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Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound

Elegant, charming but with a sensitive side, the Italian Greyhound makes a wonderful companion for households without children. 

The Italian Greyhound, also known as the Italian Sighthound or in the mother tongue "Piccolo leviero italiano" are thought to have existed some 2000 years ago. Bred as companions they were popular among aristocrats and other wealthy Italians. It is perhaps no surprise that the breed featured in Renaissance artwork.  Italian Greyhounds look like a tiny Greyhound, toy sized and weighing no more than 5kgs! They are around 32 to 38 cm tall. They have a limited colour palette of black, fawn, grey/blue, and can have some white markings on the feet and chest.


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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics



Also known as 

Italian Greyhound, Italian Sighthound, Piccolo leviero italiano


Toy; no more than 5kgs and 32 to 38cm high

Weight Range

No more than 5kgs


Black, grey, fawn

Life expectancy

7 to 9 years 


Short and soft, sheds


Aloof, affectionate, high-spirited

Activity levels

Moderate - they are active, but they are small

Best suited for

Child-free households with time to devote to their pup

Apartment friendly

Yes, with daily exercise and toys to prevent them from becoming bored


Italian Greyhounds are known for being spirited and clever companions. They bond strongly with their family. The flip side is that they can be aloof and sensitive, so early training and socialisation with other dogs, people and animals is important to help them become more comfortable with strangers and unfamiliar situations. They adapt well to apartment living if they are given daily exercise, play time and toys to keep them occupied. Given their small stature and propensity to be sensitive, they are better suited to a household without children. Remember that even though they are a toy breed, exercise is just as important as for larger dogs. 


With a short, soft coat, minimal grooming is required. The coat does shed, but with regular brushing and bathing is not difficult to manage. Investing in some warm coats for your Italian Greyhound for winter is an essential as they tend to feel the cold. Flea control all year around is recommend as is tick control if in a tick area. 


When choosing a food for your Italian Greyhound, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age. Help your fur baby avoid becoming overweight by ensuring that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

Italian Greyhounds are known for having sensitive stomachs and this is reflected in the top five reasons why they visited the Vet in 2020 according to PetSure claims data. Accidental trauma, especially broken bones are also common. This is a known problem with the breed, especially in young dogs that their bones are quite fragile. Avoiding rough play, jumping off furniture or falls may help to prevent broken bones in a young Italian Greyhound. 

The five most common reasons for Italian Greyhounds to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data in the 2020 calendar year were:



Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)


Gastrointestinal problems, including canine haemorrhagic gastroenteritis and diarrhoea




Accidental trauma, including broken bones and claw injuries




Skin conditions, including allergies and infections




Neurological problems, including epilepsy and meningitis




Cancers and tumours, including haemangiomas and lipomas



Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider

Most popular Italian Greyhound names (PetSure data, 2020)

Most popular names

  1. Luna
  2. Olive
  3. Remy
  4. Ziggy
  5. Archie
  6. Boo
  7. Dobby
  8. Enzo
  9. Lola
  10. Louie

Most popular female names  

  1. Luna 
  2. Olive
  3. Lola
  4. Penny
  5. Bella
  6. Boo
  7. Coco
  8. Gigi
  9. Maple
  10. Mia

Most popular male names 

  1. Remy
  2. Archie
  3. Enzo
  4. Percy
  5. Ziggy
  6. Apollo
  7. Basil
  8. Charlie
  9. Dobby
  10. George

Did you know?

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthounds, a group which includes the much larger Afghan Hound, Borzoi and Greyhound

Where can I get an Italian Greyhound?

Although Italian Greyhounds are a pure breed, you may be able to find one through a breed specific rescue organisation. Also be sure to visit your local pet rescue shelters where you might just find your new best friend! 


  1. American Kennel Club, Italian Greyhound, Accessed on 29/04/2021
  2. Australian National Kennel Council, Italian Greyhound, Accessed on 29/04/2021 
  3. Queensland Sighthound Association Inc, What are sighthounds, Accessed on 29/04/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Bei Bei
Bei Bei