Posts Tagged Italian Greyhound

Mary Queen of Scots Had a Speedhound!

Speedhound fans know that our mascot is an Italian Greyhound (IG) named Cooper.  His ancestors have been a popular breed for millennia.  Evidence has been found of IGs at Pompeii! Mary Queen of Scots was a big fan of the little speedsters too.

Speedhound BadgeIGs are light, quick and nimble.  They’re a perfect mascot for Speedhound bikes.  In fact, Cooper, who weighs in at only 10.4 lbs (4.7 kg), is still over twice as heavy as an ONLY ONE frame!  That’s what we call light and nimble!

Our inspiration from IGs goes beyond our need for speed, though.  IGs are agile sporting dogs – our “running dog” graphic is inspired by an IG competing in a lure coursing event.  And since we insist on making our own forks that match the frame geometry, both parts of a Speedhound frameset have matching serial numbers starting with the letters “IG” for Italian Greyhound.  You can find the serial numbers stamped in the bottom bracket and on the fork steering tube.

Speedhound Serial Number

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A Pint-Sized Speedster: the Italian Greyhound

Speedhound’s mascot is a 10-pound Italian Greyhound named Cooper.  Italian Greyhounds (IGs) are natural athletes, and are the third fastest dog on the planet, after Greyhounds and Whippets.  They have a strong prey drive and love to chase small animals.  As a member of the sighthound group, they have very keen eyesight, which makes them great at pursuing “prey” in sports like lure coursing.  IGs love to participate in other competitions, too.  They are great racers and are very adept at agility courses.  Here’s a glimpse into the sporting world of Italian Greyhounds.


Obedience trials test an Italian Greyhound’s ability to perform a set of tasks.  Dogs are required 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.  They are also given jumping and retrieving exercises and scent discrimination tasks.

Lure Coursing

One of the most exciting sports that an Italian Greyhound can compete in is lure coursing, because it brings out the natural predator within.  A lure course simulates a hare’s flight to evade a pursing hound.  The “hare” (a white plastic bag or cloth) is attached to a continuous cord that is looped through a series of pulleys just above ground level, to create a course with straightaways and varying turns.  The cord is drawn around the course by an electric winch.  At a competition, IGs run in pairs or trios with traditional greyhound style racing blankets. Judging is not according to time, but the dogs’ ability to follow the lure with enthusiasm, agility, speed and endurance.

Here’s a great lure coursing video from this year’s European Championships.




The Large Gazehound Racing Association, (LGRA) governs IG racing. 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, the National Oval Track Racing Assoc (NOTRA) also recognizes IGs. NOTRA holds 300-400 yard races on an oval track.

In LGRA and NOTRA race meets the dogs chase an artificial lure pulled by a small battery operated motor.


Even though Italian Greyhounds are sighthounds, they can use their noses to find game. Tracking trials allow IGs to demonstrate their natural ability to recognize and follow human scent.

Various titles are awarded for courses of different lengths and difficulty.  At the highest level, an IG has to follow a track that is 3 to 5 hours old that may take him or her through a wilderness setting or down a paved sidewalk, through buildings and other urban environments.


Agility is a relatively new sport that’s right up the IGs alley, because it combines playful fun, speed and physical prowess!   Agility events include a number of obstacles such as A-frame, pause table, dog walk, see-saw, high jump, broad jump, open and closed tunnels, tire jump and weave poles. There is an allocated time to run each course.

To learn more about Italian Greyhound sporting events, take a look at the Italian Greyhound Club of America’s website.

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Show Your Speedhound Holiday Spirit

Holiday greetings from the Speedhound crew! A few months ago, we introduced you to Speedhound’s mascot, Cooper, our adopted Italian Greyhound.  He’s been a wonderful addition to our family and we’re grateful to the people at Lifeline Italian Greyhound Rescue for bringing us together.

Italian Greyhounds (IGs), an AKC “toy” breed, can be playful, loving and loyal pets in the right home. IG owners can expect a bundle of energy and maybe even an enthusiastic agility or lure coursing athlete.

Here’s an impressive agility run by an IG in France:

IGs thrive on activity, and demand regular walking and play time. Their short hair means little shedding and no “doggy” smell, but they need warm coats for winter walks, and they hate snow. Check out Fonzi dealing with the white stuff. Sadly, not everyone is prepared to live with the quirks of the breed, and many IGs are given up because of expensive leg injuries, house-training challenges or high energy levels.

Cooper has been a joy to us from the day we brought him home from Lifeline as a foster puppy.  We attend many Lifeline events and include them our charitable gifts each year.  As you plan your gifts this holiday season, please consider supporting Lifeline’s fostering and adoption programs.  They have a number of affiliates that will donate a portion of your purchases to Lifeline.  They also take direct donations.  A $25 gift will buy a warm winter coat for an IG.

If you’d like to learn more about adopting or fostering an IG, you can e-mail Jenny at Lifeline here. May your holidays be bright!

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What makes a Speedhound so fast?

OK, this isn’t about our bikes.  It’s about Italian Greyhounds (and our mascot, Cooper).  Italian Greyhounds, like other Greyhounds, take advantage of a “double suspension gait” to reach speeds of up to 45 mph.

Here’s how double suspension gait works:

Double Suspension GaitThe dog’s front legs are in full extension forward while the rear legs are in full extension rearward. Additionally, the dog’s back is folded and attains maximum overreach, or where the rear feet extend in front of the front feet and the front feet extend behind the rear feet. When the feet pass each other, the front feet are inside of the rear feet.

A dog uses its back to attain speed. The back’s most flexible point is just over the loin area and the tuck-up allows for the folding of the under portion of the dog’s body. The rear legs overreach on the outside of the front legs. Essential for a fast dog is the ability to flex its back from a straight position to an arched position. A permanent arch is inflexible and is considered a serious fault. The double suspension gallop is a leaping gait with the hind legs first propelling the dog into the air and then followed by the front legs propelling. The shoulder muscles, the ham muscles and the back muscles are the engines of this motion.

Although speed is gained by animals using this gait endurance will be sacrificed. Sighthounds and some cats can rapidly overtake their prey but if the chase continues for too long then their prey can escape. Dogs with short legs, as well as other short-legged mammals like the weasel, often use this gait.

Here’s a fun video of an Italian Greyhound racing a bike (not a Speedhound, btw).

Italian Greyhound/Bicycle Race

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