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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Italian Greyhound

This is an elegant and slender dog, looking like a standard Greyhound but in miniature. The coat is smooth and glossy and can come in a variety of shades. The head is narrow with a very fine muzzle and ears are softly folded and set high on the head. The spine slopes gently and there is a defined tuck-up in the loins. The gait is high stepping and free.

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys walking half an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Lifespan: 14–15 years
Weight: 3.5–4.5kg
Height: 32–38cm
Colours: Black, fawn, blue fawn, chocolate, sable, tan, red fawn, blue, slate grey, grey, yellow and red
Size: Small
Kennel Club group: Toy


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 2/5
Italian Greyhound


This is a clean, shy, gentle dog that loves to snuggle, partly out of affection and partly due to their need to keep warm! The Italian Greyhound does better with early socialisation so they will accept new people and situations more readily but they are nearly always a one-person dog. Once they have bonded to their owner, they will be inseparable and often are disinterested in other people or dogs.

Italian Greyhound

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Italy

The Italian Greyhound is virtually a complete miniature of the full-sized Greyhounds – and originally was of great value as a high-status symbol in the poshest of households. Artists such as Van Eyck and Memling included these dogs in their paintings – and in Britain, they became highly fashionable in the Tudor and Stuart periods. Royalty fell under their spell and Charles 1, Queen Anne and Queen Victoria all owned Italian Greyhounds. Like many breeds however, the thing that made them popular became their downfall as the quest for smaller and smaller dogs led to serious health issues – and a dog that was far too delicate for anything but the most cossetted life. The breed was on the way to extinction before sanity prevailed and a group of breeders in the late Victorian era set about bringing the breed back to the unexpectedly hardy little dog they had previously been and that can now be seen today.

Health and Common Issues

The Italian Greyhound dog is generally a healthy breed but being so delicate, they can suffer from broken legs. As with many breeds, they can suffer from hereditary eye disorders and therefore eye testing prior to breeding is important.

Exercise Needs

Although a very small dog, this is still a sighthound and they do love to run. It is best to let the Italian Greyhound run in a confined space, though, as they can run off in pursuit of prey and are too small and easily injured to safely play with anything other than the gentlest of dogs. Exercise should be carefully monitored until the dog is fully grown - along with any stairs -and even then, care should be taken with their often-delicate limbs. A healthy adult should have at least an hour's daily exercise but they will also want to go everywhere with their owner.

Space Requirements

The Italian Greyhound can easily live in a small house as long as they have the chance to run safely. They prefer their homes to be warm as they do not tolerate the cold well at all.

Nutrition and Feeding

Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Grooming Italian Greyhounds

The Italian Greyhound needs very little coat care, as they have such a short coat. A rub down with a cloth will enhance the sheen of the coat. These dogs do need thorough dental care, though, as they are very much prone to dental problems.

Training Italian Greyhounds
Best Family Dog Breeds

Italian Greyhounds generally do not make great family dogs as they are too delicate and sensitive for all but the quietest of families - and they generally bond exclusively to one person.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • Despite the name, the Italian Greyhound comes originally from ancient Egypt (where their mummified remains could be found entombed with pharaohs) as well as Greece and Rome.
  • They are probably the very first breed to be developed purely as a companion and have been around between 4,000 – 7,000 years.
  • Italian Greyhounds are known to chase cars, bikes, people and cats – they are a sighthound after all!

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