Italian Greyhound is a small elegant dog breed with playful and alert traits. This dog looks like a standard greyhound but smaller. In the Middle Ages, they were favored as companions by noblemen. They are capable of hunting small game, but today they are mostly lapdogs. They are also called: Italian Sighthound and Piccolo levriero Italiano. Their coat is glossy and short and very easy to maintain. Italian Greyhounds get along well with everybody, especially children as they are great family dogs.
FUN FACT: Many famous loved these dogs including Anne of Denmark, Catherine the Great, and Queen Victoria.
13-15 in (33-38 cm)
7-14 lb (3-6 kg)
Italian Greyhounds are dogs dating back 2000 years when they were bred as companions. These dogs were hunters for small games, but the breed as we know it today got their look in Renaissance Italy, where they were status symbols, and where aristocrats and wealthy owned these dogs. Italian Greyhounds were found on the painting of various masters. Two world wars nearly destroyed this breed in Europe but because of the American breeders who kept breeding these dogs during the war, Italian Greyhounds were saved and later helped to repopulate Europe with these dogs.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Although they are small, they resemble elegance and grace. These dogs are affectionate, docile, and lively. Italian Greyhounds are highly athletic dogs that enjoy dog sports.
- Group 10 Sighthounds. Section 3 Shorthaired sighthounds. Without working trial.
- Height at the withers: 12 - 15 in (32 to 38 cm)
- Weight: maximum 11 lb (5 kg)
Coat and grooming
Their coat is short, glossy, and extra soft to the touch. They come in a variety of colors including black, shades of blue, cream, and fawn. If you don't like dog hair everywhere around the house this could be the best dog breed for you, because they don't shed much and they are pretty easy to take care of. Brushing is only required when these dogs get dusty.
Dental hygiene is extremely important for Italian Greyhounds. Their teeth must be brushed daily to prevent infections or gum diseases. Your dog will need a bath only if he rolls into something smelly or dirty, otherwise, you will not have to bathe him often. Trimming their nails is necessary when you hear them clicking on to the floor. As you do all these things always check their ears for any signs of redness or bad odor which can indicate an infection. Also, always completely check the dog for any signs of rashes.
If you want your dog to behave while you do all these things you will need to start with them as early as possible, so that your dog will learn its not anything dangerous and so he will learn to enjoy them.
Italian Greyhound exercise
Although they are small, Italian Greyhounds will need regular exercise. Because of their small size, you must be very careful if you let your dog play in the dog park or elsewhere where there are bigger and stronger dogs. They have a lot of energy, but in most cases daily walks will be enough for this breed to be happy and healthy. While walking always keep them on the leash. Although they are small dogs they still have the instinct to chase and will take every chance to chase smaller animals such as rabbits, squirrels, etc.
FUN FACT: This dog is the smallest from the family of Sighthounds.
Training and socialization
Because of their intelligence, Italian Greyhounds are easy to train. They best react to positive training methods that include a lot of praises and treats. If they are motivated (that they will get a reward) they will be easy to train. One thing that you can have problems with is housetraining. You must be consistent and patient if you want to get the job done. If your dog doesn't doest pick up your commands don't be attempted to use harsh methods, because you won't get anything done. The key is consistency and a lot of awards and you will successfully train your dog.
These are sensitive dogs and you must be careful when leaving your dog home alone. If they are left for too long, you can expect that they will suffer from separation anxiety.
Although they are small dogs they required proper socialization in order to become good and well-behaved dogs. From the puppy age take your dog to many different places and expose him to many different people, sights, and sounds.
Italian Greyhounds and kids
Italian greyhounds are excellent family dogs and will get along with children in households. Because they are small dogs you must be careful that your kid doesn't accidentally hurt the dog. That is why is extremely important to teach your kids how to properly play and interact with the dog, especially a dog this small.
Italian Greyhound and other animals
These dogs get along well with other animals, but because of the prey drive, they will attempt to chase smaller animals every chance they get. Here is where socialization plays a big role, but you must be aware that even with the proper socialization they will still in some cases try and chase other animals. They can get along with other dogs, even bigger, but you must be careful when letting them play so they won't hurt your small Italian Greyhound.
Although they look tiny and fragile, they are generally healthy dogs with a life expectancy of 14 – 15 years. Like all dog breeds in the world, they are prone to some health problems, but not all dogs will get them. They are prone to cataracts, pra- progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, epilepsy, allergies, hip dysplasia. It is important that you are aware of these health problems, that you know how to properly reacts if you notice your dog end up with one of the health problems. The best and most efficient way to secure that your dog will be in the best possible health is to buy it from a responsible and official dog breeder. Not only that they regularly test their breeding dogs but they also test their puppies to secure they are healthy.
Italian Greyhound breeders
These dogs were bred from the start to be human companions, and they still fill that role. These are excellent family dogs and you will not make a mistake if you go for one of these dogs. To be sure that you will get the best possible dog regarding health, we advise you to buy it only from an official and registered dog breeder. If you are not interested in buying, you can always search your local animal shelters because in many shelters you can find Italian Greyhounds mostly because of the facts that most people cant housetrain them.
World Dog Finder team