Italian Greyhound


A small Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)12-15in (30-38cm)
Weight7-13lbs (3-6kg)
Hair Colour(s)Varies
Lifespan13-15 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size3-5
Barking TendencyLow
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingLow
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Italian Greyhound is a small, elegant and fine-boned dog. The body has an arched back and a tucked-in abdomen, long slender legs and a straight tail that ends with a slight curve. The long head has a long pointed muzzle, a dark nose and eyes, thin lips and backwards folded ears. Their skin is thin with a short and glossy coat, and the colouring varies but includes grey, cream, red, fawn, black, and blue.


Italian Greyhounds are quiet, very affectionate, gentle and submissive dogs that can also be very spirited and playful. Their friendly dispositions can sometimes steer towards timidness, and although they love being stroked they can startle easily, and so early socialisation is important. These dogs can be sensitive, stubborn and rather independant, making training a little difficult, and they can be very hard to housebreak and so are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. They can have a cheeky side too, which is to be tolerated, but consistent training is required to maintain the fine line between this and any unacceptable behaviour. Italian Greyhounds get along well with older, more considerate children, and with other pets too. However, they have a high prey drive and care is required around smaller animals. They tend to be reserved, timid and even standoffish around strangers, and make good watchdogs as they will usually bark to alert if something is amiss.

History & Skills

Italian Greyhounds originate from Italy, unsurprisingly, and have a history going back over two thousand years. They were one of the first dogs to be bred as companion dogs, and were popular with Romans, Greeks and Egyptians, amongst others. Favoured by the nobility, they became very popular in Europe and were included in many period paintings of the time. These days these dogs continue to make great companions.

Breed Specific Ailments

Italian Greyhounds tend to live between 13-15 years, and some of the health problems linked to this breed include PRA, epilepsy, thyroid problems, autoimmune disorders, seizures, chemical sensitivity, slipped stifle, luxating patella and dental issues. These dogs have rather fragile brones and so their legs can break rather easily.


Italian Greyhounds are very low shedders, which makes them highly suitable for allergy sufferers, and they require very little grooming too. The glossy coat only needs occasional brushing and a rubdown with a soft, damp cloth in order to keep it in good condition.

Exercise & Environment

Italian Greyhounds are active dogs with seemingly boundless energy, but they tend to live indoors seeing as they are sensitive to cold due to their small size and thin skin. Soft bedding is required to reduce the risk of pressure sores developing as a result of this thin skin. They are suitable for smaller homes, such as apartments and flats. They make excellent walking partners and will need a daily walk plus access to a secure yard or garden, as they enjoy running and free play. These dogs are sight hounds, excellent jumpers and are very fast, so their outdoor areas must be secure and they should only be walked on the leash, otherwise they will disapear.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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