Italian Greyhound Alternate Names
Piccolo Levriero Italiano
Italian Greyhound Appearance
Body: Small, slender, and sleek with a deep, narrow chest, slightly arched rib cage, somewhat arched back, and long sloping shoulders.
Coat: Short, fine, and glossy. Skin is thin and supple, and mostly odor-free.
Color: Fawn, black, red, cream, blue. May have areas of white.
Ears: Small, rose-shaped and high-set with fine texture.
Eyes: Medium size, dark, and prominent. Expressively bright and intelligent.
Feet: Small, oval-shaped, and hare-footed, with well-arched toes and black nails. Hind feet are less oval-shaped than the forefeet.
Head: Long and narrow with a flat skull, tapering to a dark, prominent nose.
Neck: Long, slender, and gracefully arched.
Legs: Forelegs are straight and lightly boned. Hindquarters are long and well-muscled with slender thighs, and well-bent stifles.
Height is 13 – 15 inches (33 – 38cm)
Weight is 6 – 11 pounds (3 – 5kg)
Tail: Thin and low set, thicker at the base and tapering to a curve.
Italian Greyhound Behavior
Recommended for experienced dog handlers.
Good with cats and other dogs but will view other small animals as prey.
May resort to extensive digging if suffering from boredom.
This is a delicately built, though not fragile, dog with a shy personality and unsuspecting loud bark (though seldom used). He loves taking advantage of the comforts of home and is often found sleeping on soft pillows or under warm covers.
When active, the Italian Greyhound loves to run and play. Despite his small stature, he is capable of jumping high fences and reaching fast speeds. He is highly energetic and loves racing full out through the yard whenever possible. Keep him on a leash or in a safely enclosed area or he will be out of sight in a flash with little respect for traffic or other possibly harmful encounters.
AKC Standard says, “Perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of the Italian Greyhound is his affectionate disposition. He thrives best when this affection is returned, and is happiest with his owner and immediate family. He is sensitive, alert, and intelligent, and remains playful until long past puppyhood. He adapts to most households and gets along well with children and with other pets.”
Care should be taken with children not old enough to be respectful. Although he isn’t as fragile as his size may suggest, he can be unintentionally injured by a younger more reckless child.
Obedience training should be light-handed and rewarded with praise and treats. A soft verbal correction of error will be well received and appreciated. Early socialization will help prevent him from becoming aloof or timid.
Cold weather is not agreeable to this tiny dog so he will be reluctant to go out during the winter months. Many people find it easy to teach their small dogs to use the litter box and spare them the need of going out in sub-freezing temperatures to relieve himself. Because he has a small bladder, his need to relieve himself is more often than most dogs.
Italian Greyhound Breed Type
AKC Group: Toy Group
Bred for companionship but have been used for hunting small game.
Italian Greyhound Care and Grooming
Exercise: He is a true greyhound requiring lots of exercise and room to race around.
Grooming: Because he is odorless and rarely sheds he is easy to keep well groomed. Brush occasionally and bath when necessary. After bathing be sure to dry him off completely including his feet ear canals.
Italian Greyhound Health
Life Expectancy: 13 – 14 Years
Legg-Perthes – deterioration of the hip joint.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
vWD – a bleeding disorder.
He is sensitive to cold weather. If you live in a colder climate be sure to provide him with a coat and boots for his feet.
Because his skin is thin and he can easily bruise, a soft blanket or pillow will keep him comfortable when resting.
He may have a negative reaction to anesthesia, vaccinations, and other related drugs. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before administering any flea and tick control medications.
CERF – for the eyes
Italian Greyhound Country of Origin