Italian greyhound, breed of sleek, active toy dog that stands from 13 to 15 in. (32–38 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 7 to 11 lb (3–5 kg). Its short, thin coat is glossy and may be any shade of red, fawn, blue, cream, or white. Although the belief that it was raised as a pet in ancient Rome and Pompeii is difficult to document, it is certain that it was a distinct breed and a favorite of the court in southern Europe by the Middle Ages. It was introduced into England more than three centuries ago, where it was brought to refinement. Although a relatively rare breed today, the Italian greyhound's striking appearance and extremely tractable disposition make it a desirable house pet. See dog.