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Piccolo Levriero Italiano Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Italian Greyhound Club of America

Native Country

Other Names
Italian Greyhound, IG, Iggy, Miniature Greyhound

Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years

Litter Size
Average 3-5 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

The modern Italian Greyhound's appearance is a result of breeders throughout Europe, particularly Austrian, German, Italian, French and British breeders, making great contributions to the forming of this breed. The Italian Greyhound should resemble a small Greyhound, or rather a Sloughi, though they are in appearance more elegant and graceful.

Breed Standard

Head: Long, narrow. Flat skull. Stop not very pronounced. Pointed muzzle. Cleanly cut cheeks. Thin lips.
Ears: Set on high, small. Folded back on themselves and carried against the upper neck.
Eyes: Large, dark. Edge of eyelids pigmented.
Body: Square build. Neck shaped like a short cone, without dewlap. Fairly pronounced withers. Chest deep, well let-down, narrow.
Tail: Set on low, thin even at the base, tapering gradually toward the tip. First half carried low and straight; remainder curving.
Hair: Close-lying and fine on entire body.
Coat: Solid or any shade of black, grey, slate grey, slate, or yellow. White is tolerated only on the chest and feet.
Size: 32 to 38 cm.
Weight: Up to 5 kg.


This very ancient breed - possibly a mutated Egyptian Greyhound - was brought to Italy via Greece as early as the fifth century B.C., as evidenced by numerous representations on vases and mixing bowls. The Italian Greyhound was very common in the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages but was most popular with the nobility of Renaissance times. This dog was commonly painted by the grand masters of Italy and abroad. The Italian Greyhound charmed the elite of this period, from King Francois I to Frederick the Great. Then interest in the dog waned, due to a decline in the breed caused by miniaturization. After World War II, the breed was revived, and its earlier traits were restored. A standard was established in 1968.


This tiny Greyhound or miniature Arabian Greyhound often quivers with excitement. Despite his dainty and fragile appearance, he is lively, energetic, hardy, and agile. He likes to hunt small game (including rabbit and hare). Affectionate, intelligent, very loving, merry, and playful, he is a charming pet. He is quiet, reserved, and distant toward strangers. He needs gentle but firm training.

He can adapt to city life but needs exercise. He does not like being left alone and cannot tolerate cold weather and rain. He requires regular brushing.




Italian Greyhounds are prone to epilepsy, slipped stifle, fractures, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy). Dams whelp easily. Adult dogs are fairly hardy, however puppies are more fragile up until they are about eighteen months old, and they can break a leg rather easily.

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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

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If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)

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Rescue Me

Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.