Italian Sighthound

Other names: Italian Greyhound

Italian Sighthound

The Italian Greyhound is a smaller, more delicate version of the standard greyhound breed. Like their larger relatives, the Italian Greyhound is well known for its soft, gentle nature and athletic abilities. They're also a very intelligent breed that responds really well to training and they love human company. The Italian Greyhound is a perfect family pet; these affectionate dogs have a natural affinity for children and form strong, lasting bonds with their owners.

Key facts about the Italian Sighthound

Life expectancy :

7

19

12

14

Temperament :

Affectionate Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

The first reference to any type of greyhound appeared in ancient Egypt. Mummified remains of small, greyhound-like dogs were found in the tombs of Egyptian rulers and pictures of these same dogs appeared in the hieroglyphics that covered the walls of the pyramids. The remains of similar breeds were then discovered during archaeological excavations in Pompeii and ancient Roman sites. The more "modern" version of the Italian Greyhound breed become especially popular during the 16th and 17th centuries, when they became the dog of choice for many of the leading aristocratic European families.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 10 - Sighthounds

Section

Section 3 : Short-haired Sighthounds

Physical characteristics of the Italian Sighthound

    Adult size

    Female : Between 13 and 15 in

    Male : Between 13 and 15 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 7 and 11 lb

    Male : Between 7 and 11 lb

    Coat colour

    Black
    Blue
    Sand

    Type of coat

    Very short

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    Italian Greyhounds have slight, lean, frames with a deep chest and long thin legs. They have slender legs, long shoulders, and a narrow muzzle.

    Good to know

    Italian Greyhounds have an extremely high prey drive and will chase after pretty much anything that moves quick. This can sometimes get them into trouble, so keep them on the leash in unfamiliar areas.

    Because of their slight frames, try not to walk or exercise them in rugged woodland areas. Opt for flat open parks, instead. This is really important, as Italian Greyhounds are much more accident-prone than other breeds.

    Italian Greyhounds run with a double suspension gallop which is more associated with horses than dogs. Although they can’t run as fast as a standard breed, Italian Greyhounds can clock a maximum speed of up to 25mph, which is still very impressive.

    Temperament

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      Affectionate

      Italian Greyhounds are very affectionate and extremely loyal to members of their own pack; this includes owners, young children, and other pets. They’re very receptive to strokes, cuddles, and lazy sofa days.

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      Playful

      Italians Greyhounds are full of energy and love to play. Unlike the standard greyhound breed, this playful nature continues long into adulthood. These light-footed, sprightly dogs provide their owners with hours of joy and lots of happy memories.

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      Calm

      The standard greyhound breed is known for its calm nature, the Italian version is not! These dogs are very excitable, love attention, and they have a curious nature when it comes to other dogs and “new” people.

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      Intelligent

      The Italian Greyhound has a high-level of intelligence and responds very well to training. However, because of their excitable and curious personalities, keeping them focused can be a bit challenging. Still, it’s important to stay calm and patient. Italian Greyhounds are sensitive dogs that require a gentle approach.

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      Hunter

      With its excellent vision and athletic physique, the Italian greyhound is tailor-made for hunting. They’re very fast and very determined.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Italian Greyhounds are more likely to make friends with new people rather than run away from them. Although this can be very endearing, it's still important to socialise an Italian greyhound. Otherwise, they can get a bit too excited around new people. This can be uncomfortable for people who are unfamiliar with dogs.

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      Independent

      The Italian Greyhound is a fairly independent breed that can tolerate its own company for a reasonable amount of time. This makes them a good pet for busy people with hectic lifestyles. However, these social dogs still need plenty of human company and mental stimulation.

      Behaviour of the Italian Sighthound

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        Tolerates solitude

        Though they love being around their humans, Italian Greyhounds are also comfortable with their own company. These qualities make Italian Greyhounds a good choice for people living the 9-5 life.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        Italian Greyhounds respond best to gentle, reward-based training methods. You’ll also need a little bit of patience as Italian Greyhounds puppies tend to be extremely boisterous, meaning they can struggle to focus on a specific task. So keep the training sessions short and fun. Around 10-15 minutes per day is ideal.

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        Barking

        Italian Greyhounds are not known for being “big” barkers. In fact, Italian Greyhounds are one of the quieter breeds. They rarely bark, howl, or whine.

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        Tendency to run away

        Although they're unlikely to run away, Italian Greyhounds are very capable of doing so. As well as being excellent sprinters, Italian Greyhounds are pretty good at jumping and can easily leap over a 3-foot fence. It's also a good idea to keep them on a leash in unfamiliar environments. They have an exceptionally high prey-drive, meaning they'll chase after anything small and furry!

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