Italy is widely known as the land of pizza, pasta, art, fashion, gelato, to name just but a few. What most people outside of this country do not know is that Italy also has some of the most iconic dog breeds in the world. For many years, canine pets have been bred in Italy, giving rise to a variety of talented, cheerful, and highly affectionate dogs that are just the perfect best friends. Italian dog breeds must be the best for you if you are looking to get yourself a furry friend from Europe.
Italian dog breeds come in different colors, sizes, and personalities, with varying strengths and weaknesses. This article will compile a list of all of them, going deeper into their features and unique facts.
So now, benvenuto to the 10 Italian dog breeds you should know about. And if you decide to get one of these dogs from Italy, try these Italian dog names too!
Also known in Italy as Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, this dog breed was traditionally used for protecting and herding livestock in Northern Italy, around the mountainous areas of Bergamo. With its unique thick coat, the Bergamasco Sheepdog was well-insulated against the biting cold. The snow was also kept out of its eyes, thanks to its ridiculously long eyelashes.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog, when fully grown, can weigh up to 84 pounds, and can be 24 inches tall. Its coat grows in loose mats of sorts, which come in gray to black shades. This kind of dog is rare to find nowadays but in case you manage to get one, you will have found yourself an awesome companion. Not only are Bergamascos highly intelligent and active, but they are also independent thinkers. They also require a lot of training and exercise.
What do you think this sounds like? That’s right, Bologna. The Bolognese breed came from Bologna, which is a city in Italy. They are part of the Bichon family group and have the Maltese as their closest relatives. Bolognese dogs were raised as companions of the Italian and even Belgian royalty. When the nobility began to die down, the breed was at risk of extinction because they were only kept by royalty. However, in the 80s, an Italian breeder saved the day and restored the lineage’s popularity.
Bolognese dogs are about 12 inches tall and can weigh up to 9 pounds. These dogs are known for their fluffy coat and easy-going nature. Many people like them because of their beauty and the fact that they do not shed a lot of furs, which makes cleaning up after them an easy task.
The Cane Corso is a breed of Mastiff and is mostly kept as a guard dog or companion dog. It is big-bodied, can be 30 inches tall, and can weigh up to 120 pounds. These dogs were used for herding cattle and hunting game. Even today, you can get a Cane Corso to protect your livestock. Besides, they are loyal, affectionate, and intelligent and can be great companions.
This canine breed has got its origin in Sicily, a Mediterranean Island. Its name comes from the Etna Volcano. The Cirneco breed, for many years, has been a hunting dog thanks to its keen sense of smell. Owners do not mind if this dog tags along in hunting trips, because it comes in handy when hunting small game like rabbits.
Temperaments of this dog include heights of 20 inches and weighs of 19 inches. They also have short coats, especially on the head.
This breed of dog is known for the affection and playfulness it displays. Italian Greyhounds, when grown, can be 15 inches tall and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Their bodies are small, slender, and elegant, with short, smooth coats that come in a variety of colors including black, gray, tan, chocolate, red, cream, sable, or mixtures of these.
As pets, they do not need too much exercise and prefer curling up on the couch for naps.
This one is believed to be one of the most ancient water dogs in existence. The breed hailed from Romagna, a region in Northeast Italy. They are known to be laid back, affectionate, trainable, and easier to please than many dogs. When fully grown, they are about 20 inches tall and 35 pounds heavy. Their double-coats are woolly, curly, and water-resistant and come in a variety of colors.
Lagottos are fond of digging, especially in gardens; I hope you’re ready for that.
This canine breed’s oldest profession is guarding sheep against wolf attacks in Southern Italy. They are very loyal and very similar in behavior to the Bergamasco Sheepdog. However, they tend to be taller and heavier, with thick, long, and rough coats.
Maremma Sheepdogs can be a tad too protective of their owners and territory, and might not be the best choice for you if you are new to the dog-owning business.
This large dog breed descends from a line of guard dogs that were traditionally used in Italy, sometimes even going to battle. It can grow to 30 inches tall and can weigh as heavy as 150 pounds. Their bodies are large and muscular with plenty of wrinkles, especially in the face area. Their coats are short and dense and could be blue, black, tawny, or mahogany in color.
Even though they can still be good at their jobs as guard dogs, Neapolitan Mastiffs are calmer and more family-friendlier nowadays. If you want to get this dog as a pet, be prepared to clean its wrinkled skin so that it does not get infections. Oh, and brace yourself for a lot of drool.
The Spinone Italiano was bred in Italy as a hunting dog and is known for its incredible stamina, intelligence, and ability to retrieve objects. This breed is also good at tracking game, weighs up to 90 pounds, and can be up to 28 inches tall. These dogs can come in white, white with some brown or orange markings.
Although the Spinone Italiano is more chill and gentler than other pointers, it can be stubborn at times. It forms very strong attachments with the people it lives with which can cause separation anxiety.
Volpinos, which resemble the spitz, are most likely the rarest on the list. Way back in the 15th century, these dogs were bred so that they could make good companions for the ladies and watchdogs for the working class. They are pretty small-bodies, with heights of 16b inches and weights of just 12 pounds.
They might look small but really, Volpinos are balls of energy and this is evident in how playful and alert they are. They are friendly too, so they are great company. These dogs require a lot of positive training to prevent them from being too noisy or stubborn for your liking. If I told you that Michelangelo, the painter, owned a Volpino, would that make you get one for yourself?
Final Thoughts On Italian Dog Breeds
Getting an Italian dog breed is a sure way of living la vida loca, and so the search begins. A good place to start would be to contact your local pet store or breeders around your area to check if they could be having such varieties. Or, you could catch a flight to Italy and come back with your best friend. The choice is yours.
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