Italian Greyhounds, affectionately referred to as ‘iggies,’ come in various colors so there’s bound to be one that you can’t take your eyes off. However, not many people know that the most popular or common Italian Greyhound colors depend on the area of the world that you come from.
American Italian Greyhounds actually come in different colors than European Italian Greyhounds. If you’re considering welcoming an Iggy dog into your home, then it’s a good idea to find out a little more about them before you make the ultimate decision.
What Determines an Italian Greyhound’s Color?
A variety of things contribute to the overall color of a litter. However, the color is typically passed down in the parents’ genes from their predecessors.
If the two parents are the same color, the Italian Greyhound puppies are likely to follow suit and be a combination of their parents. However, it’s not an exact science if your chosen dog isn’t a purebred.
This is because it’s difficult to decipher the exact line of both parents without the certificates to prove it. While you may have a fawn mother and father, half of the litter could still be grey due to dominant genes passed from their grandparents.
If you aim to have an Italian Greyhound to breed, it’s best to understand their whole parental line before purchasing, otherwise, you may end up with puppies of varied colors.
What is the most common Italian Greyhound color?
Italian Greyhounds come in various colors, so you can pretty much satisfy any taste. However, the breeding lines in certain areas of the globe mean that some Italian Greyhound colors are impossible to source, depending on where you are.
This is because, although the breed is popular worldwide, American iggies tend to breed with other American iggies. Meaning that no European genes are entering the pool to pass along different color variations and vice versa.
Typically, Italian Greyhounds come in the following color variations:
|Blue & White
Their coats could also combine two different colors from the list or may have diluted Italian Greyhound Colors, meaning they are a lighter or more muted version of the original.
(This tends to happen as they age anyway – so if you purchase a diluted color, you should expect them to get lighter as they get older).
Across the world, though, the gray coloring is the most popular – which suits their name, really.
This is a dark gray color, sometimes with white feet or a white chest, and is also a common color for their standard-sized counterparts.
American vs European Italian Greyhound Colors
You’ll find different Iggy colors depending on where you live in the world. In Europe, you tend to find more solid colors. This means that the Greyhound is a single color all over, they may have the occasional white foot or chest.
This is because the American Italian Greyhound has a larger gene pool that has captured the rarer multi-colored dogs.
Common European Iggy Colors
In Europe, the most common colors for Greyhounds are:
This is the most popular color and can appear in several shades. It’s often considered a diluted color, as the pigmentation isn’t as strong in certain gene pools, making the dogs look almost blue.
Some rarer gray coat colors could even be considered silver, the palest color available.
Most grays are a single solid color in Europe, though occasionally white chests are out there.
Fawn – Isabella
The ‘Isabella’ or fawn coat comes in many different variations, from really pale cream to a dark, rich red.
With most Isabella coats, if you get close up, you’ll notice that they aren’t just one color, but that they have lighter and darker notes in their coat which make up a solid colour from further away. The most common shade is a tan or light brown color.
Common American Iggy Colors
If you live in America and are looking for your new perfect pooch, look no further. Italian Greyhounds in America come in just about every color imaginable.
While the European versions are mainly a single color, with the occasional white marking on the feet and chest, American Italian Greyhounds can actually have much more color variation, with the white patches spreading across their bodies.
This can make them appear much more unique if that’s what you’re looking for.
The Irish pattern on an Italian Greyhound means that they can be any color, but with a white collar around their neck, stretching down to the tops of their legs and under the chest area.
They will also likely have a shite muzzle with a white strip between the eyes.
If the white patches are more prominent, stretching up their legs, this is called a ‘wild Irish.’
This is one of the most common types of Italian Greyhounds that you’ll find in America. They are typically white with darker tan or gray patches. These patches are random across the body, but with the darker section often covering the head to provide a full face mask.
Ticking is often developed in the American variation and can’t be seen on the puppies. These ‘ticks’ are small dots or splashes of colour on the white background. They’re most often found on the chest or belly of the dog, giving them a cute Dalmatian type appearance if you look from the right angle.
Solid Head Pattern
This is where the head is a single solid color, but the body is separate. In most cases, the body is completely white. Then the head may be gray or fawn.
You guessed it! This is where the face is split into two different colors. One side is white, while the other side is gray or fawn.
What is the Rarest Color of the Italian Greyhound?
When purchasing a new Italian Greyhound puppy, people naturally want their own to stand out from the rest. This might mean researching the rarest variation of the breed to find cute Italian Greyhounds with a difference.
Currently, the cream color is incredibly rare. From a distance, this may even look completely white. However, up close, there are tones of fawn, which makes a gorgeous creamy color. With a cute black nose and beautiful, big, black eyes, this colour makes for a stunning dog.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, finding a jet black Miniature Italian Greyhound is also incredibly rare. While you may get a charcoal-looking gray, you might find lighter tones to their coat when you get up close – this color is called ‘seal.’
