The Italian Greyhound is the smallest in the family of gazehounds (dogs that hunt by sight). The breed is very old and is believed to have originated over 2,000 years ago in the countries which are now Greece and Turkey. Once a favorite of royalty and others, the I.G. as he is called by fanciers (also "Iggy", "Ig", or more formally, "Italian"), is found in many paintings from the Renaissance period. Small breed dogs were in demand during the 16th century, and due to it's popularity in Italy, the breed became known as the "Italian Greyhound". In the early days, when there was no household heat, the I.G. (with a body temperature of 101+) was taken to bed for the warmth he provided to humans while they were sleeping.
Although the Italian Greyhound is light on his feet, and is fast for short distances, the I.G. lacks the stamina and the will to run of his larger cousins, the Greyhound. Many I.G.'s are born to chase anything that moves, like squirrels and rabbits. Others could care less if they ever chase anything...they are content to sit and watch the world go by.
The Italian Greyhound is a very healthy breed, despite his fragile appearance. The I.G. is the only odorless breed. He sheds very little, has a silky, almost velvety coat, and is not yappy. The I.G. would be a good breed for people who are allergic to the hair of other breeds.
Italian Greyhounds are very much "people dogs". They are bright, imaginative, full of fun and spirit, and are passionately devoted to their humans. I.G.'s have an affectionate disposition, and love it best when his owners return his affection. He is alert, sensitive, and very intelligent and is very playful until well into adulthood. The I.G. adapts quickly to most households, and gets along well with other pets and children. He always wants to please, and learns very quickly. He has done very well in obedience trials.
Ideal for a small house or an apartment, or even the country, the Italian Greyhound will fit into nearly every household. The hound in him makes him very happy when he has a place to run, or even accompanying his owner on a walk. He gets along with other animals, and will play with a much bigger breed not realizing he is much smaller than his buddy. The Italian Greyhound thinks that he is ten feet tall!
The Italian Greyhound has an elegant gait...very high-stepping and free. His coat may be all shades of fawn, cream, red, blue, or sometimes even black. It may be either solid or with various degrees of white markings.
Last revised: December 08, 2012