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Italian Greyhound

The Canine Chronicles Directory

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds are very similar to Greyhounds except that they are smaller and more slender. They have a delicate, smooth and glossy coat. The coat colors are usually fawn, blue, red, cream, black or these colors with white markings on their chest and feet. The head is long with a flat, narrow skull and a tapered muzzle. The eyes and nose should be dark. The soft, high-set ears fold in right angles and are 'rose'-shaped. When alert the ears will almost stand straight up. The teeth meet in a scissor-like bite. The long, arched neck merges into elongated, sloping shoulders. The brisket is deep and the abdomen is defined and tucked up. Their straight forelegs should have fine pasterns. Their hindlegs should have muscular thighs and the foot should be long and narrow. The long tail should be fine and carried low.

Temperament Italian Greyhounds are playful, gentle, submissive, intelligent and affectionate. They are naturally well-behaved but they can be high-strung and timid. Some can take time to bond, but are very dependent and devoted once the friendship is well established. They are very loving and enjoy snuggling. Some Italian Greyhounds will be reserved with strangers and others will be friendly. Either way they should be socialized at an early age. They prefer a quiet household with well behaved children. They generally get along with other dogs and cats. They get along with other Italian Greyhounds. However, for their safety, playing with large dogs is not recommended. If they become frightened or placed in a stressful situation they may become snappish and need reassuring strokes from their owners. Due to their short coats they are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures. This breed is very active. They will jump over wire fencing, to and from furniture and will run really fast when let off the leash.
Height, Weight Height: 12-15" ; Weight: 6-10 lbs.
Health Problems Italian Greyhounds have very delicate bones until they are 18 months old and can break easily. They are prone to fractures, slipped stifle, PRA and epilepsy. Females of the breed can whelp easily and make excellent mothers.
Living Conditions Italian Greyhounds will do great with apartment living but need regular exercise. They are sensitive to cold and should wear a coat in cold temperatures.
Exercise This active breed needs plenty of exercise to maintain their fitness level. They should be allowed off lead to run in a safe place. Because this breed loves to run and bump into other Italians, they should be monitored carefully for fractures. Because of their propensity to fractures, they should not play with large dogs. They make excellent walking companions.
Life Expectancy About 12-15 years
Grooming The Greyhound is very easy to groom. All that is needed is to wipe the coat with a towel and only bathe when absolutely necessary. Make sure they are very warm after bathing. Clip toenails regularly and brush teeth often to prevent tarter buildup. They shed little to no hair.
Origin It is implied that Italian Greyhounds originated from Egypt since similarly built dogs have been found in 6000 year old tombs of the Pharaohs. They were initially brought to Europe by Phoenicians and then in the 6th century BC when they were brought to the Mediterranean by the Romans. The Italian Greyhounds quickly became a favorite of the Greek and Roman nobility. During an archeological dig in Pompeii, a small greyhound was found in a lava flow. During the 16th and 17th century, this breed was at the height of their popularity, being a favored breed among numerous monarchs. They included Mary Queen of Scots, Charles I, Frederick the Great, Queen Victoria, James I of England, Catherine the Great of Russia, and Anne of Denmark. Even great painters like Blake, Carpacio and Van Dyck depicted this breed in their art work. Frederick the Great was so infatuated with this breed that he not only took one to war with him, but when they passed away, he would personally bury them on the grounds of his San Souci Palace. Even his dying wish was to be laid next to his beloved Italian Greyhound. However, it wasn't until 1991 that his heirs finally granted this wish and transferred his remains to Sans Souci. During the 19th century, an African chieftain was so enamored by this breed that he offered 200 cattle for a single dog. This breed has been used for hunting rabbits but they were the first breed to be developed primarily as a companion. They are recognized by the AKC and the UKC.
Group AKC Toy, UKC Companion Dog