Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the breed. This miniature greyhound is cheerful, faithful and calm. It is known by Italian sighthound, Italian greyhound, miniature greyhound and miniature greyhound or miniature greyhound. It was created by reducing the size of large greyhounds through selective breeding.
- Weight. The weight of the Italian Greyhound toy never exceeds 17.6 Lbs, with the most common weight range being between 8.8-11 Lbs.
- Height. Their shoulder height ranges between 12.6-14.2 Inches.
- Coat. The toy Greyhound has a fine, short coat that doesn’t shed much. Keep in mind that their coat doesn’t provide sufficient protection from the cold. It’s recommended for them to live in temperate or warm climates. You can dress them warmly for outdoor walks during the winter.
- Colors. They can be black, various shades of gray (sable colors), and golden (yellow or cream). They often have white markings on their paws and chest.
- General Build. The Italian Greyhound has a similar appearance to the Spanish Greyhound but in a smaller size.
- They have elongated legs, an athletic and elegant appearance, a long and pointed head and snout, small dark eyes that give them a tender look, medium-sized triangular ears that often fold over, a thin tail of medium length, a typical greyhound’s curved belly, and a straight back.
- They are an elegant and finely built breed with a distinguished gait.
The Italian Greyhound is a calm and docile companion, very loyal and affable. They can be shy and nervous around strangers if not socialized properly.
They are intelligent and gentle, making them great companions for older people, to whom they will offer their tenderness and obedience. They can become very dependent pets, always devoted and affectionate to their owners. In this aspect, it can remind us of the Bichon Frise.
Their hobbies include living a peaceful and tranquil life, stretching (they love to stretch), and receiving gentle treatment. However, don’t forget their great racing ability; the toy Greyhound needs a daily run.
Guard Dog. The Italian Greyhound is a docile and shy dog that is also very small, so it’s not a good guard dog.
Barking. They are not prone to barking. They are a discreet and quiet breed.
Training and Obedience. They are naturally obedient, making it easy for them to follow the rules and commands of the household. Socialize them from a young age to prevent excessive shyness or fear of other animals due to their sensitive nature.
Always use positive training methods, reinforcing the dog’s positive behaviors with rewards and praise, as they are very sensitive and could suffer from stress and emotional problems if treated disrespectfully and impatiently.
Italian Greyhounds with Children. It’s essential to treat them with care and respect their moments of rest and calmness; if so, they will enjoy playing with children during their playtime. They are more suitable for slightly older children, as younger ones can easily stress them with their high energy. Teach children to respect their pets.
Italian Greyhounds in an Apartment. They adapt easily to both city and countryside living, thanks to their small size and calm nature.
Italian Greyhounds with Other Pets. They usually get along well with cats and other dogs.
Adaptation to Solitude. They do not tolerate loneliness well; if left alone for many hours each day, they can develop separation anxiety. If you need to leave them alone for an extended period, do so gradually to help them adapt. If your lifestyle requires leaving them alone for many hours, it’s better to consider a less dependent breed that can tolerate solitude better.
Baths. Use specific breed shampoo for baths every 4 to 6 weeks. If it gets dirty you can clean it with a towel dampened with warm water.
Walks and physical activity: The Italian Greyhound is a calm dog but let’s not forget that it is a great athlete. Although it is a good domestic and calm dog, it needs daily walks to keep it physically and mentally fit. Two or three walks a day will be enough. Whenever possible, it is advisable to provide a place where he can run freely, making sure it is safe (fenced or without cars or roads).
Coat: The Italian Greyhound’s hair does not require constant brushing. Even so, it is advisable to do some brushing to remove dirt and dust from the coat. One brushing a week or every 10 days will be enough.
Pros and Cons
Advantages of Italian Greyhound:
- They are not big barkers and are obedient and affectionate, adapting well to any environment, whether it’s apartments or houses, city or countryside.
- Their coat requires minimal care.
Disadvantages of Italian Greyhound:
- They are exceedingly sensitive and shy, which may not seem like a drawback initially, but extreme sensitivity can lead to anxiety and stress, especially when left alone.
- Despite their calm nature, they require daily exercise. Don’t forget their remarkable physical capabilities, despite their small size.
While the Italian Greyhound’s appearance may seem fragile, the miniature Italian Greyhound is generally healthy. Be especially careful during their first year, as their bones can be somewhat fragile. Prevent any fractures in their legs when engaging in activities.
Some of the most common health issues in the breed include:
- Joint disorders.
- Colds, hypothermia, and pneumonia due to their low cold tolerance. Keep them warm and dry when it’s cold.
- Anxiety attacks due to their sensitive nature.
- Vitreous degeneration.
This breed is prone to tartar buildup. To address these issues, brush their teeth regularly with specific dog toothpaste and consider dental cleanings by your veterinarian.
Follow their vaccination and deworming schedules. Visit your veterinarian for any health concerns and for regular nail trimming and ear checks.
History and Origin
The Italian Greyhound is an ancient breed, as is the case of the Xoloitzcuintle, believed to be over 2000 years old. It originated in Greece and Turkey.
Phoenicians introduced it to Europe, and during the Renaissance, it became a beloved dog of the bourgeoisie due to its elegance, grace, and hunting abilities for small prey, thanks to its incredible speed.
The remains of a dog similar to the Italian Greyhound were found in Egyptian tombs dating back over 6000 years.
The breed’s small size is a result of later selective breeding. This miniaturization process made the breed vulnerable to mobility issues in the late 19th century, but careful breeding resolved the problem.
The FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) recognized the breed in 1956, and the last official valid breed standard was published in 2015. It is classified in Group 10: Sighthounds, Section 3: Shorthaired Sighthounds.