Cirneco Dell ‘Etna

Breed Rating

family friendly:
Dog friendly:
Watch/guard dog:
Affection / Dependance:
Exercise needed:
Space needed:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:

Breed Attributes


Breed group: Hounding    Type: Pure Breed    Talent: , , , , , , , , ,


Size: Medium     Weight: 22-26 lbs     Fur length: Short    Ears: Pointy    Fur type: Straight    Fur Color: Brown & White, Dark Brown / Chocolate, Light Brown / Golden


Life Expectancy: 12-14 years    Rarity: Uncommon    Availability: Hard to find    Climate: Not good for cold climate.

Breed Details


The Cirneco Dell 'Etna is an ancient hunting dog breed that originated in Sicily, Italy. It is documented in arts and crafts of ancient times dating back to 400 years B.C. It has been used primarily to hunt rabbits on tough terrain of Mount Etna where the dog is found in larger numbers. It hunts on the terrain formed by volcanic lava. This breed is among those rare breeds of dogs that have under gone very little manipulation by men; instead their evolution is done naturally by the rule of survival of the fittest. It resembles strikingly to the Pharah Hound with its stunning chestnut or tan colour and pricked ears. A closer look however will reveal a number of differences between the two breeds.

The dog is believed to have originated from ancient and now extinct Egyptian dogs, Basreliefs which were present along the Nile 4000 years B.C. The Italian cynologist and author, Fiorenzo Fiorone, deduces from the absence of a true "hound" in Sicily, that the Cirneco dell'Etna is the result of a progressive adaptation of the dogs left by the Phoenicians along the coasts of Sicily. He suggests that the lack of wide-open spaces, the limited food available for the dogs and continuous inbreeding produced a sort of "miniaturizing effect" which is common to all the animals of the Italian islands.

This dog is elegant, medium size and slender yet strong and robust. It is a sight, scent and hearing hunter. The dog stands from 18 to 20 inches and weighs around 22-26 lbs. Eyes are small and round with alert expression. Triangular shaped ears are set very high, close and pricked. Large nose is straight with coat matching colour. Neck is strong and muscled. Body is compact and athletic. Coat is short to medium length fine or slightly coarse that comes in chestnut or tan colours. Lesser preferred colours are colours are white with orange.

It is a hardy dog that can do its job on harsh terrains. It can work for hours without needing food or water. It can hunt by sight, scent and hearing.

This dog is recognized by AKC, FCI and other kennel clubs.


Preferred and most common colours for Cirneco Dell 'Etna are chestnut and tan. White with orange does occur but not preferred.


The coat is short to medium in length with sleek and fine or coarse hair. The hair are short on head, ears and legs.


The Cirneco Dell 'Etna is a lively, outgoing and very friendly dog that makes an excellent companion and family pet. It is loving and gentle dog with even temperament. It is very human oriented and likes to spend more time with its family than being alone. The dog is kind and playful with children and can get along well with other dogs. It is very trainable breed that should not pose any problems with short and innovative training sessions. This small dog can fit into almost any life style provided its exercise needs are regularly met. It can get bored easily if not given proper quality time or task to do and may become destructive. The Cirneco Dell 'Etna is a typical hound and it will chase after small fury animals. This dog is an expert jumper as well as a digger. It should be confined in a yard with tall fence. If the dog can't clear a tall fence, it may burrow underneath it. For this reason, placing food items on tables and shelves may not be a good idea with this dog around as it will steal edibles whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself. Early age socialization with other pets in the house will train the dog to live amicably with cats and other pets. It is an alert dog that will signal an alarm when a stranger approaches near. The Cirneco Dell 'Etna makes an excellent watch and companion dog for all the family.


The coat of this dog is very low maintenance. It only requires weekly brushing to remove dead hair. Its nails should be trimmed, teeth brushed and ears checked for infection regularly. Thin coat of this dog makes it unsuitable for outdoor living and cold weather. It will require proper clothing to protect itself from cold.


The Cirneco Dell 'Etna is easier to train than most hounds. It will respond to short and innovative training sessions and will learn quickly with its intelligence.


It is a hunting dog with lots of energy. The dog will need proper exercise for at least half an hour daily to keep its energy levels down. Thanks to its athleticism, the dog can take part in many dog sports such as agility, lure coursing, obedience, rally and tracking.

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