All The Small Dog Breeds

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound (IG) is an affectionate small dog breed with a slender appearance that resembles the large Greyhound. This beautiful dog loves to bask in the sun, is playful, and has unmatched loyalty.

Origin & History

This small dog breed is also called the Italian Sighthound and Piccolo Levriero Italiano. However, the name, which suggests that the breed is Italian, is misleading.

The Italian Greyhound had existed for centuries before finding favour among the Italian Courtiers and British nobles.  This small dog was common in the Mediterranean basin 2,000 years ago.

The breed’s elegant and graceful appearance, coupled with a glossy coat and loyalty, won over the privileged society living in Italy. So when the Italian Greyhound’s numbers started declining in Europe, the American Kennel Club was responsible for saving the breed from extinction.

Physical Characteristics

The Italian Greyhound has a long, narrow small head, long legs and neck, and is deep-chested. 

The slender and athletic body gives the Italian Greyhound his ability for top speed, and he could easily hunt down both rabbits and hares.

As for the coat colours, this small dog breed has grey, deep black, and pale grey yellow. The single coat is short, with minimal shedding.

Size & Weight

The Italian Greyhound ticks all the boxes of a toy breed as he stands no more than 15 inches (38cm) tall, though the height varies between 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38cm).  

This small dog breed weighs anywhere from 6-17 pounds (3 to 8kg).

Character & Abilities

As with all small dog breeds, the Italian Greyhound is loved because he is cute, charming and cuddly. However, unlike the larger Greyhound, which is strong, the Italian Greyhound is gentle and sensitive.

This toy breed is devoted to his owners and human family, and he is not aggressive around other pets. However, the Italian Sighthound is alert and barks whenever he senses danger.

Being an affectionate dog, the Italian Sighthound will seek warmth whenever he can be found, including under pillows or even blankets. It also shows affection in the following ways:

  • Sticking close to you.
  • Curling up next to you.
  • Rubbing his body and leaning against you

The Italian Greyhound is shy and reserved among strangers. However, his sensitive and gentle nature might make the small dog a target not only of rambunctious children but also larger aggressive dogs

Exercise & Nutrition Needs

The Italian Greyhound is highly energetic and requires daily exercise. However, before maturity, this breed’s puppies have fragile joints and bones, so don’t exert them during physical activities.

Since this small dog spends most of his time indoors snuggling and staying close to his family, he tends to put on weight. The best exercise for them includes walking them, making them run up and down the hallway, or ensuring they run in the yard.

When exercising your Italian Greyhound, make sure you spend between 40-60 minutes of your time on it. This small dog breed is very active and can be destructive if he is not kept busy.

Another way of exercising your Italian Sighthound is by entering dog competitions like agility, obedience and versatility.

What you feed your Italian Greyhound will largely depend on his age, size, build, and level of activity. The best food for this small dog breed is high-quality, high-calorie kibble.

The Italian Greyhound can also be fed raw food because uncooked food retains its nutritional value. Thus, some sumptuous meals will have raw chicken gizzards, kidneys, liver, and lamb.

To maintain a healthy weight, it is advisable to avoid guesswork with regard. Therefore, premium-quality dry dog food is formulated to offer a balanced meal with all the necessary nutrients.

Grooming Requirements

The Italian Sighthound has short hair which doesn’t mat, so daily brushing isn’t required. This breed doesn’t shed much. Brushing once in a while will remove dirt, loose, dead skin and hair. Bathing is best to get rid of any bad smells after an active day rolling around outside. 

Successful, pleasant grooming sessions begin when the small dog is young. To groom the Italian Greyhound, you need a soft-bristle brush, trimmer, cotton ball, dog shampoo, and rehydrating spray.

When bathing the dog, make sure that you keep the shampoo and water away from his eyes and ears. If the coat hair is too dry, use the rehydrating shampoo.

The Italian Greyhound suffers from dental issues. Regular dental care involves using a canine toothbrush and toothpaste to clean the teeth and dental care dog treats that prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque. 

Trainability & Intelligence

The Italian Greyhound is intelligent. Training this breed is easy for leash walking, food training,  potty habits, and obedience training.

As with all small dog breeds, you should start training as soon as the pup is home. The Italian Greyhound will take between 6 and 12 weeks to fully comprehend most of the instructions, probably because of his short attention span.

To successfully train the Italian Sighthound, it is best to use positive reinforcement, healthy dog treats, and be both kind and focused in the training approach. This breed cannot hold it for long and should be taken outside immediately he shows signs that he needs the toilet. 

Living Conditions & Adaptability

This short-coated breed shivers easily and is not adaptable to living outside. When walking in chilly weather, the Italian Greyhound would be more comfortable in a dog jacket or sweater.

In the hot summer months, this breed loves to lie around in the sun for hours. He needs sunscreen to protect his thin skin from developing cancer. 

Health & Life Expectancy

The Italian Greyhound is generally a healthy small dog. Some of the breed’s common health concerns are:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Epilepsy
  • Periodontal disease
  • Luxating patellas

Another health concern for the Italian Sighthound is obesity. This causes the small dog breed to have joint pains, and in the long term, they may suffer from HBP (high blood pressure) and heart disease.

To arrest these health problems early enough, regular visits to the vet are necessary. In addition, weight management involves feeding balanced, high-quality dog food and avoid feeding table scraps.

Italian Greyhounds are allergic to some anesthetics and insecticides. 

This small dog breed can live 12 to 15 years when in good health. 


The Italian Greyhound is an affectionate, cuddly and loyal companion dog that asks for nothing but love and attention. This fearless breed is quiet and loves to snuggle up with his human family. His affectionate and charming personality makes this breed a loveable addition to any home. 

Here at All The Small Dog Breeds, we know that providing a happy home for your dog involves getting all the pertinent information about the pup. So we offer structured small dog breed descriptions to assist you in the next phase of expanding your family. Get your small dog from a responsible, reputable breeder or adopt one from your local animal shelter.  




Energy Level


Good with kids