THE HISTORY OF THE BREED
Italian Greyhounds often known simply as IGs, are a small elegant hound classed in the Toy Group in the UK and the USA and the Sighthound Group in Europe.
The breed standard varies between the UK, Europe and the USA and links may be found on this site to enable you to see the differences in description.
The breed originates from the Far East and only had the 'Italian' part added as the Roman soldiers were very fond of bringing these small dogs home from their campaigns.
The Latin phrase Cave Canem does not in fact mean ' Beware of, the dog ' but rather be careful of my dog ' i.e. don't damage it!
Those pretty little Whippet type dogs seen peeping out of ladies skirts in 18th Century paintings are in fact I talian Greyhounds.Whippets are a breed that undoubtedly contain IG blood but are relatively new on the scene of dog breeds
Viewing the many antiques that depict IGs it becomes obvious that they have changed very little over the centuries.
The average size at shoulder is 15 inches but this is variable with 2 inches either way being quite usual.
A full description of the IG can be obtained by reading some of the excellent books on the breed details of can be found on this site.
Below you will find a typical example of one person's experience of living with an Italian. That is what this site is really about.
Living with Italian Greyhounds
I was unfamiliar with this elegant, loving breed when I received a phone call one night from a friend who rescued animals. When she asked for my partner, who was out, I said straight away "We do not want another dog". "Funny you should mention that", she replied. She then told me that she had rescued 5 Italian Greyhounds and could we take one off her hands. She told a convincing tale and I agreed to take one of the dogs for a couple of weeks to give her time to arrange a new home. She came round within the hour with one of the sorriest little dog I had ever seen. He was trembling and his tongue was protruding from the gaps in his teeth. He took one look at me, attached himself to me like a limpet and within the hour I was in love. He looked so delicate but I was soon disabused of my first impression. I found out that these were sturdy, hardy little dogs who were affectionate, intelligent and fiercely loyal.
He was 8 years old and he spent the next two happy years with us and our assorted menegerie. He had the wonderfully endearing habit of jumping up on your lap and pressing his face against yours, blocking the TV. Unfortunately for a man who likes his football he would do this just as Match of the Day was about to start. I swear he recognized the theme tune ( it may have been due to the fact that I had named him Luca, after Gianluca Vialli). I did not have the heart to get upset with him however. After 5 minutes of this I would tuck him down the side of the chair, put a cushion on top of him and rest my elbow on the cushion. This was heaven for him and heaven for me. Come on you reds. He also loved to get into bed with me and head straight under the covers and lie between my legs. I was scared to move the whole night long. You will find that Italian Greyhounds love to cover themselves completely. In a sleeping bag or in your bed they don't really mind. As long as they can keep warm and get some peace they will disappear for hours on end. Luca was really quite reserved when he came to us but soon lost his shyness. He was such a lovable companion that we now have two Italian Greyhounds and will have them for the rest of our days.
So if you are thinking of owning one of these special little dogs I hope that you have as many happy years with them as we have been privileged to enjoy.
Dear Italian Greyhounds..............