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A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed (ANKC, 2017).

Last updated: 23 Jan 2015

Group: Group 1 (Toys)


A greyhound in miniature, more slender in all proportions. “A greyhound in miniature” does not mean an exact small replica of an English Greyhound, nor is a scaled down Whippet in type, correct. The European Standard compares them to a Sloughi - a more refined greyhound with similar movement. The Italian Greyhound must be more refined than any other greyhound and not show any coarseness.


Elegant, graceful and quick moving. Although not mentioned here, the free-stepping gait is a most important breed characteristic. The Italian Greyhound is elegant and graceful without being weedy. Any signs of cloddiness or stockiness is not desirable. Quick moving means that they are extremely agile and fleet of foot but does not necessarily mean that the fastest around the ring is the best; those taking rapid, short, exaggerated, up and down steps are not correct.





































Intelligent, affectionate and vivacious; may appear aloof. The Italian Greyhound has a typical sight hound temperament - they may show aloofness and may be reluctant to be handled by strangers, but not to the point of being overly shy.



Skull long, flat and narrow, slight stop. Muzzle fine and long. Nose dark in colour. Long does not mean the longer the better - the head should be in proportion to the dog. The skull and foreface should be approximately equal in length. From above it is a long wedge shape. In profile, skull and muzzle are on parallel planes with a slight stop. The widest part of the skull is at the zygomatic arch -and there is chiselling around the eyes to give a clear outlook which is a must for a sight hound. Chiselling below the eyes is not to be confused with a pinched and snipey muzzle. The underjaw should be strong yet fine. The nose extends beyond the jaw line to allow a good air intake. The skull may appear slightly domed when the ears are at rest with a slightly prominent occiput - however, when alert and the ears are roofed, the skull appears to flatten. A dark nose is usually taken to be a nose that is darker than the body colour. In pale fawns, a brown nose, and in blues, a slate nose is quite acceptable.


Rather large, bright and full of expression. Large does not mean protruding eyes - any bulginess of eyes ruins the typical Italian Greyhound expression as does a small slitlike eye which is most undesirable. In common with many sight hounds, the eye is a soft, slightly triangular shape (almond). Very light eyes give a hard, sharp expression, which is not correct. Eye colour is in keeping with the coat colour. The expression is rather soft and doe-like, but showing intelligence and their sight hound heritage.


Rose shaped, placed well back, soft and fine, not pricked. Ears are set on high at the outer corner of the eye. When alert, they are carried almost horizontally at right angles to the skull, usually referred to as “roofed”. Button ears, semi button ears and pricked ears are faults. When puppies are teething their ears often “fly” and behave erratically.  Ideally, the ears should be small, neat and fine in texture - with no floppiness or untidiness.


Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite meaning the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaw.       Teeth even.


Long, gracefully arched. The neck is approximately the same length as the head with a definite crest and a slight bulge at the thyroid level. This is not to be confused with a ewe-neck that is comparatively shorter and bulges at the throat with a concave curve instead of a crest. The neck fits into the shoulders rather abruptly and is carried high with strong musculation apparent.


Shoulders long and sloping. Legs straight; well set under shoulders; fine strong bone and pasterns. The forequarters are set rather forward on the body with not much prosternum showing however, there must be some fill between the elbows - a narrow, A-frame front is not acceptable. The shoulder blade is set back far enough not to impinge on the neck and a straight line should be able to be drawn from the point of the withers through the elbow to the ground. Pasterns are long and springy, and slightly sloped when viewed from the side. Elbows should not turn in or out. Bone should be fine but strong and oval bladed bone round bone is not correct. Long, fine, flat muscling should be apparent.


Chest deep and narrow. Good length of rib and brisket. Back slightly arched over the loin. The Italian Greyhound has an inverted pear-shaped rib cage with good depth, ideally reaching to the elbow, and to slightly behind the elbow. The rib cage is approximately 2/3rds of the body length - being fairly short coupled. The brisket should be carried back to avoid a too sharp cut up underneath. The back line is curved and drooping - the curve starts at the anti-cline - the highest point of the curve at the start of the loin, creating a definite tuck-up at the flanks.

The croup is rather long and sloping and the loins well muscled. If the curve starts at or just behind the withers, this is termed a “wheel back” and is incorrect - as is also a flat topline; Temperature often affects the Italian Greyhound’s topline - in cold, wet and windy conditions they tend to flatten. Sometimes bad or skilful handling will create a wrong impression also. Length of body is approximately equal to the height at the withers. There should be a suggestion of bones showing, but definitely not the whole skeletal frame, as the body is covered with firm, flat musculation


Long, well muscled thigh; hind legs parallel when viewed from behind; well bent stifles, hocks well let down. The first and second thigh should be about equal in length. The hindquarters, when standing naturally, are neither right under the body nor positioned way behind, but moderately square in stance. Hocks are parallel and not too wide or too narrow in stance. Thigh muscles should not be bulgy but flat and firm -from the rear the hindquarters should appear solidly muscled and not too narrow. A good length of croup gives the required width of thighs when viewed from the side.


Hare feet. A long, oval foot with the two middle toes longer than the others. Toes should be well knuckled and strong and the foot quite thick through.

Flat, thin or paper feet with splayed toes are wrong. The cat foot is a typical.


Low set, long, fine, carried low. The tail should reach at least to the hock. Puppies are often gay of tail and should not be penalised for this. Because of their length and fineness, tails are often broken, but it is comparatively easy to tell the difference between a break and a congenital kink tail.


High stepping and free action. Front and hind legs to move forward in a straight line with propulsion from behind. The movement is one of the breed’s main characteristics. Any suggestion of a stilted gait is not correct, nor is the low, ultra-efficient trot of many of the sight hounds.  A stilted gait involves a high step that goes nowhere with a great deal of up and down movement, with the rear moving in a similar fashion. Ideally, the foreleg is lifted almost parallel to the ground with a good flex of pastern, then reaching forward in the same fluid action, the hindquarters move under the body in a similar fashion with good propulsion.


Skin fine and supple. Hair, short, fine and glossy. Not much can be added to this. The skin fits like a glove without any excessive wrinkle anywhere. It is very soft and satin like to the touch.


Black, blue, cream, red, fawn, white or any of those colours broken with white. White dogs may be broken with one of these colours.

BLACK OR BLUE WITH TAN MARKINGS, BRINDLE NOT ACCEPTABLE. All accepted colours are to be judged impartially.

The sabling i.e. black shadings on lighter colours or light shadings on dark colours, is not to be confused with brindle, which has definite stripes. [Comment amended May 1998.] Black also includes seal, which appears black except that it has a red cast when viewed in the sun or bright light. Blue includes shades from the pale silver blue to a deep gunmetal blue and the various shades of grey, blue fawns and the darker shade of blue with fawn overtones, usually referred to as ‘mouse’. Fawn includes shades from pale silver fawn to deep golden fawn. White may have patches or spots of dark pigment showing through. Red includes chocolate shadings or can have black points and shadings


Height 32 – 38 cms ( 12½-15 ins)

Weight from 2.7 to 4.5 kgs. (6-10 lbs).


If the breed gets too large it tends towards the Whippet in type, and when too small they tend to favour a Chihuahua type. Overall balance is important.



Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness of the fault should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. Faults affecting soundness of the breed would be more heavily penalised than purely cosmetic points providing breed type is not affected.

NOTE: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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