The Italian Greyhound!

Also known as the Piccolo Levriero Italiano, Italian Greyhounds are elegant greyhounds – small and fine-boned. Their long head gradually things to a pointed muzzle. They have a high-stepping gait and a straight tail, which ends in a slight curve. Italian Greyhounds have large, dark, and very expressive eyes. They have a dark-colored nose, thin lips, and great teeth to match its healthy scissor bite. This breed has a deep brisket, tucked-in abdomen, and arched back – just like its bigger cousins. Their ears fold back along the head. However, their ears rise perpendicular to the head when they get excited or alerted by something.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
13-15 years

Energy Level:
Gentle and submissive.

Living Conditions:
Great for apartment and indoor living.

Below average..

Exercise Needs:
Short distance runs and moderate walks.

Breed Group:


12-15 inches

7-12 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Solid gray, slate gray, cream, red, fawn, black, or blue.

National breed club:
The Italian Greyhound Club of America

Italian Greyhound Skills

The Italian Greyhound is favored by nobility and became so popular in Europe that they were even included in many paintings of that time. They make excellent companion dogs, then and now. In fact, it is said that a 19th century African Chieftain who was so taken with this dog offered 200 cattles in exchange for just one Italian Greyhound.

Italian Greyhound Personality

Some Italian Greyhound fanciers say you can't own just one of this breed!  Not only do Italian Greyhounds get along famously with other Italian Greyhounds, but something about owning these little dogs is addictive. This breed is very affectionate, gentle and submissive. They can be aloof or reserved in the presence of strangers and they are most comfortable with their masters. Italian Greyhounds are independent and need to be trained gently and consistently.  They can be difficult to housebreak.  They are naughty and they know it. Owners should learn to relax in this area and learn to see their funny side. However, allowing them to take advantage of you and letting them have their fun are two different things. It is very important to handle them gently because they can be very high strung and timid. Lively children should not be left alone with Italian Greyhounds though they do get along fine with other dogs and cats within their home.Extraordinarily behaved and disciplined children could be an exception to this rule. Italian Greyhounds should not be coddled when they are frightened as this can lead to a snappy personality. They are not good companions for bigger dogs who may hurt them unknowingly.  Italian Greyhounds skill at climbing wire fencing and inquisitive jumping from furniture is somewhat legendary.

Exercise Needs

Active and lively, these dogs love playful frolic and make ideal walking companions.

Living Conditions

They are great jogging companions especially when covering only short distances. However, they are better suited for walking and they make excellent walking partners. Italian Greyhounds enjoy running and free play, as they are active little dogs with seemingly boundless energy.

Grooming Requirements

Italian Greyhounds are one of the easiest breeds to groom. They shed little to no hair.

Health Issues

Their bones are a little fragile and their legs break rather easily. They are prone to fractures, PRA, epilepsy, slipped stifle and dental issues.

Further Information

For more information on Italian Greyhounds you should consider building a relationship with a local breeder who breeds purebred puppies. Good breeders love to discuss their breed and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

You should always get your new Italian Greyhound from a well known breeder or adopt from a shelter or rescue. The Dog Guide strongly advocates for dog adoption. If you'd like help training your new Italian Greyhound puppy, please check out our articles on dog training.

If you liked this dog… would also like the Greyhound, which shares many of this dog’s traits and characteristics, only bigger in size.


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