italian Greyhounds can tolerate higher-than-normal temperatures thanks to their shorthaired coat, despite their hatred of the cold.  IGs need particular attention during cold weather.

The only grooming required is the occasional brushing to eliminate dead hair.

Health Concerns

The typical lifespan of an Italian Greyhound is 13 to 14 years. However, they can live up to 17 years when healthy. Their only significant health risk is periodontal disease. PRA, leg fractures from running, patellar luxation, and epilepsy are examples of minor conditions.

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