Italian Greyhound

Piccolo Levriero Italiano

The Italian Greyhound was used at the time for hunting rabbits and hares, and was the favorite dog of nobles and royalty, such as Frederick the Great and Charles I of England. Toady, he is greatly appreciated by all as companion. Even though he is originally from Italy, numbers are rather scarce in his country, and finding a puppy there is very difficult. It is easier to find one in France than in Italy even if the numbers are few there too. This is the reason why you will find few Italian Greyhounds in greyhound races, even if he is an excellent racing dog. Despite his many qualities to be discovered, he remains a rather rare and little-known small dog outside Europe.

Height 32 to 38 cm
Weight 3 to 5 kg
Life expectancy 12 to 15 years
Home country Italy

Quick Overview of the Italian Greyhound

Temperament

  • Sensitive and soft
  • Sporty and active
  • Joyful and lively
  • Very affectionate

Appearance

  • Very slender appearance
  • Distinction and grace
  • Short and very fine hair
  • Small very dark truffle

Health

  • No genetic disease
  • No particular pathology
  • Excellent health and rarely ill
  • Afraid of the cold

Temperament of the Italian Greyhound

Sensitive, gentle, athletic, active, cheerful, lively and very affectionate, the Italian Greyhound is a reserved, even shy dog.

He needs calm in his environment, as he is a rather stressed by nature. Sociable but shy, he must learn how to manage his stress.

Despite his appearance and small size, the Italian Greyhound is an athlete at heart. He likes to move and run, like all dogs in his category.

He is very sensitive and sentimental. He has a developed emotional side and reacts badly to stress. He always remains a Greyhound in the soul, and loves to run and chase small prey, without ever getting tired.

Sociable in his home, he loves children and their games, but they must learn to respect him so as not to hurt him. Very sensitive, he will be unhappy in an aggressive or brutal environment.

Although he is never aggressive, he is quite reserved with strangers. His great shyness makes him rather stressed at the slightest contact with strangers, like most small Greyhounds.

Breed Appearance

Italian greyhound

This little dog has a very slender appearance. Distinction and grace are part of his silhouette, which is very similar to that of the Sloughi and Greyhound, but finer and more elegant.

Although physically similar to the larger dogs, he is not a miniature form of the latter, but a small breed in his own right. His size makes him the smallest dog in his category.

Height

Between 32 and 38 cm (12.60 to 14.96 inches) for the male
Between 32 and 38 cm (12.60 to 14.96 inches) for the female

Weight

Between 3 and 5 kg (6.61 to 11.02 pounds) for the male
Between 3 and 5 kg (6.61 to 11.02 pounds) for the female

Color

His coat is always one color that can vary between black, grey, slate grey and yellow (isabella in Italian), in all shades.

Hair

The hair of his dress is short and very fine.

Morphology

His flat skull has a very slight stop. His large dark eyes are quite expressive.

His small ears, set very high, are folded on themselves. His small nose is very dark. His tail, fine at the base and ending in a point at the tip, is set low, and carried straight at the beginning and curved at the end.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 10, section 3 and is #200

Tips About this breed

He is an active and sporty dog, even athletic, but he also likes the cozy comfort of home.

Idle sessions by the fireplace or a nap on the sofa cushions make him particularly happy after an intensive training session.

Sensitive and gentle, he is nevertheless endowed with a temperament that requires excellent education.

It must be done smoothly, but with a firm hand and without any concession. The notions of prohibitions and family hierarchy must be instilled in his early education.

He must know at a very young age where he belongs in the home. He must also learn to socialize with strangers, in order to learn how to deal with the stress caused by their presence in his immediate environment.

He's a house or apartment dog. He must absolutely live indoors, not tolerating cold and humidity. As he is small, quiet, clean and reserved, he does not cause any issue in the house.

Health of the Italian Greyhound

No genetic disease or particular pathology affects the breed. The specimens are in excellent health and rarely sick.

However, this small dog fears cold, humidity and rain. He must therefore live indoors, as his coat does not allow him to live outside. The life expectancy of this breed is very appreciable.

GROOMING

Even though it is short and smooth, his fine coat requires regular brushing to maintain his beautiful, clean and healthy single-colored coat. However, no other special care is required.

History of this breed

The Italian Greyhound is over 3,000 years old and was already present in Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs. The Italian Greyhound is descended from the small Egyptian Greyhounds that arrived in Italy as early as the 5th century BC. Mummies of very similar small greyhounds were even found in the pyramids.

Passing through Laconia in Greece on the way to Italy, there are many representations of the breed on vases of the time. During the Renaissance, he was part of the court of nobles, where he was represented in numerous paintings by the greatest Italian and foreign masters of the time.

It was also during the Renaissance that the breed developed greatly among the nobility and royalty. The Italian Greyhound entered England in the 17th century, further increasing his already well-established popularity.

He lost his notoriety at one point and after the Second World War, the breed almost completely disappeared from Great Britain.

Later restored, the Italian Greyhound was used for some time as a hunting hound, but regained his nobility and popularity as a companion dog.

He brings presence, constancy and fidelity to his family. He is an excellent life companion. He also makes an excellent racing dog, like all greyhounds.

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