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Italian Greyhound Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, Traits & More

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, Traits & More

Italian Greyhounds are becoming increasingly popular due to their small size, which makes them well-suited to apartment living. They are also generally friendly and playful, but many people like to learn all that they can about a breed before they bring one into their home. If this sounds like you, keep reading as we discuss the size, temperament, appearance, and health conditions of this breed so you can determine if the Italian Greyhound is right for you.

Breed Overview


13–15 inches


7–14 pounds


14–15 years


Fawn, blue, red, black, sable, seal, white and black, cream

Suitable for:

Apartment dwellers, seniors, families, first-time dog owners


Affectionate, gentle, intelligent, quiet

The Italian Greyhound is an ancient breed that was popular during the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago. They were a popular companion and hunting dog that later became a status symbol in Italy during the Renaissance, and you can see them in many popular paintings from the era, including ones of Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great. Today’s owners often fall in love with the dog’s friendly personality and deep affection toward family members. They are also extremely adaptable and hardy despite their small size.

Italian Greyhound Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Italian Greyhound Puppies

three italian greyhound puppies
Image By: ClaudioDoenitz, Shutterstock

Like most dogs, Italian Greyhounds are extremely playful and curious as puppies and can get into mischief without constant supervision. Their size demands even more attention, and you will need to ensure that small children don’t handle them too roughly. Also, you’ll need to socialize your Italian Greyhound puppy with as many people, places, and other animals as possible, which will help them feel more comfortable around these things in the future. Getting them started on a training routine is a good idea, too.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds have an extremely friendly temperament, which makes them quite popular with pet owners. They are loyal and enjoy being close to their family members, with many owners describing them as being constantly underfoot. These dogs also like to sit on your lap and will frequently climb into bed with you if you let them. They have a quiet nature, usually don’t bark too much, and are happy living in busy or laidback environments.

Italian Greyhounds are incredibly intelligent and can learn many different tricks. However, they can occasionally be stubborn and find it hard to keep focused, so consistency and patience are essential for success. They respond well to positive reinforcement and being on a routine.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪

The Italian Greyhound makes a wonderful family pet. They are intelligent and friendly, so they can be great fun to spend time with. They like to stay close by and will follow you around the home or sit on the couch with you while you watch TV. They are also adaptable to different living environments, and their small size makes them well-suited to apartment living. The only worry is around young children who might play with this fragile dog too roughly.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?🐶 😽

Italian Greyhounds usually get along well with other animals, especially if they get plenty of socialization as a puppy. These friendly dogs often enjoy the company of other dogs. Still, it’s important to remember that every dog has a unique personality, and some may prefer solitary lifestyles.

Italian Greyhound standing
Image By: Natallia Yaumenenka, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning an Italian Greyhound

Food & Diet Requirements🦴

Your Italian Greyhound will require high-quality commercial dog food that lists real meat like beef or chicken as the first ingredient. It’s also a good idea to choose a brand specifically designed for small breeds. Other important ingredients include omega fatty acids and prebiotics, which can help boost your pet’s immune system and improve their coat. Avoid brands that use chemical preservatives and artificial dyes.


While the Italian Greyhound is a small breed, they still require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Short daily walks, along with plenty of playtime, are vital for keeping your pet healthy and happy. This breed has a large amount of energy but tires out quickly, so you may need to hold a few sessions throughout the day for the best results.

black italian greyhound
Image By: Akiko Campbell, Pixabay


The Italian Greyhound is an intelligent dog capable of learning many tricks and completing complex tasks. However, they can also be independent-minded and stubborn, so it can be hard to keep them focused during your training sessions. Short ones can be a big help, as can holding them consistently at a scheduled time. Doing so will help your pet get into a routine that they start to expect. Using positive reinforcement like treats, praise, and pets can be effective at helping them stay interested long enough to learn.


Italian Greyhounds are relatively low-maintenance dogs with a short coat that only requires occasional brushing. You will also need to brush their teeth as frequently as possible to maintain dental health and to clip their nails occasionally, especially if you hear them clicking on the floor.

italian greyhound on a studio background
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Dental disease is common in many dog breeds, including the Italian Greyhound, with more than 80% of dogs over the age of three having some form of it. Frequent manual brushing, proper diet, and frequent checkups can help slow the progression.
  • Von Willebrand’s disease is a common bleeding disorder that occurs in humans and dogs, and it prevents the blood from clotting. A deficiency of an important protein is the cause, and dogs with the disease will need to live a stress-free lifestyle. You will need to monitor them continuously for scratches and bruises.
Serious Conditions
  • Luxating patella is a condition where the kneecap slips out of place, affecting the way that your dog walks. It can be a genetic condition or the result of a traumatic injury. Treatment can include weight management, medication, and surgery.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease causes the deterioration of part of the femur bone, which can result in lameness and pain when moving the hip. The exact cause is unknown, and treatment includes plenty of rest.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy affects the layer of cells in your pet’s eye that detects light and turns it into electrical signals. As the cells deteriorate, it will become harder for your dog to see. Clinical signs can include avoiding dark places and bumping into things in dimly lit rooms. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but vitamins and dietary supplements may help reduce the risk of it occurring.

Male vs. Female

Male Italian Greyhounds are usually larger than the females and slightly more outgoing, with many parents describing them as clown-like. The females are easier to keep focused and train and are less likely to be territorial or express dominant behaviors.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Italian Greyhound

1. They are quite fast

Despite their small size, breeders created the Italian Greyhound for speed, and they can reach 25–30 mph!

2. They can jump

Italian Greyhound is an agile jumper that is well-suited to obstacle course competitions.

3. They are sensitive to the cold

Due to their small size and short coat, an Italian Greyhound doesn’t handle low temperatures well and frequently needs a jacket when traveling outside in cold climates.

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Final Thoughts

The Italian Greyhound is a wonderful breed that makes a great pet for large and small families. They are friendly and playful, often staying close by a family member throughout the day, and their small size makes them well-suited to many different living arrangements. They are low maintenance and don’t bark too much unless they have something important to say, so they won’t bother your neighbors.

The only downside is that their small size might make them too fragile for young children, and their playful nature can make it hard to keep them focused on your training sessions.

Featured Image Credit: Alexandra Morrison Photo, Shutterstock

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