Italian Greyhound Ultimate Guide: Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

Favored by noblewomen in Italy and England, the Italian Greyhound has a small body with a big personality. If you love arts, you may be familiar with this breed as they are usually immortalized in portraits by famous artists. This dog is loving, adorable, and energetic, and is suited to families with children and elders.


The Italian Greyhound has been around for sometime. 2,000-year old artifacts resembling Mini Greyhounds are found in Turkey and Greece. They are bred to hunt, and were specially used to hunt small games.

During the Middle Ages, the Italian Greyhounds became very popular in Italy, therefore its name. In fact, you can see IGs in portraits by popular artists, including Pisanello and Giotto di Bondone.

By the 1600s, this breed became so popular in England, especially among nobles.
In 1886, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Italian Greyhounds. Despite the relatively low number of IGs existing in the U.S., they played a big role in saving the breed from extinction. When World War I and II began, dog breeding almost completely stopped. After the wars, American-bred IGs were used by breeders to re-establish the breed in Europe.

Today, the Italian Greyhounds enjoy the life of being a family companion, as well as active participants in canine sports.


The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of all sighthounds. Despite their size, this breed is elegant and graceful, resembling his bigger Greyhound cousin. Despite it’s small body, this dog is athletic and muscular.

Italian Greyhounds have glossy and soft coats that are short. Because they easily get cold, they are prone to shiver and chills, so they need to stay indoors with their family.

Their coats vary in color, including black, blue, cream, fawn, and red. It can either be solid in color, or with white spots.


The Italian Greyhound stands between 13 to 15 inches at the withers, with weight varying from 6 to 10 pounds. Depending on their pet parent, some may be heavier, weighing up to 15 pounds.

Life Span

Italian Greyhounds have a relatively long life expectancy of 14 to 15 years. If you’re looking for a lifelong companion for you and your family, then the Italian Greyhound is a great choice.


Perhaps, one of the perks of owning an Italian Greyhound is that they’re easy to maintain in terms of grooming. They are low shedders, and do not require daily brushing. Instead, brush them only when they get dirty. Baths should also be done only when needed.


A small dog with an interesting personality, that’s what an Italian Greyhound is. This breed is gentle, affectionate, and often curious – expect him to look over into anything that captured his interest.

Charming and loving, the IG makes a great addition to any family that can provide him with his needs. They demand attention, and will follow you everywhere! Although they can be shy and aloof towards unfamiliar faces.

Because of their hunting instinct, you may observe IGs run after anything that moves, such as small animals, or even moving cars. It’s essential that they’re kept on leash whenever you take them out.


Italian Greyhounds are highly intelligent dogs, making training effortless and easy.
However, they need an owner who can make training sessions fun and entertaining. Also, being a smart dog, you also need to provide them with regular mental stimulation aside from physical exercise.


The Italian Greyhound is more than just a family companion. With it’s high-stepping gait, this breed is athletic and agile. With their high endurance and top speed of 25 miles per hour, IGs are popular as a strong competitor in canine sports, such as obedience, agility, rally, and even weight pulling.


A young Italian Greyhound has a great deal of energy. As they grow, they mostly adjust to the activity level of their family. A daily walk or jog will be enough to suffice his physical needs, but it is important to keep him on leash, or you lose him in a second. Remember, their speed and hunting instinct is not a good combination when you take them out.


Italian Greyhounds respond well to training which uses motivational techniques, such as food rewards, praises, and plays. Since this breed has a relatively short attention span, it is important to keep training quick and positive.

When properly trained, IGs excel in dog sports and activities. Never use punishments as a way to train them. They are sensitive, and harsh treatments can result in restlessness and inability to pick up commands.

As with most dogs of their size, house training can be a challenge. It is recommended to use a dog door instead, so they can go in and out as they wish.

Good With Family

Italian Greyhounds are loving dogs. They are happiest around their family members. Despite being small-sized dogs, this breed has a deep bark that sounds like those of large dogs, intimidating unwelcome strangers that will enter your house. While they are good watch dogs, IGs can’t give you protection since they are small.

IGs love the sun, so expect them to sunbathe and run around your yard during sunny days. They hate the cold, however, and do not like getting wet.

This breed easily gets along with children and other pets, although a poorly-trained IG will chase small, moving things.

Apartment Living

Being small dogs, Italian Greyhounds are best suited for both apartment and house with a backyard, so long that their needs are met.

Expect a young IG to “fly” and jump everywhere in the house. Just like cats, they love high areas inside your home. More often, you’ll see them at the top of your furniture, tabletops, or any place that are reachable. A matured IG, however, would be more laid back and is willing to snuggle with you.

Make sure that your yard has a tall and secure fence. Remember, Italian Greyhounds are amazing jumpers and quick runners.

Separation Anxiety

Italian Greyhounds are sensitive dogs. They need companions, and should not be left alone for long hours, or they’ll suffer from separation anxiety. Make sure to provide your IG with the love and affection they need, as well as play time and exercise.

Health Issues

Italian Greyhounds are generally considered healthy breeds, but they can still develop certain health conditions, such as skin cancer due to their love of the sun. Make sure they don’t sunbathe for long hours, and protect their thin skin with sunscreen for dogs. In cold weather, provide them with a sweater to keep them warm.

Pups of this breed are high-spirited. They are so active that broken bones usually occur for pups aging four to twelve months old. Make sure that their play time is supervised.

It’s also important to know that IGs are sensitive to drugs and medicines, including anesthetics of the barbiturate class and organophosphate insecticides.


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