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Italian Greyhound – Complete Dog Breed Information

Italian Greyhound
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Slender, shrewd, beloved of sovereigns and anything but fast (till they set their minds to it), Italian Greyhounds are puzzlers: for all their speed potential they’re generally slow and small-sized.

This comfort-loving, the warmth-seeking hound dog can usually be found snuggled into soft furniture, often hidden under a pillow, blanket or basking in sunspots.

When you have an Italian Greyhound, watch out for where you sit!

Does this breed sounds like the perfect couch potato . . . No, he isn’t! amidst his docile snuggles, Italian Greyhounds will abruptly explode into a burst of spirited running and jumping, ripping pell-mell around the house or yard.

Hurry-scurrying and zigzagging at center à Terre speeds and literally bouncing off the beds, sofa, walls or fence.

Italian Greyhound Breed Characteristics Sheet

  • Origin: Italy
  • Size: Small
  • Dog Breed Group: Non-sporting/ toy/ companion group
  • Purebred: Yes
  • Lifespan: 13-17 years
  • Height: Males 33 – 38 cm(12-14 inches), Females 33 – 38 cm(12-14 inches)
  • Weight: Males 3.6 – 8.2 kg(8-18 lbs), Females 3.6 – 8.2 kg(8-18 lbs)
  • Coat Appearance: Fine, soft neither flat nor corded coat
  • Coat Colors: Black, White & Black, Black White Trim, Blue, Fawn & Blue, White & Fawn, Blue & White Pied, Blue White Trim, Cream, Fawn, White & Fawn, White Pied & Fawn, Fawn White Trim, Pale Fawn, Red, White & Red, Red White Trim, White
  • Temperament: Affectionate,   adorable,  Energetic, easygoing, Friendly, Laidback, extrovert,  Intelligent, Lively,  Loyal, keen, Outgoing,  playful, pleasant, Responsive, Social, spirited
  • Good With Children: Yes
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Not Actually
  • Grooming: Average
  • Shedding: Low
  • Barking: Barks when necessary
  • Suitable For Apartments: Yes
  • Need For Exercise: High
  • Easy To Train: Yes
  • Good For First Time Owners: Yes
  • Health Issues: Periodontal Disease, hip dysplasia, Patellar luxation,  Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Litter Size: 2-4 puppies
  • Average Price: $500 USD (USA), £1,249 for KC Registered, £978 for Non-KC Registered

Is Italian Greyhound, The Right Dog For You?

If you want a dog who…

  • Resembles a small Greyhound
  • Is extremely slender and hardly over a foot tall
  • Has a smooth easy-care coat that comes in many colors
  • Sheds not too much
  • Moves with free, high-stepping movement
  • Is peaceful and polite with everyone
  • Is a bouncy, blissful, entertaining dog

If you want a dog breed which radiates that sense of “la dolce vita”, you’ve found him.

If you don’t want to deal with…

  • The frailty of toy breeds
  • Shyness when there is not enough socialization
  • Keeping him in a safe enclosure or on-leash, as he would or else dash away, oblivious to your calls, in pursuit of anything that moves
  • High emotional sensitivity and unexpected changes in schedule
  • A free-spirited “what’s in it for me?” approach toward training
  • Infamous housetraining difficulties

An IGGY may not be right for you.

Italian Greyhound History

It’s not surprising that they’ve spellbound people ever since the halcyon days of the ancient Egyptians.

Also known as  Italienisches Levrette d’Italie, Galgo Italiano, Windspiel, Piccolo Levriero Italiano, they were popularized by Italian aristocrats during the Renaissance.

But evidence of his existence can be traced back over 2000 years to the artwork of the Mediterranean region found in archaeological digs both in Turkey and Greece.

The tombs of Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt have several mummified IG type dogs and they are very much like IG’s which can be seen in frescoes discovered in Pompeii.

The Italian greyhound also proved popular with English aristocrats such as with Queen Mary of Scotland and King Charles I owned them. His popularity continued to grow in number until the reign of Queen Victoria.

Other crowned heads who were IG enthusiasts included Princess Anne of Denmark and Catherine the Great. Like Italian culture itself, this miniature greyhound has a reputation for being positive, passionate and interested in living life to the full.

Italian Greyhound Size And Lifespan

Italian Greyhound Size

  • Height – Males – 33 – 38 cm(12-14 inches), Females – 33 – 38 cm(12-14 inches)
  • Weight – Males – 3.6 – 8.2 kg(8-18 lbs), Females – 3.6 – 8.2 kg(8-18 lbs)

Italian Greyhound Lifespan

A healthy Italian Greyhound should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 10 – 15 years when properly cared for and fed a good quality diet to suit their ages.

