Italian canines have become extremely famous due to a variety of reasons. In the end, Italy has been a breeding ground for many dog breeds for many years. These dogs are jolly charming, skilled, and extremely loving. If you’re thinking about getting your best friend in this European country, you’re in the right spot.
Italian dog breeds are available in various sizes, colors, and different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Every breed was created to perform a specific purpose in the world, from relaxed friends to agile work dogs to energetic sports hounds. There’s a breed for every person.
This article has created an inventory of the various kinds available to Italian dogs. We’ll review their history and temperament, as well as some fascinating details that make each breed distinct. In comparison, there are numerous other Italian varieties, and we think that these are the most well-known breeds.
Italy is the home of more than 30 distinct breeds of dogs, making it among the countries that have been most successful in the evolution of breeds of dogs. Many of these have found their way across the globe. A lot of people are familiar with the St Bernard as well as the Maltese. There are other Italian dogs that you’ve never seen before.
The most famous Italian dog breeds include: the Spinone Italiano, Cane Corso, Bolognese, St Bernard, Bracco Italiano, Neapolitan Mastiff, Italian Greyhound, Cirneco dell’ Etna, Maremma Sheepdog, Bergamasco, Segugio Italiano, Volpino Italiano, Lagotto Romagnolo, Maltese and the Cane di Oropa. Nevertheless, there are plenty other breeds.
1. Spinone Italiano
Highlights: Sociable, Affectionate, Patient
As hunter dogs in Italy’s Piedmont region, the Spinone Italiano have been an excellent companion for many Italian hunters. The best attributes of this job include its capability to be intelligent, the ability to retrieve either on land or in lakes, and its incredible endurance.
The Spinoni Italiano is a robust, versatile, and all-around hunter. It is one of the few breeds that are able to work in the tough and hilly Alpine Italian vegetation. Through Air scenting and ground track, the breed can know how to identify game more than all others.
Despite their quirky appearance, even though they look silly, the Spinone is constructed with a sturdy and square body. They’re more robust and much more durable than they appear. Additionally, the incredible durability of the Spinone makes them in good shape for battles that last in the field for long periods of time.
- The Spinone Club of America and the Club Italian Spinone, U.S.A. were formed in the late 1980s.
- The Spinone has had many names throughout its history. For instance, Italian Wirehaired Pointer, Italian Griffon or Bracco Spinoso.
- Spinone is extremely adaptable. Spinone is well-known for its exceptional nose. It’s ideal for Air scenting in hunting adventures, and its ultra-soft mouth.
Spinone Italiano Temperament
Spinone Italiano is fairly soft. It is very affectionate and shows love to its owner as well as all the members of its family. Amazingly, this breed is the most affectionate and loyal family pet. It is safe to depend on the Spinone with children because they’ll develop a bond of friendship. A gun dog is a good choice.
It is said that the Spinone Italiano is very friendly. Even when meeting strangers, they do not exhibit any signs of aggression. In fact, they seem to be constantly looking for new acquaintances. Due to these traits, it is likely that the Spinone Italiano would likely make a bad security dog.
2. Cane Corso
Highlights: Intelligent, Loyal, Affectionate
The history of the Italian Mastiff can be traced back to the earliest times in the Roman empire. Being a descendant of Roman war dogs, The Cane Corso often accompanied soldiers on their way to combat. In reality, the first Corso dog was tough and aggressive.
They weren’t just aggressive dogs, but big dogs as well. It’s not uncommon to see the Cane Corso be up at least 28 inches in height and weigh in excess of 100 pounds. In the end, they’re among the most formidable and dependable guard dogs that the canine world can provide.
Following the Roman conflicts, the Cane Corso served as the guard dog and hunter’s partner after the Roman wars. In this way, it was able to safeguard farms, livestock, and families. However, the breed nearly went extinct following World wars I and II. Although, a few enthusiasts have helped revive the Corso in the 1970s.
- The name “Cane Corso” comes from the Latin word “cohors,” meaning “protector” or “guardian.”
- Corsi is the first breed to have been introduced to the United States in 1988, and the American Kennel Club (A.K.C.) officially acknowledged the breed in 2010.
- The Cane Corso served as an animal guard and hunting dog, usually hunting large and dangerous game such as wild boars and wolves.
