Performance & Sports

The Italian Greyhound is a versatile breed that excels in many performance and companion events. On this page you can find summaries on popular dog sports that Italian Greyhounds participate in with their owners. Learn more about the IGCA Versatility Program that offers titles to our most versatile Italian Greyhounds by clicking on the link.  


Agility is right up the Italian Greyhound’s alley because it combines speed, agility and fun! Agility is like obedience in that exhibitors can make it as competitive as they wish. Some people get hooked to the sport by just “having fun” with their dogs at a class and surprising themselves by picking up a qualifying leg at their first trial. There are several AKC agility titles available. For more info on AKC Agility go to the AKC Agility Page.

The fun part of agility is the work. It is positively motivated and often at the trial you see the dogs motivated by just getting to run the course. Agility is great for the older dog because it teaches confidence with praise, praise, praise for each attempt. When looking for help in training your dog, make sure to find an experienced instructor emphasizing safety techniques and using sturdy equipment. Make sure “spotters” are used (aides) when teaching the A‐frame, dog walk and see‐saw. High obstacles are always taught at a low height then gradually raised. Confidence and control is taught before asking for speed. Simple obedience commands are helpful, but not necessary when starting an agility class.

Another benefit to this sport is that the handlers tend to get into shape also. They must direct their dogs to the different obstacles. For IG owners, this means fast thinking because outrunning their dog would be very difficult. Have fun! Learn More about Agility

Lure Coursing

One of the most natural and exciting sports that Italian Greyhounds can compete in is lure coursing. Lure coursing competition attempts to create a simulation of a hare’s flight to evade a pursing hound. The hare’s path is generated by a continuous line looped through a series of pulleys producing a set of straightaways and varying turns. Please don’t be alarmed, instead of a live bunny, a set of white plastic bags are attached to the line to attract the IG’s attention. At a competition, IGs run in trios with traditional greyhound style racing blankets. Judging is not according to time but rather ability to follow the lure, enthusiasm, agility, speed and endurance.   Before you start lure coursing, make sure that your Italian Greyhound is in good physical condition. The IG should be getting frequent, vigorous exercise and its feet should be conditioned to a variety of surfaces. We strongly recommended that your IG be run at several practice events, alone, before entering a trial so you may gauge its fitness, reactions to other hounds on the field, and interest in coursing the lure.

An Italian Greyhound may compete in American Kennel Club (AKC) lure coursing or American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) trials. AKC rules and a list of AKC approved lure coursing clubs is available from the AKC web site, as is a searchable schedule of events. The American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) is a national organization dedicated to preserving the function and natural beauty of sighthounds.  Learn More About Lure Coursing on

CAT Tests

One of the easiest ways to get involved in the world of dog sports is with a Coursing Ability Test (CAT). Each dog chases after an artificial lure on either a 300- or 600-yard long course and must finish in less 1 ½ minutes and 2 minutes, respectively. Dogs are run individually, and scored pass/fail. Learn More About CAT Tests on

Fast CAT

Think of Fast CAT® – which stands for Coursing Ability Test – like measuring a track star’s speed: Dogs run individually in a timed 100-yard dash. Learn More About FAST CAT on


The Large Gazehound Racing Association, (LGRA) recognizes IGs as well as many other non‐whippet sighthound breeds. IGs are eligible to compete for the GRC (Gazehound Racing Champion) title and Supreme GRC title. LGRA racing is 200 yard straight track sprint racing.   In addition, National Oval Track Racing Assoc (NOTRA) also recognizes IGs. IGs are eligible to compete for Junior Oval Racer (JOR), Senior Oval Racer (SOR), Oval Racing Champion (ORC) and Supreme ORC titles. NOTRA holds 300‐400 yard races on an oval track.

Please note that all IG racing is amateur racing only. Dogs compete only for titles and ribbons, not for money. Mostly though, they compete because they love to run and chase! In LGRA and NOTRA race meets the dogs chase an artificial lure pulled by a small motor.

If you have not raced or lure coursed your IG before, the dog needs to practice running on the lure with other dogs prior to entering a race meet. Your dog must run without interfering with other dogs, or he will be disqualified and not allowed to race for one year. Dogs must also have racing blankets with the approved LGRA/NOTRA colors/numbers and must run muzzled. Dogs must be registered with LGRA and/or NOTRA prior to racing.

Contact the club nearest you for assistance with information on practices, blanket information, muzzles etc. Remember that all these clubs are run by volunteers, most of whom have very busy dog lives of their own. Be patient if it takes a few tries to reach one of them. When you show up at a race meet, be prepared to learn, and be prepared to start pitching in and helping with setup etc. Start learning the procedures, and before you know it, you’ll be asked to “line judge” races that your dogs are not running in.


