The Italian Greyhound
From Our Point of View
Elias P. Duarte Jr. & Roberto Machniewicz
The purpose of this page is to provide information about Italian
Greyhounds to all those interested in the breed. To make it more interesting
and easier to read, the information is presented as a set of questions &
answers, which includes some of the questions we are most frequently
asked about the breed.
Note: IG is the acronym for Italian Greyhound.
The information available on this page can be used, but when doing so, please indicate the source: Canil do Reino
website: © www.canildoreino.com.br
Here is an index of the topics covered:
- When did you first see an IG? For how long have you been breeding/showing?
- So IGs are sighthounds? What are sighthounds?
- How do you describe the IGs?
- What is the maximum speed they achieve?
- How do you describe the correct Italian Greyhound outline?
- Size also varies considerably in the breed, right?
- Can you mention some features that are unique to the breed?
- As they are short coated, is daily maintanance easy?
- How is the temperament of a typical Italian Greyhound?
- What about puppy temperament?
- Talking about puppies, how many are born in a litter?
- What about the old guys, do you have tips for their care?
- How does an IG behave in a pack?
- Is it easy or hard to train an Italian Greyhound?
- How can I housetrain my IG?
- What can you say about Italian Greyhound health?
- When and where did the first IGs appear?
- How are IGs called in Brazil?
- When did they first come to Brazil?
- How was the evolution of the breed in Brazil?
- What about the recent history of the breed in Brazil?
- What are the IG colors?
- What do you think about the FCI color restrictions?
- What does the name "Canil do Reino" mean?
- To conclude, what is the greatest challenge of the IG breeder?
When did you first see an IG? For how long have
you been breeding/showing?
I have been very much interested in animals in general, and dogs
and horses in particular, since I was a very young child. In 1980 as a
young teenager (13 y.o.) I could finally get my first dog, which was a
pet black & tan male English Cocker Spaniel. In 1981 I discovered dog
shows, and what a discovery that was: my life was never the same again.
In the following year, 1982, I bought and started showing my second
dog, a red English Cocker bitch of the Lochranza and Kavora bloodlines,
who became my first champion in strong competition (trained and owner/handled by myself): Ch.
El Retiro's Lucilla.
It was in 1981 at a dog show in Belo Horizonte that I saw Italian
Greyhounds for the first time. The late Dr. Marcelo Andrade Neves,
a Medical Doctor from the same city had just imported at once nine
Italian Greyhounds from the U.S. to Brazil, with the assistance of the late
great handler Flavio Werneck. The dogs were from very good bloodlines,
and several were American Champions. Those dogs made a big
impression on me -- I couldn't believe there existed such wonderful
creatures. From that time breeding IGs became a dream.
The dream only came true nearly 20 years later. From 1983
I stopped showing dogs to dedicate myself to pursuing a professional career, to which
I am deeply committed. During the nearly 18 years I didn't show,
I did subscribe to several dog magazines, read several books about IGs
and dogs in general, and was able to attend dogs shows in North/South
America, Asia and Europe. When I started again I can say I was more than
ready for it.
It is hard to believe that the same time has passed since I started
breeding. My first Italian Greyhound, Baldo,
arrived in Brazil in the year 2000. Baldo was bred by Lilian Barber
(La Scala IGs), our mentor
and a very good friend. Immediately after Baldo arrived in Brazil in
August of that year (2000) we went to the kennel club to register our kennel. The
FCI confirmed our kennel name -- Canil do Reino -- in early 2001. Our dogs
are registered "BR Reino", "BR" standing for "Brazil". Roberto joined
the team in 2002.
In these 20 years, we have strived to breed healthy, sweet and correct
IGs. With a small breeding program, so far we have 30 champions
(Jul/2021, bred/owned/co-bred/co-owned). We have exported to the USA,
Argentina and Italy and from there our bloodline has spread to many others
countries: Russia, Colombia, Spain, Finland, Israel, Canada, Latvia, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Poland, and England
(a total of 17 countries).
Since 2007 Elias is pursuing a carreer as a judge, currently
approved to judge FCI Groups 1, 6, 8, and 10 (Shepherds, Gundogs, Hounds,
and Sighthounds). So far he has judged in 9 Brazilian states, plus the USA.
Last but not least, we have to mention that this website has been on line
and continuously updated since 2001. The purpose of the website is make our experience
of decades useful to more people, providing
information from our perspective on the breed. Enjoy!
So IGs are sighthounds? What are sighthounds?
