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Italian Greyhound dog breed profile

You might want to buy a sweater for your Italian Greyhound.

Whether your dog is a purebred Italian Greyhound or an Italian Greyhound mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt an Italian Greyhound and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Italian Greyhounds are big on cuddling — and it’s not always about sharing their love with you. These pups get chilly easily, so their snuggles are meant for warming up, too.

Our on-staff veterinarian shares more tips for taking great care of these pets, so you can make sure to help your stay in tip-top shape. 

What do Italian Greyhounds look like? 

“Italian Greyhounds look like miniature Greyhounds,” Dr. Aliya McCullough, DVM, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. “They’re slender dogs with long muscular legs, a smooth curved back and a deep chest.”

These pups pack a lot of love into little bodies. Italian Greyhounds are 13 to 15 inches tall and weigh, on average, between 7 to 14 pounds, Dr. McCullough adds. 

The breed’s fur is short and smooth and grows in various colors, including white mixed with black, fawn, red, sable, blue, seal, blue fawn and red fawn. Their fur can also come in solid shades like black, cream, blue fawn, fawn, red, red fawn, and sable. 

Life as a short-coated pup means the Italian Greyhound can get cold easily and might benefit from wearing sweaters. “Pet parents should monitor their dog closely and take care to ensure their Italian Greyhounds don’t get too hot, uncomfortable, tangled or injured from wearing a sweater,” Dr. McCullough says. 

Are Italian Greyhounds hypoallergenic?

Fun fact: There’s actually no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. People can still be allergic to their dog’s dander or saliva even if that pet doesn't shed a lot. Either way, Italian Greyhounds are known for shedding, so you’ll want to talk to your doctor before welcoming one into your life. 

And even though Italian Greyhounds shed quite a bit, they don’t require much grooming. “Regular washing and brushing is a good idea to remove loose fur and debris,” Dr. McCullough shares. 

Italian Greyhounds’ characteristics

Because of their affectionate nature and eagerness to make their family members pleased, Italian Greyhounds make great companions, Dr. McCullough says. These happy-go-lucky pups are also playful and smart, so Dr. McCullough recommends setting aside time for exercise, play and extra attention.

“While Italian Greyhounds are known to be excellent cuddlers, they’re also athletic, energetic and playful,” she adds. “They can be good apartment dogs if they’re given time to run and burn off energy outdoors.”

RELATED: Pomksy dog breed profile

What health issues do Italian Greyhounds face? 

Specific health issues, like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and hypothyroidism, are particular to the Italian Greyhound breed. Knowing about these conditions can help you spot symptoms and get your pup on a treatment plan. 


PRA is a genetic disease where a dog’s retina slowly deteriorates and causes vision loss, Dr. McCullough explains. “Affected dogs may be hesitant to go out at night or refuse to enter a dark room,” she adds. “Often eyesight changes aren’t detected until late in the stage of the disease because pets can compensate so well.”

Unfortunately, there’s no medical treatment for PRA. But, providing extra light in dark settings and keeping your dog’s environment stable can help them feel confident. 

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

A lack of blood supply to the ball portion of a joint causes Legg-Calve-Perthes disease in dogs. Pups who struggle with this hip disease often limp and experience pain

“Treatment typically involves a surgery called femoral head and neck ostectomy (FHNO), where the femoral head and neck are removed,” Dr. McCullough explains. “The remaining muscles and other soft tissues surrounding the hip joint form a support structure for the hip joint along with scar tissue, which acts as a cushion.”


Hypothyroidism happens when there aren’t enough thyroid hormones because a dog’s immune system breaks down their thyroid gland, which controls their metabolism. 

Weight gain, hair loss, lethargy, skin darkening, decreased appetite, weakness and an upset stomach are all symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs. Veterinarians recommend that affected dogs take a prescribed synthetic thyroid medication to help them feel better. 

Adopting an Italian Greyhound

Are you interested in adopting an Italian Greyhound, Italian Greyhound mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend. 

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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