Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound

Group: Toy Group

Origin: Italy

Height: 13 to 15 inches (33-38 cm)

Weight: 6 to 10 lbs (3-4.5 kg)

Italian Greyhound
Am.Can. Champion Integra’s Quote Unquote “Keagan”
Photo: Cantex Registered Kennels

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Breed Profile

The Italian Greyhound originated in the Far East and it is believed that the breed was brought into Italy by Roman soldiers where he became the favourite pet of nobility. Today, he is one of the more popular Toy breeds in Britain. He is the smallest in the family of Sighthounds and is recognized as a Toy breed by the Canadian Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club, and the Kennel Club (U.K.).

Though IGs have a gentle nature, they are very active and can be very demanding in their need for attention. They may appear fragile but they are very hardy little dogs and one of the most active of the Toy breeds. It should be noted that the Italian Greyhound’s temperament can be very different and more demanding than either of his larger relatives (the Whippet and Greyhound). Although physically, the IG resembles the Greyhound in miniature, the IG is not a miniature version of a Greyhound or a Whippet.

The Italian Greyhound’s coat comes in all shades of black, grey, fawn, cream, blue, red, chocolate, bronze, blue-fawn, red-fawn and white. Because of his short coat, small size and weight, the IG does not like bad weather including the cold, wind or rain. Protective clothing, such as sweaters or rain jackets, and boots are recommended when going out in any type of bad weather.

The Italian Greyhound is seen participating in many sports and activities, including: Conformation, Agility, and Obedience Competitions. Because the Italian Greyhound is not part of the Sighthound group, the breed is not eligible to compete in official CKC Lure Coursing events in Canada but they are seen participating in practice/fun runs and unofficial straight racing. The breed is also commonly seen working as a Therapy Dog.


Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a Italian Greyhound puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Some potential health concerns found in the Italian Greyhound breed include:

  • Teeth & Gum Disease — Many Italian Greyhounds develop severe gum disease if their teeth are not well taken care of. It is recommended that all IGs have their teeth brushed regularly (preferably daily) and professional cleaning is also highly recommended as often as necessary to keep the gums and teeth in good condition.
  • Anesthetics — Like all members of the Sighthound family, the Italian Greyhound may be sensitive to a number of anesthetics. It is very important to discuss this with your Veterinarian in advance of any required surgery. For additional information, see: Anesthesia And Your Saluki from the Saluki Club of America.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Cataracts
  • Patellar Luxation (slipping knee caps)
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis
  • Seizures
  • von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Legg-Perthes

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

The Italian Greyhound’s short, fine and silky coat requires minimal grooming. However, the breed is known to be prone to gum disease and should have their teeth brushed DAILY to avoid tartar build up and gum disease. In addition, the Italian Greyhound’s nails must be kept short and normally require filing or grinding once or twice a week.

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

  • Toy Breeds — Housebreaking
  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.

Additional Information

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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