Italian Greyhound: Graceful and Agile in a Small Package

The History of the Italian Greyhound

Origins and Ancestry

The Italian Greyhound has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians were known to keep small greyhound-like dogs as companions and hunting partners. These dogs were highly regarded and often depicted in ancient Egyptian art. It is believed that these dogs were brought to the Mediterranean region by the Phoenicians, where they eventually made their way to Italy.

In Italy, the breed was further developed and refined, resulting in the Italian Greyhound we know today. They were highly valued by the nobility and were often seen in the courts of Italian aristocracy. The breed’s elegance and grace made them a popular choice among the upper class.

Fun fact: The Italian Greyhound is one of the oldest and smallest dog breeds in existence.

Popularity in Ancient Rome

The Italian Greyhound’s popularity in Ancient Rome can be attributed to its elegant appearance and charming personality. These small dogs were highly regarded by the upper class and were often depicted in ancient artwork. They were kept as companions and were also used for hunting small game. Despite their popularity in Ancient Rome, the breed experienced a decline in numbers during the Middle Ages and was later revived in the 16th century.

Decline and Revival

The Italian Greyhound experienced a decline in popularity during the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. This decline can be attributed to several factors, including the rise of larger hunting dogs and the changing preferences of nobility. However, the breed was not completely forgotten and experienced a revival in the late 19th century. Breed enthusiasts worked to preserve and promote the Italian Greyhound, leading to its recognition by kennel clubs and its continued presence today.

Physical Characteristics

Size and Weight

The Italian Greyhound is a small breed known for its elegant and agile nature. Despite its small size, it possesses a graceful and athletic build. Let’s explore the size and weight of this charming breed.

Coat and Colors

The Italian Greyhound has a short and fine coat that comes in a variety of colors. The most common colors include black, blue, red, fawn, cream, and white. Some Italian Greyhounds may also have markings such as brindle or ticking. The coat is easy to maintain and requires minimal grooming. Regular brushing and occasional baths are usually sufficient to keep the coat clean and healthy.

Italian Greyhounds are known for their sleek and elegant appearance, and their coat adds to their overall charm. The smooth and glossy texture of the coat enhances their graceful movements and gives them a regal look. The coat also provides some protection against the elements, although Italian Greyhounds may need extra warmth in colder climates.

When it comes to coat and colors, Italian Greyhounds are truly a sight to behold. Whether they have a solid color or a combination of colors, their unique coat patterns make them stand out in a crowd.

Distinctive Features

Italian Greyhounds have several distinctive features that set them apart from other dog breeds.

  • Slender and Graceful Build: Italian Greyhounds have a slender and graceful build, with long legs and a deep chest. This gives them a unique elegance and agility.

  • Large, Expressive Eyes: One of the most striking features of Italian Greyhounds is their large, expressive eyes. Their eyes are often described as soulful and captivating.

  • Fine, Short Coat: Italian Greyhounds have a fine, short coat that comes in a variety of colors, including black, blue, fawn, and red. The coat is easy to maintain and requires minimal grooming.

  • Delicate and Sensitive Skin: Italian Greyhounds have delicate and sensitive skin, which requires special care. They are prone to skin allergies and sunburn, so it’s important to protect them from harsh weather conditions.

Italian Greyhounds are truly unique in their appearance and have a charm that is hard to resist.

Temperament and Personality

Gentle and Affectionate

Italian Greyhounds are known for their gentle and affectionate nature. They form strong bonds with their owners and are often described as velcro dogs, as they love to be by their human’s side. These dogs are highly sensitive and intuitive, and they can easily pick up on their owner’s emotions. They are known to provide comfort and emotional support to their owners, making them excellent therapy dogs.

Italian Greyhounds are also great with children and other pets. They are patient and gentle, and they enjoy being part of a family. However, due to their delicate nature, they should be supervised around young children to prevent accidental injuries.

