Cirneco dell' Etna

Cirneco dell' Etna Breed description: Character & Co

Cirneco dell' Etna

Life expectancy
10 - 12

Cirneco dell'Etna - the italian dog breed in portrait

Ancestry and origin of the Cirneco dell'Etna

The Cirneco dell' Etna originates from the island of Sicily. Dogs of this breed already lived before the birth of Christ on the slopes of the 3,295 m high Etna. This theory is supported by coins, engravings and illustrations from Roman times. In the Italian municipality of Piazza Armerina, a specimen of this breed can be seen on a Roman fresco. The dogs fed on the numerous wild rabbits which they tracked down in the bushes around the volcano. This hunting instinct is still used by hunters today to hunt rabbits. The dog drives the rabbits out of their hiding places so that the hunter can get a shot.

Breed characteristics and temperament

The Cirneco dell' Etna is an Italian dog breed recognized by the FCI, which is listed in FCI Group 5 (Spitz and primitive type dogs), Section 7 (Primitive type - dogs for hunting use), Standard No. 199, without working test. The breed is of impetuous but at the same time gentle, good-natured temperament. Towards strangers the watchful dogs behave very reserved and reserved. This sometimes goes so far that even friends of their master are eyed suspiciously. Beyond that, however, the dogs are quite playfully inclined and for every fun to have.

Banner: Shutterstock / tkach-artvitae
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Alternate Name -
Origin Italy
Life expectancy 10 - 12 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group Primitive type - Hunting Dogs
AKC group not recognised
KC group not recognised

Husbandry and education

The Cirneco dell' Etna is a hunting dog by nature, but can also be kept well as a family dog. In this capacity, it shows itself to be a lively and friendly member of the family. The dogs get along well with children and also with their conspecifics. However, it is better not to socialize with small animals, including cats. Otherwise the rabbit hunter in the dog could gain the upper hand. Since they are very athletic and active dogs, keeping them in rural areas is preferable. If the dog is kept in the city, its natural urge to move must be taken into account and regular, extensive walks are mandatory. The dog wants to romp around and be mentally occupied. A good occupational therapy that meets both his physical and mental needs is, for example, fetch. Agility and obedience are also suitable, as are dog sports in general. The somewhat stubborn breed needs a consistent loving education. With pressure one achieves nothing with the headstrong dogs.

Cirneco dell etna puppy on meadow, sicilian dog breed, hunting dog breed puppy, brown red dog with prick ears from Italy Cirneco dell'etna dog posing

Care and nutrition

The short coat of the Cirneco dell' Etna only needs to be brushed extensively once a week with a soft brush. To maintain the natural shine of the coat, it can be smoothed with a chamois cloth. The coat does not need more care. Bathing is counterproductive and should be avoided. In addition a regular check of the teeth is necessary. The simple but balanced diet consists of meat, cereals, fats and vitamins. Since the dogs drink little, the food should be enriched with sufficient liquid.

Health and life expectancy

The breed has no diseases typical of the breed. The average life expectancy is 12 years.

Things to know

Outside of Italy, the dog breed is little known. Contact addresses for the purchase of a Cirneco dell' Etna can be found on the homepage of the VDH.

Cirneco dell Etna breed description and temperament

The dogs of this breed have a square, slender and elegant build.

  • Height at withers males 46-52 cm
  • Height at withers bitches 42-50 cm
  • Body weight males 10-12 kg
  • Body weight bitches 8-10 kg

The thin coat of the dogs is firm and of smooth structure. The hair on the head, ears and legs is very short, on the rump and tail a little longer with about 3 cm. The coat colours are fawn and isabelline-sand. A white chest stripe, white paws, white tail tip and white belly are permitted in the standard. The large ears of the dogs are of upright position.

Fur length short
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Standing Ears
Tail lang
Anatomy slim, square
Size ♀ 42 - 50 cm
Weight ♀ 8 - 10 kg
Size ♂ 46 - 52 cm
Weight ♂ 10 - 12 kg
Suitable For -


Cirneco dell Etnas on a WIese, medium sized dog breed red brown, dog with very big standing ears, bat ears
Cirneco dell etna puppy on meadow, sicilian dog breed, hunting dog breed puppy, brown red dog with prick ears from Italy
Cirneco dell'etna dog posing

Sources and relevant links


Accessed on 20.05.2023

Hans Räber (2014). Enzyklopädie der Rassehunde, Band 2. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-Gmbh & Company KG.

Adam Kelly (2022). Cirneco Dell'Etna Dog As Pet. Amazon Digital Services LLC - KDP Print US.

Cirneco dell'Etna Club

Cirneco dell’Etna Club of America

Accessed on 25.05.2023

Other medium dogs

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