Yes, Italian Greyhounds are sighthounds, dogs originally bred for hunting
based on vision and speed. Among the various breeds of sighthounds we find
dogs of different sizes, from giants (Borzoi, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish
Deerhound) to large dogs (Afghan Hound, Greyhound, Saluki), there is
a medium-sized breed (Whippet) and finally the Italian Greyhounds are
the smallest representatives of the family. All sighthounds have unique
characteristics that differ from other breeds, such as the low fat rate
compared to muscles, in addition to the aerodynamic shape.
How do you describe the IGs?
IGs are extremely affectionate little dogs with an elegant aerodynamic
shape built for running. They have been selected for millennia
(literally!) for running and hunting guided by vision. In addition to
this basic function of all sighthounds, we believe from the start they
have also been selected to be home companions. Their small manageable
size is very suitable for indoors. Their history can be traced back to
ancient civilizations, including Egypt, Greece, Rome and then Medieval Europe
and the Renaissance, and all through the modern age. This super long
selection process resulted in dogs that are truly very special. They
have a special connection with their owners. They are very sensitive, and
demand a lot of attention, but at the same time maintain that independence
that is characteristic of all sighthounds.
What is the maximum speed they achieve?
There are records that the maximum speed that an IG reaches is 42
km/hour or 25 miles/hour, which is pretty impressive considering the small IG size.
How do you describe the correct Italian Greyhound outline?
One of the main characteristics of the Italian Greyhound is its
silhouette, the outline with curves that can even form a true "S" in some
dogs. Italian Greyhounds are dogs with a very refined bone structure. Note
however that extremely refined dogs often loose the desired conformation
characteristics of a hunting dog: strong hindquarters, good angulations,
and the balance that results in light but "clean", fluid movement. At
the other extreme, we find heavier Italian Greyhounds, who can give an
impression of coarseness when compared with the correct specimens. Well,
the challenge of the IG breeder is precisely to achieve a balance:
dogs with excellent structure, but which can be considered refined.
Size also varies considerably in the breed, right?
Yes, the FCI standard calls for 32cm to 38cm at the withers. The AKC
standard describes the IG height range from 13 inches to 15 inches. As
this is a small dog, this range can be considered to be huge. In reality
it is very easy to see dogs that are smaller and bigger than what is
called for in the standards. This is true everywhere in the world. Don't
think big dogs are only in the U.S. We have seen them in Asia, Europe
and South America too. Actually it is very common to have both big and
small even in one litter.
Can you mention some features that are unique to the breed?
I feel the most particular characteristic of IGs is their love to
sleep with their owners. They will sleep under the covers, the first
time you see that behavior you get the impression the dog will suffocate,
but rest assured they have done that for centuries!
IG movement is also very particular. They are high gaited dogs, but
this is not hackney. It is important to make this point very
clear. How is IG movement different from a hackney gait? It is
high stepping, but with definite forward movement with a reach from the
front and drive from the rear. That's what distinguishes IG movement
from a hackney gait.
As they are short coated, is daily maintenance easy?
Their short coat and neat habits make IGs low maintenance pets in terms
of coat care. Nevertheless teeth does require brushing at least once
every two days and, if brushing is really done as it should be, once every
couple of years teeth should be cleaned by a vet. Please be sure the vet employs
anesthesia that is safe for sighthounds!
IGs also have fast growing nails, that require a once a week maintenance.
In terms of food, we feed our dogs high quality dog food twice a day, in
the morning at 6:30 a.m. and in the evening at around 5:30 p.m. I would
like to mention that we believe from our experience that not all
high-quality dog food is good for IGs. In particular from our experience
we have reached the conclusion that dog food with very high calories/fat
content is not good for IGs. In case you are in doubt whether the food you
are using is good or not, we recommend to do exams to
check the liver of your dogs.
How is the temperament of a typical Italian Greyhound?
As the standard itself describes, the Italian Greyhound has a reserved
temperament. In general, they are not very friendly with strangers, but
are absolutely fascinated with their owners. It is a breed that demands
a lot of attention, so it is not suitable for those who are away from
home most of the day.
Although many are naturally reserved, one can notice an increase of the number of
dogs with more outgoing temperaments, which results, in our opinion,
from the search for more uninhibited dogs for conformation exhibitions.
However, some IGs are rather shy, and feel very uncomfortable
just to see a stranger. This may be genetic, or due to poor socialization
of the dogs as puppies. Although this is not prevalent, all sighthounds are sensitive
dogs, and every approach should be done with care.
