Italian Greyhound Dog Breed
Aliases: Piccolo Levrierio Italiano, IG, Iggy, I.G.
|Life Span:||12 - 15 years|
|Litter Size:||4 - 8 puppies, average 6 puppies|
|Group:||Southern, AKC Toy|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||Solid Gray, Slate Gray, Cream, Red, Fawn, Black, Blue, Speckled, White Markings, Flecked|
|Male Height:||12 -1 5 inches (30 - 38 cm.)|
|Male Weight:||6 - 10 pounds (3 - 5 kg.)|
|Female Height:||12 -1 5 inches (30 - 38 cm.)|
|Female Weight:||6 - 10 pounds (3 - 5 kg.)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||The Italian Greyhound makes an excellent apartment dweller but does need plenty of activity and space for freedom of movement. They enjoy a good walk, and will bond especially well with their owners after exercise. These dogs enjoy playing with other Italian Greyhounds and can get quite rough; they should not necessarily play with larger dogs since they can hurt themselves without realizing it. They enjoy rolling in the grass and tumbling in the sand; they are very sensitive to cold temperatures and will need to wear warm clothing such as a sweater, in colder weather. These dogs do not need to be chained up all day.|
The Italian Greyhound is very similar to a fine-boned Greyhound but with some distinct qualities that differentiate from the latter breed. The Italian Greyhound has a thin coat and long head with a thinning, gradually pointed muzzle. These dogs have fine narrow ears that fold back on the head, but they will rise to a perpendicular state when the dog is alert, anxious, or excited. The abdomen is usually tucked in and the back is arched; the dog has a dark nose and thin lips with a generally healthy scissors bite.
The eyes on the Italian Greyhound are dark and expressive; the tail is straight and ends in a slight curve. The coat is easy to manage and is solid gray, slate, cream, black, or blue; white markings usually accompany the main colors and flecked versions are common throughout many countries. The Italian Greyhound is famous for its skipping, high-stepping gait. It is the smallest of sight hounds and weighs only between 7-11 lbs. The dog tends to stand tall but has withered shoulders that make it almost petite. They are in the \'toy\' group of dogs because they do not occupy much physical space. Owners may have difficulty finding the appropriate clothing for this dog given its height and weight proportions.
The chest is deep and the legs are long and slender. Long legs make this dog a natural sprinter, racer, and runner. They are miniature Greyhounds for the most part, and also will display the elegant trot of a horse. Top speeds can run up to 25 mph, and they are a result of multiple breeding throughout Europe, Austria, and Germany.
The dogs are well-balanced and make excellent companion dogs. They are exceptionally vigilant and are a postiive influence for children and pet owners alike.
The Italian Greyhound has a short coat with a soft, natural texture. The undercoat does not offer them much protection during harsh weather, but it is easy to maintain with a simple wipe down. The most common colors are grey, slate, black, and dark blue.
The Italian Greynound is one of the oldest Greyhound lines and a similar dog has been found in the Egyptian tombs of over 6000 years ago. This breed was brought to Europe by the Phoenicians and was later developed and trained by the Romans. The Greyhound was found in the ancient artifacts of Pompeii, Italy and has since become a popular dog throughout the royal families in Europe. These dogs quickly became popular companion dogs but have also been used for hunting purposes. The Italian Greyhound has often appeared in old paintings and artifacts, and has historically been favored by Catherine the Great of Russia, Anne of Denmark, and Queen Victoria among others. The name of the breed is actually a reference to the breed\'s popularity during the Renaissance period in Italy.
The Italian Greyhound has been known to be a companion at war; Frederick the Great of Prussia reportedly took his Italian Greyhound with him during the battle period in Europe because he liked it so much! His dying wish was to be buried with his Italian Greyhound in Sands Souci Palace.
These graceful dogs have also been a part of the nineteenth century African cattle exchanges; they were at one time exchanged for 200 cattle during the trading periods. These dogs are the smallest of the family of gazehounds and most likely originated from Greece or Turkey. They have often been depicted in the natural arts and distributed throughout Southern Europe when miniature dogs were in high demand.
The Italian Greyhound is naturally gentle and submissive by nature, but also very affectionate. They are reserved and will listen to their masters; they rarely exhibit destructive behavior except when they are bored, abused, or distressed. Playful and intelligent, these dogs make wonderful companions for families. They can be particularly observant, vigilant, and perceptive. They are not difficult to train and are best trained at an early age. It is important to not be too firm with these dogs since they tend to take directions and tone very seriously. Learning how to overcome their shy and timid nature will help provide the proper handling.
The Italian Greyhound can also be very high strung and timid; they do need to be handled gently and are well suited for a household that does not have lively children or pets with a lot of energy. These dogs will sense the owner\'s state of mind and personality fairly easily; they will adapt best to calm and natural settings, and they may even need reassurance by stroking during a stressful situation. They are naturally independent but also are dependent on their owners and caretakers for peace. These dogs tend to become snappish if they are frightened, anxious, or disconcerted. They may be difficult to housebreak since they can become so anxious easily.
The Italian Greyhound is a natural runner and will run at very high speeds when needed. They are highly active, and can climb wire fencing, jump from tabletops, and even jump over small walls in the backyard. They do not do well with larger dogs as they can become very protective and hurt themselves very easily. In general, these dogs are not easy to get along with; although they may show affection to their owners and become companions easily, they do have moments where their patience is tested and can become quite self-centered.
These dogs do, however, get along with other Italian Greyhounds and will do well as a pair in the family. The dogs are fine breed but can be fairly destructive if they are not well trained. Sleek and short, they can get into a lot of trouble with ease! They have a natural propensity for gentleness and do well with children and even infants. However, they are also quickly agitated and may overreact if they are in a stressful situation.
Still, these dogs are reasonably good watch dogs and will bark at unfamiliar sounds. They do nto get along with cats or other small dogs and may even scare other animals away with their harsh bark. They are very reliable and will rarely run far from home. A natural gazehound, these dogs instinctively hunt by sight and they also exhibit characteristics of being strong with a prey drive.
It can be difficult to housebreak these dogs since they have small bladders; however, with the appropriate amount of attention, patience, and consistency the smallest challenges can be overcome.
Thyroid Disease - Low Risk
The Italian Greyhound ranks #83 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it).
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Even though these dogs look quite fragile and delicate, they are much hardier than they seem. Until about 18 months of age, the bones of the Italian Greyhound are especially fragile and they may break a leg or their tails very easily. However, they are much stronger after 18 months of age. A few special conditions to be aware of include:
- Slipped stifle: they have a proneness to stress fractures and slipped vertebrae.
- Fractures: again, these dogs are likely to break their fragile bones.
- Hip Dysplasia: Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) can cause mild to severe lameness.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Epilepsy: a neurological seizure disorder. There is no test for this.
- Anesthetics: Since The Italian Greyhound has such low body fat they may be more sensitive to barbiturate-based anesthetics.