Bongiorno! You might think the Italian Greyhound looks like a teeny tiny Greyhound. And you’d be right. This dainty whippersnapper of a canine dates all the way back to ancient Egypt, though the breed was finessed by (you’ve guessed it) Italians. Romans, specifically. The Italian Greyhound hopped (nimbly, we assume) over to the UK around the 1600s. It found the ultimate fame among Victorians as a toy dog, thanks to its elegance and sweet nature. A sensitive breed that’s good with children, it thrives best in a quiet household.
Nobody really knows for sure about the ancestry of the Italian Greyhound. It dates back to at least the eruption of Pompeii though, where the remains of one were found fossilised in lava. As the preferred pet of numerous European aristocrats, this breed features in the history books throughout Europe and beyond and was especially popular in Italy.
You can expect your Italian Greyhound to live on average 12 to 15 years.
This breed is prone health problems particularly in the knees and eyes. Other issues include epilepsy, tail fractures, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and hypothyroidism.
The tidy lodger
Grooming is a doddle with the Italian Greyhound. It barely sheds and the close, fine cloat will look its best if you tend to it with an ultra-soft piece of material – silk going spare, anyone?
Don’t be fooled by appearances. This may look like a toy dog, but the Italian Greyhound lives up to its namesake and enjoys the amount of exercise you might expect. Daily walks and off-leash capers are required. Being out and about regularly will help socialise your naturally timid Italian Greyhound and prevent it from becoming a bit of a wallflower.
Small Dog Sydrome
As with all smaller breeds, it’s easy to fall into the trap of babying your delicate little Italian Greyhound. Beware though – if you let them boss you around, they’ll feel the lack of a pack leader and will quickly become agitated.
The Italian Greyhound is only difficult to train inasmuch as owners tend to adopt a very softly-softly approach. However, this breed needs to be shown strong leadership to help it overcome its innate shyness. Contrary to what you might expect, a lack of confidence can stress your dog out.
Italian Greyhounds are infamously difficult to housebreak – but the challenges can be overcome with persistence.
Where to find Italian Greyhounds
Italian Greyhound Breed Groups
Keen to find fellow Italian Greyhound converts? Find a breed group below.
The Italian Greyhound Club
Adopt an Italian Greyhound
Want to adopt an Italian Greyhound in need of a loving home? Find a rescue centre below.
Italian Greyhound Rescue Charity
Sold on the sweet nature, fascinating background and delicate form of the Italian Greyhound? Find an approved Italian Greyhound breeder.