Cane Corso Temperament
The Cane Corso is a formidable dog with a regal appearance and an ebullient attitude, as well as some aggression towards strangers. All of these characteristics make them more effective as guard dogs they were trained to be. Thus, a firm hand is essential for them.
However, behind the intimidating appearance is a caring and loving dog who loves its family members and is looking to be loved by them. The Corso is adept with children and other dogs with strict supervision. However, interaction with other dogs and people is vital at an early stage of life.
Highlights: Playful, Devoted, Intelligent
The Bolognese originated in Bologna in Italy and was the city in the city it is named. The gentle breed is a member of the Bichon family and its most close cousin to the Maltese. These dogs were trained as royal companions, particularly in the realm of Italian and Belgian nobility.
They are exclusively dressed in their signature white coats with the signature frizz and curls. In terms of their appearance, they are like the Maltese and Bichon. The dark eyes, the bright smiles, and the long, droopy ears have all similarities to these dogs.
The breed was close to the extinction of its breed when the nobility went down. But thanks to the enthusiastic breeders such as Gian Franco Giannelli (and a few other European breeders), the lapdog breed was brought back to life. In the year 90, Liz Stannard first brought the breed into England, and the rest is history.
- Titian, a famous painter, created Duke Frederico Gonzaga using his Bolognese. Other artists like Goya, Watteau, and Gosse also painted this adorable tiny dog.
- The Bolognese was an aristocratic breed, and noble families enjoyed exchanging gifts with each other.
- In earlier times, a lot of European V.I.P.s were believed to have owned at the very least one of these faithful fluffy dogs.
Dogs are bred to be companions (and not for anything else). The Bolognese is extremely loved and close to its human companions. The dog loves to shower love and affection to its family members. But they can be afflicted by anxiety about being separated when left on their own for extended periods of time.
This dog breed with a lot of intelligence can recognize the presence of strangers and alert the owner, making it capable of being a good watchdog. They’re not considered as aggressive and could easily get along with newcomers. Furthermore, to that, a Bolognese is also able to happily and easily engage with children under the supervision of a parent.
4. Saint Bernard
Highlights: Calm, Charming, Gentle
In the French Alps, Saint Bernard was originally a farm dog. However, after being rescued by monks from the hospice at Great St. Bernard Pass. They began to serve in the role of aid dogs. The breed was able to help, sniff out or help lost travelers across the Alps.
Despite the dimensions of these dogs, they’re likely to be far more strong and powerful than you believe. While they might appear intimidating, they’re not at all. Saint Bernards are basically huge teddy bears that give them the name of the nanny dog.
The St. Bernard was not always known as such. The name was first given to the breed around 1880. Before that, it had various names like the Alpendogs, the Mastiff, Sacred Dogs, Barryhunden, and Alpendogs. Nowadays, this breed is used as a pet for the family, showing love to its owners.
- It is estimated that the Saints have saved around 200 lives in the course of 3 centuries. They did rescue efforts throughout the Alps.
- Saint Bernard was the first breed of dog that the Swiss Stud Club registered after its founding in 1884.
- The notion that the ancient St. Bernard wore a miniature barrel of alcohol around its neck is an idea developed by Edwin Landseer, a 17-year-old painter from 1820s England.
Saint Bernard Temperament
St. Bernards can be recognized for their gentle temperament and friendly disposition. They love the company of their owners and are gentle with children. They are quite soft even when they encounter strangers. Their size alone can make them a target for anyone with an evil motive.
The breed is mildly energetic, and therefore, you don’t need a massive yard or much exercise. Saints, however, are just as happy walking around like any other dog. Training early in the life of St. Bernard is important before they get too large and become difficult to teach.
5. Bracco Italiano
Highlights: Trainable, Docile, Affectionate
The Bracco Italiano is a gun dog that was born in Northern Italy. It is thought to represent the result of a cross between an Egyptian dog and the Mollosus or Asiatic Mastiff. It’s not surprising that these breeds were created for the rich Medici as well as the Gonzaga to become hunter dogs.
Bracchi Italiani Bracchi Italiani was great at throwing bird carcasses into traps while making a point and retrieving. As time passed and hunting techniques changed, the breed was trained to be top gundogs. The breed was introduced into Britain in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s and was imported into the United States in 1994.
