Greyhound (piccolo levriero italiano)
Dog Breeds

Greyhound (piccolo levriero italiano)

Other names: small Italian greyhound , Italian greyhound , Italian greyhound

Greyhound is the smallest and most temperamental representative of the greyhound clan. Playful, sociable, does not tolerate inattention to his own person.

Characteristics of Greyhound

Country of originItaly
The sizeminiature
Weight32-38 cm
Ageabout 14 years old
FCI breed groupgreyhounds
Greyhound Characteristics

Basic moments

  • It is not by chance that the name of the Italian greyhound comes from the French word lievre – a hare. In the Middle Ages, the European beau monde hunted small game with Italian Greyhounds, including hares and partridges.
  • A distinctive “trick” of the breed is a small shiver, which can be both an indicator of the nervous overexcitation of the dog, and a consequence of hypothermia.
  • The mimic appearance and slender physique of Italian greyhounds are confusing, not allowing them to be suspected of leaders. Nevertheless, the breed is not without commanding manners.
  • Italian Greyhounds are used to expressing affection for the owner in a tactile way, so get ready for some serious hugs, kisses and gentle licking of exposed skin in a jump.
  • Greyhounds are almost like cats. They are very dependent on comfort, do not like rain and puddles, and are always looking for a cozy and warm place.
  • Representatives of this breed are hardy creatures, but in puppyhood their bones are not the strongest, so falling even from a small height is fraught with injuries for the pet.
  • The hunting instincts in Italian greyhounds are still strong, therefore, on walks, animals are carried away by small animals, which are fixed with a glance at a distance sufficiently large for an ordinary dog.
  • Greyhounds are typical extroverts who get along well with other Italian Greyhounds. No wonder fans of the breed prefer to take its representatives in pairs.

Greyhound is a mobile and a little reckless “substitute for a cat”, carrying a powerful charge of carelessness and love for a person. With these graceful and impossibly bouncy creatures, it is simply unrealistic to predict where your day will start and end. Maybe it will pass in an atmosphere of pleasant doing nothing and friendly hugs. Or maybe it will become another holiday of disobedience, filled with unexpected surprises and discoveries that you will sort through in your memory for more than one month.

History of the Greyhound breed


The roots of the greyhound breed, like its closest relatives, should be sought in ancient Egypt. It was in the Nile Valley that the first images of small Greyhounds were discovered, with which the pharaohs and the rest of the Egyptian nobility liked to inhabit their chambers. Gradually, the habitat of animals expanded, and dogs ended up in Greece, and in the 5th century BC they were already bred with might and main in Ancient Rome, as evidenced by the drawings preserved in Pompeii.

In the Renaissance, a real boom began on the ancestors of Italian Greyhounds. European monarchs and representatives of Bohemia kept dozens of dogs, extolling their amazing sensitivity and devotion to man. The Medici dynasty had a particular weakness for animals. There were a lot of legends about the breed, which was then called the Italian Greyhound. In particular, the King of Prussia and concurrently a great lover of Italian greyhounds, Frederick the Great, argued that if his pet had not shown prudence – that is, had not remained silent – at the moment when the emperor was hiding from his pursuers, the history of the principality would have received a completely different development. It is easy to understand the delight of the crowned person: Italian greyhounds have never been silent, so the fact that the four-legged friend “did not surrender” the king to the enemies is really surprising.

You can also judge the fashion for the breed by the pictures of those times. Titian, Van Dyck, Albrecht Dürer and a whole galaxy of eminent painters and engravers literally could not cope with orders to immortalize Italian Greyhounds on canvases, in which animals appeared as constant companions of nobles and monarchs. By the 19th century, the hype around Italian Greyhounds began to subside, which prompted breeders to extremize the appearance of animals. In an attempt to reduce the size of the already small greyhounds, the owners went to extremes, which the English Kennel Club managed to stop only in 1873. At that time, the organization was seriously engaged in the standardization of breeds, and mini-grey greyhounds did not fit into the parameters approved by the club.

