Dog Breed Group: Companion Dog
Life Span: 12-15 years
Weight: Male: 4-6, Female: 3-5
Height: Male: 14-15, Female: 13-14
Origin of Name: The Italian Greyhound is an Italian breed of small sighthound.
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Despite a fragile appearance, the Italian greyhounds are sharp, hardy hounds that have survived the turmoil of two millennia. Archaeological evidence suggests that IG was banned as a great companion in the region of Greece and Turkey some 2,000 years ago, when the powerful Roman Empire dominated the Mediterranean Sea.
The miniature greyhound was a popular companion, and perhaps a small hunter in southern Europe during the days of the Empire, but the breed came into its own in Renaissance Italy, where it was a status symbol among the aristocracy owning miniature versions of popular breeds. And wealthy driver. IG can be seen in paintings of various Renaissance masters, who consider grace and balance to be important to the aesthetics of the era. The IG found its way into the lap of many nobles in Europe. James I, Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, Anne of Denmark, and Queen Victoria were among those royalty who enhanced their glory with an IG or two. An African king named Lobengula once beheaded 200 cattle for an Italian greyhound.
AKC registered its first IG in 1886. Deeds of two world wars wiped out many breeds of Europe, including the IG. After both conflicts, American breeders, who were far from the ravages of war, kept the breed alive and helped to increase its numbers again in Europe. IGs in modern times work to win their share in the show ring, and greed allows them to modify their small but powerful engines.