Italian Greyhound

Type: Sighthound and Pariah

Height: 12.5 - 15 inches.

Weight: 5.5 - 15 lbs. Two varieties: 8 lbs. and under; Over 8 lbs.

Life Span: 14 - 16 years.

Litter Size: 3 - 5 puppies.

Country of Origin: Italy

Activity: Indoors - Low. Outdoors - High.

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: Low. Miniature Greyhounds are much to fragile to protect.

Description: The Italian Greyhound is sometimes referred to as the "IG". Italian Greyhounds are the smallest of the sighthounds. They are identical to the Greyhound, except for being much smaller and more slender in all proportions. They are lively and full of good spirits and want to please. They crave affection and return it gladly. Italian Greyhounds will adapt well to indoor living, and in fact do better there. They are prone to chills and should be kept in a draft-free environment and given a warm bed to snuggle in. Italian Greyhounds are not a noisy dog. They are quiet and calm. They also get along well with other pets, and does well with older children. IG's are a clean, odorless dog. Owners say that Italian Greyhounds are very easy to care for, making them an ideal companion. They are very sensitive, however, and must not be harshly rebuked. Handle your Italian Greyhound very gently and do not place in a noisy household. They also have a thin skeletal structure, making it easy to break bones. Italian Greyhounds are loveable, however, and love to play. They make fine household pets, as long as precaution is taken with their delicate nature. They have a very short, smooth coat. Just like Greyhounds, they also have a thin face, thinly framed body and small drop ears. Their eyes are dark brown, and they come in colors ranging from blue, fawn, red, seal and white. They often have "socks" on their paws of lighter coloring. Small and petite, the Italian Greyhound is perfect for the person who wishes to take their dog wherever they go.

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Other Names: Piccolo Levrieve Italiani, Miniature Greyhound, Iggy, IG

Colors: Short, fine and glossy. The coat is smooth and sleek.

Coat: Solid black, blue, cream, fawn, seal, red or white or any of these colors with broken white. They sometimes have

Temperament: Italian Greyhounds are quiet, affectionate and calm. They are good indoor dogs, loving to snuggle up next to you or in their bed. They are not nervous, but may be shy around strangers. They are playful, loving and devoted to their masters. They love to please. IGs look for affection and demand it. They are intelligent, trainable, but stubborn at times. They get along well with other pets usually, and get along with older children who will not hurt them. Italian Greyhounds are sensitive, however, and need a gentle hand in training. They are also very clean and enjoy their master's company.

With Children: Yes, if children are mature. Older children are best.

With Pets: Yes, good with other dogs; sometimes with cats.

Special Skills: Hunting dog and family pet.

Care and Training: Italian Greyhounds are easy to groom. They require a rub down with a soft cloth or chemise. Bathe only when necessary, but take care that they are thoroughly dry and warm afterwards. Italian Greyhounds can get cold easily, and need warmth. Free play and regular walks will keep an Italian Greyhound in shape. In fact, just following their owner around the house all day can also do the trick!

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - Low.

Special Needs: Attention, fenced yard, leash, protection from the cold and socialization.

Living Environment: Indoors, city or country, apartment or house, the IG needs daily exercise and attention. The owner of an Italian Greyhound should be a patient leader who desires a high-energy, delicate, affectionate toy dog. The best owner for this breed would be a gentle person or family living in a city or suburban environment.

Health Issues: Italian Greyhounds are very thin, making them prone to broken legs and slipped kneecaps. Other health concerns include hereditary eye problems, autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, and Legg-Perthes disease.

History: Though to have descended from a breed over 2000 years old, the Italian Greyhound has been found throughout southern Europe during the Middle Ages. The Italian Greyhound was one of the first breeds in ancient antiquity to be bred exclusively as a companion. It is thought that the breed may have been used for hunting small prey, but most evidence suggests a companionship as the main goal. Whatever their original purpose, they have been bred for the past few centuries as purely a pet. The breed is also the smallest of the sight hounds. Italian Greyhounds, or miniature Greyhounds, were popular pets of the Egyptians, Greeks and Roman aristocrats. There has been evidence such as paintings and drawings found in the tombs of Egypt and in Roman art depicting these tiny dogs. Some believe that the Latin motto "cave canem" which means "beware the dog" was meant not to deter people from the mastiffs used to guard their homes, but to warn incomers to not accidentally hurt their delicate Greyhounds. The breed was popular among royalty in the 16th and 17th centuries, gracing the palaces of Mary Queen of Scots, Princess Anne of Denmark, and Catherine the Great of Russia. King Lobengula, chief of the Matabele tribe of the 19th century, was said to have traded 200 cattle for one Italian Greyhound! Frederick the Great was also said to have taken his Italian everywhere, including into battle. The breed would hug close to him, of course, not fight. In the 19th century, people became obsessed with tiny breeds. Some tried to miniaturize the Italian even more, resulting in deformed and sterile subjects. Soon, however, the fad ended and the breed returned to normalcy. A perfect copy of their larger cousin, the Greyhound, the Italian Greyhound made its way to England by 1900 and to America in the mid to late 19th century. In the mid 1900s, fresh blood was introduced into the American continent, and the breed was revived even more. Today, owners around the world maintain the Italian Greyhound as a family pet and companion, as well as in dog shows.

First Registered by the AKC: 1886

AKC Group: Toy

Class: Toy

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 10), KC (GB), UKC