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.

Ian Johnston

Dear Italian Greyhounds..............

Dear Italian Greyhounds

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest .  

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.  

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed.  I am very sorry about this.  Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort.  Dogs can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep.  It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible.  I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.  

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open.  I must exit through the same door I entered.  Also, I have been using the bathroom for years --canine attendance is not required.       

The proper order is kiss me THEN sniff the other dog's butt.

To pacify you, my dear IG’s, I have posted the following message on our front door:   

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our IG’s :   
1. They live here. You don't. 
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.      (That's why they call it 'fur-niture .)
3. I like my IG’s a lot better than I like most people. 
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.  

Remember ,  IG’s are better than kids because they:  

1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time 
3 Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car 
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends 
7. Don't smoke or drink  
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions  
9. Don't want to wear your clothes  
10. Don't need billions of cash for college .