Italy has given us a lot of awesome things from pasta and pizza to great works of art. Something else they gave us a lot of is awesome dog breeds. Some you may never have heard of while others you never realized were from Italy. That is why we have compiled this handy list of 17 Italian doggies and what makes them so special.

The most popular Italian dog breeds in the region are the Spinone Italiano, Italian Greyhound, and the Bergamasco Shepherd. Here is all you need to know about these top Italian breeds and 14 more from the land of good food and rich history.

17. Spinone Italiano

Image from Instagram:@only_spinoni

This is a versatile dog breed that has played a major role in Italy’s history from its use as a companion pet by elite historical figures to its presence in World War II frontlines. Its popularity has been maintained as it stands today as one of the most popular dogs in Italy.

In addition to their adaptability, this popularity is largely due to their personalities. These doggies are calm, friendly, and affectionate which is a perfect combination for family pets.

16. Italian Greyhound

Image from Instagram:@sarang_pslove

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest sighthound breed. However, it is just as athletic as its larger companions. In fact, its small size gives it an advantage in terms of agility allowing smoother maneuvering especially when hunting smaller prey.

As with most sighthound dogs, this breed is kept today mainly as a sports dog or as a companion with its adaptability allowing it to settle easily into both roles.

15. Dogo Sardo

Image from Instagram:@jackalsoldcountryblood

This dog is a molosser type of pooch best known for its large, intimidating form and its equally intimidating personality to boot. This combination makes it ideal for things like protecting livestock as well as personal protection. It is also popular in underground dog fighting scenes for its ferocious attack capabilities and its fearlessness.

Despite being native to Italy, this dog is quite rare in its home country especially when compared to other countries in Europe where the breed is exported for work and fighting.

14. Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai

Image from Instagram:@lis.allegretti

This quite a rare dog and has slowly waned in popularity and numbers in Italy and around the world. It is so rare and has been subjected to so much mixed breeding that it is currently not recognized as a standard dog breed by any kennel club anywhere in the world.

All this aside, this is a beautiful dog with its unique lupine aesthetic. It is also a very lovable dog with its playful but docile nature.

13. St. Bernard

Image from Instagram:@dogoteka

Most people immediately associate the St. Bernard with its Swiss origins mainly due to its wide use in the Swiss Alps for rescues, guarding, and pulling sleds.

However, it is just as much native to Italy as it is to Switzerland having been developed and widely used in both European countries. The doggy is known for its large build and gentle nature which makes it perfect for companionship in addition to its outdoor work applications.

12. Segugio Maremmano

Image from Instagram:@segugio_maremmano_aspromonte

This is also known as the Maremmano Scenthound after its region of origin in Italy and its main purpose. It is easily one of the most popular native Italian dog breeds and is adored mainly for its incredible loyalty.

This makes them awesome guard dogs as they are also wary of strangers. However, they can easily be socialized and trained for keeping as companion pets. In this case, regular exercise should be a part of their care to keep them happy.

11. Bracco

Image from Instagram:@bracco_italiano_

The Bracco dog breed is one of the most stubborn dogs you will encounter from Italy. This stems from their natural hunting dog instincts that will have them stubbornly focused on anything but what you want them to pay attention to.

However, with a little patience you will have a lot to look forward to including their affectionate nature and their love for playing with their human best friends.

10. Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog

Image from Instagram:@pastore_maremmano_

This dog is named after the regions in Italy where it hails from. These are Abruzzo and Maremma which are both rural settlements known for their sheep rearing culture.

This sheepdog served mainly as a herding guide but also protected the sheep from both human and animal dangers where necessary.

They are generally very alert, even-tempered, and dominating breeds. They definitely require a lot of patience and firmness when kept as companion pets.

9. Cirneco dell’Etna

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With its lean build, high speeds, and incredible sense of smell, it is not so hard to see how the Cirneco dell’Etna became such a popular hunting dog in Italy. These doggies are particularly popular for hunting small and fast animals like hares as their speed and agility allows them to comfortably keep up.

These dogs are also very awesome as companion pets especially for homes with children especially when introduced as young puppies.

