Cirneco dell'Etna general features, temperament, health

Cirneco dell'Etna dog breed face

FCI # 199, Origin: Italy, Group 5.7 Primitive type - Hunting Dogs.

Height: 17-20, Weight: 22-26 lb

Grooming: Low, Shedding: Medium, Coat: Short, very tight to the body.

Color: Moderate red.

Ease of training: High, Energy level: High, Span of life: 12-15 years.

Breed: Cirneco dell'Etna exists in Sicily for thousands years. Most authors agree that the sighthound-looking dogs have their origin from the Egyptian dogs, who had erect ears. Statues and drawings discovered in the Nile Valley and dated to 4000 BC, are depicting dogs that look very much like the modern Cirneco. It is possible that the Phoenicians spread these dogs by their entire trade route, from Northern Africa to the Mediterranean coast. Antique pictures of a sighthounds with erect ears and an acute snout are found in many countries of the region.

In Sicily there were no real original sighthounds, so we can guess that Cirneco dell'Etna emerged as the result of adaptation of the dogs, which the Phoenicians left at the coast of the island. It is believed that the lack of open spaces, a limited amount of food that is suitable for dogs, and long-lasting effect of inbreeding have led to miniaturization, which often occurs in the Italian islands.

The most striking evidence of the existence of Cirneco dell'Etna in Sicily for at least 2500 years, is a large number of coins with their images, minted in 5-3 centuries BC. In particular, the representatives of this breed are depicted on coins minted in Segesta - there are found about 150 different variations of silver coins and 100 bronze coins. In other Sicilian cities, such as Erice, Pyakos, Motya, Palermo dogs had religious significance and were also often portrayed in the local coins. On many coins made by Mamertini, a group of Italian mercenaries who captured Messina in 286 BC, on one side is depicted a Sicilian god Ardanos, personifying the volcano Etna, on the other - Cirneco. Samples of this type of coins are represented in the collections of the Museum of Syracuse, the British Museum in London, in a private collection in Sicily, at the Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi.

Other works of art, indicating the existence of Cirneco dell'Etna in ancient times, are the mosaics in the Roman Imperial villa in the Armerina palace (Enna, Sicily), built in 2-3 century.

Cirneco dell'Etna can be found throughout the whole island of Sicily, but it is considered that the cradle of a breed is area of ??????the volcano Etna. In 400 BC Dionysius ordered to build on the southwest flank of the volcano, near the town of Arden, a Temple of Ardanos. There were living a lot of dogs, and legend says that thousands Cirneco were guarding the temple. These dogs had a wonderful gift to identify thieves and unbelievers, whom they attacked. They also accompanied the pilgrims to the temple. In 1973, Fiorenzo Fiorone in his book "Hunting Dogs" reported that in the Ardan still exist several thousands of Cirneco dell'Etna.

Until 1932 Cirneco dell"Etna were very rare and were not well known outside of Sicily. But Dr. Maurizio Mineko, a veterinarian from Adra published an article in the Journal "Italian Hunter ", where he wrote about the undeserved oblivion of this ancient breed. The group of enthusiasts, headed by Baroness Agatha Paterno, the Sicilian aristocrat who devoted the next 26 years of her life to the development of the breed, desided to take care of Cirneco dell'Etna. Baroness carefully studied these ancient hunting dogs and their origins. At that time most of the Cirneco were concentrated in the hands of peasants, among whom there were no breeders who would be concerned about the selection and preservation of the breed type. "Donna Agata" traveled all over Sicily, selecting dogs that epitomized the breed. She spent years breeding and selecting dogs under the prefix "Aetnensis". When she was sure that she have achieved the type, and the exterior of the breed, she consulted with Professor Giuseppe Solaro, a prominent zoologist who studied the shape, proportions and the working style of Cirneco dell'Etna.

Cirneco dell'Etna dog breeds

He wrote the first breed standard, adopted by the Italian Kennel Club in 1939, only seven years after "a cry for help" of Dr. Mineko. Finally Cirneco were officially recognized as a breed and called Cirneco dell'Etna. The first Italian champion was declared in 1952. It was a bitch named Aetnensis Pupa, bred by Baroness Agatha Paterno. Breed club, recognized by ENCI in 1956, was founded in 1951. It's first president was Dr. Mineko, and Secretary - Donna Agata. In 1989, the Technical Committee of ENCI updated the breed standard, bringing it in line with the requirements of the FCI.

