Cirneco dell’Etna

Fast Facts

Country of Origin:Italy
AKC Group:Rare
UKC Group:Rare
Use today:Companion
Color:Self-colored fawn, ranging from fairly dark to Isabella. Fawn with white markings on head, chest, feet, tail tip and belly. Solid white or white with orange patches is acceptable, but not preferred.
Coat:Smooth on the head, ears and legs. Longer (about an inch), but sleek and close lying on the body and tail. The hair is straight and still like horse hair.
Size:Medium Dog Breed
Height:16.5 to 20.5 inches at the withers
Weight:17.5 to 26 pounds

The sleek and swift Cirneco, resembling a Pharaoh Hound in miniature, has been maintained and bred on the island of Sicily for 3,000 years. In more ancient times, the breed was also known farther north on Corsica. The Green name for that island is Cyrnecos, which may have given this little sighthound the first part of its name. Mount Etna, the 10,000-foot volcano on Sicily’s east side, contributed the second part of the breed’s name. A holy temple existed at Ardano on Sicily even before recorded history. It is believed that the temple was guarded by Cirnecos. The dogs were said to possess a supernatural instinct to attack the sacrilegious, but to welcome the devout. The Cirneco is plentiful around Ardano and is now the only breed that hunts on the slopes of Mount Etna. The ENCI (Italian Kennel Club) officially recognized the breed around 1940. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale also acknowledged the Cirneco and Pharaoh Hound as two different breeds. This accomplished sighthound is also able to hunt by scent. Rabbit and hare are its specialties, but it is silent enough to catch feathered game.

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