Canine Breed Menu



Breed Organization
Italian Greyhound Club of America
Native Country
Other Names
IG, Italian Greyhound, Miniature Greyhound, Piccolo Levriero Italiano
Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years
Litter Size
Average 3-5 Puppies
Breed Group
Breed Appearance
The modern Italian Greyhound's appearance is a result of breeders throughout Europe, particularly Austrian, German, Italian, French and British breeders, making great contributions to the forming of this breed. The Italian Greyhound should resemble a small Greyhound, or rather a Sloughi, though they are in appearance more elegant and graceful.

Breed Description
Head: Long, narrow. Flat skull. Stop not very pronounced. Pointed muzzle. Cleanly cut cheeks. Thin lips.
Ears: Set on high, small. Folded back on themselves and carried against the upper neck.
Eyes: Large, dark. Edge of eyelids pigmented.
Body: Square build. Neck shaped like a short cone, without dewlap. Fairly pronounced withers. Chest deep, well let-down, narrow.
Tail: Set on low, thin even at the base, tapering gradually toward the tip. First half carried low and straight; remainder curving.
Hair: Close-lying and fine on entire body.
Coat: Solid or any shade of black, grey, slate grey, slate, or yellow. White is tolerated only on the chest and feet.
Size: 32 to 38 cm.
Weight: Up to 5 kg.

This very ancient breed - possibly a mutated Egyptian Greyhound - was brought to Italy via Greece as early as the fifth century B.C., as evidenced by numerous representations on vases and mixing bowls. The Italian Greyhound was very common in the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages but was most popular with the nobility of Renaissance times. This dog was commonly painted by the grand masters of Italy and abroad. The Italian Greyhound charmed the elite of this period, from King Francois I to Frederick the Great. Then interest in the dog waned, due to a decline in the breed caused by miniaturization. After World War II, the breed was revived, and its earlier traits were restored. A standard was established in 1968.

This tiny Greyhound or miniature Arabian Greyhound often quivers with excitement. Despite his dainty and fragile appearance, he is lively, energetic, hardy, and agile. He likes to hunt small game (including rabbit and hare). Affectionate, intelligent, very loving, merry, and playful, he is a charming pet. He is quiet, reserved, and distant toward strangers. He needs gentle but firm training.

Italian Greyhounds are prone to epilepsy, slipped stifle, fractures, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy). Dams whelp easily. Adult dogs are fairly hardy, however puppies are more fragile up until they are about eighteen months old, and they can break a leg rather easily.

He can adapt to city life but needs exercise. He does not like being left alone and cannot tolerate cold weather and rain. He requires regular brushing.


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