Italian greyhound

Italian greyhound (Italian: Piccolo Levriero Italiano, English Italian Greyhound) or small Italian Greyhound - this is the smallest of the greyhounds. Extremely popular in the Renaissance, it was the companion of many European nobles.


  • The small greyhound was bred from hunting dogs and it still has a strong instinct for persecution. They catch up with everything that moves, so that while walking it is better to keep it on a leash.
  • This breed is sensitive to anesthetics and insecticides. Make sure your veterinarian knows about this sensitivity and avoid organophosphorus compounds.
  • Italian greyhound puppies are fearless and think they know how to fly. Broken paws are usually a phenomenon for them.
  • Smart, but their attention is scattered, especially during training. They should be short and intense, positive, in the form of a game.
  • It’s extremely difficult to get used to the toilet. If you see what your dog wants in the toilet, take her outside. They cannot endure for long.
  • Italian Greyhounds need love and communication, if they do not receive them, then they fall into stress.

Breed history

What we know for sure is that Italian greyhound is an ancient breed, the mention of which dates back to Ancient Rome. The exact place of its origin is unknown, some believe that it is Greece and Turkey, others that Italy, third Egypt or Persia.

It was called the Italian Greyhound or the Italian Greyhound because of the huge popularity of the breed among the Italian nobility of the Renaissance and because it was the first breed to come to England from Italy.

Certainly, Italian greyhound came from larger greyhounds. Greyhounds are a group of hunting dogs that primarily use eyesight when chasing prey.

Modern greyhounds have excellent vision, including at night, many times ahead of humans. They are able to run at high speed and catch up with fast animals: hares, gazelles.

How and when the first dogs appeared, we definitely won’t know. Archeology speaks of figures from 9 thousand to 30 thousand years ago. FROM

it is read that the first dogs were domesticated in the Middle East and India, from the smaller and less aggressive wolves of this region.
The development of agriculture significantly influenced Egypt and Mesopotamia of those days. In these regions, it became known who could afford entertainment. And her main entertainment was hunting. Most of Egypt and Mesopotamia is a flat, bare plain and desert.

Hunting dogs had to have good eyesight and speed in order to notice and catch prey. And the efforts of the first breeders were aimed at developing these qualities. Archaeological finds tell of dogs that closely resemble modern saluki.

Previously it was believed that the saluki was the first greyhound, and all the rest came from it. However, recent studies suggest that greyhounds developed independently in different regions.

But still, various genetic studies call the Saluki and the Afghan Hound one of the oldest breeds.

Since trade in those days was well developed, these dogs came to Greece.

Greeks and Romans adored these dogs, which is widely reflected in their art. Greyhounds were distributed in the territory of Roman Italy and Greece, and at that time this territory also included part of modern Turkey.

At some point, greyhounds of a substantially smaller size begin to appear on images of that time.
They were probably received from larger ones, selecting dogs for many years. The prevailing opinion is that this happened in Greece, in the part that is now Turkey.

However, archaeological research of Pompeii discovered the remains of Italian greyhounds and their images, and the city died on August 24, 79. Probably small greyhounds were widespread throughout the region. Roman historians also mention them, in particular, such dogs accompanied Nero.

The reasons for creating the small greyhounds remain unclear. Some believe that for hunting rabbits and hares, others for hunting rodents. The third is that their main task was to entertain the owner and accompany him.

We will never know the truth, but the fact that they have become popular throughout the Mediterranean is a fact. We cannot say for sure whether these dogs were direct ancestors of modern Italian greyhounds, but the likelihood of this is extremely high.

These small dogs survived the fall of the Roman Empire and the invasion of the barbarians, which indicates their popularity and prevalence. Apparently, the tribes of the ancient Germans and Huns found these dogs as useful as the Romans themselves.

After the stagnation of the Middle Ages, a renaissance begins in Italy, the well-being of citizens grows, and the center of culture is Milan, Genoa, Venice and Florence. A lot of artists appear in the country, since they want to know to leave their portrait.

Many of this nobility are portrayed with their favorite animals, among them we can easily recognize modern Italian greyhounds. They are not so elegant and more diverse, but nevertheless there is no doubt.

Their popularity is growing and they are distributed throughout Europe. The first Italian greyhounds came to England at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, where they were also popular among the upper class.

The only greyhound that the English knew at the time was the Greyhound, so they call the new dog Italian Greyhound.

As a result, it is a misconception that Italian greyhounds are miniature greyhounds with which they are not even relatives. In the rest of Europe they are known by the name Levrier or Levriero.