What about puppy temperament?
Puppies have a high level of energy, as in virtually all breeds.
They are extremely playful, do not stop quiet for a minute and go get
everything they can reach to gnaw and play. Keep an eye out for objects
you don't want to be destroyed!
This high level of energy remains in around 20% of adults, from our
experience. The new IG owner must be alert, as she/he may have been
selected to have one of these super-energetic companions! It is
recommended that these dogs get lots of opportunities to exercise and
spend their energy, activities such as agility can represent a channel
to release energy.
Talking about puppies, how many are born in a litter?
I would say that the average is 3 puppies, but litters of 1, 2, even 5,
are not uncommon. The world record is 12 puppies in a single litter.
The largest litter
I have heard about here in Brazil was of 9 puppies.
What about the old guys, do you have tips for their care?
First of all let me say that different dogs become "old" at different
ages. Some early on at 10 or 11 years old, others later, even after 15
years old. My main tip for the elderly IG is that they don't eat their meals
all at once. Even if they are used to eating at specific times all their
lives, that changes. In our experience we found an easy way to solve the problem:
just offer the food at more alternative times. Please note that we do
not recommend to have food always available, but that it be offered at
How does an IG behave in a pack?
Although they can be even shy when they are alone, in a pack the
Italian Greyhounds can be quite aggressive. I would say that most live
quite well in their little societies, but make no mistake, there are
hierarchical disputes and, in some cases, it is better to separate the
dogs. We had a male that was aggressive with other males (with females
he was an angel) and we really had to choose to always keep him separate
from the other males. In some cases "enmities" arise between two dogs,
but in our experience they can be forgotten at some later point. An important
recommendation: old dogs should not be together with the pack without
supervision. We have never had an accident of this nature at home,
but we have heard stories from more than one fellow breeder.
Is it easy or hard to train an Italian Greyhound?
In general I would say that training an IG is a challenge. Do
not expect the collaboration of a German Shepherd or a Poodle. Training
should be done with a lot of motivation, never use violence! Otherwise,
the dog will create barriers that are difficult to overcome in learning.
The key to training is persistence, with as many repetitions as
necessary, all in short sessions with a lot of motivation and the dose
of firmness needed to impose limits. Positive training is very suitable
for the IGs.
How can I housetrain my IG?
All you need to do to housetrain you IG greyhound is to follow
2 rules (which I call R&R: Repetition & Restriction). The first rule
is repetition: whenever the dog pees or poops in the right place, demonstrate
your satisfaction; if it is in the wrong place, demonstrate your
dissatisfaction (without violence). These demonstrations must be in the
act, after a few minutes the dog will no longer make the association.
The other rule is that of restriction: while the IG has not yet
been fully trained, if he is alone, he must stay in a place where he
can do his needs at will. In other words: before you have your little
dog fully trained, don't let him loose around the house when you're not
watching. In particular: do not leave the IG alone where you do
not want him to pee for example. Otherwise, it will be impossible to make
the dog understand that he must stop doing this in that place
where (when you are not there) he does it at will. At most, the IG
will understand that it is a place where he can do as he pleases
whenever you are not present.
What can you say about Italian Greyhound health?
First of all, let's make sure that health must be the number one
concern of every breeder, breeding healthy dogs comes before everything
else! IGs are a breed with a small gene pool worldwide and that does
have genetic problems -- as all breeds do. The Italian Greyhound Club
of America (IGCA) has plenty of detailed information about the health concerns
of the breed. There are currently (July 2020) genetic tests for three
different deceases: PRA, glaucoma and enamel hypoplasia. For serveral other
deceases that represent real concerns for the IG breeder (such as the
autoimmune conditions) there are no tests.
Overall one can say IGs are healthy and sturdy: most IGs reach the age of
10 in very good shape, many live to 13, 15 and more years. However you
only need to look and touch the front legs of an IG to notice they are
slim and long. This together with a flighty temperament, and powerful
athletic ability, can result in nasty accidents. Some IGs will jump up
as high as 1.5 meters, about 5 feet, without any impulse. They are standing,
and then they are flying. They also have a reserved temperament, and if
something frightens them they will suddenly jump and run.