They are strong dogs, but in the end, they had to be sturdy and tough to withstand their hunter tasks in the most difficult terrains of Italy. The Bracco may appear slim and muscular, but they’re extremely fast and athletic, particularly in the field.
- The breed’s coloring is white or white with orange or chestnut and white. Certain breeds have roan markings.
- The Bracco Italiano is an ancient breed. It has been mentioned in paintings and texts since the 5th century and 4th century B.C.
- In the beginning, in the beginning, the Bracco was initially divided into two breeds: it was divided into two breeds: the Piedmontese Pointer and the Lombard Pointer. The two breeds were later combined by the late 20th century breeders.
Bracco Italiano Temperament
The breed is affectionate and loves human companionship, making it the most loyal dog breed. Bracco Italianos are very friendly and get along with other dogs and pets too. They also enjoy carrying out physically demanding activities that need regular exercise. It is possible to take it for walks or even a swimming session each day.
It is believed that the Italian Pointer is quite easily trained, but it prefers positive reinforcement techniques for the most effective results. If you employ negative reinforcement, the dog breed is not a well-obedient dog. In the end, it is clear that the Bracco is the dog that enjoys working the most as it was originally bred to hunt.
6. Neapolitan Mastiff
Highlights: Strong-willed, Loyal, Watchful
The history of this breed goes back to as long as 700 B.C. They were first developed in Southern Italy by farmers who were looking for a breed that was large in stature and had an attractive coat with smooth and saggy, tan skin. The breeders also wanted the development of a more comfortable breed.
As with the majority of mastiff breeds, like all mastiff dogs, the Neapolitan is a massive dog. They might develop as high as 150lbs or greater based on their genetics and gender. Furthermore, they’re large and small dogs. In actual fact, the length of their body is about 15% more than its height.
With their intimidating, massive appearance, the Neapolitan Mastiffs played the role of an effective security dog and protector quite well. Since the late 1970s, the breed has been introduced across Europe and even into America. Nowadays, Neapolitans are excellent pets for families and still serve as guardians.
- The Neapolitan Mastiff is an enormous breed of dog. The average male weighs over 150 pounds (68 kilograms), whereas females weigh up to 110 lbs (50 pounds).
- The Neapolitan Mastiff Club of America (NMCA) was established in 1973. They maintained a register of all the Neapolitan American Mastiffs.
- The A.K.C. officially recognized this breed in the Working Group in 2004 as the club’s third dog breed.
Neapolitan Mastiff Temperament
Like many modern Mastiffs, The Neapolitan is predominantly an animal guardian. A glance at them and anyone who is a threat will be thinking about it before entering your home. However, the Neapolitan Mastiff is extremely loving and caring with the family. They are great dogs for families!
It’s important to remember this breed is determined. The breed can be easily trained, and it is recommended to begin training at a young age before they become too large. Plus, always use positive reinforcement techniques. Also, you must remain consistent and firm with these styles.
7. Italian Greyhound
Highlights: Playful, Affectionate, Alert
The Italian Greyhounds’ ancestors were first introduced to the breed around 2500 decades back in the region now Turkey as well as Greece. They were then developed and embraced in Italy as the best companions as well as a small-game hunter for the nobility.
For sighthounds, the Italian Greyhound is the smallest purebred sighthound that exists. Although these dogs can stand at 15 feet tall, they usually weigh just eleven pounds. This is why they’re among the fastest dogs, with a speed of with speeds of 25 mph.
The small Greyhound was nearly gone following the World wars, as were many other European breeds of dogs. Fortunately that the American populace of the breed has helped to revive it both within the United States and in Europe. And, despite their size, they are incredibly fast and tough. I.G.s are agile and sturdy dogs.
- The Italian Greyhound is the smallest sighthound in the family.
- An African King named Lobengula once exchanged 200 cows for one Italian Greyhound.
- The Italian Greyhound was one of the most loved pets of the aristocratic class.
Italian Greyhound Temperament
Italian Greyhounds possess the attention span that lapdogs have and are awed by the companionship of their pet owners. They are an extremely affectionate breed that is dependent on human contact. It is not uncommon to find them cuddling up to you or laying next to you all day long.
