Meet the Breed: The Italian Greyhound

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Overview:

  • Height: 12"- 15”
  • Weight: 6-10 pounds
  • Historical function: Companion, vermin controller
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Toy

Italian Greyhound

Physical Characteristics:

The Italian Greyhound is a dainty, fine-boned dog that resembles a miniature Greyhound. The IG is the smallest of the sighthounds. Though the IG is in the Toy category, he is generally taller than most toy breeds. Therefore, due to their extreme slender build, extra care must be used when sizing them for clothing. This dog has a deep chest and a tucked-up abdomen. Their gait is high stepping, much like a prancing horse and, like a horse, has a galloping run where all four paws will be off the ground. Even with their diminutive size, they can reach speeds up to 25 MPH. The head is narrow and tapers to a fine nose. The eyes are medium sized, dark and lively. The ears are small and held close to the head except when alert. The coat is short, glossy and smooth like satin. Most coat colors are acceptable except for brindle.

History of the Breed:

The Italian Greyhound is an ancient breed depicted in art and archaeological finds including the volcanically entombed city of Pompeii. It was thought to have been around for at least 4,000 years originating in places such as Turkey and Greece, though similar dogs were found depicted in 6,000 year-old Egyptian tombs. These dogs were household companions and helped hunt mice and rats. 

Temperament:

Due to their fine bone structure and sometimes timid or sensitive personality, Italian Greyhounds do not make good pets for households with very young or rambunctious children or large, active dogs. This dog is a Velcro dog, demanding your space, your body warmth, and your attention! They do not like getting wet. They may be difficult to house train and need a regular schedule of feedings, outings, and activities to ensure the most success with this breed. If you are looking for privacy and independence, this is probably not the breed for you. The prey drive is strong in this breed so only let them off leash in securely fenced areas.

  • Best suited for: Anyone who desires a constant canine companion. Dental hygienists. Manicurists.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers to be near humans if not touching them. Despite this tendency, do not allow this dog to develop Small Dog Syndrome!

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The coat is among the easiest to care for; however, DAILY tooth brushing is required for this breed. Read this article for details to decide if you can commit to this important grooming procedure. Grinding the nails with a rotary nail tool is also required a couple of times a week. The short coat and tendency to be cold requires dog clothing for this breed.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk is required for this active dog. Free-roaming runs in safe areas are also needed.
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to broken leg bones due to their delicate structure until age 18 months. Also prone to epilepsy, PRA.

Breed Club Links: Italian Greyhound Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: KissAble Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Have any stories about an Italian Greyhound? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Brad_T.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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