Щенок левретки
Italian greyhound puppy

By the beginning of the 20th century, the Italian Greyhounds had become rare, unpopular and rapidly degenerating pets. Only at the turn of the 20-30s did the animals manage to attract the attention of breeders who were engaged in updating and stabilizing the breed qualities. So the gene pool of Italian Greyhounds was replenished with the genes of the Whippet and the Miniature Pinscher. The appearance of small Italian greyhounds in Russia is usually associated with the name of Peter I, who was presented with a four-legged pet as a gift. Subsequently, the image of these graceful dogs was successfully replicated by Catherine the Great, but after the 1917 revolution, the number of Italian Greyhounds in our country declined sharply. The interest of domestic breeders in the breed was renewed only in the mid-70s, when several purebred producers from Italy moved to Soviet nurseries.

Famous owners of Italian Greyhounds:

  • Cleopatra;
  • Julius Caesar;
  • Friedrich II;
  • Queen Victoria;
  • Sigourney Weaver;
  • Vladimir Sorokin;
  • Ilona Bronevitskaya.

Video: Greyhound

Levriero italiano - Scheda Razza |

Greyhound breed standard

Greyhound is a graceful aristocrat who has retained the exquisite refinement of the silhouette of her progenitor – Greyhound . Like any greyhound, the Italian greyhound is distinguished by a certain ascetic figure. At the same time, it is a rather muscular and frisky dog, capable of developing a decent speed in pursuit.


The flat, narrow head of the greyhound is distinguished by well-protruding superciliary ridges and poorly traced stops and the back of the head. The dog’s muzzle is pointed like a fox.

Jaws and teeth

The jaws of the small Italian greyhound are characterized by an elongated shape and a scissor bite. The teeth are strong, the incisors are crown-shaped.


Nostrils wide, well opened. The lobe is dark, ideally black.

Greyhound (piccolo levriero italiano)
Greyhound muzzle


The rounded eyes of the greyhounds, bordered by black eyelids, not too deep set, but not protruding either. The preferred color of the iris is dark brown.


Не мешай
Don’t interfere

Italian Greyhounds have very tiny, raised and tilted back ears with thin cartilage. If something catches the dog’s attention, the base of the cartilage rises vertically, while the canvas itself is retracted to the side (the so-called “flying ears”).


The muscular, conical necks of the Italian Greyhounds have a sharp bend and a steep angle to the withers. At the throat, the neck is slightly curved, while the skin is taut and does not form folds.


The bodies of Italian greyhounds gravitate with their shape to a square. All breed individuals have a straight back with a slight bend in the lumbar region, a wide croup and a narrow, strong chest lowered to the level of the elbows.


Задние конечности
Hind limbs

The front legs of Italian Greyhounds are dryish, set strictly vertically. The shoulder blades are distinguished by moderately developed musculature and a barely noticeable slope. Elbows without obvious eversion to either side, pasterns dry, slightly inclined. The hind limbs of the dogs are straight and relatively graceful. The thighs look pointedly elongated, the shins are set at a strong inclination, and the metatarsus are parallel to each other. The paws of the Small Italian Greyhounds are almost oval in shape (the rear ones are more rounded), with well-arched toes and small pads.


The greyhound’s tail, thin along the entire length, is set low and covered with short silky hair. The tail is straight at the base, but as it approaches the tip, a distinct bend appears.


The coat of Italian greyhounds is ultra-short, not coarse, evenly covering all parts of the body.


The basic types of colors for Italian Greyhounds are solid gray, beige (Isabella) and black. All shades of the listed colors are also acceptable.

Disqualifying vices

  • Partial or complete depigmentation of the lobe.
  • Convergence or divergence of the axes of the skull and muzzle.
  • Tail raised above the back.
  • Nose bridge with a hump or concave.
  • Congenital malocclusion.
  • Light skin of the eyelids.
  • Belmo.
  • Too short tail (tip above the hocks).
  • Unremoved dewclaws.
  • Inhomogeneous color (white areas under the throat and on the paws are acceptable).
  • Insufficient (less than 32 cm) or excessive (above 38 cm) growth.

