Miniature Greyhound: What Owners Need To Know

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A brindle miniature greyhound on a leash stands in front of green grass and trees

Jessica Mabie author of Miniature Greyhound: What Owners Need to Know

History of the Miniature Greyhound

The Miniature Greyhound is also known as the Italian Greyhound. They are part of the sighthound (gazehound) group that also includes similar breeds such as the Whippet, Saluki, Borzoi, and of course, their larger counterparts the Greyhound.

It is not clear as to where the Miniature Italian originated. Some believe ancient Egypt, 6,000 years ago, since evidence of a mummified dog with similar physical characteristics has been found in Egyptian Tombs.

However, evidence of Miniature Greyhounds has also been located in the regions of Turkey and Greece, some 2,000 years ago.  

But regardless of where these little dogs originated, one thing is for sure: they were a highly coveted breed of those in power since they are often seen in paintings with noble and aristocratic families.

Although Miniature Greyhounds were used for hunting small game such as rabbits and other rodents, they were more commonly seen sitting on the laps of royals.


The Temperament of the Miniature Greyhound

Those familiar with this breed would likely agree that Miniature Greyhounds may be tiny, but they have big personalities.  The Miniature Greyhound is often described as a jester, elegant, playful, independent, alert, and sensitive.  With their families, the Miniature Greyhound is often affectionate and desires nothing more than to be showered with love and attention.  Though if not adequately trained or socialized may become fearful, shy, and timid.  

Most Miniature Greyhounds take a little time to warm to guests and strangers. When they are young, starting socialization is vital but should continue with regular outings throughout their adult life to ensure they do not revert to their shy natural nature. 


Ideal Household

Because of their tiny size, Miniature Greyhounds are not well suited for homes with young children or rambunctious larger dogs. Miniature Greyhounds don’t see themselves as miniature, which can lead to significant injury when roughhousing with other dogs or children.

Because Miniature Greyhounds tend to prefer a quieter lifestyle focused around themselves, as these little dogs love nothing more than being the heart of their family’s world, a household with older or no children is ideal.

Additionally, those looking for a walking companion will also enjoy the company of a Miniature Greyhound. However, if you want a pup to hike, run, or use as a therapy dog, this is not the best choice due to their size and temperament.

If you are looking for a multi-pet home, Miniature Greyhounds do well if introduced at a young age to cats, but will need training not to chase them, since it is in their nature. Other animals they may be compatible with include other miniature dogs, smaller animals like guinea pigs, and hamsters. However, it should be noted that pets in the rodent family are what the Italian Greyhound was once used to hunt.

Miniature Greyhounds are great for alerting their family when there are visitors or possible threats, with their deceivingly big bark, but they are not a good option for those seeking a dog for home defense.  

Miniature Greyhounds are compatible with apartment-living and may even be able to be trained to use a litterbox.

However, litterbox training should not take the place of going outside since they still need exercise and socialization to maintain a well-balanced happy and healthy life.  

Miniature Greyhounds also do quite well with large areas to run and chase small critters, but a fenced-in yard is best since once these guys decide the chase is on, it is hard to get them back. Miniature Greyhounds have been known to run up to 25 mph, and when they are hunting, they tend to have a one-track mind.


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Exercise 

All breeds need training and exercise, especially Miniature Greyhounds. Though they are more than happy sitting on your lap and sunning themselves on the couch, they should not be mistaken for couch potatoes. Without regular exercise, Miniature Greyhounds will become destructive, and undesirable behavioral traits may arise, such as anxiety and fearfulness.

Though dog parks can be fun for our canine companions, it can be hazardous to Miniature Greyhounds due to their small size and bone structure. It is not uncommon for this breed to suffer accidents when playing with bigger dogs.

However, just like all dogs, Miniature Greyhounds need socialization with other dogs. Finding a safe playgroup is a must, ideally with dogs similar in size and temperament. Contacting your local dog daycare may provide a social outlet for your pup since many have small dog play areas.


Training

When it comes to Miniature Greyhounds training is as important as exercise, since these diminutive cuties will use their size and big eyes to get away with everything, eventually becoming tiny tyrants.  Miniature Greyhounds are among the more stubborn breeds, so consistency is critical to ensure you have a well-mannered dog.  

Miniature Greyhounds excel in the show ring and obedience trials, rally, and agility competitions. Miniature Greyhounds may enjoy being on the couch, but they are fast and agile, making them a remarkable sight in the ring.  

Other training Miniature Greyhounds enjoy include lure training, playing off their natural instinct to chase all that they see.


Physical traits

Miniature Greyhounds come in a variety of color options including:

  • Blue
  • Black
  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Sable
  • White
  • Seal – A black Brown
  • Chocolate
  • Brindle

Additionally, many Miniature Greyhounds are multi-colored, most with white markings.    

According to the AKC breed standard, Miniature Greyhounds should stand between 13-15 to the shoulder, and weigh between 7-14 pounds.

Miniature Greyhounds are lean, high stepping, graceful dogs. Because they have short coats and little body fat, they are extremely susceptible to cold temperatures and rainy weather. If you live in colder climates, it is best to invest in proper winter and rainy weather gear.

One of the many benefits of Miniature Greyhounds is their lifespan, much like all small breeds with proper care they have a much longer lifespan than larger dogs, averaging 14-15 years old.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of drawbacks to this breed. Miniature Greyhounds are prone to both epilepsy and progressive renal atrophy. However, when compared to more popular breeds, they do not suffer from near as many health concerns.


Grooming

One of the best things about having a short-coated dog is the ease of grooming since you never have to worry, they will get knots or mats in their coat. However, to ensure their coat stays healthy, running a brush over their coat once or twice a month will help keep the coat looking healthy, remove dead hair, and encourage growth.  

For the times your dog's coat may be looking a bit dull, using a chamois will bring back the shine to your Miniature Greyhound's coat.  

However, grooming goes beyond a Miniature Greyhound's coat, and proper dental and nail care a must. Daily brushing will help keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy and reduce the amount of costly dental cleanings.

Also, when trimming your Miniature Greyhound's nails, special care should be taken as this breed as a hare foot, a long narrow foot with close toes, so the two middle nails should be left longer than the two end nails.

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/italian-greyhound/

       2.https://www.explore-italian-culture.com/miniature-greyhound.html


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Meet The Author 

Jessica Mabie - Author of Miniature Greyhound: What Owners Need To Know

JESSICA MABIE

Jessica Mabie specializes in writing about pets, travel, and food. She has always loved dogs, and, at the age of 14, she started volunteering at a neighborhood vet clinic. While at the U of M, she continued her work with dogs as an obedience trainer and vet tech. Jessica uses her experience as a volunteer with American Brittany Rescue as well as aiding in her writing. So, if you happen to see her out and about with her family don’t hesitate to say “Hi!”, (You’ll know it’s her since few are so daring as to have 4 Britts).