Italian Greyhound Dogs

Italian Greyhounds are ridiculously fast--reaching speeds of 40 mph--but, they would much rather be hanging out at home. In fact, there’s nothing they’d rather be doing than sitting by a warm fire and getting 100 percent of your attention. Italian Greyhounds are gentle and affectionate. They form very strong bonds with their masters. Sometimes this can result in skittishness, especially with new people or boisterous children. But, overall, they are friendly and loving—especially when they feel loved.

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound Pictures

  • Italian Greyhound dog named Velocity Cole
  • Italian Greyhound dog named Bailey Cole
  • Italian Greyhound dog named Radar O'Reilly
  • Italian Greyhound dog named Captain Nemo
  • Italian Greyhound dog named Sheerah
  • Italian Greyhound dog named Belle
see Italian Greyhound pictures »

Quick Facts

  • 7 - 15 pounds
  • 13 - 15 inches

Ideal Human Companions

    • Active people
    • Families
    • Retirees
    • Sporty types
    • Couch potatoes

Italian Greyhounds on Dogster

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Trademark Traits

    • Slender
    • Graceful
    • Timid
    • Loving
    • Devoted
    • Easygoing

What They Are Like to Live With

Italian Greyhounds are very adaptable, easily at home in apartments or palaces. They are neat, tidy, relatively quiet and fairly easy to train, but they can sometimes break the rules to see if they can get away with it. This is all in good fun—Italian Greyhounds are always dependable and eager to please.

Things You Should Know

Italian Greyhounds should not be left alone for long periods of time. They need human companionship to feel centered and secure. Though tender-boned as puppies, they develop into very sturdy canines. However, they should still be handled gently.

These dogs are sensitive to cold temperatures. Some of them will avoid taking walks during rainy days. If possible, dress them in a sweater to shield them from the elements, and remember to always keep them on a leash. These dogs are easily distracted and extremely fast.

A healthy Italian Greyhound can live as long as 18 years. Common health issues include seizures, hypothyroidism and knee problems. They are very easy to groom, only needing the occasional rubdown with a cloth.

Italian Greyhound History

Brought to Europe by the Phoenicians thousands of years ago, the Italian Greyhound is a smaller version of the Greyhound, bred small in order to create a more compact hunter and companion. As the years went on, these smaller Greyhounds won the hearts of many European nobles—especially the Italians. During World War I, the breed became almost extinct in England. Luckily, the breed had become well established in the United States, and American breeders were able to help replenish the English numbers.

The Look of a Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds are essentially toy-sized Greyhounds. They have sleek, muscular frames with a sinewy look. Their long, narrow heads have thin muzzles, small folded ears and dark keen eyes. Their long, somewhat angular necks slope down to broad, deep chests with tucked-in abdomens. They have slim tails that curve slightly. Their short, neat coats can come in almost any color. Overall, Italian Greyhounds carry themselves with elegance and poise.

Talk About Italian Greyhounds 

Here comes your high-speed couch potato!

I love my Italian Greyhound and am always stopped on the street by strangers who can't get over how delicate and beautiful he is. IGs are real personalities and can tell you exactly how they're feeling with their distinct body language expressive eyes. They are real cuddlers and are called "velcro dogs" because they want to be with their people and will stick to you like glue! I would recommend this breed to anyone but folks with very young children, as IGs have fragile legs that can be injured when handled too roughly. Also, this breed is notorious for teeth trouble. So don't sign up for one unless you can commit to brushing every day! The unconditional love is well worth it.

Another caveat to IG ownership: these are very fast dogs! And as they're sighthounds they can see a bird from the corner of their eye and take off in a flash. So no off-leash time at an unfenced dog park, sadly. Keep your hound on leash unless you're somewhere with high fences and no holes for them to squeeze through! And then prepared to be amazed when they're complete couch potatoes at home.

Many IG owners have issues potty training their dogs, but my pupster took to litter box training and knocked it right out of the park from day one. (You NEED to start them young if you don't have a yard.) He is also extremely intelligent, and understands more words than we'd like!

If you pick an Italian Greyhound, do your homework and do NOT buy one from a backyard breeder or puppy mill (any site with a "buy it now" paypal option, prices on dogs, etc. is BAD news. Run away!). I went through the Italian Greyhound Club of America for referrals and found a top notch breeder who does not breed often or for profit, but to better the breed and has a long line of champions in both conformation and sports. You may need to wait for a well-bred IG, but it's worth it. It's better to wait half a year than to wind up with a sickly, poorly socialized dog with major potty issues.

~Janine K., owner of an Italian Greyhound

A work in progress

We have an IG/Iggy that is almost 3 years old. We have had him since he was 6 months old and sad to say he is still a work in progress when it comes to potty training and crate training. These dogs can be very slow to learn and this breed can be hard to train. If you can stand the ongoing training and difficult potty training issues IGs do have many good qualities.

Our IG is quiet and rarely barks, he loves affection and attention, is small (although not purse-size portable), enjoys toys and his warm bed, is hair free and doesn't smell or shed, and he has proven to be very gentle and safe with my infant and toddler nephews. While we enjoy him and wouldn't give him up we do wish we'd selected another smarter breed.

~Karie M., owner of an Italian Greyhound