Italian Greyhound
(AKC Toy Group)
Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is an elegant, miniature fine-boned greyhound with a long head and tapering muzzle. 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 Italian Greyhound has an easy-care short, sleek coat in fawn, cream, red, black, or blue, often broken up with white markings; or white with colored markings (never brindle, black, or tan). The Italian Greyhound has a high-stepping gait.


Mummies of a similar dog to the Italian Greyhound have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. The breed was later developed by the Romans, and evidence of a small greyhound was found in a lava flow from Pompeii. During the sixteenth century, this delicate dog became popular with European nobility and is depicted in many paintings of that time. The breed was favored by James I of England, Catherine the Great of Russia, Anne of Denmark, and Queen Victoria, among others. Frederick the Great of Prussia liked his little Italian Greyhounds so much, he even took one to war with him. When his Italian Greyhounds died, he buried them with his own hands on the grounds of his Sans Souci Palace. In 1991, Frederick’s heirs granted his dying wishes by transferring his remains to Sans Souci, and placing them beside his little Italian Greyhounds. 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.

Key Facts:



Gentle, submissive, and affectionate. Playful and intelligent. Can be high strung and timid. Naturally well behaved. Must be handled and trained gently. Very dependent. Peaceful—doesn't do well with rowdiness. Can snap if frightened.