Cirneco Dell ‘Etna

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.

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