Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound looking forward

Quick Facts


7 to 14 pounds


13 to 15 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

14-15 years

Known For:

Playful companions, not so great with cats.


Welcome to the world of the Italian Greyhound, a breed of joy and grace! With their sleek coats and affectionate nature, these little hounds are beloved by pet enthusiasts worldwide.Β 


Originating from Italy over 2,000 years ago, the Italian Greyhound has been a companion of royalty and featured in various artworks throughout history, highlighting their enduring appeal. Known for their agility and speed, they embody a unique blend of elegance and athleticism, making them a popular choice among dog lovers.

History and Origin

The history of the Italian Greyhound is as captivating as the breed itself. With roots tracing back over 2,000 years, these petite sighthounds were bred in Mediterranean countries, particularly Italy, which granted them their name. Their ancestors were revered by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, often depicted in art and artifacts of the time, showcasing their historical significance.


Italian Greyhounds were particularly favored by Italian nobility during the Renaissance, earning a reputation as the companions of royals such as Frederick the Great of Prussia, Queen Victoria, and Catherine the Great of Russia. These little canines have graced the halls of palaces and inspired artists like Pisanello, who featured them in his masterpieces. Their noble history and charming demeanor have cemented their place in the hearts of dog enthusiasts for centuries.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

Italian Greyhounds are the epitome of elegance and grace in the canine world. Standing at about 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weighing 7 to 14 pounds, they are the smallest of the sighthounds. With their fine bones and slender build, they embody a delicate yet athletic appearance.


Their coat is short, sleek, and can come in a variety of colors, including fawn, blue, black, and red, sometimes with white markings. Their expressive eyes and tapered muzzle contribute to their sophisticated look. Despite their dainty appearance, Italian Greyhounds are robust and agile, capable of impressive bursts of speed, living up to their sighthound lineage.

Personality and Temperament

The personality of the Italian Greyhound is as delightful as their sleek appearance. Known for their affectionate and gentle nature, these dogs form close bonds with their families. They thrive on companionship and enjoy being lavished with attention, often following their owners from room to room to be part of the action.


Italian Greyhounds are also known for their playful and inquisitive nature. They love engaging in games and have a penchant for running at high speeds, showcasing their sighthound heritage. However, they are equally content curled up on a cozy lap, enjoying the warmth and affection of their human friends.


Despite their playful demeanor, Italian Greyhounds can be somewhat reserved and sensitive, especially around strangers. Early socialization is key to helping them develop confidence and adaptability in different environments.

Health and Lifespan

When it comes to health, the Italian Greyhound is generally a robust breed, with a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. With their slender build, they can be susceptible to dental issues and broken bones, so it’s essential to monitor their play and ensure their environment is safe.


Additionally, Italian Greyhounds have a thin coat and low body fat, making them sensitive to extreme temperatures. Proper shelter, clothing, and care are necessary to keep them comfortable in colder climates. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet contribute to their overall well-being, ensuring they lead a happy and healthy life.


Some of the common health issues to be aware of include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and hypothyroidism. Responsible breeding, regular health screenings, and attentive care can mitigate the risks of these conditions, helping your Italian Greyhound thrive.

Care and Maintenance

Italian Greyhound grooming

Caring for an Italian Greyhound is a rewarding experience, as they bring joy and companionship to any household. Their short, sleek coat is low-maintenance, requiring minimal grooming. Regular brushing and occasional baths will keep them looking their best. Don’t forget to pay attention to their dental health, as they are prone to dental issues.


When it comes to exercise, Italian Greyhounds love a good run. Their agile bodies and love for speed make them excellent companions for play sessions in securely fenced areas. However, they are also happy with moderate walks and indoor play, making them adaptable to various living environments.


Diet is another important aspect of their care. Feeding them high-quality, balanced nutrition helps maintain their health and vitality. Be mindful of their portions, as they can be prone to weight gain, which can lead to health issues.

Remember, a well-cared-for Italian Greyhound is a happy and loving companion, ready to bring joy to your life!

Training and Behavior

Training an Italian Greyhound can be an engaging and rewarding journey. These intelligent dogs are quick learners, but their independent nature means they benefit from consistent, positive reinforcement training. They respond well to gentle, reward-based methods, with treats and praise proving to be effective motivators.


Italian Greyhounds can have a mischievous streak, so early training in basic commands and house rules is essential. Socialization from a young age helps them become well-adjusted adults, comfortable with different people, environments, and other animals.


Some Italian Greyhounds may exhibit timid behavior or separation anxiety, so building confidence and ensuring they feel secure when left alone is crucial. Providing a routine, a secure environment, and mental stimulation will help in cultivating positive behavior and a happy Italian Greyhound.

Italian Greyhound and Families

Italian Greyhound with people

Italian Greyhounds are renowned for their affectionate nature and devotion to their families. They form strong bonds with their owners and relish being involved in family activities. Their gentle temperament makes them suitable companions for children, especially when raised together.


However, due to their delicate build, it is essential to teach children to handle them with care to prevent any accidental injuries. Italian Greyhounds generally get along well with other pets, especially when introduced properly, making them a harmonious addition to a multi-pet household.


The joy and companionship that Italian Greyhounds bring to families are immeasurable, filling homes with love and playful energy.

Adopting an Italian Greyhound

Adopting an Italian Greyhound can be a delightful addition to your life. If you’re considering bringing one of these elegant companions into your home, it’s essential to do your research and ensure that your lifestyle aligns with their needs.


You can reach out to reputable breeders, rescue organizations, or animal shelters to find Italian Greyhounds looking for loving homes. Before adopting, consider their exercise needs, sensitivity to temperature, and desire for companionship to ensure a harmonious match.

Prepare your home, invest time in training and socialization, and get ready for a journey filled with love, joy, and the unique charm that only an Italian Greyhound can bring!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Italian Greyhounds like as pets?

Italian Greyhounds are affectionate, playful, and sensitive pets. They bond closely with their owners and can be quite reserved around strangers.

Do Italian Greyhounds require a lot of exercise?

Despite their racing heritage, Italian Greyhounds have moderate exercise needs. Short walks and opportunities to run in a secure area are enough to keep them happy.

How are Italian Greyhounds with children and other pets?

They can be good with older, respectful children and pets, but their small and fragile build makes them vulnerable to injury from rough play.

What health concerns are associated with Italian Greyhounds?

They are prone to dental issues, bone fractures due to their slender legs, and sensitivity to cold weather. Care should be taken to protect them from injury and harsh conditions.

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