Despite the fact that Italian greyhounds are most popular in England, Italy and France, they were companions of many historical figures of that time. Among them are Queen Victoria, Catherine II with her Italian greyhound nicknamed Zemira, Queen of Denmark Anna. King of Prussia Frederick the Great loved them so much that he bequeathed to bury them next to them.

Although some Italian greyhounds were used on the hunt, most of them were exclusively dog ​​companions. In 1803, the historian calls them the useless imagination of aristocrats and says that any Italian greyhound used for hunting is a mestizo.

Keeping stud books at that time was not popular; it did not exist at all. The situation changed in the XVII century, when English breeders began to record their dogs. By the mid-19th century, dog shows were becoming incredibly popular across Europe, especially in the UK.

Breeders begin to standardize their dogs and this does not bypass Italian greyhounds. They become more elegant, and at exhibitions attract attention due to their beauty and miniature.

The way they look today, we owe it to the English breeders, who drove them to the standard of Greyhound, a more familiar breed. However, they began to experiment and many Italian greyhounds ceased to be like themselves. In 1891, James Watson describes the winning dog on the show as “just monstrous” and “slightly smaller running dogs.”

Breeders are trying to make Italian greyhounds more miniature, but are too keen on crossing them with English toy terriers. The resulting mestizos are disproportionate, with various defects.

In 1900, the Italian Greyhound Club was created, the purpose of which is to restore the breed, return it to its original appearance and eliminate the damage caused to it.
Both World Wars inflict a crushing blow on the breed, especially on the UK population. In England, Italian greyhounds almost disappear, but the situation is saved by the fact that they have long taken root and are popular in the United States. In 1948, the United Kennel Club (UKC) registers the breed, in 1951 the Italian Greyhound Club of America was created.

Since the history of Italian greyhounds dates back hundreds of years, it is not surprising that it was influenced by different breeds. Different owners tried to reduce its size or increase speed, in its blood there is a part of many miniature breeds. And she herself became the ancestor for other dogs, including the whippet.

Despite the fact that it is a greyhound dog and some of them take part in hunting, most Italian greyhounds today are companion dogs. Their task is to please and entertain the owner, to follow him.

Its popularity in Russia is growing, as well as around the world. So, in 2010, it ranked 67th in the number of breeds registered in AKC, out of 167 possible.


The Italian Greyhound is best characterized by the words - elegant and sophisticated. One glance at her is enough to understand why she is loved by nobles. They are quite small from 33 to 38 cm at the withers, they are small and weigh from 3.6 to 8.2 kg.

However, most owners believe that light weight is preferable. Although males are slightly larger and heavier, on the whole, sexual dimorphism is less pronounced than in other dog breeds.

Italian greyhound is one of the most elegant breeds of dogs. Most ribs are clearly visible, and the legs are thin. For those who are unfamiliar with the breed, it seems that the dog is suffering from exhaustion. However, this type of addition is characteristic of most greyhounds.

But, despite this grace, Italian greyhound is more muscular than other decorative breeds. She reminds everyone of a miniature greyhound, capable of running and hunting. They have a long neck, a noticeably curved back, and very long, thin paws. They gallop and are capable of speeds up to 40 km per hour.

The structure of the head and muzzle of Italian greyhound is almost identical to the structure of large greyhounds. The head is narrow and long, it seems small compared to the body. But it is aerodynamic. The muzzle is also long and narrow, and the eyes are large, dark in color.
The nose of the Italian greyhound should be dark in color, preferably black, but brown is also acceptable. The ears are small, tender, spread out to the sides. When the dog is alert, they turn forward.

At some point, the blood of the terriers appeared in Italian greyhounds in the form of erect ears, now this is considered a serious defect.

Italian greyhounds have a very short, smooth coat. This is one of the most shorthair dog breeds, including hairless breeds.

It is about the same length and texture throughout the body and is pleasant to the touch, soft. Which color is acceptable for Italian greyhound depends largely on the organization.

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale allows white only on the chest and legs, although AKC, UKC, Kennel Club, and the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) do not share this opinion. In principle, they can be of different colors. Only two are excluded: brindle and black-and-tan, like the Doberman, Rottweiler.


The character of Italian greyhound is similar to the character of large greyhounds, they are not similar to other decorative breeds. These dogs are cute and soft, which makes them great companions. Usually they are incredibly attached to their master and love to lie on the couch with him.

They find a common language with children well and are generally less harmful than other decorative dogs. Nevertheless, it is better to think carefully if you have a child under the age of 12 in your home.

Not because the character of Italian greyhound will not allow him to get along, but because of the fragility of this dog. Young children can seriously injure her, often without even thinking about it.