Italian Greyhounds are characterized by relatively low levels in spite of their athletic and agile bodies. However, they may be quite silent, shy, or afraid when they are with strangers. You can make them feel safe by getting them socialized early so that they become comfortable around animals and people.
8. Cirneco dell’ Etna
Highlights: Athletic, Independent, Affectionate
The Cirneco is a breed indigenous that is native to Sicily Island – located off the southern coast of Italy. Furthermore, images of dogs resembling the Cirneco were featured in Sicilian currency from as early as 500 BC. They were utilized for hunting small game such as rabbits, hares, or game birds.
According to D.N.A. research conducted recently, the Italian dog shares numerous similarities to other Mediterranean island dogs. After further D.N.A. studies, it was discovered that Kelb tal-Fenek, as well as Cirneco, were the identical breed around 200 years ago.
Cirnecos barely survived extinction at the beginning of the 1930s when Dr. Maurizio Migneco, a veterinarian, wrote about their decreasing numbers. An Italian noblewoman – Baroness Agata Paterno Castello – was able to read the article and determined to bring back Cirnecos to Sicily. INTERESTING FACTS
- The Cirneco dell’Etna was named for Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano.
- Legend says the legend says that the 1,000 Cirnecos protected Adranos’s temple. Adranos is situated on the southwest slope of mountain Etna.
- The Italian National Kennel Club was recognized as the Cirneco in 1939.
Cirneco dell’ Etna Temperament
This breed is considered to be one of the most loving canines to come from Italy. They make excellent pets for homes and are considered to be excellent with children; however, they need to be socialized properly when they are young.
Cirneco dogs love being with other dogs, especially their own breed. They were pack-hunting dogs, after all. But when it comes down to other species, they are more prone to an instinct to hunt likely to begin to kick in. This is why it is important to start early introduction of any other pets in the home to allow them to become socialized.
9. Maremma Sheepdog
Highlights: Calm, Independent, Intelligent
The breed was developed in Italy as a protector of the flock of sheep as well as goats. They were among the most effective protection dogs for farmers in the countryside. In 1898, the very first Maremma was registered with the Kennel Club Italiano, and the breed standard was formulated in 1924.
For hundreds of years, the Maremma protected the flocks from predators that could be dangerous, like wild wolves. Due to their 70cm height as well as their 100-pound body, few predators would dare to play with these huge protector dogs. They’re also very swift (despite their massive dimensions).
Initially, the Maremma Sheepdog was considered two distinct breeds, which were the Maremmano as well as the Abruzzese. However, in the 1950s, due to their genetic crossbreeding, both breeds were deemed to be a good match and regarded in one group. They are referred to by both names in the present.
- Maremma Sheepdog was named for Maremma Marshland.
- In the past, Maremma not only guards sheep but also guards cattle in the range.
- Maremmas shed regularly and require regular brushing.
Maremma Sheepdog Temperament
Although it was bred to be guardian dogs and protectors, this Maremma Sheepdog is an extremely tranquil and loving family pet who is loving and sweet. However, they’re not so dependent that they suffer from separation anxiety. In fact, the case of a Maremma can stay in a quiet space for a time if they are given an assignment.
The majority of the time, Maremmas are good for kids and adults. Due to their domineering personality, this breed requires constant and rigorous training to submit to the owner’s authority. Maremmas also require continuous stimulation of the mind to prevent bad behavior caused by boredom.
Highlights: Independent, Intelligent, Patient
The history of the Bergamasco spans nearly 7,000 years back, which gives them an “ancient” pedigree. They are often connected to Bergamo, which is an Alpine town located near Milan, Italy. This is why they’re called. In Bergamo, they’ve lived in peace for centuries, working for the position of shepherds of sheep.
For a long time, the Bergamasco have had disagreements about their exact origins. Actually, French authorities believed that this breed was actually derived in Briards from the French Briard. Others claim they’re, in fact, originated from The Middle East.
This dog breed is perfect for protecting sheep on the rocky Italian Alps hills. Its distinctive hairy tufts have been adapted to guard it against the frigid temperatures at high altitudes while being a further defense source in the event of attacks by predators.
- The Bergamasco breed has not been altered because of the fear that they would lose the ability to protect and defend sheep.
- This breed is characterized by its sharp hearing and an acute sense of the environment.
- The clothing of Bergamasco was designed in order to serve as armor for their fights against wolves.
