Italian Greyhound

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Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound standing gray (cropped).jpg
Other names
  • FCI: Italian Sighthound
  • Italian: Piccolo levriero Italiano
Weight not over 5 kg[1]
Height 32–38 cm[1]
Kennel club standards
Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana standard
FCI standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Italian Greyhound (Italian: Piccolo levriero Italiano) is an Italian breed of small sighthound.[2] It may also be called the Italian Sighthound.


Catherine the Great with an Italian Greyhound named Zemire

This dog has long been popular with nobility and royalty. Among those believed to have kept it are Frederick II, Duke of Swabia; members of the D'Este, Medici and Visconti families; the French kings Louis XI, Charles VIII, Charles IX, Louis XIII and Louis XIV;[3] Frederick the Great of Prussia;[4]:519 Anne of Denmark; Catherine the Great and Queen Victoria.[5]

The breed has often been represented in paintings, notably by Giotto, Sassetta and Tiepolo.[3]


The Italian Greyhound is the smallest[6] of the sighthounds. It weighs no more than 5 kg (11 lb) and stands 32 to 38 cm (13 to 15 in) at the withers.[1] It is in the Sighthound Group of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale,[7] but in the Toy Group of the American Kennel Club[8] and The Kennel Club (UK).[9]

It is deep in the chest, with a tucked-up abdomen, long slender legs and a long neck that tapers down to a small head. The head is long and pointed.[1] The gait should be high-stepping and well-sprung, with good forward extension in the trot, and a fast gallop.[3]

Recognised coat colours are black, blue and Isabella (yellowish-beige) in any shade; there may be white markings, but on the chest and feet only.[3]

The Italian Greyhound has a short coat


The Italian Greyhound has a median lifespan of 13.5 in a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey.[10] A 1993 US breed club survey gives an average lifespan of 9 years, but more than a quarter of the dogs had "accidents" recorded as the cause of death.

Health problems that can be found in the breed:[11]

The Ortheopedic Foundation for Animals has found the Italian Greyhound to be the least affected by hip dysplasia of 157 breeds studied, with an incidence of 0.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Piccolo levriero italiano: Storia (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Accessed February 2020.
  2. ^ Barber, Lillian S., The New Complete Italian Greyhound, p. 5 (1993, Italian Greyhound Productions) ISBN 0-9611986-2-1
  3. ^ a b c d Piccolo levriero italiano (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Accessed February 2020.
  4. ^ Desmond Morris (2001). Dogs: A Dictionary of Dog Breeds. London: Ebury. ISBN 9780091870911.
  5. ^ "Italian Greyhound". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Italian Greyhound Did You Know?". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  7. ^ Piccolo levriero italiano (200). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed February 2020.
  8. ^ "Italian Greyhound Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  9. ^ "The Kennel Club". Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  10. ^ "Breed Longevity Data".
  11. ^ Dickinson, Teri. "Health concerns". Italian Greyhound Club of America. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Hip Dysplasia Statistics: Hip Dysplasia by Breed". Ortheopedic Foundation for Animals. Archived from the original on 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2010-02-10.

External links[edit]