Italian Greyhound Coat Color And Appearance

Italian Greyhound Coat Color

  • Black
  • White & Black
  • Black White Trim
  • Blue
  • Fawn & Blue
  • White & Fawn
  • Blue & White Pied,
  • Blue White Trim, Cream
  • Fawn
  • White & Fawn
  • White Pied & Fawn
  • Fawn White Trim
  • Pale Fawn
  • Red
  • White & Red
  • Red White Trim
  • White

Italian Greyhound Appearance

The Italian Greyhound is a miniature version of their larger Greyhound cousins, being slender and delicate, yet larger than other toy breeds.

A graceful, genial, gentle dog with a kind expression and a gregarious perky character, display a free high-stepping gait when moving.

Facial Region

Iggy’s elongated, flat head has a slight stop and their muzzles are long and fine with dark-colored noses. Nicely proportioned head in relation to their body with a shallow stop and almost flat skull.

They have a beautiful, round, dark and medium sized eyes which are a true indication of their sweet natures. Tapered muzzles with well-developed black nostrils and rose shaped ears, folded in the middle is well-set high on the head.

IG has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite.


The slightly arched neck which widens slightly into their shoulders leading down to a well-proportioned, deep and narrow chest. They are in proportion to their ribs and brisket.

The slightly arched backs over their loins with the lean yet powerful hindquarters and well-muscled thighs with straight, strong back legs. Hare-like feet and the tails are set low being long enough to reach the hocks.

Italian Greyhound Care

  • Exercise needsAverage
  • Intensity – High
  • Activity Level – Medium
  • Exercise Requirements – >60 Minutes/Day
  • Walk Mileage/ Week – 6 Miles
  • Playfulness – High
  • Grooming Needs – Average
  • Tendency To Drool – No
  • To Snore – No
  • Bark – Average
  • To Dig – Low
  • Social/Attention Needs – High



Italian Greyhound Temperament

Italian Greyhounds are little punches. When they have the mood to play, there is nothing you can do to sidetrack them. You can’t force an Iggy to make peace with you if they don’t want to.

Indeed, Iggy’s never does anything if they don’t want to do. Brace yourself. Once you have an Iggy home, your life will never be your own again.

This blithely unconcerned breed absolutely adores the cuddles with his pet parent and will pleasurably request for generous amounts of lap therapy.

They’re a very dependent breed, which means they’re most comfortable by your side and your trip to the shower will be shared by your Iggy sitting beside the door.

Nap time will be yours, provided that, your Iggy wants to nap too, or else, they will turn your naptime into a battle of will. fidati di me! The Iggy will win. They are also fairly independent.

They love to romp around in a garden and, indeed, he can be a chaser. Indoors, he loves nothing more than to jump on furniture and hop around a room from chair to bed to desk in a kind of doggy assault course.

Outdoors, a fenced yard or a leash are musts at all times, because many IG’s will stalk squirrels, chipmunks, low-flying birds, even butterflies, right into the street.

On the other hand, IGGY’s are a creature of comfort.  He hates the rain and cold-shoulders to go for a walk in cold weather if he can get away with it.

If there’s a spare couch he will ensure that he fills it by stretching to his full length. He likes nothing more than to or be stroked, have forty winks in the sun and waking from time to time to eat.

Because of their size and laid-back nature, they adapt well in a variety of settings, ranging from small apartments to large homes.

The greatest love of his all –  what the IG wants most in the entire universe is constant intimacy.  He dislikes to be left alone, loves to be with his person and will follow him around like a shadow.

When no one else in the world will love you, your Iggy will declare his never-ending love with just a look. They have a way of seeing only the best in you and they are not capable of holding a grudge. Their only objective in life is to adore you and to have fun. They are perfectly an elders’ dog.

Contrastingly to the Italian sheepdog, the Italian greyhound is an extrovert, family-dog.


  • Apartment Living – Yes
  • Good For First-Time Owners – Yes
  • Sensitivity Level – High
  • Loneliness – Hates To Be Left Alone
  • Cold Weather – Low
  • Hot Weather – Low


General Behavior

  • Independence – Fairly Independent
  • Dominance – Moderate
  • Combativeness – Non- Aggressive
  • Indoors – Moderately Active
  • Outdoor – Highly Active
  • Territorial – No
  • Easy Of Transportation – Medium

Italian Greyhound Training

  • Trainability – Easy
  • Intelligence – High
  • Memory – High
  • Mouthiness – Low
  • Prey Drive – High
  • Wanderlust Potential – High

 What about for first time owners?

