The Italian Greyhound was a favorite companion of noblewomen in the Middle Ages, especially in Italy. But this small hound was more than a lap dog, having the speed, endurance, and determination to hunt small game. These days, he’s a family dog whose beauty and athleticism is admired in the show ring and in obedience, agility, and rally competitions.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
Share this page
Royalty such as Mary Stuart, Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great, Queens Anne and Victoria all owned Italian Greyhounds. They have long been revered by royalty and thought of as a special animal. In the first Egyptian times, the Romans did not consider this dog as a pet, but more as a companion.
The Italian Greyhound makes a good companion dog and enjoys the company of people. However, the breed’s slim build and short coat make them somewhat fragile, and injury can result from rough or careless play with children. The breed is good with the elderly or a couple without any children for it prefers a quiet household but they are also generally fine with older children. They also are equally at home in the city or the country, although they tend to do best in spacious areas. They are fast, agile and athletic. Like any dog, daily exercise is a must for a happier, well-adjusted pet. Italian greyhounds love to run. The young dog is often particularly active, and this high level of activity may lead them to attempt ill-advised feats of athleticism that can result in injury.
Dogs of this breed have an extremely short and almost odorless coat that requires little more than an occasional bath about once a month (though many veterinarians suggest that even bathing one per month is too frequent for this breed), but a wipe-down with a damp cloth is recommended after walks as seeds, burrs and floating dust in the air can get into the coat and irritate the skin. This breed sheds medium to little hair.
Italian Greyhounds on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Italian Greyhound ancestry.