Thus fractures of those thin and long legs do happen. The cause can
be explained first from a physics standpoint: a short and thick stick
takes much more effort to break than a slim and long one. Thus the
probability of the occurrence of broken legs is higher in IGs than in
other breeds. Breeding dogs with good bone density and strengthening
muscles with exercises is important, but not enough. Beware:
fractures happen even for those who take all precautions. They are
climbers, there are many cases reporting IGs that have fractured while
climbing x-pen fences. We know of cases of fractures that happened
as an IG was jumping off a sofa and falling badly on a smooth floor.
A fracture implies a very expensive procedure (often surgery to put
plaque and pins), not to mention the wear and tear of having a dog
suffering for weeks/ months until recovery. Warning: there is no
exaggeration in what is being said here.
We definitely do not recommend IGs to people with very active young kids
or big or very active dogs at home. One must be very careful with high
verandas and open windows, jumping is a great temptation, so balconies
and windows are also a danger. All high-floor windows and balconies
must be screened, or opened carefully to prevent accidents.
Every IG owner must be aware of all this. If the owner is very careful
there is a probability that there won't be accidents. Nevertheless it is
important to be prepared, even before you buy an IG. The owner must
locate an excellent orthopedic veterinarian to be prepared
if there is a problem. Attention: the fracture in many cases requires
surgery and not every veterinarian is able to do the correct procedure.
When and where did the first IGs appear?
The general belief is that IGs started to be developed about 3 thousand
years ago in the region of present-day Greece and Turkey. However,
there are also records of skeletons of small sighthounds, similar to
those of IGs, found in Egypt dated at about 5000 years ago (3000BC). It
was in that region of the Near East that the first sighthounds appeared
and were selected. These dogs were of absolute importance at the time,
helping people to get food. Later, the various breeds of sighthounds
(such as the Spanish Galgo and the English Greyhound) were established
and differentiated from each other. Everything indicates that since that
period smaller specimens have been selected. It is correct to state that
millennia ago there were little sighthounds very similar to today's
IGs. Most likely, they have been selected as as companions since that
time, in parallel with their role as hunters. It is worth noting
that the Whippet, despite its similar appearance and being related to
the Greyhound and the little IG, has had a different evolution, having been
developed in England in the XIX century.
Back to the IGs, in Italy of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, they
were very popular with the nobles, even appearing in several works of
art of the time, especially tapestries and paintings.
In the UK, the craddle of modern dog breeding, IGs were first shown
in 1860, as dog shows were starting to take place. With the beginning
of the systematization of purebred dogs, in the second half of the XIX
century, the country of origin of the IGs was considered Italy.
In the USA, IGs first arrived in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.
In our opinion north American breeders have undoubtedly reached a
very high level of quality. Nowadays the number of breeders has
reduced, but during some years they have registered more than
2,000 dogs per year. A lot of information can be found on the Italian Greyhound Club of America
In Italy, the Circolo
del Piccolo Levriero Italiano which is the Italian
Greyhound breed club, also carries interesting information in its Web
site, including links to the less than ten active breeders in the country.
We highlight that dedicated breeders have been doing
a brilliant job in the 5 continents.
How are IG's called in Brazil?
The official name of the breed in Brazil is Pequeno Lebrel Italiano, the
translation to Portuguese of the Italian name, Piccolo Levriero Italiano.
Nevertheless many people refer to the breed as Italian Greyhounds, or
"Galguinhos" meaning "little sighthounds".
When did they first come to Brazil?
The earliest record we have of Italian Greyhounds in Brazil is
from the 1950's. Roberto Marinho, the late founder and owner of the
world-famous Brazilian communications (including TV) network Globo bred IG's at that time at his
Canil da Toscana. Dr. Roberto Marinho imported his breeding stock
from the best kennels of that time. He had a male bred by the Marchesa
Maria Luisa Incontri, Ch. Cadi Del Calcione (Chery v. Gastuna X Alkmene
Del Calcione) and a Springinsfeld bitch, Fein Springinsfeld (Knirpes
v. Heinbrand X Pedra Springinsfeld). Another breeder of that period is
Raymundo de Castro Maia, who owned/showed another dog of one of the best
world bloodlines: Karin Di San Siro (Karl v. Baryerischen Meer X Daisy
Schonen Aussicht). (We thank noted judge Paulo Roberto Godinho for
sending us a copy of the 1957 dog show held by the Brasil Kennel Club
in 1957 in Rio de Janeiro in which these dogs competed.)