8. Volpino

Image from Instagram:@ari.volpino

At first glance, it is very hard to differentiate the Volpino from its relatives the Pomeranian and the German Spitz. It has the same small, fluffy appearance that makes the other two so popular around the world. However, the Volpino is noticeably larger and tends to have more of a narrower skull.

These doggies are quite affectionate and playful and tend to form strong bonds with their families. However, they are very sensitive and easily traumatized by harsh treatment.

7. Bolognese Dog

Image from Instagram:@mr.brada

This dog was bred for companionship and this is a job that it does very well. They get along with everyone from children to strangers. They also get along with other pets both large and small. All these factors make it a perfect dog for a family with children and/or other pets.

While these doggies are generally intelligent, obedient, and loyal, they are not immune to stubborn tantrums especially when they are frustrated from lack of enough play time.

6. Segugio Italiano (Wire-Haired)

Image from Instagram:@simbailsegugio

This is in a lot of ways similar to the short haired variety in terms of build and general personality.

However, the wire-haired coat makes it different not only in terms of aesthetic but also in terms of care needs. Regular brushing is required in order to keep the wiry fur from tangling and becoming a shaggy mess.

The personality is also subtly different with the wire haired variety being a more active and outdoorsy variation that requires a lot of exercise.

5. Lagotto Romagnolo

Image from Instagram:@lmilmolagotto

This is a fantastic beginner doggy breed mainly for its high intelligence and naturally obedient nature. You do not have to struggle too much to train them or keep them in line. The best part is that there are a lot of cuddles and fun playtimes to look forward to with this incredibly affectionate doggy.

The water dog from Italy is also quite popular around the world where it is kept both for retrieval of water fowl as well as a companion pet.

4. Neapolitan Mastiff

Image from Instagram:@porterkamp

To say that the Neapolitan Mastiff is a unique looking dog would be a gross understatement. They are similar in appearance to the Cane Corso with their large build, skull shape, and facial features.

However, these doggies stand out mainly with their thick, saggy skin folds around the face that give them their adorable old-man aesthetic.

Despite their intimidating aesthetic, they are rarely aggressive towards human beings but may need early socialization to stop them from being aloof.

3. Bergamasco Shepherd

Image from Instagram:@ester_pastorebergamasco

This dog’s coat is its key standout feature. It features long, coarse fur that forms thick matts that give it its shaggy appearance. This is the kind of aesthetic that either grows on you or never does. Whatever the case, there is no denying the convenience of the coat’s non-shedding nature.

They are popular today mainly as herding dogs and are very rarely kept as full time indoor pets mainly due to their restlessness when they do not get enough exercise.

2. Italian Segugio Short Haired

Image from Instagram:@rantaalanne

The short-haired Segugio breed from Italy is one of the most talented hunting dogs from the country and region of Europe in general. These dogs are known for their excellent hunting skills with the perfect combination of sight and scent tracking. They are also quite resilient and perfect for long chases.

As house pets these dogs thrive mainly due to their high intelligence, calm temperament, and their ability to adapt to different settings and scenarios.

1. Cane Corso

Image from Instagram:@canecorsoklub

The Cane Corso is one of the most popular guard dog breeds for both domestic and law enforcement use. They are generally very even-tempered although distrusting of strangers. However, they will mostly only attack when given the command to do so or if you pose an obvious threat to their masters.

These dogs are rarely kept as companion breeds and should only be used like this by experienced dog owners and in homes without children or other pets.

Related Questions

What Does Spinone Mean In Italian? Spinone is the Italian name of a popular dog breed kept mainly for hunting purposes. This dog is very similar to the Griffon dog family and it is sometimes theorized that Spinone is the Italian term for griffon. However, there are no formal records that recognize this as a standard translation.

How Long Do Italian Spinone Live? An Italian Spinone can live for up to 12 to 14 years. They are relatively healthy throughout their life and mostly die from old age diseases like cancer and old age in general. They also may suffer from lifetime conditions in which case central nervous system issues like cerebellar abiotrophy disease may occur.

How Many Lagotto Romagnolo Are In The US? There are about 500 Lagotto Romagnolo dogs in the United States. This is quite an impressive number given how relatively rare these dogs are especially outside of their native home country of Italy. They are mainly kept as companion pets and are favored for their high intellect, friendly nature, and devotion to their human friends.

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