Iggy’s are a good choice for first-time dog owners because they are very amenable and people-oriented dogs.  These dogs are very eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques.

They thrive on being in a home environment and IG’s are generally easy to train but they are notorious for house-training.

Below are a few tips that you should consider when you begin your ‘Italienisches Levrette d’Italie’ training:

  • Iggy’s are undemanding and exceptionally affectionate dogs which make them easier to train than many other hounds and dogs, in general.
  • Keep in mind to get his full attention – Before you begin any training you first need to have your iggy focus on you.
  • The Italian Greyhound is a sharp, little dog, but they often use their shrewdness for their own good. They are considered to be a little hard to housebreak, but with insistence and a lot of thoughtfulness, it is possible to teach them to do their business.
  • Keep in mind, they tend to be of above-average intelligence and are very sensitive dogs by nature. They do not respond well to any sort of heavy-handed or harsh correction training methods. They do respond well to positive reinforcement providing their training is fair and consistent. Yet, it would be a blunder to let this dog off leash anywhere near small animals or livestock, regardless of how well trained and responsive they are.
  • They are hygienic animals and don’t want to mess up the house, but they absolutely refuse to go out in snow or rain. Have a covered area in the backyard or garden can help but if they have to cross the rain to get to the covered area, that’s going to be a tough man.

Training may become a battle of wills. Subjective, stubborn and very intelligent, Iggys are exactly like his big cousin the greyhound, will not comply with you if he sees uninteresting – mostly, if he is fixed on something, he thinks is much more interesting.

But without training and exercise your IG may become shy, destructive and wayward.

Italian Greyhound Feeding

Italian Greyhounds are energetic and busy dogs. You will need to take this activity level into consideration when determining how many calories your pooch needs, particularly if you are doing any work or training.

Breeders would give you a feeding schedule (if you get a puppy from them) and it’s important to stick to the schedule. Changing a puppy’s diet has to be done very gradually and making sure that they don’t develop any stomach upsets.

Rough Feeding guide for Iggy:

They are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, IG puppies need to be fed a good quality, highly nutritious diet for them to develop and grow as they should.

As a rough guide, an IG puppy should be fed with their meals is evenly spread out throughout the day.  It’s best to feed 2 or 3 times a day:

  • Daily Cost – $1.00 – $1.20 (average)
  • Monthly cost  – $30.00 – $37.00
  • IG pups between eight and 12 weeks old – 3 meals every 24 hours (60g- 160g).
  • 3 to 6 months old – 3 meals every 24 hour period (160g-175g)
  • Feed puppies 6 months to 1 year – 2 bowls of food daily (150g)
  • When your dog hits his first birthday, one bowl or two smaller bowls every 24 hours is typically all that’s necessary.

Remember, the feedings depend on puppy’s build. Once an IG is 11 months old they can be fed adult dog food depending on their activity level.

  • Dogs weighing-5 kg = 80g
  • 6 kg =100g
  • 7 kg = 120g

Keep in mind; these feedings depend on your dog’s eating tendencies and depending on their activity. Grown-up dogs need to be fed a good quality diet that meets all their nutritional requirements while keeping a close eye on a dog’s weight.

Here is a rough feeding guide. 

  • Protein content should be between 14 – 21%
  • Carb content should be 30 to 70%
  • Fiber content should be less than 4%
  • Fat content should be less than 10%
  • Calcium content should be 0.5 – 0.8%
  • Phosphorous content should be 0.4 – 0.7%
  • Sodium content should be 0.2 – 0.4%

Italian Greyhound Grooming And Shedding

  • Coat Density – Sparse
  • Length Of Coat – Short
  • Coat Texture – Straight
  • Brushing Frequency – Weekly
  • Trimming/Stripping – No
  • Hypoallergenic – Yes
  • Shedding – Moderate

 The Italian Greyhound wears a fine, short, low shedding, extremely glossy coat that is soft to the touch and feels like satin. They come in the variety of colors with shades of black, cream, fawn, seal, blue or red.

They may be solid or have white markings on the body. Red and blue are unique coat colors and with respect to coat patterns, any color can be found in combination with white.

It is worth mentioning that Iggy’s with red coats have black tips to each hair on account of the fact that they have a “sable gene” and per se, they do not have a “true red coat” similar to a Red Setter.

The good news here is that they are practically hypoallergenic and a snap to groom. Iggy doesn’t shed much and their coat is so short and sleek that you may not even notice.

