Are Greyhounds Smart? Intelligent Factors to Consider

When it comes to choosing a new dog for your family, it’s a good idea to consider the appearance, temperament, and exercise requirements. However, the intelligence of the dog is often overlooked. Yet their brains make up their personality, so it’s essential to find one that has an intelligence level that you’re compatible with. While we humans have a habit of molding them into the perfect pet for our family, we tend to forget what they were made to do – and that is using their brains for work! Let’s explore if

Are Greyhounds Smart in Comparison to Other Dogs?

In truth, when compared to other breeds, Greyhounds do appear fairly far down the list of intelligence. They are smart. However, canine psychologists have discovered that while Greyhounds are still categorized as having ‘above average’ intelligence, they do struggle with certain tasks. But don’t let this faze you. Greyhounds are still smart dogs; they sometimes just take a little longer to understand new concepts or tricks.

how smart are greyhounds

Greyhounds are extremely independent dogs, so it’s important to make sure they feel involved in training tasks. You want to work with them, not have them work for you.

It’s also important to keep in mind that there is no single way to test a dog’s intellect. As much as professionals have tried, all dog breeds are so unique in what we designed them to do. This makes it impossible to create a standardized test for them.

How Smart are Italian Greyhounds?

Italian Greyhounds are a much smaller counterpart than a typical Greyhound. So they suit some households a little better in regard to space and exercise levels. However, they are incredibly similar in their level of intelligence. This also means that they experience similar difficulties.

They have very similar instinctive and adaptive intelligence. This is due to being a sighthound breed and having that natural prey instinct. However, trying to test Italian Greyhound’s intelligence is even more challenging as they are very susceptible to environmental changes. A simple movement in the background could be far too distracting or anxiety-inducing for them. They naturally want to chase anything they see. A leaf blowing in the wind could push all of your training out of the window for the day.

are italian greyhounds smart

How to Test a Greyhound’s Intelligence?

If you really want to put a Greyhound to the test, you need to first consider what the breed was originally made to do. Typically, in modern times we only tend to use Greyhounds for racing. We send them running around a confined track chasing a mechanical lure. There’s no denying they are a wonderful sight to see, but there is a reason they are so good at it.

Traditionally, Greyhounds, and their smaller Italian counterparts, were made to hunt. To aid their owner in chasing and coursing down hares, rabbits, and deer.

Keeping Your Greyhound Focused

Though these hunting practices have long been ended, it’s important to keep this background in mind when trying to train your dog.

If you want to test a Greyhound’s intelligence, then you need to keep the tests focused on their strengths. Greyhounds are rather stubborn dogs, and often see themselves as equals rather than your subordinates. You’ll want to focus on tasks that you do together instead of tasks that your dog will carry out for you. This way, just like a child, your dog will see the training as fun and not as a chore.

Greyhounds are one of the best dog breeds for Adaptive Intelligence – meaning they are incredibly good at learning from their mistakes. They might not get something correct the first time, but they sure will keep trying until they get it just right!

Mix this with their extremely high Instinctive Intelligence and the ability to carry out the job they were bred to do, and you have a super smart dog on your hands!

Greyhound training methods

Are Greyhounds Good for First-Time Owners?

While considering a Greyhound’s intelligence is definitely an interesting topic, the real question most are interested in is what this means for first-time owners. In truth, it’s all circumstantial! Looking at a Greyhound’s stubbornness, it would be a lie to say this couldn’t get overwhelming for a new owner. But if you’re determined to bring a new Greyhound home, there are a few things to consider to make your life easier. Once you get into the swing of it, you’re sure to love your new, furry best friend.

A New Puppy

There is always something special about bringing a new puppy home. But if you’re the first-time owner of a Greyhound, you should be aware of any difficulties this might cause.

They can be harder to train because they can struggle to learn commands. For a puppy, the important thing to remember is patience! It might take them a little while longer, but they are fully capable of learning just like any other breed, as long as you are willing to keep working on it. Consistency is the key!

Or A Rescue…

If you’re cautious about the challenges of a new puppy, then a rescue might be much more your style. With Greyhound racing still a common practice, there’s never a shortage of dogs needing a loving home after retirement.

Retired greyhound training

Most of these would have already undergone some training, so this will save you the struggle of trying to teach them yourself. Yes, you will sadly miss out on the puppy years, but it doesn’t mean you’ll love them any less. They may be adults, but they still have a lifetime of love and companionship to offer!

Some owners can experience problems with training initially when it comes to retired Greyhounds. This is because their training has built them for the track, not for a home. They are often brought up in kennels. This means that normal home comforts can seem more challenging for them to get used to and could even be a source of anxiety.

Are Italian Greyhounds Good for First-Time Owners?

Italian Greyhound intelligence is equal to a normal Greyhound. However, they are usually not recommended for new owners. While these dogs are lovely companions, cuddly and energetic, they tend to be incredibly touch-sensitive and can be fearful of grabbing hands if they aren’t invited.

Even raising your voice can cause them to be fearful, so they often require a quiet owner or family, and someone who is able to work through their fears during training.

Iggy potty training issues

How To Train a Greyhound

So, after all this talk of Greyhound intelligence, I’m sure you’re wondering exactly how you would train a Greyhound. The physical process itself isn’t too different from how to you would train any other dog. The main thing you need to remember is patience!

Training Reinforcement

When training any type of dog, it’s important to understand the methods of training, and most importantly, to understand the ways of reinforcement. The 2 most used reinforcement methods are positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. For a Greyhound, and most dogs, positive reinforcement is the most effective way.

If you’re attempting to train a puppy, the first few months of their lives are the most crucial in training. Their brains are still learning so much about the world. What you teach them and how you teach them will impact them until their elderly years.

Training a Regular Greyhound

In brief, the way to train your dog is to demonstrate a behavior and reward them. This is positive reinforcement. For most dogs, ‘sit’ will be the first command they learn. However, this position can be difficult for a Greyhound due to the great muscle mass and hip position they have.

A common and effective way to introduce a command is to wait for the dog to do it naturally. Wait for your dog to sit, or lie down in this case, by themselves, then speak the associated word and reward them with a treat or toy.

Over time, they will learn to associate the action with your words, and they will eventually copy the action whenever asked. For many breeds, this association can be built in as little as an hour. But Greyhounds might take a little longer so make sure to keep at it until they get it right.

Best dog training techniques

Training an Italian Greyhound

The methods of training an Italian Greyhound are very similar. But these dogs are commonly more sensitive than a regular Greyhound, so it is even more vital to use positive reinforcement with them. Italian Greyhounds are also surprisingly athletic with a high prey drive. This means using squeaky toys as a reward instead of treats might be a good idea.

Italian Greyhounds are known to have smaller bladders than the average dog. So it’s important to note that potty training can be much more difficult and will require much more work to get them to go the toilet outside.

They will also often down-right refuse to go outside in unfortunate weather, so it’s important to have a dry and warm area that’s appealing to them.

They are also very touch-sensitive and being grabbed or physically corrected can upset them, so do your best to avoid this during training.


The answer to “Are Greyhounds Smart” isn’t straightforward. Greyhounds and Italian Greyhounds might not be the most intelligent dogs on the market. But their slight lack of brains is overruled by their perseverance and overall willingness to problem-solve.

It might take them an extra few weeks, but they are dedicated to learning. These beautiful dogs would be a perfect fit for anyone willing to work through their quirks and give them a warm and loving home.

Victoria Richards
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