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Italian Greyhound

Personality:Sensitive and alert, playful, highly affectionate

Coat & Grooming:The satiny, odorless coat sheds little and requires minimal grooming; nails need regular care

Energy Level:Somewhat Active; IGs are dainty housedogs, but at heart they’re still flash-and-dash coursing hounds

Originally: the Mediterranean basin

Nicknames: IG; Iggy

Size: Small

Meet the Italian Greyhound

​IGs are Greyhounds in miniature, more slender than their larger cousins but a Greyhound’s equal in grace and elegance. Standing ideally 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder, these high-stepping charmers possess the sleek, curving lines common to all coursing hounds. Distinguishing features of the breed are long, fine-boned legs and dark eyes than shine with intelligence. Despite the appearance of fragility, IGs are swift, hearty hounds who have survived the upheavals of two millennia.

What's Their Story?

​Archaeological evidence suggests that IGs were bred as noble companions some 2,000 years ago, at the height of Roman power in the Mediterranean. The breed came into its own in Renaissance Italy, where owning mini versions of popular breeds was a fad among the wealthy. IGs were nearly wiped out by the depredations of World War II. American breeders, an ocean away from the ravages of war, kept the breed alive and helped repopulate its numbers in peacetime Europe.

What are they Like?

​IGs are cherished for their loyal, affectionate nature. They combine the attentiveness of lapdogs and the intriguing complexity of ancient, aristocratic hounds. Bred for centuries as snuggling companions, they won’t tolerate being ignored. “On the whole,” writes an IG expert, “the breed would much rather be in your lap or bed than on the floor.” But they are true sighthounds and will bolt after quick-moving prey at the drop of a cat. A short-coated, low-fat breed, IGs need extra attention in cold weather.

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