In addition, sharp sounds and fast movements scare the Italian greyhounds, and which children are not sharp? But for the elderly, these are some of the best companions, since they have an extremely mild nature. It should be noted that Italian greyhounds do not tolerate rude games.

Socialization is important for these dogs, then they are calm and polite with strangers, although somewhat aloof. Those Italian greyhounds that were not properly socialized can be timid and timid, often afraid of strangers. The plus will be that they are good bells, their barking warning the hosts about the guests. But only, as you know, there are no guard dogs of them, their size and character do not allow.

Italian greyhounds are real telepaths, able to instantly understand that the level of stress or conflict has grown in the house. Living in a house where owners often swear makes them so stressed that they can get sick physically.

If you like to quickly sort things out, then better think about another breed. In addition, they adore the company of the owner and suffer from separation. If you disappear all day at work, then your dog will be very hard.

Like most greyhounds, Italian gets along well with other dogs. As is the case with people, how she will perceive another dog depends a lot on socialization. Usually they are polite, but without socialization they will be nervous and timid.

Italian Greyhounds do not like rough games and prefer to live with dogs of a similar nature. It is not recommended to keep them with large dogs, as they are easily injured.

If not for the size, Italian greyhounds would be good hunting dogs, they have a great instinct. It is unreasonable to keep them with small animals, such as hamsters, as they are more likely to attack.

This also applies to squirrels, ferrets, lizards and other animals that they can see on the street. But they get along well with cats, especially since the latter are often larger in size than Italian greyhound.

Despite the size, quite smart and trained dog, they can act in obedience and agility. They also have shortcomings, among which stubbornness and independence. They prefer to do what they consider necessary, rather than what the owner wants.

In addition, good psychologists understand where they indulge and where not. When training Italian greyhounds, you can not use rough methods, since it is almost useless, plus drives the dog into stress. Better to use positive reinforcement with a lot of goodies and praise.

Italian greyhound is very difficult to teach to the toilet, most trainers believe that one of the most difficult dogs in this matter. Well, she’s definitely in the top ten. This behavior is the result of a combination of factors, including a small bladder and a dislike for walks in wet weather. Raising a toilet habit can take many months, and for some dogs it is not fixed.

Like most hunting dogs, Italian greyhound should walk on a leash. Once they notice a squirrel or bird, it will dissolve in the horizon at maximum speed. It is impossible to catch them, but the Italian Greyhound simply does not respond to commands.

When kept in an apartment, they are very calm and relaxed, like to lie on the couch. However, they are more athletic and energetic than most dogs of a similar size. They need a load, otherwise the dog will become destructive and nervous.

They need the ability to run and jump freely, which they do with great dexterity. They can also appear in sports, for example, in agility. But their abilities are inferior to such breeds as collie or German shepherd.

They are better suited to living in an apartment than most other breeds. Moreover, most of them would gladly never leave home, especially in cold or damp climates. They are quite quiet and rarely bark at home, except for a reason. Clean and the smell of dogs from them is almost inaudible.


Italian greyhounds need minimal care because of the short coat. You can bathe them once a month, and even then, some veterinarians believe that it is often. Usually, just wipe it after a walk.

Most of them molt very, very little, and some almost do not molt at all. Moreover, their coat is softer and more pleasant to the touch than other breeds.

This makes Italian greyhound a good choice for people with allergies or those who do not like dog hair.


Despite its small size, the life span of Italian greyhound is from 12 to 14 years, and sometimes up to 16 years.

However, they quite often suffer from various health problems and require care. First of all, because of the extremely short hair and the small amount of subcutaneous fat, they suffer from cold. In our latitudes, they need clothes and shoes, and on frosty days, walks should be abandoned.

Also, she should not sleep on the floor, she needs a special soft bed.They like to sleep in the same bed with the owner. Well, fragility, Italian greyhound can break a paw, overestimating its strength during a run or jump, and suffer from the awkwardness of a person.

Italian greyhounds are very sensitive to periodontal disease. A number of factors contribute to this: large teeth in relation to the size of the jaw and scissor bite. Most suffer from periodontitis between the ages of 1 to 3 years, often the dog loses his teeth as a result of this.

Breeders are breeding to get rid of this disaster, but now the owners of Italian greyhounds have to brush their dogs daily. An Italian greyhound named Zappa lost all her teeth and became an Internet meme because of this.

Italian greyhounds are extremely sensitive to anesthesia. Since they have almost no subcutaneous fat, doses that are safe for other dogs can kill them. Remind your veterinarian about this.

Watch the video: Italian Greyhound vs Whippet Which is Better? Dog vs Dog (February 2020).

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