The Italian Greyhound is an elegant dog with a playful nature and a strong instinct for pursuit. These dogs are often described as couch dogs, but in their heart, they are coursing hounds.
Greyhounds may look bigger than they are due to their elegant posture, but they are miniature dogs in reality. They are usually 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder, and their outstanding features are long and fine-boned legs.
They are considered to be modern couch dogs, while they were initially bred as coursing hounds. All in, they are lap dogs with the complexity of ancient and aristocratic hounds.
Many Greyhound owners would describe this breed as a couch potato because they would rather be in your lap than on the floor.
Is there any dog that wouldn’t prefer the bed, actually? Since they have an extremely short coat, they need extra care in cold weather.
Real name: Italian Greyhound
Other names: Italian Sighthound, Piccolo levriero Italiano
Breed type: Hound Dogs
Weight: 5-16 kg (13 to 30 pounds)
Height: 32–38 cm
Lifespan: 13.5 years
Littersize: 2 – 4 puppies
Color: Standard colors are black, seal, sable, cream, blue, red, fawn, red fawn, and blue fawn
Coat: Short coat
Italian Greyhound History
Italian Greyhounds may be elegant and delicate in appearance, but underneath that sleek exterior, they are hardy and swift hounds who have survived for around two millennia.
Archeological evidence suggests that Italian Greyhounds were bred as companions for nobles 2,000 years ago in the region of today’s Greece and Turkey.
At the time, Greyhounds were very popular and praised as a small-game hunter. The breed came into its own in Renaissance Italy, where owning this dog meant a status symbol.
Many artists painted them, and overall the breed spread across Europe. Even Catherine the Great and Queen Victoria were among rules which were fascinated by this elegant breed.
An African king named Lobengula once swapped 200 head of cattle for a single Italian Greyhound – that’s how much this breed was appreciated.
The American Kennel Club registered its first Italian Greyhound in 1886. However, the horrors of the two world wars nearly wiped out many of Europe’s breeds, such as the German Shepherd, and sophisticated Italian Greyhound.
Once the conflicts ended, American breeders kept the breed alive and helped repopulate breed in peacetime Europe. Nowadays, this breed may be seen int he show ring, and lure coursing.
The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the family of Gazeounds (sighthounds).
Italian Greyhound Physical Appearance
In appearance, the Italian Greyhound is very similar to the Greyhound but much smaller in size and more slender in proportions. Many dog experts would say that the Italian Greyhound is of ideal elegance and grace.
The Head is narrow and long, while the skull is almost flat. Eyes are dark and with an intelligent expression.
If your Italian Greyhound has light eyes, he may not enter the dog show, because such eyes in this breed are considered to be a fault.
The neck is long, while the ears are small and silky is texture. The chest is deep and narrow, while the skin is delicate, and the hair is short. Hair is soft, almost like satin to the touch.
Italian Greyhound Personality
The Italian Greyhound is an alert, smart, and sensitive dog. He is very affectionate toward his family members and loves to snuggle. Temperament is affected by several various factors, including:
- Training, and
There are many purebreds in shelters waiting to be adopted.
They are gentle and sweet dogs that need a tremendous amount of affection. If you don’t provide enough attention, they will become shy or hyper, or even both in some cases.
In general, they are compatible with children, although you shouldn’t leave them with younger children alone, since they still have a strong drive to chase anything small that moves.
They won’t hurt children, but they may play rougher, which is why it’s essential to educate children on how to behave around dogs.
Italian Greyhounds get along with cats and other dogs of similar size. Although they are small in size, Italian Greyhounds can bark and will be fast to alert their owners when strange approaches.
Living With Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound is an indoor dog. They crave for the warmth and love being a council potato. Don’t be surprised if this dog sometimes refuses to go outside in cold or wet weather.
If you are based in a colder area, getting your Italian Greyhound, a sweater is a must. You may not expect this, but this dog will shed. Luckily, the coat is short and smooth that it’s even hard to notice.
These dogs are prone to dental disease, so talk with your veterinarian about tooth brushing, and in the meantime, provide the best foods for healthy teeth.
Italian Greyhound Grooming
When it comes to grooming your Italian Greyhound, the most crucial part of it is teeth health. Again, talk with your veterinarian what is the best way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy and strong.
A dental cleaning can also be performed by your veterinarian or as needed. Baths are rarely needed – dogs have different skin than humans do, and they don’t need as much bath as we do.
Of course, if your Italian Greyhound is playful and loves to play in the mud, of course, a bath is mandatory. Everything else is regular care, which should include nail trimming, ears and gums check, and weekly brushing.
Regular vaccination and veterinarian check-ups should be part of the dog’s health routine.
Italian Greyhound Training
The Italian Greyhound reacts best to reward-based training rather than any type of punishment. You already know that no harsh treatment should ever be on dogs and that well-structured training and positive reinforcement can go a long way.
If you need extra help with training, think about hiring a professional dog trainer. Just make sure that trainer isn’t prone to harsh methods because this elegant breed can be stubborn.
Make sure that you start early socialization because that’s the best way to have a well-behaved and disciplined dog. Expose from your dog early to new places, sounds, smells, and people. This way, you will prevent any form of anxiety, and you will eventually have a stable and healthy dog.
Italian Greyhound Health
Italian Greyhounds are generally healthy dogs who can live up to 15 years. Responsible breeders will always screen dogs for various health conditions, including:
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, and
- Autoimmune problems
This breed may look delicate, but they are far from that, but still, dangerous situations should be avoided because they might result in a broken leg.
This breed is more and more popular in the States. There is also a club of the breed in the States.
Italian Greyhound Nutrition
Like any other breed, Italian Greyhound should do fine on high-quality food and food appropriate to the dog’s age. If you opt for raw food you should prepare it following your veterinarian guidelines.
Often people feel that Italian Greyhounds are too skinny, and feed them more than need, which can lead to overweight. This is a slim and well-built dog, and extra weight can harm a dog’s health and lifespan.
Make sure that you keep your dog on the right amount of food. Should ribs be visible on Italian Greyhound? Absolutely not. Ribs should not be visible but should be able to felt under a thin covering of flesh.
Know which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. If you have any concerns about the dog’s weight to health, make sure that you take your dog to the veterinarian’s office.
The Bottom Line
The Italian Greyhound is a sweet and gentle dog who wants only to be loved. This breed may sound like a perfect couch potato, but he may suddenly explode with a load of energy, so make sure that you provide enough and often exercise time.
They are sensitive, but they can also be very stubborn, which is why this breed is mostly recommended to experienced dog owners. So, the Italian Greyhound may be perfect for you if:
- You want a dog similar to Greyhound, but smaller
- Doesn’t shed much
- Doesn’t bark often
- Has an easy to maintain the coat
- Is polite and peaceful
- Is an agile athlete, but also loves being a couch potato