The Italian Greyhound
Although often referred to as a "miniature Greyhound," this dog is actually officially recognized as the Italian Greyhound. It is the smallest member of the sighthounds group that includes the Whippet, Greyhound, Saluki and Borzoi just to mention a few. Learn some interesting facts about this very refined breed.
Miniature Greyhound Facts
The history of the Italian Greyhound may date as far back as ancient Egypt. Initially bred as a hunting companion to chase after small game, the breed was also a great favorite among Europe's royalty in the Middle Ages. Today, these dogs are used almost exclusively as family companions, and they tend to get along well with other pets in the home except for small rodents like hamsters, Guinea pigs and the like.
A rather fine-boned, delicate dog, the Italian Greyhound stands approximately 15 inches high at the shoulder and only weighs between 8 and 12 pounds. This gives the animal its lean, elegant look.
The Italian Greyhound is by nature a rather quiet and shy creature. These dogs tend to do well with their immediate family/pack members, but they are wary of strangers. It's important to socialize them well as puppies to reduce this tendency so they aren't overly anxious about vet trips, spending time with the pet sitter or meeting other dogs and people at the park.
The AKC acceptable colors include:
- Blue and tan
- White markings on the face, chest and feet, as well as blue or black masks are acceptable.
Although these are toy dogs, remember their sporting heritage. These miniature Greyhounds do need regular exercise to keep them physically healthy and, perhaps more importantly, mentally fit. A bored Greyhound can become overly anxious and neurotic. It should also be noted that it's best to keep your pet on leash in public places because he is apt to run uncontrollably if left to his own devices. This is a natural trait of nearly any sight hound, and it can lead to loss, injury and even death.
Grooming is a breeze for this breed. The coat is very short, so you mainly need to brush your pet with a soft bristle brush to remove a little loose hair. You can also use a chamois for the same purpose, and it will add a nice shine to the coat. These dogs do shed, but because their hair is short, their shedding will never seem excessive. Bathing is rarely called for, and you can opt for a traditional bath or use pet wipes to get the job done. The nails should be trimmed on a bi-weekly basis.
Are Italian Greyhounds Hypoallergenic?
No dog is 100% hypoallergenic but for allergy sufferers, the Italian Greyhound is a good choice of dog. They shed minimally and do not have an undercoat. Some owners may claim they do not shed at all but it's likely because their hair is so small and fine that it's hard to notice it even when they are shedding.
Bringing Home an Italian Greyhound
If you decide to purchase an Italian Greyhound puppy, you should expect to pay as little as $500 and as high as $1,200. Show quality puppies will cost even more. To find a breeder, start with the Italian Greyhound Club of America which lists breeders from around the country on its website. If you prefer to rescue, the Italian Greyhound Rescue Foundation has listings of dogs in the U.S. that need homes.
Health and Longevity
On average, these dogs can live about 15 years, some a little longer. They are susceptible to cold, wet weather due to their very short coats, so provide a sweater as needed. Other health concerns include:
- Broken bones - Puppies are even more delicate.
- Slipped stifles
- Progressive retinal atrophy
If you enjoyed learning about the Italian Greyhound, you might also enjoy a few facts about Miniature Teacup Chihuahuas.