Cirneco dell'Etna

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Cirneco dell'Etna
Cirneco dell Etna 611.jpg
Height Dogs
46–50 cm (18–20 in)[1]
44–48 cm (17–19 in)[1]
Weight Dogs
10–13 kg (22–29 lb)[1]
8–10 kg (18–22 lb)[1]
Coat short on head, short to semi-long on body
Colour light sand, isabella, light to dark tan
Life span 12–14 years[2]: 33 
Kennel club standards
Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Cirneco dell'Etna[a] is an Italian breed of hunting dog from the Mediterranean island of Sicily. It is named for the Etna volcano in eastern Sicily. It has a keen sense of smell, and is used to hunt small game, particularly rabbits.[3][4] As with many working dogs, registration is conditional on successful completion of a working trial.[5]


The second part of the name of the breed relates to the area of the Etna volcano in Sicily, where it originated. The first part, word cirneco, derives from the Latin: cyrenaicus, related to Cyrenaica in North Africa, and in modern Italian is used for all the small hunting dogs of the Mediterranean islands, including Sicily, Malta and the Balearic Islands.[3] Genetic studies of the relationship of the Cirneco to other breeds have yielded conflicting results: one confirmed it to be close to the Kelb tal-Fenek of Malta and the Podenco Ibicenco of the Balearic Islands, but also linked it to the Pyrenean Mountain Dog;[6] another found evidence of gene flow from the Podenco Canario of the Canary Islands;[7] a genomic study in 2021 found it to be most closely related to the Kelb tal-Fenek and the Segugio Italiano.[8] It is often controversially claimed that the Cirneco dell'Etna is an ancient breed.[3][4][9][5][10] The earliest written description of the modern breed was by Maurizio Migneco, a veterinary surgeon from Adrano on the slopes of Etna, who published an account in Il Cacciatore Italiano in 1932. This was seen by a Sicilian noblewoman, Agata Paternó Castello, who bought some of the dogs and in 1934 started breeding them.[9] The breed was recognised by the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana in 1939, based on a breed standard drawn up by Giuseppe Solaro of Turin.[9][11] The Cirneco was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1956.[12] It is a rare breed; in the period from 2010 to 2018, new registrations in Italy were between about 100 and 150 per year.[5] Breed registration is conditional on successful completion of a working trial in this case a specific field trial [1] .[5]

Further reading[edit]



  1. ^ Italian pronunciation: [tʃirˈneːko delˈlɛtna]; plural Cirnechi [tʃirˈneːki]


  1. ^ a b c d Cirneco dell'Etna (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Accessed July 2020.
  2. ^ [Bruce Fogle] (2013). The Dog Encyclopedia. London; New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 9781465408440.
  3. ^ a b c Cirnèco (in Italian). Vocabolario on line. Roma: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed July 2020.
  4. ^ a b FCI-Standard N° 199: Cirneco dell'Etna. Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed July 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Cirneco dell'Etna (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Accessed July 2020.
  6. ^ Andrea Talenti, Dayna L. Dreger, Stefano Frattini, Michele Polli, Stefano Marelli, Alexander C. Harris, Luigi Liotta, Raffaella Cocco, Andrew N. Hogan, Daniele Bigi, Romolo Caniglia, Heidi G. Parker, Giulio Pagnacco, Elaine A. Ostrander, Paola Crepaldi (2018). Studies of modern Italian dog populations reveal multiple patterns for domestic breed evolution. Ecology and Evolution. 8: 2911–2925. doi:10.1002/ece3.3842.
  7. ^ Emiliano Lasagna, Simone Ceccobelli, Amparo Martinez Martinez, Hovirag Lancioni, Vincenzo Landi, Mario Cosenza, Anthony Gruppetta, Francesca Maria Sarti, Vincenzo Chiofalo, Carlos San José, Luis Monteagudo Ibanez, Luigi Liotta, George Attard (2019). Genetic variability assessment in different Mediterranean canine breeds using microsatellite markers. Italian Journal of Animal Science. 18 (s1): 108.
  8. ^ Matteo Cortellari, Arianna Bionda, Andrea Talenti, Simone Ceccobelli, George Attard, Emiliano Lasagna, Paola Crepaldi, Luigi Liotta (2021). Genomic variability of Cirneco dell’Etna and the genetic distance with other dog breeds. Italian Journal of Animal Science. 20 (1): 304–314. doi:10.1080/1828051X.2021.1873076.
  9. ^ a b c Felice Modica (18 February 2018). La vera storia del cirneco, la razza più antica: Riscoperta da una nobildonna straordinaria (in Italian). Il Giornale. Accessed July 2020.
  10. ^ Cirneco dell'Etna (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Archived 7 July 2014.
  11. ^ D. Caroline Coile, Michele Earle-Bridges (2015). Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Hauppauge, New York: Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 9781438067926.
  12. ^ FCI breeds nomenclature: Cirneco dell'Etna (199). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed July 2020.
  13. ^ Perini, F., Cardinali, I., Ceccobelli, S., Gruppetta, A., San José, C., Cosenza, M., ... & Lasagna, E. (2023). Phylogeographic and population genetic structure of hound-like native dogs of the Mediterranean Basin. Research in Veterinary Science.