The Italian greyhound looks like a miniature greyhound. This breed makes an ideal apartment dog, an affable companion and a fearless rabbit hunter.
While in the USA it is considered a toy dog breed and a miniature, Italian greyhounds in Europe qualify as the smallest of the sighthounds. It is one of the fourteen recognized Italian dog breeds.
The Italian greyhound is a serious hunting dog and the dwarfism traits like an excessive fragility, a rounded skull or protruding eyes are carefully avoided.
Although these little hounds covered the role of pampered pets for centuries, they still have the true heart of a hunter.
In fact the Italian greyhound dog successfully competes in coursing and racing trials. They are capable of great speed, intensity and stamina in pursuing the lure and hunting their prey as you can see in the video below.
The Italian greyhound comes from the small hounds of Egypt, was then imported to Greece and from there to Rome but the breed became very popular with the noble class in Italy during the Renaissance.
Depiction of this miniature greyhound are quite common in ancient statues, tapestries and paintings as a hare hunter and pet dog. These pictures attest the popularity of the breed as pampered pets and hare hunters.
These tiny hounds have been for centuries the companion of the noble and the rich for very good reasons. The Italian greyhound couples stunning good looks with a loving and peaceful disposition.
Affectionate and eager to please, the Italian greyhound is, in the best sighthound tradition, reserved with strangers.
Their diminutive size (32-38 cm/13-15 in) and their weight (5 kg/11 lbs) makes them easy traveling companions .
The Italian greyhound colors range from cream, fawn, red to blue and blacks with or without white markings but never with brindle like whippets.
Italian greyhounds don’t need to exercise for hours and don’t like rough games but appreciate the chance of a good run.
Short coated, “iggies” are very easy to clean and groom but cannot stand extreme temperatures.
A warm coat is an absolute must in the winter. The “iggies”, following the tradition, wear tiny but beautifully decorated hound collars.
Actually Italian greyhound owners seem especially willing to indulge in
choosing the most stunning collars for their pets and quite rightly so,
because their dogs have the right attitude to look gorgeous in
As you can see in the video below, Italian greyhounds, despite their size possess a strong sense of themselves and their possibilities.
Click on the arrow to start the video.
Before buying or adopting an Italian greyhound, consider these facts to understand if this breed is the right match for you.
The average life span for an IG is 13-15 years.
Potty training can be a major training problem with this breed. Many IG adoption are caused by an unsuccessful toilet training.
Italian greyhounds hate cold, bad weather and convincing them to relive themselves outside can be quite an accomplishment.
A sheltered place
outside or litter-box/paper training coupled with a scheduled routine
can be a successful strategy.
Daily Teeth Brushing
Probably the most common health problem of this ancient breed is gum and teeth disease at an early age. Daily brushing and a dentistry program can prevent this problem.
Grooming with a nail grinder two to three times a week is recommended for the Italian Greyhound to avoid overgrown nails.
No Rough Games
IG’s long and slender legs are prone to bone fractures and luxating patellas are a common problem in small breeds.
Play with rowdy children
and large dogs should be avoided for the safety of these miniature
Most "iggies" are more free thinkers than natural obedience champions.
If you expect from your dog instant and unerring obedience, the Italian
greyhound is not the breed for you.
Italian greyhounds demand attention and can’t stand extreme weather,
they are indoor dogs. If you are looking for a dog that can stay outside
most of the time, the IG is not for you.
Looking for an Italian dog name for your miniature greyhound? Click on the link to see a collection of Italian names for boys and girls.
Back to Italian Greyhound Breeders