The Italian Greyhound is extremely slender and barely over a foot tall, but has all the grace and sweetness of his taller Greyhound relatives. There is debate as to whether they were originally bred for hunting small game or meant to be simply a companion. In all likelihood, both are true, as they are adaptable to city and country life. The Italian Greyhound’s coat can be any color, except brindle and classic black and tan.
A Look Back
As with many ancient breeds, their depiction in art and architecture provides insight into their origin. Miniature greyhounds appear in ancient decorative arts of the Mediterranean countries dating back 2000 years. During the Renaissance, Italian noblemen adopted the breed as their own and it became known as the Italian Greyhound. The breed made its way to England in the seventeenth century, gaining steadily in popularity.
Right Breed for You?
Playful and intelligent, the Italian Greyhound is generally easy to train and prefers to spend most of his time with his owner. They like attention and affection, and are a peaceful, gentle friend to adults and children. Italian Greyhounds are an active breed that loves to run and play and requires daily walks. Their small size makes them ideal for an apartment and his short, smooth as satin coat makes him one of the easiest breeds to groom.
The Italian Greyhound is very similar to the Greyhound, but much smaller and more slender in all proportions and of ideal elegance and grace.
Narrow and long, tapering to nose, with a slight suggestion of stop. Skull Rather long, almost flat. Muzzle Long and fine. Nose Dark. It may be black or brown or in keeping with the color of the dog. A light or partly pigmented nose is a fault. Teeth Scissors bite. A badly undershot or overshot mouth is a fault. Eyes Dark, bright, intelligent, medium in size. Very light eyes are a fault. Ears Small, fine in texture; thrown back and folded except when alerted, then carried folded at right angles to the head. Erect or button ears severely penalized.
Long, slender and gracefully arched.
Of medium length, short coupled; high at withers, back curved and drooping at hindquarters, the highest point of curve at start of loin, creating a definite tuck-up at flanks.
Long and sloping.
Deep and narrow.
Long, straight, set well under shoulder; strong pasterns, fine bone.
Long, well-muscled thigh; hind legs parallel when viewed from behind, hocks well let down, well-bent stifle.
Harefoot with well-arched toes. Removal of dewclaws optional.
Slender and tapering to a curved end, long enough to reach the hock; set low, carried low. Ring tail a serious fault, gay tail a fault.
Skin fine and supple, hair short, glossy like satin and soft to the touch.
Any color and markings are acceptable except that a dog with brindle markings and a dog with the tan markings normally found on black-and-tan dogs of other breeds must be disqualified.
High stepping and free, front and hind legs to move forward in a straight line.
Height at withers, ideally 13 inches to 15 inches.
A dog with brindle markings. A dog with the tan markings normally found on black-and-tan dogs of other breeds.
Approved December 14, 1976 by AKC