- As early as 2000 years ago, artwork dating from Turkey, Greece and other areas around the Mediterranean depicts small greyhound-like dogs that may be Italian reyhounds.
- By the Middle Ages, miniature greyhounds could be found throughout southern Europe. Italian courtiers especially favored the little dogs.
- They came to England in the 1600s, where they also became favorites of the upper class. Their popularity in England was at its peak during the reign of dog enthusiast Queen Victoria, but by the early 1900s the Italian greyhound's popularity was on the decline.
- After World War II, the breed almost disappeared in England. The few specimens that remained were not very good quality because the emphasis on breeding had for so long been on diminutive size rather than type or soundness. The breed, though small in numbers, was high in quality in America, and these American dogs formed the basis of the Italian greyhound revival.
- The Italian greyhound is now one of the more popular of the greyhound-like breeds.
Italian Greyhound Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and loving companion.
- It is one of the most demonstrative and obedient of the greyhound-like breeds.
- Often described as "clingy."
- Sociable with children, strangers, and other dogs and animals.
- Extremely gentle.
- Can be easily intimidated.
- Learns quickly, but is easily bored.
- Does best with reward-based training involving food or play. Very sensitive.
- Tends to be difficult to housetrain.
Italian Greyhound Suggested Exercises
- Makes a very quiet housedog as long as its exercise needs are met.
- Requires a moderate walk or a sprint in an enclosed area every day.
- Games and tricks provide needed mental exercise.
- Its short coat provides virtually no protection against cold weather.Acoat or sweater may be beneficial for Italian greyhounds exposed to colder temperatures.
- The Italiangreyhoundis extremely swift. When raised with access to free running its bones are strong, but when raised without a chance to run and jump, it may be susceptible to broken bones when finally allowed to jump off things.
Italian Greyhound Grooming
- Coat is short and thin. Italian greyhounds do not do well in cold weather.
- The coat needs weekly brushing.
- Shedding is below average.
Suggested Italian Greyhound Nutritional Needs
- Italian greyhound conformation is for a naturally thin build, but owners often overfeed them. You should be able to feel the ribs, but they should not be too noticeable.
- Very young or small puppies should be fed frequently to avoid low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.