This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
This little dog is one of the most beautifully proportioned animals in creation, being a smooth English greyhound in miniature, and resembling it in all respects but size. It is bred in Spain and Italy in great perfection, the warmth of the climate agreeing well with its habits and constitution. In England, as in its native country, it is only used as a pet or toy dog, for though its speed is considerable for its size, it is incapable of holding even a rabbit-The attempt, therefore, to course rabbits with this little dog has always failed, and in those instances where the sport (if such it can be called) has been carried out at all, recourse has been had to a cross between the Italian greyhound and the terrier, which results in a strong, quick, little dog, quite capable of doing all that is required.
Fig. 6. - ITALIAN GREYHOUNDS, BISMARK AND CRUCIFIX.
The chief points characteristic of the Italian greyhound are shape, color, and size.
In shape, he should as nearly as possible resemble the English greyhound, as described elsewhere. The nose is not usually so long in proportion, and the head is fuller both in width and depth. The eyes, also, are somewhat larger, being soft and full. The tail should be small in bone, and free from hair. It is scarcely so long as that of the English greyhound, bearing in mind the difference of size. It usually bends with a gentle sweep upwards, but should never turn round in a corkscrew form.
The color most prized is a golden fawn. The dove-colored fawn comes next; then the cream color, and the blue fawn, or fawn with blue muzzle, the black-muzzled fawn, the black-muzzled red, the plain red, the yellow, the cream-colored, and the black; the white, the blue, the white and fawn, and the white and red. Whenever the dog is of a whole color, there should be no white whatever on the toes, legs, or tail; and even a star on the breast is considered a defect, though not so great as on the feet.
The size most prized is when the specified weight is about six or eight pounds; but dogs of this weight have seldom perfect symmetry, and one with good shape and color, of eight pounds, is to be preferred to a smaller clog of less perfect symmetry. Beyond twelve pounds the dog is scarcely to be considered a pure Italian, though sometimes exceptions occur, and a puppy of pure blood, with a sire and dam of small size, may grow to such a weight as sixteen pounds.
I have never yet seen an Italian greyhound more nearly approaching perfection than Mr. Pirn's Bismark, a considerable prize-winner at Bristol and in Ireland, although he has recently been twice unnoticed, beyond a high commendation at Birmingham and the Alexandra Park Shows. These defeats were, however, mainly owing to the excellence of the bitches amongst which he was classed; for at Birmingham there were four of that sex only a trifle behind the celebrated Molly in shape and color, while at the Alexandra Park there were nearly as many. Bismark is, nevertheless, a very neat dog, and, barring his round head and his color, which has a shade of blue in the fawn, he is very little behind the first-class bitches of his day. His pedigree 3 is unknown, so that it is not possible to trace these defects to their cause; but I have little doubt that, at some time more or less remote, a terrier cross in his pedigree would creep out. At all events, he is the best dog exhibited of late years, and as such I have selected him for illustration.
Crucifix, his companion in the engraving, was, like him, passed over at the above shows, obtaining only a second prize at the shows recently held at Birmingham and Alexandra Palace. My own opinion, however, was strongly in her favor at both of these shows; and, in spite of the high authority of Messrs. Hedley and Handley (the respective judges), I have accordingly selected her for portraiture. Her beautiful golden-fawn color is even superior to Molly's dove-color, and her general shape and symmetry are nearly equal; but no doubt in head Molly has the advantage, and if the two were shown together, both in their prime, the latter would weigh down the scale considerably. Like Bismark, she has had more honor in her own country than at Birmingham and London, having been awarded the first prize at Manchester in two dog shows, and also at Glasgow in two other years. She is by Bruce's Prince out of his Beauty; Prince by Old Prince - Speed; Beauty by Chief - Tit.