Sicilian greyhound: characteristics of the dog breed, photo, character, rules of care and maintenance


  • Country of origin: Italy
  • The size:
  • Growth:
    45–50 cm
  • The weight:
    10–13 kg
  • Age:
    12–15 years old
  • FCI breed group:
    Spitz and primitive breeds
  • Brief information

  • Mobile and sociable dog;
  • Independent, but at the same time does not tolerate loneliness;
  • Smart and well trained.
  • Character

    Cirneco dell’Etna (or Sicilian greyhound) is the oldest Italian breed: its history goes back more than 25 centuries. Named after the volcano Etna (on the island of Sicily), at the foot of which it lived and developed most of the time of its existence.

    Many scientists agree that most breeds living on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, although they came from the common ancestors who inhabited the deserts of Africa, subsequently developed separately from each other and have few identical genes. Cirneco dell’Etna is no exception. Until the 20th century, she practically did not leave the borders of her native island, therefore she did not undergo changes, since the breed was not crossed with anyone. Thanks to inbreeding, the Sicilian Greyhound has developed its best qualities: high speed and a agile mind that allows you to make the right decisions on your own while hunting for hares.

    Dogs of this breed are also distinguished by fidelity and attentiveness, since ancient times they were entrusted with the protection of temples, to which a number of Sicilian myths are dedicated. Cirneco were also the best friends of the peasants, as they helped them to drive out rodents and hares from the land. At the same time, dogs could live in the house without threatening the peace of mind of the owners.

    By the end of the 19th century, urbanization also affected Sicily, the spread of technology pushed the role of the Cirneco in people’s lives into the background. After prolonged crises and the First World War, the breed was on the verge of extinction. It was possible to save her through many years of internal selection and birth control. Today this breed is distributed all over the world.

    Cirneco dell’Etna attracts with a good-natured character, she is people-oriented, and living together with her is like living next door to a good friend. These dogs are strongly attached to their family, in it they are sociable, cheerful, always ready to support if one of its members is ill, run with children or lie at their feet with a thoughtful look.

    Strangers are treated with suspicion, but they feel “their own” from afar, easily accepting them into the circle of loved ones. With timely socialization, they will never pounce on a stranger: the well-known southern Italian openness is also manifested in the character of these dogs.

    The Sicilian Greyhound adopts the lifestyle of the household: if a measured life flows in the family, then the dog will be happy to lie on the couch in the middle of the week, enjoying walks. If the owners like to play outdoor sports and spend a lot of time outside, the Cirneco will not get tired of chasing a bike or socializing with other dogs in parks and in the yard.

    The owners of these greyhounds note their ability to learn. Teaching a dog to follow commands is easy if you keep a positive attitude during training. Good training will not only be useful, but will also bring positive emotions to the relationship between the pet and the owner.

    The Sicilian Greyhound, unlike many breeds, loves to communicate with other animals (if they are not rabbits), therefore, on the one hand, it can be started by families that already have pets, on the other hand, if the owners spend little time with the dog, she need to make a friend. Cirnecos do not tolerate prolonged loneliness quite well.


    Sicilian greyhounds have a short, stiff coat that sheds rarely and little on average up to two times a year, as well as during times of stress. During molting, the dog must be combed out with a brush for short hair. You need to bathe these dogs as they get dirty, when touching the wool becomes unpleasant, but at least once every one and a half months.

    They also need to brush their teeth from plaque and cut their claws, which is better to teach a dog from childhood. Although Cirnecos are in excellent health, it is important to have them examined by a veterinarian at least every three years.

    Conditions of detention

    The Sicilian Greyhound can live both in the city and outside it in a country house. The apartment should be spacious enough so that the pet has its own place and no one feels discomfort from space congestion.

    The duration and activity of walks depend on the individual needs of each dog. It is better to fence the area around the country house well for the safety of the pet; remember that these dogs jump high, dig well and run fast.

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