Breed of the Month–Italian Greyhound

1June 2011

Italian Greyhound

Color:  Black, white, fawn, cream, blue, any of these broken with white (no brindle)
Height:  12.5-15 inches
Weight:  8-11 lbs
Life Span:  12-15 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, dental problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, epilepsy.

Coat:  soft, fine, glossy, short
Country of Origin:  Italy

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

There is evidence in the tombs of Egypt of this breed on artifacts and relics from 2,000 years ago.  The breed received its name, Italian Greyhound, around the 1500s as their popularity grew across Europe.

Also known as “Iggy,” the Italian Greyhound bonds quickly to his family and is very affectionate.  It is recommended that you have more than one Iggy to keep them happy, as their fragile physique is too delicate for most other breeds and small children to play with.  Extra care must be taken when adding this breed to your home.  Potty training this breed can also be a bit of a challenge, especially if you live in area with inclement weather.  The Italian Greyhound may need you to give him a coat in cold weather to keep him warm and healthy.

The Italian Greyhound tends to be a nervous, anxious breed.  It is very important that owners of this breed do not unintentionally encourage this behavior.  Never pet or comfort a dog that is shaking or trembling with fear.  By giving attention at this time, you are communicating to the dog that this anxious behavior is good.  You are telling your dog to continue that behavior, which we do not want.  It is important to have a calm, relaxed demeanor at all times with this breed, and especially during training.

The Italian Greyhound will generally adjust to what the activity level of your household is.  The Iggy gets plenty of exercise with a short walk each day, and following his family around.

The Italian Greyhound has thin skin that must be kept warm and clean.  This breed’s coat is easy to care for with a simple wipe-down every now and then.  The Iggy’s face requires extra attention to stay clean and free from infection.

Socialization is key for this breed, the Iggy is a shy breed and will learn how to cope with all situations if properly socialized.  Train this breed from puppyhood to help encourage lifelong basic manners and good listening.  Proper motivation and quick training sessions are the best way to train your Italian Greyhound.