If you’re looking for a loyal and loving companion, the Italian Greyhound is the perfect choice. Their affectionate nature and devotion to their owners make them a joy to be around.

Intelligent and Curious

Italian Greyhounds are known for their intelligence and curiosity. They are quick learners and enjoy mental stimulation. To keep them engaged, it is important to provide them with enrichment activities such as puzzle toys and interactive games. These activities not only keep their minds sharp but also prevent boredom and destructive behaviors.

Italian Greyhounds are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. They have a keen sense of smell and are often found sniffing around to discover new scents. It is important to provide them with a safe and secure environment to satisfy their curiosity while keeping them out of harm’s way.

When training an Italian Greyhound, it is important to use positive reinforcement techniques. They respond well to praise, treats, and rewards. Harsh training methods can be counterproductive and may lead to fear or anxiety in these sensitive dogs.

To ensure the well-being of your Italian Greyhound, regular mental and physical exercise is essential. They thrive on daily walks, playtime, and interactive activities. Providing them with a variety of experiences and challenges will help keep their minds sharp and their bodies healthy.

Energetic and Playful

Italian Greyhounds are known for their energetic and playful nature. They have a lot of energy and love to play, making them great companions for active individuals or families. It’s important to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

One way to keep an Italian Greyhound entertained is through interactive play. They enjoy playing games like fetch or tug-of-war, and they excel in activities that involve running and chasing. Engaging in these activities not only helps them burn off energy but also strengthens the bond between the dog and their owner.

Regular exercise is essential for an Italian Greyhound’s overall well-being. They should be given the opportunity to run and stretch their legs in a safe and secure area. Daily walks or jogs are also beneficial for their physical and mental health.

In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation is equally important for Italian Greyhounds. They are intelligent dogs that thrive on mental challenges. Providing them with puzzle toys, interactive feeders, or training sessions can help keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom.

Remember, a tired Italian Greyhound is a happy Italian Greyhound!

Training and Exercise Needs

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a highly effective training method for Italian Greyhounds. This method involves rewarding desired behaviors with treats, praise, or playtime. Consistency is key when using positive reinforcement, as it helps the dog understand what behaviors are expected of them. It is important to avoid punishment or harsh training methods, as Italian Greyhounds are sensitive dogs and respond best to positive reinforcement.

Using a clicker can be a helpful tool when implementing positive reinforcement. The clicker is a small handheld device that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. The sound of the clicker marks the desired behavior, and the dog is then rewarded. This helps to reinforce the connection between the behavior and the reward.

In addition to treats and praise, verbal cues are also important when using positive reinforcement. Italian Greyhounds are intelligent dogs and can quickly learn and respond to verbal commands. Using consistent and clear verbal cues helps the dog understand what is expected of them and reinforces the desired behavior.

It is important to remember that positive reinforcement should be used in conjunction with socialization and obedience training. Socialization helps Italian Greyhounds become well-rounded and confident dogs, while obedience training ensures they understand and respond to basic commands. By combining positive reinforcement with socialization and obedience training, you can help your Italian Greyhound become a well-behaved and happy companion.

Socialization and Obedience Training

Socialization and obedience training are crucial for Italian Greyhounds to develop into well-rounded and well-behaved dogs. Socialization helps them become comfortable and confident in various environments and with different people and animals. It is important to expose them to different sights, sounds, smells, and experiences from a young age.

Obedience training helps Italian Greyhounds understand and respond to commands, ensuring their safety and the safety of others. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, work best for training Italian Greyhounds. Consistency and patience are key when teaching them basic commands like sit, stay, and come.

To ensure successful socialization and obedience training, consider the following tips:

  • Start socializing your Italian Greyhound early, ideally during the puppy stage. This will help them develop positive associations with new experiences.
  • Gradually expose your Italian Greyhound to different environments, people, and animals. Start with controlled and positive interactions and gradually increase the level of exposure.
  • Enroll your Italian Greyhound in puppy classes or obedience training classes. These classes provide structured training and socialization opportunities.