Then we take a leap of 25 years to 1981, when the late
Dr. Marcelo Andrade Neves imported simultaneously 9 dogs
from the USA to Brazil, with the assistance of the great Brazilian
handler Flavio Werneck. Dr. Marcelo was a medical doctor from Belo
Horizonte, and his kennel name was Canil Vanmarck. These are the
first IGs that we managed to track down to pedigrees of current dogs
in Brazil. Dr. Marcelo's imports are listed below. Their titles are not
complete. These dogs are definitely from some of the very best bloodlines
available in the U.S. at the time, and they were the ones that captivated
me for the breed:
- Donnell's Carwind (F) (Am. Ch. Wavecrest Donatello X Am. Ch. Dasa's Elementary D'Donnel)
- Ch. Dewitt's Isle of Bimini (F) (Am. Ch. Giovanni's Pistacchio X Am. Ch. Capri of Donnel's Seven)
- Am. Ch. Wilwyn's Silver Slipper (F) (Am. Ch. Pikop's Little Winemaker Me X Am. Ch. Wilwyn's Pollyanna)
- Am. Can. Berm. Ch. Wilwyn's Tina (F) (Am. Ch. Cleden's Gold Coin x Am. Ch. Wilwyn's Graffiti)
- Tudor's Golden Glamour (F) (Am. Ch. Northbrook Swingin Satino X Ch. Tudor's Diamond Ice)
- Ch. Paiga's The Jimini (M) (Paiga's Hobbit X Am. Ch. Jachelam's June Pride)
- Mike Mar's Royal Blue (F) (Mydra Magic of Mike Mar X Am. Ch. Willwin's Silver Slipper)
- Mike Mar's Hi Stepper (M) (Am. Ch. Mike Mar's Monday Blues X Mike Mar's Royal Blue)
- Ch. Mike Mar's Sky Rocket (M) (Am. Ch. Mike Mar's Monday Blues X Mike Mar's Royal Blue)
At roughly the same time, also in the beginning of the 1980's
in the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Paulo R. Gasparotto
started breeding IGs in his Canil Coronilha. Paulo Gasparotto is a famous
newspaper columnist/art dealer/journalist who has also been one of the
hosts of a local TV program in his city, Porto Alegre. Paulo got his
first dogs from Dr. Marcelo, and he also imported another dog directly
from the U.S. (Ch. Paiga's Jumping Jehosaphat). Besides the dogs, Paulo
has what is probably the largest collection of art objects related to IG's
in South America. In the early 2000's, Paulo also imported two Tekoneva
bitches from the U.S., in two different occasions: Tekoneva's Black Beauty
and JCh. Tekoneva's Rosvo Roope. We must also mention Canil Des Petits
Bandits, of breeder Eliet Petit, also from Porto Alegre. Eliet got her
original stock from Paulo. She bred and owned the #1 IG's in Brazil in
2000 and 2004 (CBKC Ranking -- 2004 by group points): Ch. Boneca Des
Petits Bandits and Ch. Milonga Des Petits Bandits.
Also in the early 1980s, a fawn bitch bred by Dolores Aubone and her mother
Josefina of Newcatle IGs in Argentina was imported and extensively
shown in Brazil (we have the records that she was the #1 IG in Brazil
in 1981): Ch. Br. Gr. Ch. Br. Ch. Int. Kilt Kuka of Newcastle. She was
owned by Canil do Ypê of Rio de Janeiro. We are so proud that recently
our beloved homebred girl Arg. JCh. Ljla do BR Reino has traveled in
the opposite direction and is owned by Dolores Aubone and her sons at
Newcastle IGs in Buenos Aires.
Aso in the beginning of the 1980s, noted breeder Cláudio Gornati of
Canil Salatino imported five
IGs from France to São Paulo, Brazil. The five IGs were mainly bred by
Pitchun Diables. Claudio bred for a few years under the Whippojuca prefix
(yes he also had Whippets). Twenty five years later Claudio and his
partner Rochester Oliveira started breeding IGs again, and have imported
several dogs from the US, Europe and Colombia.
Please continue: what happened next in the history of IGs in Brazil?
We can say that the early Brazilian bloodlines were established on
Vanmarck & Coronilha dogs. They appear as ancestors in a significant
percentage of the pedigrees of the dogs in our country. We can say
the same about our Baldo. An example
of an IG with Brazilian bloodlines deep in her pedigree is our BiBi - Ch. J. Gr. Ch. Br./Pan. Ch. Int. Jarzebina
from BR Reino, Multi BIS Placer. It is possible to say that she carries
much of the history of the breed in this country in her pedigree.