The Bergamasco is an extremely compassionate and loving pet for the family. They are incredibly protective of their owners and will take every step to make sure their safety. This is why they’re great guardians. The breed is keen to be loved and is known to be a good companion very well with children and other animals.
The Bergamasco is generally an extremely sturdy breed with relatively few health problems. They’re not dependent and, as such aren’t in need of care. Another intriguing aspect that is characteristic of Bergamasco is the fact that they do not easily become aggressive unless circumstances force them to.
11. Segugio Italiano
Highlights: Friendly, Gentle, Intelligent
Segugio Italiano belongs to the scenthound dog breed. They descend from those of the Egyptian Hounds of the Middle East. Then the Romans came into the country and adopted the Segugios and then moved their dogs to Italy to improve and continue working.
Segugios were designed originally to serve in the field as hunt dogs. They were often hunted in large groups comprised of the hundreds. Later, they were bred to hunt in smaller areas or alone. Nowadays, the Segugio is among the top sought-after breeds in Italy.
However, their popularity wasn’t always the norm. Due to the massive reduction in wild boar populations and wolves, the dogs saw an enormous drop in their popularity. The lack of need almost brought them to the brink of disappearance.
- Segugio Italiano has a Roman nose, which has an impressive bridge.
- A Segugio Italiano comes in two coat styles: wirehaired and short-haired.
- TIn Italian Segugio refers to “Italian Hound,” which is a perfect description of the breed.
Segugio Italiano Temperament
Based on their hunting experience in parks with thousands of animals, Segugios are quiet and friendly with other pet canines. The only issue in the home is if you have pets other than cats. Segugio’s hunter instincts could be a disaster for other animals.
Although they are excellent in the field, the breed is a loving family dog. They are extremely loyal to their families and enjoy spending time with familiar people. They also make reliable watchdogs because they constantly bark to warn people of intruders and strangers.
12. Volpino Italiano
Highlights: Playful, Devoted, Intelligent
Volpini Italianos are descendants of the Spitz-type dog, which can be traced to five thousand years ago. At the time, this breed was loved by both Italian royalty and common farmers. Because they are multi-faceted dogs, it’s not difficult to understand the reason.
You could call them the Italian Pomeranian, as they look very similar as well as in the way they behave. In the past, in Italian art, these dogs were frequently depicted as part of all social classes. This is why they were such popular breeds at the time.
But Volpini Volpini was traditionally utilized as guard dogs. The dogs would bark in order to warn the larger Mastiff-type security dogs of potential invaders. However, like other breeds, they decreased in numbers during the 1960s. Breeders attempted to revive the breed, but the initial popularity faded away.
- There is a belief that Michelangelo was a frequent visitor to Volpini throughout its life, as they were a pleasure to be around.
- Volpino Italiano was recognized by the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI) in 1903, then the Federation Cynologique International in 1956, and finally, the United Kennel Club in 2006.
- While Volpino Italiano resembles the Pomeranian, both breeds share distinct bloodlines.
Volpino Italiano Temperament
This breed is active and affectionate. They love playing with children and bonding with their owners, and, of course, playing with their pets. They are wonderful pets for families, and their nature of protection can make them dedicated pet owners.
Volpini are excellent watchdogs; However, the habit of barking at strangers may be an issue. This is why you should teach this behavior out of the puppyhood stage. Although Volpinos are intelligent dogs, their training takes time due to their inflexible and playful nature.
13. Lagotto Romagnolo
Highlights: Keen, Clever, Dependable
The Lagotto roots go to the past in the 1474-year period, which was around 1474 A.D. during the “Pre-Roman” period. They were originally out of Romagna, Italy, in the marshlands of Ravenna and were raised to be waterfowl retrievers. They’re actually regarded as the first generation of all aquatic dogs.
Unfortunately, during the late 1800s, the marshlands were depleted and turned into farmland. The result was no waterfowl which meant no jobs for Lagotto Romagnolo. This was when the Lagotto was transformed into a truffle hunter, which the highly trained nose of theirs does effectively.
Its look and appearance suggest that the Lagotto appears very much like those of the Poodle and Bichon. Although they appear to be lap dogs, they’re strong and hard-working dogs. The Lagotto is much more durable than it appears to be and boasts an incredible endurance level. INTERESTING FACTS
- The name of this breed is derived from the dialect spoken in Romagna, “Can Lagot,” which means “water dog.”
