Italian Greyhound

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Piccolo Levrieri Italiani
Country/Date of origin:
  • Italy
  • 500 BC
  • 13 to 15 inches
  • As little as 5 pounds
  • Up to 15 pounds
  • The average is about 8 pounds
  • Affectionate and playful with those in its family.
  • Reserved with strangers.
  • Can be difficult to housebreak.
  • Often destructive if left alone.
  • Cannot take criticism or any harsh treatment, including sharp reprimands.

The miniature version of the Greyhound has been known since the days of the Egyptian Pharaohs.  Mummies of similar dogs have been found in royal tombs.  It was popular in ancient Greece and in Rome where it found great favor.  In Italy it was refined and flowered in the Renaissance.  It is not known whether the original Italian Greyhound was used for hunting game.  However, the modern dog is strictly a decorative, companion animal.  The list of monarchs that fancied the breed is long:  James I of England, Anne of Denmark, Frederick the Great of Prussia, Catherine the Great of Russia, and Queen Victoria of England.  Italian Greyhounds have been listed in the American Kennel Club (AKC) stud books since 1886 but it was not until 1950 that as many as 50 were registered in a single year.

Body Type:
  • A miniature Greyhound.
  • Rose ears are thin and carried close to the neck in repose.  Ears are semi pricked when alert.  They are not altered.
  • The long tail is held down, often tucked between legs.  It is not altered.
  • The Italian Greyhound differs in its walking gait from the other sighthounds.  It has a spirited high stepping prance.
  • Short, thin and glossy.  Feels like satin.
  • All colors permissible with any markings except the black and tan patterning or any sort of brindle.
  • Minimal grooming.
  • Very little shedding.
Health and Wellness:
  • Fairly healthy breed.
  • Slender legs break easily.
  • Joint problems such as dislocations and deterioration of the ball and socket of hip.
  • Intolerant of cold.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy.
  • Hemangiomas (actinic).
  • Hemangiosarcomas.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC, actinic).
What you should know:
  • A mild mannered, small, elegant dog without the spoiled nature of some toys.
  • The Italian Greyhound does not like rough play.
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