Cirneco Dell Etna

Cirneco Dell Etna picture


The Cirneco dell’Etna or Cirnechi (plural) originated in Sicily. It is a small hound-type dog also known as "Sicilian greyhound". They are found all over the Italian island and particularly in the area surrounding the active volcano, Mount Etna, where the dogs hunt rabbits and game on terrain formed by volcanic lava. It's presence in Sicily is noteworthy as one of the few ancient breeds that have undergone very little manipulation by man. Instead, the breed has been rigorously selected by nature for its ability to work for hours. The dog we have today is an extremely hardy breed. Affectionate and friendly, it is considered easier to train than some of its sight hound cousins.


The first impression when observing a Cirneco dell’Etna, with its stunning tan or chestnut colour, triangular shape prick ears and long pointed muzzle, is that we are looking at a miniature Pharaoh Hound. The similarity is striking, but the discerning eye will soon note the substantial difference in the conformation of the two breeds. Careful examination and comparison of the Cirneco dell'Etna breed standard with the Pharaoh Hound standard reveal twenty two points where ideal breed characteristics differ, most notably in size and shape. The Cirneco dell’Etna is smaller, with a maximum height of 46-50cm for males and 42-46cm for bitches.


The Cirneco dell’Etna is a very new breed outside of Sicily and Italy. They are a hardy breed but evidence of unilateral cryptorchidism and missing teeth have been noted. Many Cirnechi are at the top height for the breed standard and it is very difficult to keep type and confirmation when also trying to reduce the size. As a general guide they are very happy and outgoing as puppies and this should be followed through with them being well socialised with different environments and people.