The Italian Greyhound, known by lovers as an “IG” or an “Iggy” for short, is a well-loved sighthound. This toy breed may be a small and slender dog, but it possesses quite a talent for hunting and can be a perfect companion dog both for individuals and families.
This hardy breed has a history that suggests it dates back around 2,000 years to the time of the Roman Empire and an area in the Mediterranean now known as Greece and Turkey. It’s thought that the IG was a companion dog and possibly a small hunter during the days of the Roman Empire. However, during the Italian Renaissance, the Italian Greyhound flourished as it became a status symbol for wealthy aristocrats.
In 1886, the American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the IG, and while they had trouble sustaining the breed in Europe during the two world wars, Americans started and continue to breed these dogs. They remain a well-populated breed.
The Italian Greyhound is a rather fragile-looking dog with a slender build and a long narrow skull. As with all Greyhounds, it has an arched back, and at a healthy weight, the edges of the rib cage should be visible from above. The IG has a thin, whip-like tail that tapers to a point and is set low to the body.
This breed also has a pointed muzzle which contains its small teeth that meet in a scissor bite. This rather petite-looking dog has a longer and more slender neck than other breeds, and their ears are small and tucked back on the head, angling when the dog stands to attention.
The IG has a short coat that is glossy and soft.
Italian Greyhound Colors
Acceptable Italian Greyhound colors are gray, slate gray, red, fawn, black, blue, white, or cream. They can be white with different colored markings or colored with white markings on the chest and the feet. Some of the most common coat colors in the Italian Greyhound are white with fawn markings, black with white markings, and gray.
Most commonly recognized as Italian Greyhounds are the gray dogs with white markings. While they do come in a wide variety of colors, the AKC does not recognize the brindle or the black and tan Italian Greyhound as suitable Greyhounds for showing.
Italian Greyhound Size
You may be wondering, how big do Italian Greyhounds get? The simple answer is not that big. The IG generally stands anywhere from 12 to 15 inches tall at the withers and weighs 7 to 14 pounds. You may have heard talk of a miniature Italian Greyhound or mini Italian Greyhound, but that is not a separate breed. This is just a nickname that refers to the small stature of the IG.
Unlike many other dogs, the Italian Greyhound is a remarkably light shedder. There’s very little if any grooming required for the Italian Greyhound, and a bath once or twice a year is one of the only grooming duties that this breed needs. In addition to bathing, your Greyhound does require regular toenail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth cleaning.
Are Italian Greyhounds Hypoallergenic?
Since IGs are light shedders and don’t drool much, they’re less likely to cause allergies. While there are no completely hypoallergenic dogs, you could consider the IG to be close to hypoallergenic. If you want to learn more about what dogs can work for a family with allergies, check out our article on hypoallergenic dog breeds.
The Italian Greyhound has an easy temperament and is a low-energy dog that enjoys rest in addition to playtime. This breed is affectionate with its family, kind, and intelligent. IGs like to please their owners in return for praise and attention. You won’t find Italian Greyhounds seeking dominance since they’re happy to defer to their masters and usually other animals.
Much like its exterior, the Italian Greyhound is a fragile dog that doesn’t respond well to a harsh tone of voice or harsh discipline. While an intelligent dog that responds well to proper tone, the IG can quickly become bored during training if it isn’t fun and interactive. The master must maintain a tone and mind frame of authority. If this breed doesn’t sense that its master is in control, it’ll be reluctant to learn from and obey its master. It’s also vital to socialize your IG pup with people, children, and other animals during his younger years, so he doesn’t become timid.
If you want more information on Italian Greyhound training, check out our article on finding the right trainer. If online training programs, like Doggie Dan, are more your speed, that’s an option too.
While this toy breed can be a bit fragile as a puppy, they tend to be generally very healthy. It’s essential to be aware of a few health concerns that are common with this breed:
- Dental disease
- Leg fracture
- Patellar luxation
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Tail fracture
Preparing For The Cost Of Care
Even when your dog is healthy, caring for him can come with a hefty price tag at times. The best way to prepare for the cost of care is with a pet insurance plan from day one. Not sure how pet insurance works? Check out our article is pet insurance worth it?. In this article, our experts give you the lowdown on what’s covered and why the right plan can help you deal with the cost of caring for the pup you love.
The average lifespan of the Italian Greyhound is between 13 and 15 years.
Another critical factor in the life of the Italian Greyhound is exercise. This breed will need a daily walk and free time to play in a fenced yard, dog park, or another playtime atmosphere. As with any other dog, IGs will show signs of acting out when they don’t receive adequate exercise and can become difficult to train due to having energy to burn. This breed can live successfully as an apartment dog due to its size; however, this breed must receive a daily outlet for their energy to live a happy life.
Every dog owner wants to have the best gear for their sweet pup. But in this case, that can mean anything from the best collar for an Italian Greyhound to the best shampoo for an Italian Greyhound. Luckily for you, our experts take the time to review lots of different products to help you decide what’s right for your furry friend. We’ve got tips on all sorts of products, including the best boots and coats to keep your Italian Greyhound warm when the weather gets colder.
- Italian Greyhound Beagle mix (Italian Greagle)
- Italian Greyhound Boston Terrier mix (Boston Iggy)
- Italian Greyhound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Italian Cavalier Greyhound)
- Italian Greyhound Chihuahua mix (Italian Greyhuahua)
- Italian Greyhound Dachshund mix (Italian Doxie)
- Italian Greyhound Lab mix (Greyador)
- Italian Greyhound Poodle mix (Pootalian)
- Italian Greyhound Pug mix (Puggit)
- Italian Greyhound Shih Tzu mix (Italian Tzu)
- Italian Greyhound Whippet mix (Whippig)
The average cost of an IG is between $1,400 and $2,000. That price can fluctuate depending on the location and reputation of the breeder.
Be sure to find a reputable breeder to ensure the health and safety of your pup. Italian Greyhound adoption may also be an option if you can find an Italian Greyhound rescue organization. This can be a cost-saving option but doesn’t ensure getting a puppy or in what time frame your dog will be coming home with you.
If you’ve thought about owning an Italian Greyhound, you may also be thinking about a Greyhound or a Whippet. Our experts review the similarities and differences you may want to consider.
Italian Greyhound vs Greyhound
One of the significant differences between these breeds is size. Greyhounds are significantly larger than Italian Greyhounds and can reach over 100 pounds. IGs tend to have a bit more energy than the Greyhound, even though both thoroughly enjoy lounging. Training can be more difficult with IGs, and they tend to have more separation anxiety. Both dogs have a beautiful short coat, are low shedders, and work well as part of a family.
Italian Greyhound vs Whippet
Again, the most apparent difference between these two breeds is size. The IG is a toy breed, while the Whippet is a medium-sized breed that can be up to 40 pounds. Both of these dogs have a similar appearance and are calm, gentle, and work well for families. The slightly larger Whippet will require more exercise and food, but both are medium-energy pups with short bursts of activity between their long lounging sessions.
This five-minute video from Animal Planet gives you all the basics you need to know about the beautiful Italian Greyhound.
If you’re looking for a small dog breed that’s a light shedder and relatively low energy, the Italian Greyhound might be the right breed for you. You can learn more about this gentle breed by getting the Italian Greyhound (Comprehensive Owner’s Guide).
If you’re looking for a small dog, but the Italian Greyhound doesn’t meet your exact needs, check out our article about miniature dogs breeds to see if another breed would be a bitter fit for you.
What do you love most about this breed?