A quick wipe-down with a damp cloth will be sufficient for a cleanup after a day in the outdoors. Regular bathing is not needed, only bathe as-needed, as this breed enjoys rolling in the dirt, so the bathing needs are determined by individual dogs and its shape.

Interesting Facts About Italian Greyhound

  • The Italian Greyhound (IG or Iggy) is the smallest member of the sighthound family, also known as the gazehounds. The word “hound” should give you some indication what this species was originally used for, hunting.
  • When people think of using canines as hunting companions, they use their sense of smell to help their owner seek out their prey.
  • Italian Greyhounds are great hunters for Different Reasons as they use the sense of sight as the primary hunting guide.
  • Thanks to the small stature and rapidity of the Italian greyhound, hunting small mammals and/or being used to help dispose of vermin were considered to be its principal uses.
  • The Italian Greyhound is one of the oldest of all the breeds of dogs in existence. Iggys have been around from between 4,000 and 7,000 years. It is speculated that the IG is descendant of the African Jackals.
  • They were regarded highly in ancient Egypt and were cherished greatly by the hunters.
  • Greek mythology also has references of Italian greyhounds i.e., the legend of Aktaeon and the goddess Artemis.
  • As the story goes, Aktaeon while hunting comes across the bathing Artemis mistakenly and the goddess penalized Aktaeon by turning him into a stag. Sadly, Atkaeon’s hunting dogs (that’s our guys, Italian greyhounds) mistook him for prey and killed him (e.g., Aktaeon Vase)
  • IG’s were first registered at The AKC in 1886 as a part of the Toy breed category. Nowadays, IG is a companion animal rather than used for hunting.
  • Iggys have been depicted in paintings by many famous artists such as Pisanello, Giotto, and Velasquez. The portrait of Catherine the Great by Pisanello shows her with an Italian Greyhound.
  • They were patronized by monarchs such as Mary Stuart, Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, Queens Victoria and Anne.
  • Greyhounds are the canine world’s universal blood donor. Dogs have 12 different blood group types. Experts say 85% of the Greyhounds have the blood type that can be donated to other dog breeds.

Italian Greyhound Health Problems

Major Health Issues To be Taken care Of:

Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease and tooth problems are the most common health problems in Italian Greyhounds.  Without appropriate, regular dental care from puppyhood, IGs can develop severe gum or periodontal diseases quite quickly.

Hip Dysplasia – You’ve probably heard of hip dysplasia, when the hips fail to develop normally, either due to one or several developmental problems and leads to arthritis.

Patellar luxation – Sometimes your Iggy’s kneecap (patella) may slip out of its normal anatomical position which is called patellar luxation.

Cataracts – They are a common cause of blindness in older Iggys.

Italian Greyhound Cancer – In the luck front, Italian Greyhounds are not prone greatly to cancer but may get affected by Hemangiosarcoma (HSA), the malignant tumor of non-epithelial tissues. They may develop red/dark purple spots which may grow to a notable size on the skin. This dermal HSA may be due to UV light exposure. X-rays or Platelet/RBC count test may be used to diagnose this type of cancer. If not diagnosed early, HSA will affect spleen, liver and sometimes the heart and the chances of survival are very very less.

Minor concerns

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – Degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss

Allergies – Common allergens consist of dog foods that contain elevated levels of grains and other cereal-type fillers, Dust mites, airborne pollens, Flea, and tick bites

Italian Greyhound Price And Breeders

Italian Greyhound Price

The price of IGGY puppies will cost you at least $500 from a reputable breeder. Then there are licenses, vaccines, preventative medicine, heartworm testing and – of course –   spaying or neutering. You’ve added an extra $400.00 to the actual price.

 Alternatively, have a look at IG puppies at dog rescue centers and animal shelters. They exist in all the countries and will also have grown-up dogs to re-home.

Italian Greyhound Breeders

Our 2018 list for the most reputable IGGY breeders in America

  • Summerwind Kennel Italian Greyhounds Sparta, Tennessee
  • Maplewood Italian Greyhounds Phillips, Maine
  • Marchwind Italian Greyhounds Vienna, Georgia
  • LittleLuv Italian Greyhounds Los Angeles, California
  • About Time Italian Greyhounds Edgewood, New Mexico
  • Laynes Italian Greyhounds Brooksville, Florida
  • Voici Italian Greyhounds Salt Lake City, Utah
  • MOSA Italian Greyhounds Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Aurelies Italian Greyhounds Taylor, Arkansas

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