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Italian Greyhound Care & Information

Italian Greyhound Breed Information

The Italian Greyhound is a sporty little dog. He prances lightly in play and keeps his sense of fun throughout his life, preferring to spend most of his time with "his human". He likes attention and affection, and is a peaceful, gentle friend.

Very similar to the Greyhound, but much smaller and more slender in all proportions,  the IG is a very healthy breed despite their fragile appearance. IGs are the only odorless breed, and have velvety silky coats that shed very little. This makes IGs an ideal 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. IGs have loving & affectionate dispositions, and become ecstatic when their owners return their affection. They are alert, sensitive, very intelligent, and are very playful until well into adulthood. IGs adapt quickly to most households, and get along well with other pets and children. They always wants to please, learn very quickly, and have done very well in obedience and agility trials.

Whether you live in a city home, an apartment, or a house in the country, an Italian Greyhound will fit right into your life. IGs love to accompany you for a walk, or run in the yard. They get along well with other animals, and will play with a much bigger breed not realizing they are so much smaller! IGs often seem to think they are ten feet tall!

The Italian Greyhound has an elegant gait ... very high-stepping and free. These beautiful little dogs come in all shades of fawn, cream, red, blue, and black with various degrees of white markings.

Description:
The Italian Greyhound is an elegant, miniature fine-boned Greyhound with a long head thinning gradually to a pointed muzzle. It has a dark nose, thin lips and a healthy scissors bite. Like his larger cousins, the brisket is deep, the abdomen tucked-in, and the back arched. The fine narrow ears fold back along the head, but rise perpendicular to the head when the dog is alert. The neck is long and thin. The expressive eyes are large and dark. The tail is straight ending in a slight curve. The Italian Greyhound has an easy-care short, sleek coat in solid gray, slate gray, cream, red, fawn, black, or blue - often broken up with white markings on the chest and feet, or white with color markings. A flecked version also exists but is not accepted in all countries. The Italian Greyhound has a high-stepping gait.

Temperament:
The Italian Greyhound is a gentle, submissive and affectionate dog. They become very attached to their masters and are sometimes reserved with strangers. Playful and intelligent, generally these dogs are not difficult to train provided their handler is consistent with them. They are sometimes naughty and are aware of it. It is important that you can see the funny side when things go wrong but this does not mean allowing them to take advantage of you. This breed can be high strung and timid (varies with individual dog's temperament) and must be handled very gently. They do get along well with behaved children and other dogs and cats. In a stressful situations they need constant reassurance by stroking. They are very dependent and peaceful. Like any dog, they can be snappish if it is frightened. They are generally easy to get along with and take care of. This dog is extremely fast! Young Italian Greyhounds are very active. They can climb wire fencing and are very inquisitive - jumping from chair to table tops to nearby furniture. They are good companions for large or small dogs. They do get along well with other Italian Greyhounds and some recommend that you have more than one of this fine breed.

Height, Weight:
Height: 12-15, up to 17 inches (30-38 cm.) Weight: 6-10 pounds (3-5 kg.)

Health Problems :
The Italian Greyhound is hardier than it appears. The adult dog is certainly not delicate but until they are about eighteen months old, their bones are quite fragile and they can break a leg rather easily. Italian Greyhounds are prone to slipped stifle, fractures, PRA and epilepsy. Bitches whelp easily and are well-suited to motherhood.

Living Conditions :
The Italian Greyhound is good for apartment life, and well suited for living in a home or in the country. They are fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard. This breed is very sensitive to cold temperatures and should wear a sweater to go out in the cold weather.

Exercise :
Italian Greyhounds are active little dogs who enjoy a good walk and love to run free and play. Because Italian Greyhounds like to play by running and bumping into each other, play with groups of other Italian Greyhounds is always fun. Italian Greyhounds may be a good jogging companion for short distances, but they do better as a walking companion.

Life Expectancy :
About 12-15 years.

Grooming :
The Italian Greyhound is one of the easiest dogs to groom. All that is needed to keep the fine, silky coat gleaming is a rubdown with a piece of toweling or chamois. Only bathe when absolutely necessary. After bathing make sure the dogs is thoroughly dry and warm. The teeth should be brushed regularly to keep tarter from building up, and the toenails should be kept trimmed. This breed sheds little to no hair.

Origin :
The Italian Greyhound is a very old Greyhound breed. Interestingly, a dog similar to the Italian Greyhound of today was found in a 6000 year old Egyptian tomb. Like the Greyhound, this breed was brought to Europe by the Phoenicians. The breed was later developed by the Romans. As evidence, a small Greyhound was found in an ancient lava flow in Pompeii. During the sixteenth century, this delicate dog became popular with European nobility, and is portrayed in many paintings of that time. The breed was favored by Catherine the Great of Russia, James I of England, Anne of Denmark and Queen Victoria, among others. Frederick the Great of Prussia liked his little Italian Greyhound so much, he even took one to war with him. When his Italian Greyhound died, he buried him with his own hands on the grounds of his Sands Souci Palace. In 1991, Frederick's family granted his dying wishes and transferred his remains to Sans Souci, and placed them beside his little Italian Greyhound. A nineteenth century African chieftain was so taken with these graceful dogs that he offered 200 cattle in exchange for a single specimen. The Italian Greyhound is an excellent companion dog.

Group:
Southern, AKC Toy

Recognition:
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZK

 

Italian Greyhound Standard - AKC

Description
The Italian Greyhound is very similar to the Greyhound, but much smaller and more slender in all proportions and of ideal elegance and grace.

Head
Narrow and long, tapering to nose, with a slight suggestion of stop. Skull Rather long, almost flat. Muzzle Long and fine. Nose Dark. It may be black or brown or in keeping with the color of the dog. A light or partly pigmented nose is a fault. Teeth Scissors bite. A badly undershot or overshot mouth is a fault. Eyes Dark, bright, intelligent, medium in size. Very light eyes are a fault. Ears Small, fine in texture; thrown back and folded except when alerted, then carried folded at right angles to the head. Erect or button ears severely penalized.

Neck
Long, slender and gracefully arched.

Body
Of medium length, short coupled; high at withers, back curved and drooping at hindquarters, the highest point of curve at start of loin, creating a definite tuck-up at flanks.

Shoulders
Long and sloping.

Chest
Deep and narrow.

Forelegs
Long, straight, set well under shoulder; strong pasterns, fine bone.

Hindquarters
Long, well-muscled thigh; hind legs parallel when viewed from behind, hocks well let down, well-bent stifle.

Feet
Harefoot with well-arched toes. Removal of dewclaws optional.

Tail
Slender and tapering to a curved end, long enough to reach the hock; set low, carried low. Ring tail a serious fault, gay tail a fault.

Coat
Skin fine and supple, hair short, glossy like satin and soft to the touch.

Color
Any color and markings are acceptable except that a dog with brindle markings and a dog with the tan markings normally found on black-and-tan dogs of other breeds must be disqualified.

Action
High stepping and free, front and hind legs to move forward in a straight line.

Size
Height at withers, ideally 13 inches to 15 inches.

Disqualifications
A dog with brindle markings. A dog with the tan markings normally found on black-and-tan dogs of other breeds.

Approved December 14, 1976


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