Breed of the Week: Italian Greyhounds

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds or Iggys for short are the supermodels of the dog world. Most likely to be seen either in Couture jackets or sunbaking naked. A perfectly proportioned animal that manages to exhibit graceful lines in a toy-sized body. Thriving on attention, Iggys want lots of physical contact-while in couch potato mode. When the switch is flipped, they want wide open spaces with things to chase, as fast as doggiely possible.


Miniature greyhounds have been found in Turkey and Greece going back 2,000 years and similar looking dogs in Egypt before that. Italian Greyhounds were popular with the nobility in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Especially with Italians. They were a mix of a companion lap dog, and small sighthound for hunting game. During the 1st and 2nd World Wars they nearly disappeared from Europe and had to use American animals to help restore the breed. Now they are regaining popularity around the world.

Weight: 3.5 – 5kg  – but some can be 8kg or more

Colour: Variety of colours, often with white markings.

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Italian Greyhound
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Positive Points about Italian Greyhounds

  • A big personality in a small body. Playful, smart, loving and demanding.
  • Easy care coat. Short hair and only need a bath if they decide to roll in something.
  • Quiet- generally not prone to excessive barking, but have a full bark rather than the yap of many small dogs.
  • Lazy lap dogs- but with bursts of super intense energy to make up for it!
  • Great apartment dogs with regular visits to the park.

Drawbacks of Italian Greyhounds

  • Very sensitive to cold- this means they can have a range of designer coats. May refuse to go outside in cold, windy or wet conditions if their feet might get wet. They need to live inside rather than in the back yard. Enjoy digging under as many layers of soft furnishing as possible to get snuggly.
  • Prone to separation anxiety if left alone and general anxiety if not socialised early. Will want to follow you everywhere, absolutely everywhere.
  • Probably the hardest breed to toilet train. Crate training can help.
  • Like climbing and jumping on to or down from everything possible.

Common health issue

  1. Their love of jumping can lead to broken legs- mainly in their first 18 months
  2. Dental health. Either regular brushing or lots of dental toys or treats and regular check-ups.
  3. Sensitive to anaesthetics and often flea and tick medications.


There is an Iggy Rescue group on Facebook that you should check out if you think this is the right type of dog for you.

5 of the best (Aussie) Italian Greyhounds on Instagram

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Written by Doug Spiegelhauer
Doug never had a dog growing up but as soon as he stopped moving around knew he needed a dog in his life. Enter Snoop the Beagle. Doug worked for 7 years designing and making dog treats and food for some of Australia's best brands. Now a Co-Founder of Scratch Pet Food.