The Italian Greyhound is very similar to the Greyhound, but much smaller and more slender in all proportions and of ideal elegance and grace.
As with many ancient breeds it is their depiction in art and architecture that gives insight into their origin. Miniature greyhounds appear in ancient decorative arts of the Mediterranean countries dating back 2000 years. It was during the sixteenth century when this diminutive gazehound was highly sought by Italians and Southern Europeans that it acquired the name Italian Greyhound. The breed made their way to England in the seventeenth century steadily gaining in popularity.
An Italian Greyhound was registered for the first time with the American Kennel Club in 1886. Following World War I when the breed was in danger of extinction in Great Britain, fresh stock was imported from the United States, giving evidence of the high quality to be found in America at that time. The Italian Greyhound Club of America was founded in 1954.
The Italian Greyhound is a true greyhound, his small size the result of selective breeding. There is debate as to whether he was originally bred for hunting small game or was meant to be simply a companion. In all likelihood, both are true, as he is adaptable to city and country life.
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