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Italian Greyhound Colors – Exploring the Rainbow Coat Color Palette

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Italian Greyhounds are beautiful dogs that you can find in a variety of colors. But the fun part is that not all Italian Greyhound colors are available in all parts of the world. There is a huge difference between European Italian Greyhound breed standard and American Italian Greyhound breed standard.

This is why you fill find a different type of Italian Greyhound dogs depending on where you live. Color genetics is a complex subject. Now, we are not going to go deep into scientific work. But we will get an overview of the color palette of the Italian Greyhound dog breed. Let’s go.

Quick History of the Breed

Italian Greyhounds are the beautiful and smaller version of the Greyhound. While they might not be as fast as their famous racing dog cousin, Italian Greyhounds are also quite fast.

The Italian Greyhound is considered the smallest of the family of gazehounds, which are dogs that hunt by sight. According to many historians, the canine is quite old, originating more than 2,000 years ago. The history of the breed begins in countries we now know as Greece and Turkey.

It is important to note that there is no documented evidence of the first dog in the breed lineage. We cannot say for certain whether the dog was bred to be a small game hunter or a companion. Some historians believe it was a combination of the two.

What we do know is that sometimes between 200 BC and 200 AD, the Romans brought the sighthounds of the Middle East and Greece into their homes. This marked the beginning of the small Greyhounds of Italy.

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There is evidence of miniature sighthound dogs in the ruins of Pompeii from 79 AD. By the Middle Ages, the dog breed became a popular choice throughout Southern Europe. In the 16th century, the dog became a favorite of the nobility.

The Renaissance period produced countless paintings and sculptures of the Italian Greyhound. Many centuries ago, the dog was not known as the Italian Greyhound. That name came later, due to the enormous popularity of the breed in Italy.

Italian nobleman Francesco Birago in 1626 gave one of the first descriptions of the breed. In his Treatise of Hunting, he wrote about the Greyhound of Italy being around 17 to 19 inches.

In the 17th century, the dog breed spread throughout Europe, namely England. During the 1800s Victorian Era, the craze for small toy dog breeds became even bigger. These dogs became a fashionable pastime.

The English considered the canine to be a companion pet. They did not use it for hunting, despite the breed’s amazing ability to hunt.

The first club, the British Italian Greyhound Club was founded in 1900. The written breed standard was created using Stonehenge’s writings. In 1954, the Italian Greyhound Club of America was founded.

We have to note that the Italian Greyhound is not a bred-down version of the Greyhound. They do share common ancestors, but there is no evidence of other breeds being used to create the smaller version.

The small size is a result of selective breeding. Nowadays, many people call the breed the IG. It is a multi-purpose dog.

American Italian Greyhound vs European Italian Greyhound

When we talk about Italian Greyhound colors, we have to mention that there is a difference, depending on which part of the world you live in. In Europe, most Italian Greyhounds have solid color with no white markings or only white markings on the chest and feet. European standard doesn’t allow multi-colored coats.

What determines the coat of the dog?

There are several factors play into the coloration of the Italian Greyhound dog breed. Coloring is usually passed from the parents and their genetics. Now, if both parents are the same color, puppies are more likely to be the same color.

Yet, we have to note that if both parents are purebred, the puppies can come out in different colors.

Common Italian Greyhound Colors

As we said before, we will talk about different colors, depending on where does the breed comes from.

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European Iggy Colors

If the breed in question is an European Iggy, chances are the dog will be in solid colors. There are no mixed colors and patterns. They do have white chests, or white markings on the chest, but that is rare. Here are some common colors.

  • Gray Italian Greyhounds are some of the most popular and common. Gray shades are available in many variations, ranging from light to dark. Some people, though, consider gray to be a diluted color because of the weaker gene pools
  • Fawn, or Isabella, which is usually a solid color, it is another common option. It can range from pale creamy to dark, richer red shades. Yet, if you look closely at the fur, you will see multiple colors mingling together resulting in a beautiful shade

American Iggy Colors

Now let’s talk about some color options of the American Italian Greyhound, or the American Iggy.

  • Irish pattern, or when the dogs have white around their head and neck. Any color with a white collar around the neck will do it. If the patches are prominent, people call it the Wild Irish
  • A common pattern is the pied pattern, or Pied Italian Greyhound. It is a coat that has patches of colors together, similar to a piebald pony. Colors included are dark tan or gray, with a white base. There is no particular pattern, yet, sometimes, dark sections cover the head
  • Ticking pattern simply means dots or splashes of color found on a white base. The ticking doesn’t appear in puppies, who are born in solid color. Yet, as they grow, the dots can appear on the chest or the belly
  • A split-face pattern is when the dog has one half in white, and the other in fawn or gray

Rare Italian Greyhound Colors

As we said before, the Italian Greyhound breed can be found in multiple colors. Some are more common, and others are rare. Here are the rare color varieties.

  • Cream-colored dogs are among the rarest, and from a distance, they look almost white. But once you get close, the tones of the creamy fawn look more prominent
  • A pure black Italian Greyhound is difficult to find. You may find charcoal gray or sooty shades of black, but true black is very rare
  • Next, we have the chocolate Italian Greyhound, which is rich, dark brown coloring with some lighter tones behind the ears
  • Last, but not least, mask, a rare color form, which gives the appearance of darker features around muzzle, ears, and eyes. In most cases, Isabella coats with fawn coloring and black accents create the mask color-form

What is Color Dilution Alopecia?

Color dilution alopecia is a condition that can appear in Italian Greyhounds. It is common in dogs with a specific gene mutation. It is more common in European Italian Greyhounds. The condition can affect the coloration and result in hair loss.

How to identify? The best way to identify is during bath time. When you bathe your pet, you may notice lots of fur washing away. Another symptom is your dog’s skin becoming patchy or scaly. These signs mean you should consult your vet for treatment options.

We have to note, there is no known cure for color dilatation. It is a genetic condition that passes from parents to offspring. The good news is that alopecia does not affect internal health.

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