As with many ancient breeds it is their depiction in art and architecture that gives insight into their origin. Miniature greyhounds appear in ancient decorative arts of the Mediterranean countries dating back 2000 years. It was during the sixteenth century when this diminutive gazehound was highly sought by Italians and Southern Europeans that it acquired the name Italian Greyhound. The breed made their way to England in the seventeenth century steadily gaining in popularity.
An Italian Greyhound was registered for the first time with the American Kennel Club in 1886. Following World War I when the breed was in danger of extinction in Great Britain, fresh stock was imported from the United States, giving evidence of the high quality to be found in America at that time. The Italian Greyhound Club of America was founded in 1954.
The Italian Greyhound is a true greyhound, his small size the result of selective breeding. There is debate as to whether he was originally bred for hunting small game or was meant to be simply a companion. In all likelihood, both are true, as he is adaptable to city and country life.
The Italian Greyhound is very similar to the Greyhound, but much smaller and more slender in all proportions and of ideal elegance and grace.
Narrow and long, tapering to nose, with a slight suggestion of stop. Skull Rather long, almost flat. Muzzle Long and fine. Nose Dark. It may be black or brown or in keeping with the color of the dog. A light or partly pigmented nose is a fault. Teeth Scissors bite. A badly undershot or overshot mouth is a fault. Eyes Dark, bright, intelligent, medium in size. Very light eyes are a fault. Ears Small, fine in texture; thrown back and folded except when alerted, then carried folded at right angles to the head. Erect or button ears severely penalized.
Long, slender and gracefully arched.
Of medium length, short coupled; high at withers, back curved and drooping at hindquarters, the highest point of curve at start of loin, creating a definite tuck-up at flanks.
Long and sloping.
Deep and narrow.
Long, straight, set well under shoulder; strong pasterns, fine bone.
Long, well-muscled thigh; hind legs parallel when viewed from behind, hocks well let down, well-bent stifle.
Harefoot with well-arched toes. Removal of dewclaws optional.
Slender and tapering to a curved end, long enough to reach the hock; set low, carried low. Ring tail a serious fault, gay tail a fault.
Skin fine and supple, hair short, glossy like satin and soft to the touch.
Any color and markings are acceptable except that a dog with brindle markings and a dog with the tan markings normally found on black-and-tan dogs of other breeds must be disqualified.
High stepping and free, front and hind legs to move forward in a straight line.
Height at withers, ideally 13 inches to 15 inches.
A dog with brindle markings. A dog with the tan markings normally found on black-and-tan dogs of other breeds.