Dog Breeds

Cirneco dell’etna

Cirneco dell’etna is a hunting dog from Italy. The smallest breed of the original greyhound type of all found in the Mediterranean. Fast, endowed with strong hunting instincts. Independent, requires upbringing and gentleness in upbringing.


Cirneco dell’etna looks like a miniature Pharaoh’s dog or Ibiza podenco. This is not surprising, because the entire Mediterranean basin inhabits similar in type primitive greyhounds with upright ears. The small size of the Sicilian cirneco can be the result of adaptation to the difficult conditions on the island.

Cirneco dell'etna

Cirneco dell’etna has many contradictions: it is calm and gentle, but it can be stubborn, independent and a bit nervous. He has a strong hunting instinct, treats most living creatures as booty, but can live in harmony with cats. When hunting, he mainly looks, but – which distinguishes him from other greyhounds – he also uses smell.

Dogs of this breed are very perceptive and often use it for their own purposes – even adults can empty an open fridge …

Cirneco dell’etna must be able to run regularly – preferably on a secure, fenced area. During walks, he should not be unleashed where he can catch the trail of animals, because it will be difficult to summon him. What’s worse, if it happens e.g. in the forest, the chances of finding it are small – it may not look for the way home …

Cirneco dell'etna

Cirneco is friendly, willingly and often looks for contact with people, likes to have fun. He shouldn’t stay alone for more than 3-4 hours – bored destroys objects in his surroundings. Most dogs of this breed at home and on the walk react barking to any exciting stimulus.

Socialization at an early age is extremely important, because Cirneco is inherently distrustful of strangers, and unaccustomed to children avoid contact with them. Rather, however, they get out of their way or bark, rather than bite. A dog who has contact with children from a puppy will tolerate them.

Cirneco dell’etna treat everything that is unknown with caution. Especially in the herd, they show strong territorial and defense instinct towards foreign dogs and people.


Like all greyhounds, he is a short-distance runner and will settle for intense, but not too long, effort. In France, Finland and the United States, Cirneco dell’etna take part in coursing, and in Italy – in field trials and agility competitions, in which they work great. At home, a runaway representative of this breed mainly sleeps.

Cirneco dell’etna. Training and education

Cirneco’s upbringing requires iron consistency, but also a gentle approach and great patience. Once mistreated, cirneco will not forget it for the rest of his life – so there is no question of training using negative stimuli. It is best to arrange it under the watchful eye of a trainer who knows greyhound character.

Cirneco dell'etna

Who is this race for?

This breed is not suitable for nervous and impatient people or looking for a couch. However, it can be recommended for active people who like challenges and have training ambitions.

Cirneco dell’etna. Advantages and disadvantages


  • independent and independent, it can be released loose only in a fenced area
  • endowed with a strong hunting instinct
  • requires a lot of traffic
  • I need careful socialization
  • zmarźluch


  • run out, the house is quiet and peaceful
  • nice family companion
  • uncomplicated in care


This breed is generally healthy, allergies occasionally occur. In addition, as dogs without undercoat cirneco are scarves – they do not like cold and moisture.

Cirneco dell'etna


Cirneco dell’etna can be fed with ready-made foods as well as home-made food. In winter, they should receive more energetic food, especially since they do not have a thick undercoat to protect them from frost.

Cirneco dell'etna


Care for a dog of this breed is very simple, just brush it from time to time with a rubber comb. For gloss, the coat can be wiped with a chamois cloth. Large, upright ears are well ventilated, but on the other hand, they may be poorly protected from external factors, so they should be checked from time to time.

Cirneco dell’etna. History

Cirneco dell’etna is a very old breed. She comes from Sicily, where her representatives took part in rabbit hunts. Most often these dogs were found near the volcano Etna in the area covered with solid lava. The fact that they were present in Sicily for a long time is testified by their images on coins from the V-III century BC and Roman mosaics.

The name “cirneco” probably derives from the Greek “kyrenaikos” – Cyrene – and means “dog from Cyrene” (the ancient town in the current Libya). This name was first recorded in writing in the Sicilian edict of 1533 prohibiting hunting with these dogs.

The breed was almost unknown outside of Sicily – until 1932, when Sicilian veterinarian Mauricio Migneco published an article in which he warned that cirneco had fallen into oblivion. Then there was a group of enthusiasts who decided to restore the breed’s splendor.

They owe the most Cirneco dell’etna to Baroness Agata Paternó Castello, who devoted 26 years of life to them. She gathered dogs from Sicily representing the best type and started planned breeding. In 1939 the first model was created, and in 1951 – the first club of the breed.

Cirneco dell'etna

Cirneco are the most popular in their homeland, where about 3,000 dogs of this breed are registered. They have also gained a group of fans in Finland and the United States – there are approximately 70 representatives living there.


Cirneco dell’etna – group V FCI, section 7, reference number 199

  • Country of origin:  Italy
  • Character: a dog with strong hunting instinct; very attached to the household, distrustful of strangers
  • Size:  dogs 46-50 cm (tolerance up to 52 cm), bitches 42-46 cm (tolerance up to 50 cm)
  • Weight:  dogs 10-12 kg, bitches 8-10 kg
  • Coat:  smooth and short on the head, ears and legs; close but harder and slightly longer (3 cm) on the torso and tail
  • Ointment:  one-color – fawn or red in various shades; two-colored – as above, but with white markings (allowed arrow on the head, spot on the chest, socks, tail tip; collar is less desirable); uniformly white or white ointment with red patches allowed
  • Lifespan:  12 years
  • Vulnerability to training:  average
  • Activity:  requires regular running – then at home he is calm
  • Resistance/susceptibility to diseases:  a healthy breed, resistant to heat, but quite sensitive to moisture and cold

Interesting facts

Cirneco is one of the breeds that can blush when excited – their ears and nose become intensely pink (Pharaoh’s dog has a similar property). In addition, due to the very short coat, they tan slightly (red) under the influence of the sun.

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