The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthounds,
typically weighing about 8 to 18 lb (3.6 to 8.2 kg) and standing
about 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm) tall at the withers. Though
they are in the "toy" group based on their weight, they are
larger than other dogs in the category due to their slender
bodies, so owners must be careful when sizing clothing or
The Italian Greyhound's chest is deep, with a
tucked up abdomen, long slender legs and a long neck that tapers
down to a small head. The face is long and pointed, like a full
sized greyhound. Overall, they look like "miniature" Greyhounds.
Though many Italian Greyhound owners dispute the use of the term
"miniature Greyhound" in reference to the breed itself, by
definition of the American Kennel Club they are true genetic
greyhounds, with a bloodline extending back over 2,000 years.
Their current small stature is a function of selective breeding.
Their gait is distinctive and should be high stepping and free,
rather like that of a horse. They are able to run at top speed
with a double suspension gallop, and can achieve a top speed of
up to 25 miles per hour (40 km/h).
The color of the coat
is a subject of much discussion. For The Kennel Club (UK), the
American Kennel Club, and the Australian National Kennel
Council, parti colored Italian Greyhounds are accepted, while
the Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard for
international shows allows white only on the chest and feet.
The modern Italian Greyhound's appearance is a result of
breeders throughout Europe, particularly Austrian, German,
Italian, French and British, 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.