During the last 50 years since the proclamation of the first champion, Cirneco are consistently bred in Sicily and in the Italian mainland. Cirneco were also exported to many European countries, where, thanks to a stylish exterior they have a great success in the show rings and often become International Champions. Loving nature and good ability to adapt make them a very good companions. In France, Finland and the United States Cirneco take part in Coursing competitions and often become champions in this discipline. In his homeland - Sicily Cirneco are participating in field trials and competing in agility.
Cirneco dell'Etna, the ancient dog, manifests itself as a cheerful and healthy breed, in the XXI century.

General Features: Grace, the sculptural clarity of lines and smooth coat are the most typical features of Cirneco dell'Etna. Cirneco has a beautiful shape of the head. Ears are erect, set high; nose must match the main color - moderate red with small white markings.

Cirneco dell'Etna has a moderately broad chest, stomach tucked, but less than in other breeds of sighthounds.

Lightness and elegance of Cirneco's body are combined with a lively temperament, stamina and unpretentiousness of this dogs. By exterior Cirneco dell'Etna is a typical sighthound related to the primitive type, which is close to the Pharaoh Hound, Spanish Galgo, Portuguese Podengu.

Cirneco is characterized by high set ears in the form of an elongated triangles. The coat is short and tight on the body - up to 3 cm, shorter on the head and limbs. Color is reddish-beige with steel or isabella shades, ears are colored lighter, nose in the basic color tone. Eyes yellowish-amber. On the head, chest, abdomen, legs and tail end can be some white markings.

Temperament: Cirneco dell'Etna (Sicilian Sighthound) is a dog of medium size with spectacular appearance, which invariably attracts the attention of others.
Natural color of Cirneco dell'Etna - moderate red. But modern Cirneco have red color of varying intensity, from light red to bright red. In the breed standard is allowed the presence of small white markings on the coat, which looks like an elegant sparkle and adds personality to a dog.

Hunters by nature, Cirneco dell'Etna manifest themselves as an excellent companions. These dogs are suited for active people, for the teenagers they will be a very good friends. One should not be afraid to bring Cirneco to a family with small children, because these dogs are very friendly and totally non-aggressive.

Activity and mobility of Cirneco dell'Etna is not suitable for everyone. This dog requires a lot of attention, Cirneco is delighted with the joint games, likes to participate in all household affairs. This dog has a great a sense of humor!

Cirneco dell'Etna dog breed photo

Cirneco loves all members of the family, in which they live. They are very affectionate and always are pleased to meet familiar and unfamiliar people. Protective instinct in Cirneco dell'Etna is very weak.

These dogs are very intelligent, they can be easily trained. They are pleased to work for the game or a toy. Cirneco are very independent and it is very important to consider that in choosing a method of dog training.

It is very easy to keep Cirneco dell'Etna in the apartment.??Cirneco have a short coat without undercoat, so the shedding is almost imperceptible.

Due to their small size Cirneco may use a litter, like cats. But still, do not neglect walks. Without them, there will be no proper socializing of this dogs and their physical development will be not complete.??On walks Cirneco dell'Etna loves to play outdoor games.

Dogs of this breed are thermophilic, but not pampered. Their natural habitat is Sicily, an area of ??????Etna, where the climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot summers and short mild winters. Really cold there may be only on Etna. (The lowest temperature that was recorded there - 29.9 degrees.) At Etna snow lays all winter long. Therefore, do not coddle your Cirneco at the slightest cold snap. In cold weather only a small puppy will really need dog clothes. Adult Cirneco dell'Etna is quite able to walk without clothes (down to -25 degrees). This makes the dog healthier and has beneficial effects on the coat.

These little dogs with a delightful bright amber eyes, give you and your family a lot of love, light and joy of communicating. They are like small bright sunbeams, and their temperament and cheerful attitude can make anyone happy.

Health problems: Generally Cirneco dell'Etna is a healthy breed.

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