Like representatives of other breeds, Italian greyhounds are disqualified for deviations in behavior. For example, if the dog growls at the members of the commission or runs away as fast as possible in an attempt to hide.

Photo of adult greyhounds

The character of the greyhound

Левретка с хозяйкой
Greyhound with owner

According to the type of temperament, Italian Greyhounds are pronounced choleric: excitable, impetuous, hyper-emotional. Bringing a greyhound into the house, you will have to part with the dream of personal space and weekends watching TV or “tanks”. The vast majority of these groovy clever women do not agree to put up with the silence and detachment of the owner, since the meaning of life for Italian Greyhounds is continuous contact with a person and a little bit of hunting. Have you already managed to get scared of such a phenomenal obsession? And absolutely in vain, because the small Italian greyhounds are too smart to hang on your hands for hours.

Do not be fooled by the external aristocracy of the breed. Like any hound, the Italian Greyhound loves to play pranks on a grand scale. Chewed “louboutins” and a gutted handbag, wallpaper with designer stripes from claws and an elastic band for hair frayed to the state of a washcloth – this is not a complete list of the daily exploits of a greyhound. In addition, you will have to take into account the fact that, psychologically, dogs mature slowly. For example, females exhibit puppy behavior until the age of one, while males remain children until the age of two.

Щенок левретки с котом
Italian greyhound puppy with a cat

Surprisingly, but temperament and increased emotionality do not prevent Italian Greyhounds from making friends. In particular, Italian greyhounds are very fond of children and willingly make contact with them. They do not see competitors in cats and other dogs with whom they were brought up together. But the loyalty of the animal does not apply to small living creatures like rodents and birds – the hunting addictions of their ancestors work.

The favorite places for the deployment of Italian greyhounds in the apartment are any horizontal elevations, including chairs, window sills and bedside tables, that is, all those cozy platforms that, by definition, are assigned to cats and to which the dog will be able to jump. And she almost always succeeds. These graceful “Italians” will not hesitate to look under the master’s blanket if it suddenly becomes cold in the apartment. Separately, it is worth mentioning the “vociferousness” of the breed. Squealing and barking is as natural for Italian greyhounds as it is for a human to talk, so do not even try to restrain such impulses: dogs will not understand you.

Education and training

Левретка дает лапу
Greyhound gives a paw

In studies, greyhounds do not show much zeal. Possessing a tenacious inquisitive mind, these graceful minions of fate are sincerely perplexed: why force yourself to do something if you can just enjoy life and communication with your beloved master? In the first weeks after moving a puppy to a new home, set boundaries and assert your own authority. Believe me, Italian Greyhounds can not only break your mimemeter, but also put any training course down the drain.

Testing the patience and perseverance of the owner is a favorite pastime of teenage puppies. Run a command on demand for a treat? No, Italian Greyhounds don’t give up so easily. First, you need to ignore the owner’s requests ten times, then do about the same number of small dirty tricks (for example, go past the tray), and only after all the tricks, you can try to meet the person halfway. Unless, of course, by that time he had not cursed everything in the world and had not tied up with training for all eternity.

In everyday life, greyhounds are no less terrible manipulators, for whom any exceptions are contraindicated. Want to raise a cheeky little beggar? Treat the ward with a piece from your plate. Congratulations, you’ve passed the spinelessness test in your pet’s eyes. Now, sitting down at the table, you will be watching a greyhound squealing with impatience, demanding its portion of the delicacy. At the same time, it is quite possible to accustom a dog to order, without sinning with violence and unfair restrictions. For this, standard training courses for greyhounds are suitable.

In addition to the traditional OKD, greyhounds can be captivated by sports disciplines: small Italian greyhounds are crazy about coursing, but in the absence of the opportunity to chase an electronic hare, agility will do. However, fans of the breed claim that it is almost impossible to find two Italian Greyhounds with the same passions and characters, therefore, it will be necessary to select a sport for each individual Greyhound by trial and error, with an eye to the individual interests of the pet.