A true black coat means that there are no lighter tones at all. It makes them look sleek and elegant, but it’s rare.
Chocolate colors are also difficult to find. They have a rich chocolate brown coloring, often with lighter tones behind their ears and on their legs.
If you’re looking for something a little different, there are also color variations with a ‘mask.’ The mask on the coat gives the appearance of darker features around the muzzle, eyes, and ears.
This most often happens with Isabella coats, where the main coat colour is fawn, but they have blackened or darker brown features on their face.
Italian Greyhound Colors – Which Aren’t Available?
While some colors are rare – for example, the sable or silver coat variants- other colors are unattainable or nonexistent in the breed.
Many people mistake other breeds for Italian Greyhounds, meaning they look on the market for color combinations that simply don’t exist.
Brindle is a color that you won’t see in an Italian Greyhound. However, it’s a common color with their slightly larger cousins Whippets, which does cause some confusion.
Black and tan Iggies are also hard to come by and if you do find one, it’s unlikely to be a pure Italian Greyhound. However, Miniature Pinschers do come with black bodies and tan feet, and snouts. These could easily be confused from a distance.
Italian Greyhound Color Changing Coats
You might find the perfect Italian Greyhound color originally, but notice that the color is fading or changing over time. This is completely normal. There could be several reasons for this:
Delayed Diluted Color
As your dog’s puppy fur becomes adult fur, you may notice its lighter colour. This may be because your dog carries a dilute gene. This is common in Isabella Iggies, especially if they’re darker red to begin with.
Some dogs have lighter coats in the summer and darker in winter. This is just because the sun lightly bleaches their coats – it’s nothing to worry about. The same happens to human hair if you look closely.
As your dog ages, they are likely to get gray patches. Again, this is completely normal and is just a sign of them growing old gracefully.
Over time, your dog may develop darker patches around its eyes or chin. This is just staining from saliva or tears. If your dog is a lighter color, washing these stains away is not always possible.
What is Color Dilution Alopecia?
Color dilution comes in the genes of certain dogs. While they may look a solid, dark color, to begin with, some dogs fade over time, diluting the strong color that they originally had. This happens most often with darker Isabella coats, which may initially look red, but dilute gradually through age to become beige.
However, some dogs have a diluted color from birth, as the diluted gene is stronger, meaning that full gray dogs may come out a silver or almost white colour.
Diluted colours are rarer. We’ve talked about the silver or cream colors being very popular due to their rarity already. Their rare color variation makes them very attractive to those that want their puppy to look unique. However, it does occasionally come with a few issues.
Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA)
The CDA gene is a gene that some diluted colours carry and it’s actually more common in the European versions of Italian Greyhounds.
The problem is that you won’t know if your dog has it until they start to age. Dogs tend to start showing signs of the issue at around 2 years of age on average.
Alopecia begins with hair loss from the shoulders, and down the spine, and finishes at the tail. It can result in your dog becoming completely bald over time.
How to Identify Color Dilution Alopecia in Greyhounds
At first, you’ll begin to notice this when your dog takes a bath, or when you see the unusual amounts of fur gathering on your sofa.
You may also notice that your dog’s skin is becoming patchy and scaly with areas of dry skin frequently appearing.
How to Treat Color Dilution Alopecia
Unfortunately, you can’t. CDA isn’t curable and is just something passed down from their parents. For this reason, it’s a good idea to check up on your puppy’s bloodline so you know exactly what to expect.
But it’s not all bad news. The CDA gene only affects them externally. This means that it doesn’t affect their health in any other way apart from hair loss. Your dog will still remain happy and healthy otherwise.
To give them a helping hand though, you might want to take up knitting. In cold weather especially, they will need something to keep them warm. Italian Greyhounds in general are known for having incredibly fine coats which don’t keep them very warm, so they often need to wear a coat in the winter.
Your CDA puppy will probably need a jumper all year round and an extra layer in the winter.
Some other tips for caring for CDA are:
- Keep your dog out of direct sunlight. Their skin will burn easily.
- Keep an eye out for sores, scratches, or dry skin. Without fur, your dog can get easily irritated out on a walk.
- Take a regular trip to the vet for a check-up.
- Don’t use your dog as a breeding dog. This gene will likely be passed onto your dog’s puppies, so be a responsible parent and don’t let them breed it into their children or grandchildren.
Remember, there’s much more to an Iggy than the color. All colors are beautiful, and their personalities are even more amazing. Whatever Italian Greyhound color you choose, they’re sure to be your best friend forever.
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