A small, slender, short-haired, grey dog with affectionate, hazel-green eyes lying in a cosy bed, looks at the camera

Italian Greyhound

29 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Italian Greyhounds: what are they?

  • Italian Greyhounds, also known as "Iggies," are elegant and graceful dogs with a long history dating back to ancient Egypt.
  • They are a small breed, known for their sleek and slender build. Despite their delicate appearance, they have a spirited and playful nature.
  • Italian Greyhounds are often referred to as "Velcro dogs" because of their strong attachment and desire to be close to their owners.
  • On average, Italian Greyhounds stand at around 32-38 cm in height and weigh between 3.6 and 4.5 kg.
  • Their life expectancy is usually between 12 and 15 years.
Italian Greyhound  Exercise Needs 2/5 Grooming Ease 4/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Italian Greyhounds like?

  • Italian Greyhounds are affectionate and loving companions.
  • They thrive on human attention and enjoy spending time with their family.
  • They can be reserved with strangers and may take some time to warm up to new people.
  • Due to their sensitive nature, they are best suited for households with gentle and considerate individuals.
  • They are generally good with older children and get along well with other dogs if properly socialised from a young age.
  • However, their small size makes them more vulnerable to rough handling, so supervision is necessary when they interact with children or larger dogs.
  • Italian Greyhounds prefer a calm and peaceful environment and may become anxious or stressed in noisy or chaotic situations.
Alfie, the Italian Greyhound

How much exercise do Italian Greyhounds need?

  • Italian Greyhounds are moderately active dogs that require regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • Despite their athletic appearance, they do not have extensive exercise needs compared to some other breeds.
  • They benefit from daily walks and playtime in a secure, fenced area.
  • On average, Italian Greyhounds should receive around 1 hour of exercise per day.
  • This can be divided into multiple short walks or play sessions.
  • It's important to avoid excessive exercise, especially on hard surfaces, to prevent injuries to their delicate bones and joints.
  • Italian Greyhound puppies should have controlled exercise and playtime to allow for their growth and development.
  • They should not be on full exercise levels until at least 12 months.
  • Your vet can advise on the exercise needs of your individual pooch.
Atlas, the Italian Greyhound

Do Italian Greyhounds need a lot of grooming?

  • Italian Greyhounds have a short and smooth coat that requires minimal grooming.
  • They are considered a low-shedding breed.
  • However, their coat is thin, and they may be sensitive to cold temperatures, so they may appreciate a sweater or coat during chilly weather.
  • Regular brushing with a soft-bristle brush or grooming mitt is sufficient to remove loose hair and keep their coat in good condition.
  • They may require occasional bathing to keep them clean and fresh.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Cricket, the Italian Greyhound

Are Italian Greyhounds easy to train?

  • Italian Greyhounds are intelligent and eager to please, which can make them relatively easy to train.
  • They respond well to positive reinforcement methods, including rewards, praise, and treats.
  • However, they can also have an independent streak and may become stubborn or easily distracted if they find training repetitive or uninteresting.
  • Start their training from a young age and focus on basic obedience commands, house training, and socialisation.
  • Keep training sessions short, fun, and engaging to maintain their interest and prevent boredom.
Juno, the Italian Greyhound

What do Italian Greyhounds eat?

  • Italian Greyhounds should be fed a balanced and high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs.
  • The amount of food will depend on their age, size, activity level, and metabolism.
  • It's important to monitor their weight and adjust their portions accordingly to prevent obesity, as Italian Greyhounds can be prone to weight gain.
  • As puppies, they should be fed a specially formulated puppy food that supports their growth and development.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old, then twice daily.
  • Follow the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer and consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations.
  • Around the age of 9 to 12 months, Italian Greyhound puppies can transition to adult dog food.
  • Choose a high-quality dog food appropriate for small breeds and consider their individual needs, such as weight management or specific dietary requirements.
  • Avoid feeding them table scraps or excessive treats, as it can lead to weight problems and digestive upset.

Are Italian Greyhounds healthy?

Italian Greyhounds are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. It's important to be aware of these potential concerns and to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor their health. Some health issues that can occur in Italian Greyhounds include:

Bones and Joints

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: a hip condition that affects the blood supply to the head of the femur bone, leading to breakdown of the bone, pain and lameness.
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Periodontal Disease - a buildup of plaque and tartar on a dog’s teeth leading to  inflammation, infection and tooth loss


  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - this is when the retina of the eye breaks down, leading to blindness


  • Epilepsy - A condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits

This list is not exhaustive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your Italian Greyhound or if you want to discuss further if an Italian Greyhound is the right breed for you, consult with your veterinarian.

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Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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