Greyhound (piccolo levriero italiano)

Maintenance and care


The behavior of a greyhound in the house is the behavior of an average cat. For example, for an animal there is no greater happiness than diving under the covers to its owner and quietly sniffing inside this makeshift house. If there is no opportunity to occupy the master’s bed, the Italian Greyhound will sit on the windowsill, closely watching what is happening in the yard, or lie on the armrests of the chairs. Of course, like any decorative dog, the Italian greyhound needs a personal corner with a cozy basket, or better, a mini-cottage. True, you will see a pet in its shelter for half an hour or an hour a day, because the animal will spend the rest of the time outside it.

С любимой игрушкой
With your favorite toy

An incurious Italian greyhound – an incorrect Italian greyhound – is an axiom that does not require proof. Sticking your nose wherever possible, the dog will always be, which does not mean its bad manners. Do not forget that the great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers of miniature whims were ordinary hunters, for whom curiosity was a full-fledged working quality. It will not work to wean the animal from the habit of climbing where they are not asked to, so there are only two ways out: do not lose vigilance 24 hours a day, completely taking the pet “under the cap”, or not start the greyhound at all.

Separately, it should be said about toys for dogs, without which Italian greyhounds cannot do without. Usually little greyhounds are indescribably delighted with silicone balls and squeakers. But if a teddy bear or something smaller, but just as soft, catches the eye of a pet, he will fall into real ecstasy, from which he will get out only after he has thoroughly gutted the toy. Well, a little about the toilet: greyhounds are able to learn how to walk in a tray or on a newspaper, but they will not always be goodies in this regard. You need to be mentally prepared for sudden “heaps” and “puddles”.


Моем левретку
My greyhound

Typically, care for Italian Greyhounds is limited to weekly brushing and bathing every 10-12 days using a pet shampoo for shorthaired breeds. By the way, even greyhounds who neglect regular baths do not smell like a dog from the word at all. With the eyes of a dog, there are also few worries. The standard prevention of acidification of the mucosa is sufficient, that is, rubbing the eyes with a cloth dipped in a cooled tea or chamomile infusion. However, if the inside of the eyelid has acquired a reddish tint, and the eye looks swollen, herbal decoctions will not help here. What’s more, experimenting with natural remedies can end up bad for your eyesight if a visit to the veterinarian is delayed for some reason.

Like many lap dogs, the claws of Italian greyhounds do not grind, so once a month the pet will have to arrange a “pedicure” session – a nail cutter for small breeds and a nail file to help. Cleaning the oral cavity is best done once a week so as not to accumulate plaque on the teeth. Do not expect much joy from the animal in the process, but individuals who are accustomed to the procedure from early childhood usually allow you to finish what you started. 

The main thing is to find a nozzle suitable for a miniature greyhound mouth. If this is not found, a regular children’s toothbrush will do. Examining the ears of an Italian Greyhound is not the most pleasant job, but it is necessary. Once every seven days, unfold the ear cloth and look into the ear canal. If dirt and wax are visible inside, remove them with a damp cotton pad or use veterinary lotion.

Walking, physical activity and safe behavior on the street

Кто тут у нас
Who is here with us

The Italian Greyhound, although small, is still a greyhound, so for normal well-being, she needs to “break away” somewhere every day. If coursing and agility did not work out for you, compensate the animal for the lack of sports with intensive walking. Just do not forget to dress your pet in overalls and boots in cold weather. A greyhound shaking from an excess of emotions and cold is a sight both comical and pitiful at the same time. However, even if you manage to pull the ward out of the entrance in damp, dank weather, he will dive back into the apartment in a minute. Italian Greyhounds categorically cannot stand bad weather, and even the most interesting walk will not make them give up the opportunity to take a nap in warmth and dryness.

It is important to understand that for a greyhound, the street is like a fascinating series for a person: it draws you in so that it is impossible to tear yourself away. Having inhaled fresh air into the lungs, the four-legged merry fellow immediately switches his attention to external stimuli, and the owner’s requirements in the list of dog preferences are in the penultimate place. In the city, cynologists do not recommend letting off the leash at all. Firstly, driven by hunting instincts, they can disappear from view if they see a dove or a mouse on the horizon. And secondly, Italian Greyhounds are very greedy for food, so they pick up any strong-smelling piece from the ground, no matter how much you shout “Fu!”.