BiBi's great-grandsire was a beautiful dog: Ch. Gr. Ch. Crown Jewel's
Armani, owned by the notable architect Carlos Fortes, from São
Paulo. Armani was #1 Italian Greyhound in Brazil in 2003 (CBKC Ranking).
Armani was bred by Maria Eugênia Cerqueira (then Sahagoff), Canil Crown
Jewels. In the early 2000s, Maria Eugenia imported three Marchwind
dogs from the U.S. to Brazil, one dog and two bitches. One of the bitches
came pregnant of Top Producer Am. Ch. Sonata How The West Was Won. The dog was
Am. Ch. Johma Denver of Marchwind, a multi-group placer in the US
before coming to Brazil. Some Brazilian breeders (including
ourselves) still maintain this bloodline.
The Vanmarck bloodline was not lost to show breeders because of a
fortuituous event. A breeder from Rio de Janeiro, Katia Costa, Canil
Sumainana came across this adult bitch Erika de Vanmarck who was at
the time already at 8 years old, but she could breed and get a puppy
out of her, which she registered in her own kennel: Sumainana Cleopatra
(Cleo). This bitch has in her pedigree just about every dog that Vanmarck
imported, plus Coronilha and more.
To celebrate Baldo finishing his Brazilian Championship in 2000 (the
year he arrived) we made an ad at the annual issue of the Brazilian
Cães de Fato magazine in early
2001. Katia Costa saw that ad and contacted us. Cleo was bred twice
with Baldo (2001 and 2002). They produced 6 puppies (3 in each litter):
Herus, Hera and Hebe, and then Garibaldo, Arquibaldo and Theobaldo.Three of
these dogs finished their Braz. Ch. (Hera, Herus and Garibaldo). All
6 were bred -- there was a time in which it was hard to find an IG in
Brazil that did not come from one of these dogs. At about the same time,
Canil Sumainana also got some dogs that came from a couple of Dutch IGs
that were imported to Rio de Janeiro in the early 2000s: My Ceasar's
Own Gino and Fiefoerniek's Foreign Affair.
Another beautiful dog that also part of the history of the breed in
Brazil, is Ch. Sumainana Miró, #1 Italian Greyhound in Brazil in 2008
(CBKC ranking). Owned by Canil Apoama, from Goiânia, Miró was a
great sire, being the father of several champions. His offspring
includes BIS Multi-Ch. Apoama Bibica (out of Ch. Autumn Breeze do
Castelo de Alfaia, Portugal), Multi-Ch. Apoama Lolozinho (out of
Ch. Newcastle Pilar, Argentina), both of which were #1 IGs in Brazil
in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Multi-BJIS Ch. Apoama Amendoa (out
of Ch. Autumn Breeze do Castelo de Alfaia, Portugal) was #1 in 2012.
In the next generation, Ch. Apoama Alex, son of Lolozinho out of the
Colombian De La Casa de Borromeo Nefertary, was very successful
in the rings. The dog Apoama Baru, was exported to Colombia where
he sired Multi-Ch. De
La Casa Borromeo Fabinho, exported to Russia, where he has a very
successful career in the show rings and as a sire.
Another breeder that started in the 1990s is
by Ms. Helena Coragem, owner of Canil Baktaran in Brasilia. For many
years she was the biggest IG breeder in Brazil. Her dogs are a mix of
Brazilian bloodlines with and a Portuguese import (Gallahad Al Pacino).
In the first decade of the 2000s, another beautiful
Italian Greyhound that came from Germany was competing at dog shows in Brazil: German
& Brazilian Ch. Harlekin Al Akash owned by our friends Dirk
Vogt-Lahr and Alessandro Lahr who lived for some years in São
Paulo, Brazil. A lovely dog, he
was bred to two of our girls, being the sire of our Dora (the first IG to win BIS All Breeds
Adult in the history of the breed in Brazil) and grandsire of our Am. Ch. PePa
(the first Brazilian IG to finish the American Championship).
What about the history of the breed in Brazil in the 2010s?
In the 2010s several news in the Brazilian IG world! I'll start with
my friend Cleber Delazari, Maison D'Etoiles IG's. In addition to being
the owner of and having done a wonderful campaign with our RBIS/BJIS
Ch. Cecylia from BR Reino (SiSi), Cleber has
several other dogs that must be mentioned here. Cleber owns descendants of
the four IGs imported by the traditional Whippet breeder Canil Silkrock in
the early 2010s: Ch. Bo Bett Silkrock Oliver (USA), Ch. Strippoker Snow
White (Netherlands), Davinci's GV Lulu White and Davinci's GV Calamity
Jane (Colombia). These dogs include Ch. Silkrock Drummond Hills Bessie,
Ch. Silkrock Archie and the beautiful Ch. Silkrock Drummond Hill's Bailey.
