Sicilian Hound (Cirneco dell’Etna)
Dog Breeds

Sicilian Hound (Cirneco dell’Etna)

Characteristics of Sicilian Hound

Country of originItaly
The sizeAverage
Growth45–50 cm
Weight10–13 kg
Age12–15 years old
FCI breed groupSpitz and primitive breeds
Sicilian Hound Characteristics

Brief information

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


The Cirneco dell’Etna (or Sicilian Greyhound) is the oldest Italian breed with a history of more than 25 centuries. It is 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 of the breeds living on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, although descended from common ancestors that 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, it practically did not leave the borders of its native island, therefore it did not change, 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 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 throughout 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 down 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 engage in active 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 get a friend. Cirnecos do not tolerate prolonged loneliness quite well.

Sicilian Hound (Cirneco dell’Etna) Care

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 must have its own place and no one feels discomfort from the congestion of the space.

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.

Sicilian Hound – Video

Cirneco dell'Etna - Top 10 Facts

Leave a Reply