Obedience trials test an Italian Greyhound’s ability to perform a set of exercises. In each exercise, a dog/handler team must score more than 50% of the possible points and accumulate a total score (for all of the exercises) of at least 170 out of a possible 200. Each time your dog scores the 170 qualifying score, he has gotten a “leg” toward his title. After three legs, your dog has become an obedience titled Italian Greyhound.

There are three levels at which your dog can earn a title with the levels increasing in difficulty. The three levels of competition are Novice, Open and Utility. The first level, Novice, results in your dog earning a Companion Dog (CD) title. Your dog will have to heel both on and off leash at different speeds, come when called, and stay still for a simple physical examination and with a group of other dogs. The second level, Open, results in your dog earning a Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title. At this level, the leash is off and jumping and retrieving exercises are added. The final level, Utility, results in your dog earning a Utility Dog (UD) title. The exercises at this level are the most difficult  and require a “thinking” dog. In addition to the jumping exercises, the dog must now also perform scent discrimination tasks.


If you would like more information on obedience training, information about the obedience rules, and to locate training clubs in your area, contact the American Kennel Club (AKC). Learn More About Obedience on


Think of an AKC Rally event as any team sport: You and your dog navigate a course, side-by-side, as you steer him through a course of 10-20 different signs. Each of these signs provides instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. The dog and handler move continuously throughout the course with the dog under control at the handler’s left side. There is a clear sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during and between the numbered signs. Although each performance is timed, having a good race time is not the goal; it’s all about working as a team while performing the skills, with the dog under control. Learn More about Rally on

Scent Work

The sport of Scent Work is based on the work of professional detection dogs (such as drug dogs), employed by humans to detect a wide variety of scents and substances. In AKC Scent Work, dogs search for cotton swabs saturated with the essential oils of Birch, Anise, Clove, and Cypress. The cotton swabs are hidden out of sight in a pre-determined search area, and the dog has to find them. Teamwork is necessary: when the dog finds the scent, he has to communicate the find to the handler, who calls it out to the judge. Learn More about Scentwork on

Barn Hunt

Not everyone will understand the importance of “rat catchers,” but if you live in the countryside, you sure do! “Rat catchers” rid farms of destructive vermin – and the hunting and teamwork skills required to do so are the foundation of the sport of Barn Hunt. Dogs and their handlers work as a team to locate and mark rats (which are always safely held in aerated tubes) hidden in a maze of straw or hay bales. Some breeds are specifically created to fill this role as well as some mixed breeds being up to the task, but as long as your dog can fit through an 18″ wide by bale-height tall tunnel, he’s eligible! “Barn Hunt tests the nose, speed, agility, and surefootedness of dogs that have a history of above-ground vermin hunting,” said Robin Nuttall, founder of the Barn Hunt Association.” Learn More about Barn Hunt on

Trick Dog

Do you and your dog love to be the life of the party by showing off his arsenal of tricks? Then he might be perfectly primed to earn AKC Trick Dog titles! Learn More about Trick Dog


The greatest thing about AKC tracking is it is a competition that is based only on pass/fail. There are no “scores” or “placings”, so the competition is truly between you, your dog and the track. Everyone at a test is pulling for each dog to succeed. Even though an IG is a sight hound, he has instinct to use his nose to find the game to chase. Tracking is as much instinct as lure coursing to the IG with one bonus‐‐the human half of the team can participate in the track. Tracking trials allow Italian Greyhounds to demonstrate their natural ability to recognize and follow human scent. Yes folks, they can track! Unlike obedience events that require three qualifying scores, an IG must only successfully complete one track to earn his title. Learn More about Tracking on

AKC Temperament Test

The AKC Temperament Test (ATT) was developed to bring focus and provide a meaningful evaluation to assess the temperament of our canine companions. The ATT tests how a dog reacts to a variety of stimuli. Desirable traits are that the dog will be emotionally stable, inquisitive, cooperative, appropriately social for its breed, biddable and demonstrates the ability to recover from a startling situation in a reasonable amount of time. Undesirable traits are fear, shyness, lack of cooperation and an inability to recover from unfamiliar or unexpected situations. Examples of undesirable behaviors include being afraid of friendly strangers or unfamiliar stimuli, obsessive barking, and aggression. Learn More about AKC Temperament Test on

Therapy Work

The moment a volunteer with a therapy dog walks into a room, you can instantly feel a change in mood. All eyes focus on them, as smiles spread across everyone’s faces. Therapy dogs are NOT service dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specifically trained to perform a task or tasks to assist a person with a disability or impairment. Therapy Dog is an AKC program which recognizes the necessary therapy work performed by dogs through accepted organizations based on the number of visits. Therapy work involves volunteers who schedule visits to various facilities and locations such a nursing homes, classrooms, libraries, assisted living centers, hospices, funeral homes, schools, shelters even courtrooms. Learn More about Therapy Work on

IGCA Versatility Program

Have a versatile Italian Greyhound who has titles in multiple sports? Learn more about the IGCA Versatility Program! IGCA Versatility Program
Scroll to Top