The beautiful dog Braz. JCh. Le Ice At Direnna Du Domain Du Chanteloupe
is also at Maison D'Etoiles. He was originally imported by friends and
fellow judges Roberta Direnna and Patrício Peruzzo (Rio de Janeiro -
Direnna's IGs), from Rio de Janeiro. Patrício and Roberta, who have
stopped breeding IGs, imported several other dogs, both from Europe and
from Colombia (De La Casa Borromeo IGs). The beautiful Ch. De La Casa
Borromeo El Bandido was #1 IG in Brazil in 2014 (DogShow Ranking). Among
the IGs they bred I can highlight the beautiful Ch. Direnna's Reina
Isabelle, the first Italian Greyhound to win 1st group under yours truly.
She is currently owned by Thiago Souza, from Porto Velho, Rondônia.
Sabino Vianna (with Patricia Maia they own Snug Buffs IG's, Rio de Janeiro)
made us very proud to have selected the super Ch. Oliwja of
BR Reino (Oliwja) as his foundation bitch. Oliwja is the daughter
of the dog mentioned above, Ch. Bo Bett Silkrock Oliver, with our
JuJu. Sabino also owns other IGs, including
Ch. Salatino Rosana Morgantini, and Made In Italy Di Lupavaro, a
boy imported from Italy. The new generation Snug Buffs has been very
sucessful in the show rings, we highlight Ch. Snug Buff Diana Prince, an
Oliwja daughter with multiple BPIS placements, and Ch. Snug Buff Popeye
(Oliwja X Made) BJIS winner.
Among the several news of the 2010s, Gabriel Valdez (Davinci IGs), all
breed international judge and previously a pro-handler of international
success, is established in Brazil, in the state of São Paulo. Earlier
Gabriel had lived in Brazil for short periods. Several breeders have
Davinci dogs including Therezinha Silva Mello (Our Angel Eyes IGs,
in Rio de Janeiro), Flávia Mouco (Pandora's Box IGs, São Paulo) and
Cláudio Henrique Ferreira (Sable Dune, Fortaleza, CE), among others.
The dogs presented by Gabriel Valdez have
been very successful in the show rings and the rankings.
Other friends that I need to mention are Tiago and Ana
Paula Ruzinski, from Canil Von Nordsonne, from Brusque,
Santa Catarina, who have a partnership with Lailton
Rocha, from Curitiba (my own city). Lailton started with
a bitch of a deep Brazilian bloodlines, our Baldo's granddaughter: Gigi
Maykleiton. She was bred to our Tavi and
these were Ana and Tiago's first IGs: Galgos Tapajós Zorro from BR Reino
and Galgos Tapajós Perla from BR Reino (the litter was registered in
our kennel). The following IGs from Ana and Thiago (Amandicta Biasotto
Exoticos and Sumainana Grigio) also had our bloodline way back, in
particular Baldo and Cori (Coriolanus do Reino, Baldo X NiNi). In the
sequence, they got several other dogs from other bloodlines, including
the beautiful Ch. Direnna's Quick Star, De La Casa Borromeo El Guernica,
De La Casa Borromeo Leah, Direnna's Luah, among others.
Other enthusiasts with the breed have appeared, several are showing,
the number of IGs registered in Brazil has grown considerably. For
example, from 2005 to 2008 the number doubled from 47 in 2005 In 2010,
to 116 greyhounds in 2008, and then to 146 in 2011 and 184 in 2014. In
2017, 276 greyhounds were registered in Brazil and in 2019 the number
is extraordinary: 422 IGs.
Note: this can be considered only a short part of the history of the breed
in the country. The goal is not to present an exhaustive list of all breeders,
several have not been mentioned here! We are continually updating this
partial view of the trajectory of IGs in Brazil.
What are the IG colors?
IG color is a fascinating subject, and they are not easy to describe!
