Caitlin UltimoBehavior / Breed Lists

Italian Greyhound Dog Breed

About the Italian Greyhound Dog Breed

The Greyhound is an ancient breed; the origins of this breed have existed since the Middle Ages. The Italian Greyhound originated in Italy about 2,000 years ago when Italians starting breeding the naturally born smaller sized Greyhounds, which eventually resulted in the modern Italian Greyhound. This breed was created to be a companion animal and they were favorites with the Romans and English nobility.

Italian Greyhound Physical Characteristics

The Italian Greyhound has a small slender graceful build. They have a narrow head with semi-prick ears (ears that are erect and slightly bent forward at the top), and the tail is long and skinny. The neck is long as well as the back, with skinny legs, a high-tucked abdomen and a deep chest.


The breed can be seen in any color except black and tan, and brindle. The most common colors are red, fawn, blue, black and white, and tan and white.


Very short and slick.

Italian Greyhound Personality and Temperament

Activity Level

Low to moderate


Italian Greyhounds like to learn new things and are very loving toward their families. This is a great breed for getting out and being active, since they need to have exercise every day.

Things to Consider

Italian Greyhounds are known to have a nervous nature and they do not generally like strangers, with whom they can be standoffish or even frightened. They will tolerate older children better than young children, mainly because they are very fragile and can be easily hurt by younger and more boisterous children.

Italian Greyhound Care

Ideal Living Conditions

Italian Greyhounds do well in the country or city.

Special Requirements

The breed can get cold easily, so it needs to be kept warm. This is one breed that needs to wear clothes for practical purposes rather than just for fun. They also require a lot of attention and affection from their people.

Italian Greyhound Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Italian Greyhounds:

Italian Greyhound History and Background

Although the Italian Greyhound is believed to have existed for several centuries, the documents of its origins have been lost, thus offering no knowledge of its source or its development. There is, however, ancient art more than two centuries old from Greece, Turkey, and other Mediterranean countries depicting dogs resembling the Italian Greyhound.

During the Middle Ages, miniature Greyhounds were seen all over southern Europe, but Italian courtiers were especially fond of them. It was in the 1600s that the first of this breed appeared in England, where they became very popular among members of the nobility, just as they had in Italy. The Italian Greyhound was one of the only two toy breeds named in a dog book in 1820.

In terms of popularity, the breed was most fashionable during the rule of Queen Victoria. However, the numbers of this dog breed reduced to a great extent during the 2nd world war, just as many breeds had suffered, and the breed had almost vanished in England by the end of the war. Efforts to increase their numbers did not do well at first, perhaps because of the breed’s loss in quality in the attempts to breed dogs of a tiny size without focusing on their health.

Luckily, Italian Greyhounds of high quality had been introduced to the United States in the late 19th century. These and other imported dogs were instrumental in reviving the breed throughout Europe, thus accounting for its gradual rise in popularity.

By: Chewy Editorial