Greyhound vs. Italian Greyhound: Is There a Difference?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: October 6, 2023
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Both the greyhound and the IG are sighthounds, which means they have similar lithe and agile physiques and a lightning-quick sense for pursuit. Italian greyhounds originate in Italy and are the tiniest variant of the breed. But are Italian greyhounds more than just a miniature version of the greyhound? In this article, we take a closer look at eight key distinctions between the greyhound and the Italian greyhound.

Greyhound vs. Italian Greyhound: A Comparison 

greyhound vs italian greyhound
Italian greyhounds are a toy greyhound breed, making them smaller than standard greyhounds.
Key DifferencesItalian GreyhoundGreyhound
Height12 – 15 inches27 – 30 inches
Weight6 to 10 lbs.60 to 100 lbs.
Coat typeShort, Fine, Low ShedShort, Silky, Moderate Shed
ColorsBrown, Red, Blue, Gray, White, BlackFawn, Blue, Gray, Red, White, Black
TemperamentAgile, Affectionate, Companionable, High EnergySocial, Non-Aggressive, Low Energy, Wary of Strangers
Energy LevelsHigher than AverageLower than Average
Life Expectancy12 to 15 Years12 to 14 Years
Health ProblemsAlopecia, Hip Dysplasia, Thyroid IssuesBloating, Cancer, Heart Issues

Key Differences between Greyhound and Italian Greyhound

greyhound vs italian greyhound

Greyhounds are very playful pups, but they also like to cuddle in their dog bed with their favorite toys.


There are many key differences between a greyhound vs. Italian greyhound. Italian greyhounds are a toy greyhound breed, smaller than standard greyhounds. They are thought to be the world’s tiniest sighthounds. Although their size difference is the most evident, there are several other significant differences between the IG and the greyhound that are worth exploring. Let’s dive in!


greyhound vs italian greyhound

Italian greyhound will never grow more than 15 inches and usually won’t weigh more than 10 pounds.

©Linn Currie/


The greyhound is an extraordinarily large dog. They are considered large to giant dogs with a height of 28 to 30 inches. The Italian greyhound, on the other hand, is considered a little dog, the smallest in fact of the greyhound family, measuring between 12 and 15 inches in height.


The greyhound is more muscular than the Italian greyhound, owing to its extensive hunting and racing heritage. A full-grown greyhound weighs between 60 and 100 pounds, but an Italian greyhound often weighs less than 10 pounds.

greyhound vs Italian greyhound

The greyhound is more muscular than the Italian greyhound, owing to its extensive racing heritage.


Coat Type

The coats of the Italian greyhound and the greyhound bear a striking resemblance. In contrast, it is easier to care for Italian greyhounds than other breeds. They are hypoallergenic and a low-shedding breed, for example. Greyhounds shed somewhat and are not hypoallergenic.


Greyhounds come in a variety of colors, including white, gray, blue, red, and black. The Italian greyhound is also available in these colors, as well as brown.


greyhound vs italian greyhound

The greyhound is the fastest dog in the world and is far faster than the Italian greyhound.

© Timchenko


Because of their kind and loving nature, Italian greyhounds are good with people and like socializing. However, they can be extremely sensitive to their immediate surroundings. In general, they get along well with other animals and people, however, they can be a little wary of children. Because they are such a little fragile breed, these dogs require gentle love and care from children to reciprocate such behavior.

Greyhounds are sociable, non-aggressive, and extremely intelligent. This breed, when given the proper amount of exercise, may become a peaceful, devoted house pet. Both types are energetic, sensitive dogs that require activity time. They are also quite simple to train.

Energy Levels

The energy level of Italian greyhounds is higher than average, so they don’t sleep nearly as much as the greyhound. To meet their daily activity requirements, they need to walk, run, and/or play every day. Greyhounds become placid and peaceful after enough time running about outside. They love to snuggle up next to their owner while they snooze.

Even though greyhounds are known for their calm demeanor, they can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour while running! As a result, they are frequently bred for dog racing competitions. There’s also the Italian greyhound, which is a diminutive sprinter known to attain speeds of up to 28 mph.

Health Factors

greyhound vs Italian Greyhound

The energy level of Italian greyhounds is higher than average.

©Utekhina Anna/

Life Expectancy

The average lifespan of a healthy greyhound is 12-14 years, but many of them have far longer lives than the norm. With an average life expectancy of 12-15 years, the Italian greyhound is one of the longer-lived breeds. It’s important to get frequent checkups with your veterinarian if you own a greyhound, even though they are generally healthy dogs.

Health Problems

Generally, Italian greyhounds and greyhounds are in good health. Italian greyhounds can develop alopecia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism (a malfunction of the thyroid gland). Bloat, bone cancer, and heart problems are more common in greyhounds than in other dog breeds.

Wrapping Up Greyhound vs. Italian Greyhound

whippet vs greyhound

Both greyhounds and Italian greyhounds have similar life expectancies.

©Neurodoc / Creative Commons

Further investigation indicates that the Italian greyhound is undoubtedly more than just a toy version of the greyhound. The IG is a little dog that is hypoallergenic and active, making it an ideal companion for individuals who live in small spaces, as well as those who enjoy going outside and socializing with their dog. The greyhound is a large to giant dog that is normally calm when provided with sufficient exercise. As such, it is an excellent choice for someone who is active but also spends time at home.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © dezy/

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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