Complete Guide To The Italian Greyhound: Personality, Feeding, Health and More

This miniature version of the large Greyhound is active yet affectionate. Although it needs plenty of exercise and play to keep it happy, the Italian Greyhound can be well suited to apartment life if given a chance to burn off energy every day. Sensitive, affectionate, and sweet, the Italian Greyhound is happy to be a lap dog with every family member, kids included, if given the opportunity.  

I see quite a few IGs in my veterinary practice on a regular basis. They are wonderful dogs and fairly popular in our area.

How Big Do Italian Greyhounds Get?

HeightWeight
Male14″-15″ at the shoulder9-14 lbs
Female 13″-14″ at the shoulder 7-12 lbs

What Do Italian Greyhounds Look Like?

The Italian Greyhound is a small dog that is athletic and sleek.There is not much size differentiation between males and females. The fur is sleek and short, and it is incredibly smooth to the touch.

The Italian Greyhound comes in several colors, including cream, fawn, black, blue, and red. The dog can be a solid color, or it can have patches of white markings.  

What Is The Personality Of A Italian Greyhound?

This little dog is loving and affectionate. It is happy to share its home with adults, kids, and other dogs, pending they are the same size or larger. This dog is a hound and has an instinct to chase animals that are smaller than it. The dog is happy living in an apartment if it is given enough exercise. Due to their small size, some simple playtime should be enough to keep this dog happy. When it isn’t playing, the Italian Greyhound makes an excellent lap dog.  

While the Italian Greyhound is friendly and affectionate toward its family, it can be aloof and standoffish toward strangers. Despite its small size, this dog has a substantial big-dog bark, making it a good watchdog. Although this breed of dog is intelligent, they have a typical hound personality that can be difficult to train.

The dog has a “what’s in it for me?” mentality that can make it stubborn at times. Always use positive reinforcement with plenty of praise. Harsh training and treatment can damage this dog’s sensitive personality.  

What Kind Of Grooming Do Italian Greyhounds Need?

Unsurprisingly, this short-haired dog needs very little grooming to maintain a healthy coat. Simply go over the coat with a short brush regularly to remove any loose and dead hairs. This dog is a moderate shedder, but regular brushing will help to reduce the amount of fur shed. Only bath this dog if necessary.

Because this dog has short fur, it can be incredibly sensitive to extreme temperatures and sunlight. Be sure to use dog sunblock in the summer, and give your Italian Greyhound a sweater or jacket if it is cold in the winter.

This breed has an unusually high occurrence of skin cancer, which may be attributed to its sensitive skin. Keep a close eye on the Italian Greyhound’s teeth, and be sure to keep up with regular veterinary dental visits.  

How Much Exercise Does A Italian Greyhound Need?

The little Italian Greyhound is an active dog that needs plenty of exercise to stay happy and fit. Because these dogs are small, sometimes simple playtime can be enough to tire this dog out. Playtime can be a fun game of fetch or a game with a fellow dog.

Although it may be tempting, try to avoid dog parks for this small dog. Larger dogs can easily trample these dogs due to their small size.

The Italian Greyhound loves to run and can make an excellent jogging partner. Always keep this dog on a leash with a harness. The dog is built to chase and hunt small animals and can be gone before you have a chance to grab it.  

What Kind Of Dog Food Is Best For Italian Greyhounds?

Most regular-sized kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Italian Greyhound. This particular breed has pretty large teeth so as long as the kibble isn’t too large it should be fine.

Grain-free diets are a myth. Please do not feed your dog a grain-free diet unless there are specific food allergies that would benefit from a grain-free diet. Always consult your veterinarian before you decide to make any major diet changes.

Some good brands that I recommend include:

I usually tend to go with the bigger dog food companies because of the amount of time and money they have to research and test their products. They also have a stronger history of safe foods (very rarely will they have recalls) over the newer, more boutique-style dog foods.

It is important always to give your dog high-quality dog food. Monitor the number of treats and “people food” you give your dog to keep him healthy and fit. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is the best and easiest way to extend the life of your Italian Grehound. 

How Long Do Italian Greyhounds Live?

14-15 years although I’ve occasionally seen older ones

What Health Problems Do Italian Greyhounds Have?

Italian Greyhounds can be prone to the following issues:

  • Dental Disease
  • Enamel Hypoplasia
  • Hemangioma/Hemangiosarcoma on the skin
  • Luxating patella

Where Can I Learn More About Italian Greyhounds?

Italian Greyhound Association of America is your first and best source online for info about this unique breed.

AKC Breed Profile

Where Can I Find an Italian Greyhound?

This breed of dog is increasingly popular, and it should be relatively easy to find. However, make sure to do your homework ahead of time and thoroughly research the breeder. You want to find a breeder that is knowledgeable about Italian Greyhounds and will answer all your questions. If possible, try to meet the mother and father dog and all the puppies in the litter before choosing your pup.  

Start with the breeder referral listings from the Italian Greyhound Association of America.

How about a Rescue IG? The Italian Greyhound Rescue association is a great place to find dogs nationwide in need of a new home. They also have local chapter meetings and resources for new owners.

Fun Facts About the Italian Greyhound

  • This breed of dog is known for its popularity among noblewomen, especially in Italy, during the Middle Ages. Eventually, the dog’s popularity spread throughout Europe and England and became a hallmark of the aristocracy.  
  • The Italian Greyhound can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.  
  • Although this is an intelligent breed that can learn many new behaviors, many owners have difficulty with housetraining. As a result, some dogs never become completely housetrained, even as adults.  Some accidents here and there are normal for this breed of dog.
  • This dog is an ancient breed that may have existed up to 2,000 years ago. Archeologists have found small skeletons of tiny Greyhound dogs in Turkey and Greece that look identical to the Italian Greyhound.  
  • The Italian Greyhound has long been a staple dog of royalty. Famous Italian Greyhound owners include Mary, Queen of Scots, Frederick the Great of Prussia, Queen Victoria, and Charles I.  

Last update on 2022-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API