Remember, socialization and obedience training are ongoing processes. Continue to expose your Italian Greyhound to new experiences and reinforce their training throughout their lives.

Daily Exercise Requirements

Italian Greyhounds have moderate exercise needs and enjoy daily walks or playtime in a securely fenced yard. They are a small breed, so they don’t require as much exercise as larger dogs. However, it’s important to provide them with mental stimulation as well. Engaging in interactive games and puzzle toys can help keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom.

To ensure their safety, it’s recommended to always keep Italian Greyhounds on a leash when outside of a secure area. They have a strong prey drive and can easily be tempted to chase after small animals. Regular exercise not only helps keep them physically fit but also contributes to their overall well-being and happiness.

Here is a table summarizing the daily exercise needs of Italian Greyhounds:

Exercise Activity Duration
Daily Walks 30 minutes
Playtime 15-20 minutes

Remember to adjust the exercise routine based on your dog’s age, health, and individual needs. Consulting with a veterinarian can provide personalized guidance on the appropriate amount and type of exercise for your Italian Greyhound.

Health and Care

Common Health Issues

Italian Greyhounds are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they are prone to certain health issues. Dental problems are common in Italian Greyhounds, so it is important to maintain good oral hygiene by regularly brushing their teeth and providing dental treats. Another common health issue is luxating patella, which is a condition where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent this condition. Italian Greyhounds are also prone to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. This can lead to weight gain, lethargy, and other symptoms. Regular veterinary check-ups and blood tests can help detect and manage this condition.

Here are some tips to keep your Italian Greyhound healthy:

  • Provide a balanced diet with high-quality dog food.
  • Regularly groom your dog to keep their coat clean and free from mats.
  • Keep up with vaccinations and preventive medications.
  • Provide regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Remember, early detection and proper care are key to ensuring the well-being of your Italian Greyhound.

Grooming and Maintenance

Grooming and maintenance for Italian Greyhounds is relatively low compared to other breeds. Their short, smooth coat requires minimal brushing to keep it looking its best. However, regular bathing is necessary to keep their coat clean and free of dirt and debris.

Italian Greyhounds are prone to dental issues, so it is important to establish a dental care routine early on. Regular teeth brushing and annual dental cleanings by a veterinarian can help prevent dental problems.

To keep their nails at a healthy length, regular trimming is necessary. It is recommended to use a dog nail clipper or grinder and to be cautious not to cut the quick, which can cause bleeding and discomfort.

Italian Greyhounds are sensitive to cold temperatures due to their thin coat and lean body. During colder months, it is important to provide them with warm clothing or blankets when going outside to protect them from the cold.

Overall, Italian Greyhounds are relatively low-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming and maintenance.

Nutrition and Feeding

Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of Italian Greyhounds. Balanced and nutritious meals are important to support their active lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight.

When it comes to feeding an Italian Greyhound, it is recommended to follow a regular feeding schedule and provide them with high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for small breeds. It is important to measure their food portions to prevent overfeeding and obesity.

Italian Greyhounds have a fast metabolism, so it is best to divide their daily food intake into multiple small meals throughout the day. This helps prevent digestive issues and keeps their energy levels stable.


Nutritional Needs


  • Provide a balanced diet with a proper ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
  • Include lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats in their meals.
  • Avoid feeding them table scraps or foods that are toxic to dogs.

Remember, consulting with a veterinarian is always recommended to determine the specific nutritional needs of your Italian Greyhound.


In conclusion, the Italian Greyhound is a graceful and agile breed that packs a lot of personality into its small frame. With their sleek and elegant appearance, they are sure to turn heads wherever they go. Despite their delicate appearance, Italian Greyhounds are surprisingly sturdy and athletic, making them excellent companions for active individuals or families. Their affectionate and gentle nature also makes them great pets for households of all sizes. Whether you’re looking for a loyal and loving companion or a competitive agility partner, the Italian Greyhound is a breed that will not disappoint.