Левретки любят тепло
Greyhounds love warmth

But with greyhounds it’s great to go on a picnic and fishing. Once in the wild, the dogs first go a little crazy with happiness, after which they begin to practice hunting. Do not be surprised if one day a badly rumpled, long-eared creature is dragged to your fire. In some individuals, hunting skills are so strong that they are able to get small game without prior training.

All greyhounds are desperate party-goers, so if you stumble upon a dog brawl on a walk, your ward will definitely express a desire to communicate with its participants. You should not feverishly pull the animal by the leash, trying to protect it from the wrath of man’s four-legged friends. Little greyhounds are aware of what a collective hierarchy is, and never climb on the rampage.


Левретка пробует арбуз (судя по морде арбуз так себе)
Greyhound tastes watermelon (judging by the muzzle, watermelon is so-so)

Greyhounds, despite their slender complexion, are classic meat-eaters, but this does not mean that they need to be fed with tenderloin and marbled beef. Italian Greyhounds do not see a significant difference between elite meats and obvious substandard. Moreover, sinewy, windy, stuffed with cartilage tissue pieces are even more useful for them than a fresh product. Boiled beef tripe, sea fish without bones, oatmeal, buckwheat and rice porridge supplement the “meat diet” of Italian Greyhounds – in general, everything that is in other breeds. Fruits and vegetables are introduced into the diet of dogs gradually so as not to provoke an allergic reaction. They are usually given raw in the form of a salad or shavings seasoned with vegetable oil.

Feeding industrial greyhounds with industrial feed is a fairly common dietary option, the main advantage of which is balance. If animals eat high-quality “drying”, they do not need vitamin supplements. In the case of the “natural” this option is not suitable, and you will have to spend money on mineral supplements.

Health and disease of Italian Greyhounds

The diminutiveness of Italian greyhounds suggests the fragility and sickness of the breed. In fact, small Italian greyhounds are extremely hardy and strong dogs, although not without genetic ailments. So, for example, they have a hereditary predisposition to Perthes disease (joint disease) and epilepsy. Well, as a rule, Italian greyhounds “retire” with an incomplete set of teeth and age-related eye problems, including juvenile cataract, glaucoma, corneal dystrophy and retinal atrophy.

How to choose a puppy

Мама с щенком
mom with puppy
  • If a greyhound already lives at home and you want to find a company for her, choose a puppy of the same gender as your pet.
  • Male greyhounds are more open and accommodating. But the “girls” are great intriguers and obvious leaders who know how to crush any, even a large dog, under them. By the way, female Italian Greyhounds, like “boys”, can also mark their territory.
  • If an exhibition career is planned for a pet, it is worth finding out how successful his parents were in this matter. Nobody canceled heredity.
  • Look into the mouth of a greyhound puppy that the owner has prepared for sale. A normally developing baby should have six incisors on both jaws by the age of two months.
  • Healthy puppies should not have a hint of a hernia. The ideal size of the navel for a one and a half month old animal is about half a pea.
  • Puppies of small Italian greyhounds are handed out, starting from one and a half months to adolescence. A teenage greyhound will cost more, because the older the dog, the more clearly its exterior potential is visible. On the other hand, raising older puppies is more difficult, especially if the breeder did not bother to instill in dogs the basics of etiquette.
  • In order not to miss at the start, periodically ask the breeder to visit under the pretext of “seeing how the reserved baby lives.” This will make it easier to assess the atmosphere prevailing in the nursery and sanitary conditions.

Photos of greyhound puppies

Italian greyhound price

A club greyhound without obvious external defects and with a good pedigree will lighten your wallet by at least 500 – 700$. More elite options are puppies with an impeccable exterior from interchampion sires, whose cost varies from 900 to 1600$. Mestizos, animals without documents, pronounced plembrace go on average for 200$ – 300$.

Leave a Reply