Let's start with blue. Blue dogs come in many shades, from pale mouse
grey, to dark steel blue. Blue comes with dark, black nose, not like dilutes
of some other breeds that come with blue nose. Then you have fawn,
that also come in a wide variety of shades, from very pale cream
to dark nearly brownish dogs, in between you have those that have a
golden, corkish or reddish hue. If a blue dog has a few fawn hairs,
the color does not have any special name. Nevertheless if the dog is
fawn with enough blue hairs that give a distinctive shade, and the color
is called blue-fawn. A color that became particularly popular in the U.S. is red,
which also comes in many shades, from a clear Basenji-like red, to darker
hues, including mahogany and even darker. Then there is black. Some dogs are
jet-black, but others have a few fawn or red hairs. If there are just a
few hairs of another color, the dog is overall still black. However,
if the dog has a lot of red or fawn hairs all over its body, then the
resulting color is called seal, it looks like chocolate, but it is
not because the nose is black. Note however that there are true chocolate
IGs, such as this one.
Red and fawn may also have black hairs: if
black becomes perceptible all throughout the red/fawn coat then you have sable.
Another characteristic is that dogs start getting greyish at a very young
age, some start greying (particularly the head) from the tender age of 12 months.
Although the FCI standard only accepts dogs with white markings in the feet and chest,
there are solid white IGs, and parti colored dogs, with the distinctive
Irish markings (neck and legs), wild-Irish (Irish with white splashes
in the body), and pied, which are mostly white dogs with a few colored
spots, usually in the head.
What do you think about the FCI color restrictions?
The FCI specifies in its standard that IGs are solid colored, and
can only have a small amount of white on chest & feet. The FCI follows the
rules of the country of origin for each of its recognized breeds. As far as
we understand, the restriction on color markings was decided at a meeting of
Italian IG breeders in the late 1950s.
As we have seen above, IG history is very long. So the question we have to ask is:
have IGs always been solid colored? I will let Marcelli Bacciarelli answer this question, he
painted the following picture in 1757:
One may say: "this is for sure a Whippet!" Right? Wrong: the Whippet started
to be developed in England in the XIX century. There is no doubt that the dog above is a red and
white Italian Greyhound, as pure as they could be in XVIII century.
Now, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) will also answer that question, he painted the
"The Marlborough Family" also in the 18th century:
There are many, many other pictures clearly showing that particolored
IGs have always existed. When in the 1950s Italian breeders
decided to establish the color restrictions, the breed was already deeply
established in the US, UK and Australia -- these and other countries
have always allowed white markings (they never incorporated the
FCI color restrictions). IGs have been shown in the UK since 1860,
and from the beginning of the century in the US.
The situation now is quite complex, as FCI breeders have selected solid
colored dogs for several decades. We respect their hard work. On the
hand, the very attractive particolored IGs have always been in the breed.
Talking with several breeders from all over the world, what seems to be
a possible solution is to classify IGs in two color varieties,
so that while solid colored IGs are preserved, this would make it possible to
allow the gorgeous particolored Italian Greyhounds to be shown and bred all over
the world (not competing with the solid colored ones).
To conclude, what is the greatest challenge of the IG breeder?
Before we talk about conformation, let's make sure the greatest challenge
is the journey itself. Breeding show dogs is a 24/7 activity that
keeps you busy from January 1st to December 31st, year after year, including
holidays, Sundays, no day off! It is the life game: from birth to
death and all that goes in between. Of course dogs are the most beloved &
loving creatures and make it all worthwhile.
In terms of Italian Greyhound conformation the biggest challenge is to
produce a very sound yet refined small dog with the correct outline and a
great movement. This is a sighthound: good movement is a must. A strong
rear, a perfect front, with good angulations, producing a powerful yet
also graceful movement is required. The correct topline, a deep underline,
a long well placed neck and a houndy head. This is the big
challenge. It is easier to get one that is sound but also too big, for
instance. Others are extremelly refined, but have a poor rear or don't
move with the reach and drive you want. The outline is again the most
important feature of the breed, you can even see an "S" in the outline
of some dogs. Other dogs are heart shaped: you see a "C" instead of an
"S". Some dogs are too refined, a few others could be even described as
coarse. The point of balance is what every serious breeder searches for:
a dog with excellent structure that is also refined. Another challenge
is that the gene pool worldwide is not really big. Actually to our
surprise we have found out that some outcrosses usually produce more
homogeneous litters than linebreeding. Of course above any conformation
characteristic the most important thing is to keep an eye on health
first and next temperament, then comes conformation.
You can use this information, but if you do please make sure you
refer to © www.canildoreino.com.br
The information in this page reflects our point of view on the Italian Greyhounds,
as a result of our personal experience with the breed: 20 years breeding/showing and for
nearly 40 years an enthusiast of the breed (2020).