|Piccolo Levriero Italiano
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 10 Section 3 #200
||Group 1 (Toys)
||Group 5 - Toys
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Italian Greyhound is a small
dog, specifically a
member of the
hound family and member of the
The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sight hounds, typically weighing
3 to 5 kg. They look like miniature
The colour of the coat is a subject of much discussion. In
white spotted Italians are accepted, while the FCI standards adhered to in
white spots only on the chest and paws.
The modern Italian Greyhound's appearance is a result of breeders throughout
breeders, making great contributions to the forming of this
Italian Greyhound should resemble a small
or rather a
Sloughi. It is important that the dogs are significantly more elegant and
graceful than these breeds, though.
The Italian Greyhound is considered a good companion dog, as they are very
The Italian Greyhound's apparent lack of wide appeal is possibly because of
their fragile appearance, with their spindly legs. The reality of the breed is
quite contrary to the appearance, though, as they are frequently described as a
'big' dog in a small package. They also have a realatively loud bark. In fact,
the breed will be equally at home in a city and in the country, and it does not
require as much exercise as larger breeds. The Italian Greyhound is hardy,
rarely ill, intelligent and easy to teach.
Sometimes, IG's will make a resonably good guard-dog and bark at things that
aren't usually in the street. They may also bark at passers by.
IG's often get along with cats so if you already have a cat and you are
looking for a suitable dog which won't chase your beloved kitty all day long,
IG's can be recommended.
IG's despise the wind, wet and cold and will sometimes refuse to do their "
business " outside if it is raining so some recommend having some old newspaper
on the floor near the exit.
This breed, like most dogs, is not a fussy eater and will eat almost
anything, including the month-old scraps from your garden. Most will eat
enthusiastically, but some get more picky about their food as they age.
IGs are good with kids but their thin bones are fragile and can be hurt by
rough play from young children.
Dogs of this breed have an almost odour-free, easily managed coat. Although
the coat is incredibly short, it can shed. The breed simply loves the company of
people, and will promptly occupy your lap if you let it. In fact, many owners of
this breed have them sleeping with them in their beds.
The young dog will often be particularly active, and this high level of
activity sometimes lead them to try to 'fly' from furniture or stairs. It is
important to keep a close eye on the dogs in this initial phase as their young
bones are still fragile. The first year of life is the most accident-prone,
although the graceful legs often seem to withstand incredible punishment they
are not invulnerable.
IGs love to run as fast as they possibly can, and, like all dogs, it's
important that they have an opportunity to run full out at least once daily,
either in the back yard or under supervision and control in a larger area. Like
most dogs they enjoy digging and, if left to their own devices for entertainment
and exercise, might resort to digging or other destructive behavior.
Like most smaller breeds, the Italian Greyhound can be difficult to
This will normally come along with patience and training, but at a slower pace
than most other breeds. Patience is the only way to help the training along, and
remember that the breed is small and as such the dog will have a small bladder.
Members of this breed might love the sunlight, so owners need to ensure that
they don't become overheated, and they do get sunburned (particularly on their
heads and bellies), so it's recommended to use
The breed is relatively free of disease, but the following ailments do occur:
Legg-Perthes disease (degeneration of the hip)
Patellar Luxation (slipped stifles)
- vWD (Bleeding disorder)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
The name of the breed is a reference to the breed's popularity in
very similar to the Italian Greyhound (or small Greyhounds) have been found in
Egypt, and pictorials of small Greyhounds have been found in
they were probably the only accepted companion-dog there. As an amusing aside
the expression 'Cave Canem' (Beware of the dog) was a warning to visitors, not
that the dogs would attack but to beware of damaging the small dogs.
Although the small dogs are mainly companionship dogs they have in fact been
used for hunting
purposes, often in combination with hunting
The grace of the breed has prompted several artists to include the dogs in
paintings, among others
Giotto. The breed has been popular with
throughout, among the best known
Catherine The Great,
Frederick the Great and the
Some Italian Greyhounds enjoy
agility. The breed's lithe body and its love of action enable it to
potentially do well at this sport, although not many IGs participate and their
natural inclination is for straight-out racing rather than for working tightly
as a team with a handler on a technical course.
Lure coursing is another activity well-fitted to the Italian Greyhound, and
they seem to enjoy it tremendously. Although the Italian Greyhound is a very
fast dog, it is not as well suited to racing as its larger cousin.
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