Italian Greyhoun breed dog mini puppy Italian Greyhoun breed dog black mini puppy Italian Greyhoun breed dog blue mini puppy Italian Greyhoun breed dog brown mini puppy Italian Greyhoun breed dog yelloe mini puppy Italian Greyhoun breed dog red mini puppy Italian Greyhoun breed dog white mini puppy Italian Greyhoun breed mini puppies Italian Greyhoun breed mini puppy

Breed information

Group: Toy dog
Life span: 12-15 years
Height male: 30-38 cm/ 12-15 inches
Height female: 30-38 cm/ 12-15 inches
Weight male: 3-5 kg/ 6-10 pounds
Weight female: 3-5 kg/ 6-10 pounds
Character: Affectionate, Agile, Athletic, Companionable, Intelligent, Mischievous


The name of the breed is a reference to the breed's popularity in Renaissance Italy. Mummified dogs very similar to the Italian Greyhound (or small Greyhounds) have been found in Egypt, and pictorials of small Greyhounds have been found in Pompeii, and they were probably the only accepted companion-dog there. Dogs similar to Italian Greyhounds are recorded as having been seen around Emperor Nero's court in Rome in the first century AD.

The breed is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago in the countries now known as Greece and Turkey. This belief is based on the depiction of miniature greyhounds in the early decorative arts of these countries and on the archaeological discovery of small greyhound skeletons. By the Middle Ages, the breed had become distributed throughout Southern Europe and was later a favorite of the Italians of the sixteenth century, among whom miniature dogs were in great demand. Sadly, though, 'designer' breeders tried, and failed, to make the breed even smaller by crossbreeding it with other breeds of dogs. This only led to mutations with deformed skulls, bulging eyes and dental problems. The original Italian Greyhound had almost disappeared when groups of breeders got together and managed to return the breed to normal. From this period onward the history of the breed can be fairly well traced as it spread through Europe, arriving in England in the seventeenth century.

The grace of the breed has prompted several artists to include the dogs in paintings, among others Velázquez, Pisanello, and Giotto. The breed has been popular with royalty. Among the royal aficionados are Mary, Queen of Scots, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great and Maud, Queen of Norway.


The Italian Greyhound is very similar to the Greyhound, but much smaller and more slender in all proportions and of ideal elegance and grace.


The Italian Greyhound has a median lifespan of 13.5 in a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey. A 1993 US breed club survey gives an average lifespan of 9 years but more than a quarter of the dogs had "accidents" recorded as cause of death.

Health problems that can be found in the breed:

  • Epilepsy
  • Legg-Perthes disease (degeneration of the hip)
  • Patellar Luxation (slipped stifles)
  • von Willebrand disease (vWD) (Bleeding disorder)
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Color dilution alopecia (hair loss in dilute pigmented dogs, i.e.: blues, blue fawns, etc.)
  • Leg Breaks (most common under the age of 2)
  • Cataracts
  • Vitreous degeneration
  • Liver shunts
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Periodontal disease, gum recession, early tooth loss, bad tooth enamel
  • Hypothyroidism, Autoimmune Thyroid Disease (Hashimoto's disease)

Their scissor-bite and thin jaw bones make them susceptible to periodontal disease, which can be avoided with good dental care. Daily brushing has been shown to be very beneficial as well as regular dental cleanings from the vet.

Responsible breeders will routinely check their dogs for the onset of various inherited disorders, these commonly include (but are not limited to): CERF examinations on eyes, OFA patellar examinations, OFA thyroid function panels, von Willebrand's factor, OFA hip and Legg-Perthes disease x-rays, and others. In research by the Ortheopedic Foundation for Animals, the Italian Greyhound was found to be the least affected by hip dysplasia out of 157 breeds. Tests were conducted on 169 individual Italian Greyhounds, of which none were found to have hip dysplasia and 59.2% scored excellent on their hip evaluations.


The Italian Greyhound was developed in Ancient Egypt, and many Pharaohs' tombs contain mummies of these highly esteemed dogs. IG's are well mannered most of the time, but are prone to fits of energy which cause them to suddenly leap up and tear around the house or yard, for no apparent reason. IG's are sensitive dogs who prefer a quiet house and a gentle touch. They do not like cold or wet weather, so coats and sweaters are a must in winter months and getting an IG to relieve himself in rain or snow can be impossible. They are quiet and clean housemates, so light on their feet that they can sneak up on you in a room with hardwood floors.

Activity Requirements

Though they are prone to unprompted fits of running, you don't need to be a runner yourself to raise this breed. Italian Greyhounds should be allowed to run several times a week, but they are not built for endurance activities. A few sprints and an Italian Greyhound is done for the day, happily retiring to his bed for some rest and relaxation. They are fine city dwellers, as long as they are allowed to get to a park for regular sprints. Other than that, regular walking will keep the IG happy and healthy. Their size makes them suitable for apartments, but there should be enough room to accommodate random fits of running. Taking your Italian Greyhound to the agility track where he can use his mind and body also provides an excellent outlet for exercise.


Italian Greyhounds are docile animals who need to be treated gently at all times. They are hardly ever aggressive, and tend to freeze up when another dog postures towards them. Treating an IG harshly can cause them psychological harm, as they are incredibly sensitive dogs. Gentle consistency and lots of praise and treats are all you need to train a Italian Greyhound. Though they are independent, they pick up on tasks fairly quickly. They are naturally well-behaved so training is usually quite easy, even for first time dog owners. Housetraining an Italian Greyhound can be a nightmare. They are clean animals and don't want to soil the house, but they absolutely refuse to go out in rain or snow. Having a covered area in the yard can help this situation, but if they have to cross the rain or snow to get to the covered area, you're going to have problems. Early and frequent socialization is very important so that their natural tendency toward shyness does not become all out fearfulness.

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Behavioral Traits

Their chasing instinct is strong. Cats and small dogs an be in peril if your Italian Greyhound's hunting instinct is as strong as his need to chase moving objects. Running should always happen in an enclosed area, and IG's should never be trusted off-leash for both their safety and the safety of other animals. IG's are prone to broken bones. Their running fits and propensity for jumping can lead to fractures and breaks. They shouldn't be allowed to climb onto tall furniture, as leaping from the backs of couches is what usually leads to injury. Play should be supervised, as well. If they get too rowdy with a large dog, they can get hurt.


Italian Greyhounds are a snap to groom. They don't shed much, but regular brushing will help remove dirt and keep the coat looking healthy. Only bathe as-needed, but this breed enjoys rolling in the dirt, so the individual dog will determine bathing needs. Check the ears on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.

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