9 Italian Dog Breeds You Should Know

Breeding with the intention of adapting to necessary jobs or other needs shaped the Italian breeds we know today.

9 Italian Dog Breeds You Should Know

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As has happened in other countries, throughout history, selection to fit needed jobs or other needs has shaped the Italian breeds we know today. Here is a selection of nine of them.

Bergamo Shepherd

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Bergamo Shepherd

It originated in the Italian Alps near Bergamo and is still used for grazing cattle and sheep in the Italian and Swiss Alps. It is medium sized and can live up to 15 years. It has a very characteristic fur that acts as protection. The Bergamasco is born with a short, soft coat that transitions into a dense coat that weaves into a mat that appears to have dreadlocks. Bergamots can be gray, brown or black in color. The breed was on the verge of extinction after World War II. There are approximately 600 Bergamo dogs alive today.

Bichon Bolognese

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Bichon Bolognese

He is believed to have originated in Bologna, hence his name. It dates back to Roman times and has been a highly valued breed throughout history, as evidenced by its appearances in many works of art such as 17th century Flemish tapestries and paintings by Goya or Titian. The Bolognese is a small dog with long, curly and fluffy white hair. The average Bolognese lifespan is 14 years.

Cirneco of Etna

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Cirneco of Etna

It is a small, slender breed of hunting dog that resembles a greyhound. The breed originated in Sicily, where it was bred to withstand the harsh terrain of Mount Etna and used to hunt wild rabbits. It is one of the smallest hunting dog breeds with an independent temperament and has a short beige coat, sometimes with white markings.

walking cane

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walking cane

Its name comes from the Latin ‘cohors’, which means ‘protector’. The ancient Romans used the breed for herding livestock, hunting, and as fighters in war. Its name comes from the Latin ‘cohors’, which means ‘protector’. The ancient Romans used the breed for herding livestock, hunting, and as fighters in war. It is a muscular and elegant dog, with a short black or fawn coat, sometimes with white markings. The average life expectancy is 11 years.

italian bracco

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italian bracco

It has ancient roots in Italy and is mentioned in writings from the 4th and 5th centuries. It was bred as a hunting dog, first to hunt birds in nets and later as a search dog. Images of the Bracco appear in 14th century frescoes and engravings, and it was bred by the illustrious Medici and Gonzaga families during the Renaissance, when bird hunting was a favorite sport of the Italian aristocracy. The Bracco faced extinction at the end of the 19th century, but was saved thanks to the efforts of Italian breeder Ferdinand Delour de Ferrabouc.

italian spino

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Italian spinone

It is one of the oldest breeds of hunting dogs. It is named after an Italian bush, the hawthorn, which was a hiding place for small game seeking refuge from larger predators. Spinones are large, strong dogs with rough coats and large noses. The life expectancy of a Spinone is nine years.

maremma dog

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maremma dog

The Segugio Maremmano or Maremma Hound comes from the coastal plains of Maremma in Tuscany, where it is used to hunt wild boar. It can have smooth or rough fur that is brown, black and tan, or striped with white markings.

Neapolitan Mastiff

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Neapolitan Mastiff

It is believed to be descended from the dogs used by the ancient Romans on their campaigns across Europe. It is a large, muscular dog with short, black, brown or gray hair and a life expectancy of seven to nine years. Neapolitan Mastiff enthusiasts often refer to the breed simply as “Neo.”

volpino in italian

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volpino in italian

It means “little Italian fox”. It is a breed of spitz with long, thick fur, a curly tail and small, pointed ears. The breed dates back thousands of years, but in 1965 only five specimens were known. It means “little Italian fox”. It is a breed of spitz with long, thick fur, a curly tail and small, pointed ears. The breed dates back thousands of years, but in 1965 only five specimens were known. The Volpino is usually white, black, champagne or red in color and although small it is often used as a guard dog.

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