- Numerous paintings of the Renaissance period, e.g., by Pittore Lombardo, Andrea Mantegna, and Guercino, depict Lagotto Romagnolo.
- The Lagotto Romagnolo is the only dog breed known for its specialized truffle hunting.
Lagotto Romagnolo Temperament
The Lagotto, although adorable as a puppy, is a tough worker and reliable friend. They’re loving pets who love to be at the center of attention even when they’re not out on the field. The breed is well-suited to children as long as they’re well trained in puppyhood.
Their excellent level of intelligence and eagerness to please nature make them simple dogs to teach. They are capable of focusing on a job and being great watchdogs. However, Lagottos aren’t aggressive dogs which means they’re not suitable for guard dogs.
Highlights: Playful, Adaptable, Charming
It’s true that the Maltese are a dog that dates back to the past; however, it’s not known exactly where it was bred from. Most of the time, historians agree that the Maltese were born in Malta, located off the southern shores of Italy. However, it is believed that the Phoenicians likely brought the dog to Malta because they traded.
The background of the Maltese is lengthy and varied. At some point, they were discovered by the Greeks, who were enthralled by their geometric beauty. They eventually gained popularity within the Roman Empire and also among the Chinese.
But, Maltese were bred as companions as well as “comforters.” The ladies of the royal family were particularly fond of the breed and would carry them on their shoulders or place them sitting on laps. Today, the Maltese remain a popular pet, show dog, and lap dog.
- Other names used to describe the Maltese are Roman Ladies’ Dog comforter dog Maltese Terrier, Maltese lion dog, shock dog, Melitaie dog, and the Spaniel soft.
- Although they do sport hair that is thick, the Malteses don’t shed. They will only need to trim their hair on occasion to keep their hair mops in line.
- The Maltese is a dog that can serve therapy purposes, e.g., Since 2009. Riley has been Riley the Maltese was a therapy dog and took part in more than 400 therapeutic sessions.
This white toy breed is focused on beauty as well as balance. It’s the Maltese is a playful dog who is focused on people and loves being the center of attention. This is what they thrive on. Their background as companion dogs makes them an ideal pet for families, particularly families looking for a small pet.
Malteses are among the most trainable breeds. They are particularly responsive to positive training, such as those. The breed is great for older children who know how to handle dogs with care. For the dog’s owner, Maltese can spend all day in their laps.
15. Cane di Oropa
Highlights: Obedient, Athletic, hard-working
Its origins are in the Italian Alps, located in Northern Italy. The Cane di Oropa is a herding dog that’s been employed over the years to help herd native animals and livestock. They are available in a range of coat colors and coat designs, including ear carriages, weights, and sizes.
The Oropa was bred to be a dependable herding dog and is very well-suited to the tough Alps environment. They’re hard-working dogs with incredible endurance and the ability to put in the effort. However, at the time of the 1950s, this breed nearly ended up in the possibility of extinction. Fortunately, a group was created to ensure the stability of the breed.
Despite their affectionate nature, the Oropa isn’t a very beloved dog. Even in their own homeland of Italy. They can still be located in the countryside of Italy. However, there is little information about this breed, even though they seem to maintain some mystery.
- The breed is known under various different names, i.e., Shepherd Dog of Oropa, Cane da Pastore of Oropa Cane Pastore Biellese as well as Biella Shepherd.
- It is the Cane di Oropa has a coat color of merle that has the markings of tan and black as well as black or brown shades.
- Friends of the Oropa Dog is a group founded in 2004 to encourage and strengthen the Oropa breed following its close death.
Cane di Oropa Temperament
It is believed that the Cane di Oropa is an active dog that is working. The breed is athletic and, therefore, can easily race across the hills to gather sheep for their herd. The breed is very obedient and allows the shepherd to work with them as well as manage the flock.
They are a lot of fun and have an abundance of energy, which needs to be taken care of. The best scenario is to have a huge backyard where they can run around without restriction. In other words, plan to take them out several times throughout the day to get the fitness in. They’re designed to run.
Let us know in the comments section below which was your favorite Italian dog? Also, let us know if we missed any that deserves to be on here!