Italians breeds

Italian Greyhound - Piccolo Levriero Italiano
Italian breeds of dogs

Origin, classification and brief historical summary

Origin: Italy.
Classification F.C.I. N. 200; Group 10 - Sighthounds; Section 3 Short-haired Sighthounds; without working trial.

The origins of the Italian Greyhound go back far away in the centuries. It comes from the ancient Egyptian greyhounds, living at the Pharaoh Court. It came to our peninsula during the 5th century b. C. after crossing through Laconia in Greece, where it is depicted on several vases and earthware. At the time it was applied in rabbit and hare shooting, as it is well-known its speed in the run.
It was the beloved dog among the Roman aristocracy, in the Renaissance it was considered as a ‘luxury dog’, that’s why its presence is quite limited.

General appearance

A small sized dog, dolichomorphic, very intelligent, affectionate with a peculiar lively gait.
Its body fits into a square. Some experts think it is a model of grace and distinction. It is also defined an ‘aerodynamic’ dog.

Behaviour and temperament

This dog is well known for its speed and temper. It can reach a speed of 60km/h over a short distance. At first sight this breed looks very fragile, as its bones and built are light; but its weakness is just outward appearance. In fact it has no problems either physically or about its character. It shows great dignity and a reflexive behaviour together with an innate will to grow attached to one specific person, who will never lose its attentions. However, it avoids strangers and other animals.
One of its pecularities is the way how it keeps its tail under its legs, but it is not to be considered as a sign of submissiveness or fear. Its gait is graceful and nimble.
There are two quite similar breeds, both of bigger built: the “Greyhound” and the “Sloughi”.

Italian Greyhound Italian Greyhound (photo Circolo del Piccolo Levriero Italiano)

Italian Greyhound Italian Greyhound (photo Circolo del Piccolo Levriero Italiano)


Size: from 32 cm to 38 cm
Weight: males and females maximum 5 kg

Of elongated shape and narrow, its length can attain 40% of the height at the withers.
Skull: flat skull with the superior axes of the skull and muzzle parallel. Length of skull is equal to half the length of the head, lower orbital region well chiselled.
Stop: frontal nasal depression only very slightly marked.

Facial region:
Nose: of a dark colour, preferably black, whitewalled opened nostrils.
Muzzle: pointed, with edges of lips very darkly pigmented; lips thin and tight.
Jaw: elongated with well aligned incisors crown shape, strong in relation to size of dog.
Cheeks: lean.
Teeth: sound and complete, set square to the jaws; scissor bite.
Eyes: large and expressive, neither deep-set nor protruding. Iris of dark colour, eyelid rims pigmented.
Ears: set very high, small, with fine cartilage, folded in itself and carried well back on the nape and upper part of the neck (rose ears). When the dog is attentive, the base of the ear is erected and the lobe tends to stand out laterally on the horizontal, position commonly known as "flaying ears" or "propeller ears".

Profile: upper line slightly arched and broken at the base towards the withers.
Length: equal to that of the head.
Shape: truncated cone, well muscled.
Skin: sean, fine and without dewlap.

Its length is equal or barely inferior to the height at the withers.
Topline: straight profile with arched dorsal-lumbar region. The lumbar curve merging harmoniously in the line of the rump.
Withers: quite well defined.
Back: straight, well muscled.
Rump: very sloping, wide and muscled.
Chest: narrow, deep, let down to the elbows.
Tail: low set, fine even at base, tapering prooressively to its tip. Is carried low and straight in its first halth, the 2nd half curved. Pulled up between the tighs towards the topline, it should surpass the level of the hip-bone slightly.

Straight limbs with lean muscles.
Shoulder: very slightly sloping with well developed, clear and salient muscle.
Upperarm: with a very open scapular-humeral angle, and parallel to the median plan of the body.
Elbows: neither out or tied-in elbows.
Forearm: length of the limb measured from ground to elbow just slightly longer than distance from elbow to the withers; very lightly boned, forearm in perfect vertical position from front and profile.
Pastern: in the prolonged vertical line of the forearm; seen in profile it is a little slanting.
Forefoot: of almost oval shape, small, with arched and closely-knit toes. Pads pigmented. Nails black or dark according to coat colour and that of the foot where white is tolerated.

Seen from behind straight and parallel.
Upper thigh: long, lean, not voluminous, with very distinct muscles.
Second thigh: very sloping, with fine bone structure and apparent groove in leg muscle.
Hock and metatarsal: in prolongation of a vertical line drawn from the ischial tuber.
Foot: less oval than the forefoot, with arched and closely-knit toes; pads and nail pigmented like the forefoot.

Fine and tight on all parts of the body except for the elbows where it is slightly less tight.

Texture: the hair is short and fine all over the body without the slightest trace of fringes.
Colour of coat: self-coloured in black, grey, slate grey, slate and yellow in all possible shades. White is tolerated only on the chest and feet.

Faults: any departure from the foregoing points constitutes a fault which when judging must be penalised according to seriousness and extension. These clauses apply equally to those subjects who continuously amble and to those with hackney or high-stepping gait.

by Vinattieri Federico - Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana

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