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When you think of Italy, your mind can automatically turn to picturesque scenes like the Colosseum in Rome, the canals of Venice or overflowing glasses of Tuscan wine and plates full of handmade pasta. But this romantic country is also known for a plethora of vibrant, diverse and intriguing dog breeds.
Courtney Campbell, DVM, DACVS-SA, Certified Veterinarian and Veterinarian Advisor for DOGTV, says one of the most beautiful and fascinating aspects of canine species is their incredible diversity in size, energy and temperament – and the panoply of Italian dog breeds underlines this diversity. âSome Italian dog breeds are tenacious hunters and workers, others are dedicated and loyal guardians, and some are so closely tied to their humans that they are reluctant to leave their knees,â he notes. “To take advantage of the myriad of Italian dog breeds is to appreciate the different hairs, appearances, personalities and their various peculiarities.”
That said, while you will always do your best to choose a pet that is compatible with your lifestyle, regardless of the country of origin of its breed, you can find that any of these 11 Italian dog breeds fits perfectly.
Beba73 / Getty These pretty curls should be brushed weekly. And if your Lagotto likes to go swimming, it is recommended that you cut their coat short to avoid matting.
If you are a water sports fan or simply prefer time spent at the nearest dog friendly beach, the Lagotto Romagnolo, a truffle hunter and water lover, which translates to “dog of Romagna lake “, might suit you. They love to play and frolic in the waves, says Campbell. âLagottos tend to be affectionate, eager to please and able to train,â he adds. âThey also like to ‘talk’. They can be quite loud, and if they get bored they will dig. “
They need a lot of grooming time because they have a curly coat that can get tangled, especially after spending all that time splashing around in the waves.
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Along with having a coat that protects it from the elements and predators, this muscular sheepdog is great with children and other animals and is low-maintenance, says Jerry Klein, DVM, chief veterinarian of the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Campbell adds that the Bergamasques like to work. âThey tend to be very enthusiastic pleasures,â he notes. “Very intelligent and patient, they are real family dogs and can be protective.”
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This small companion breed is considered a cousin of the Maltese, Bichon Frize, Havanese, Coton de Tulear and Lowchen. They are calm, affectionate, and genuinely enjoy being around people. In fact, “Bolos” have such an affinity with humans that they can be prone to separation anxiety, Campbell notes.
Yet, they don’t require constant, inflexible mental stimulation. âLeash walks and gentle play in the garden are usually sufficient,â he says, adding that it is important to moderate the strong bursts of energy around this breed, as they can find excessive energy overwhelming. You’ll also want to introduce a Bolognese puppy to grooming early on, as regular grooming of their downy, shedding free coat is a must.
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Known as the Italian Pointing Dog, this large puppy is known to be tough, driven, intelligent and well behaved, according to Laura Robinson, DVM and Pawp’s veterinary advisor. âThey can be calm, loving and loyal if someone is dedicated to giving them the exercise and stimulation they need,â she notes.
Bracco Italianos are also methodical and meticulous hunters and family dogs, explains Campbell. âThe Braccos form strong bonds with members of their human family,â he says. “When properly exercised and mentally stimulated, they can be great with children.”
RELATED: 13 dog breeds fit to be your next hunting companion
Sbolotova / Shutterstock A cane corso is a large Italian breed that is carried with a dignified nature. You will recognize him by his obvious strength, broad chest and wrinkled forehead.
You can learn a lot about a cane corso just by its name. This translates (roughly) to “bodyguard dog” in Latin, Klein explains. “With a lineage dating back to ancient Rome, this intelligent and trainable breed is a fearless protector,” he adds. “They are muscular and athletic and can hunt wild boar as well. As they are natural watchdogs, they are very protective of their owners.”
Nonetheless, when properly socialized and trained, they can be gentle, although this breed is generally not recommended unless you are a truly experienced dog owner. âThey have strong prey, so be careful when a cane corso is around a dog they are unfamiliar with,â he says.
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This alert, playful, strong and athletic puppy can take off like a rocket, says Campbell. âThey run very fast but are extremely graceful,â he notes. In addition to their impressive speed and inspiring grace, Italian Greyhounds are also known to bond very well with humans and curl up on your warm knees, according to Campbell.
Klein says these stylish puppies are the perfect companion dog, especially for city dwellers.
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This hunting dog of the ancient Italian lineage can be patient, docile and stubborn all at the same time, Klein explains. âTheir strengths include their intelligence and their ability to recover on land and in water,â he says. “The Spinone is built for endurance and to withstand any terrain. They have thick skin to allow them to work under brush and in cold water.”
Campbell adds that besides being an avid swimmer, the Spinone Italiano is a real treat for people.
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Maremma Shepherd Dog
Another breed born to do their job of keeping sheep and cattle, the muscular and majestic Maremma Sheepdog comes from a line of ancient sheepdogs used in the Maremma and Maremma regions. Abruzzo in Italy. The breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2006.
Maremmas are loyal, calm, courageous, intelligent, independent and muscular, says Robinson. With their owners, they tend to be very friendly, dedicated, and demonstrative.
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The Cirneco dell’Etna is a thin, elegant and strong ancient Sicilian scent hound, Klein explains. They are sport hunters known for their quick acceleration, but they can also be cherished low-maintenance household companions, he notes.
If you have an active lifestyle, Campbell notes that the Cirneco might be a good choice, as they have innate athleticism, the gift of natural agility, and enjoy lure racing.
He also explains that it’s important to keep this breed of dog active on a regular basis, noting that boredom will cause these puppies to seek their own pleasure. âThey can also be somewhat mischievous and tend to dig under fences or jump over fences,â says Campbell. So it is essential to build a strong 6ft fence around your yard to give this puppy a play space.
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This ancient breed is heavy and massive, characterized by loose skin all over its body. Campbell adds that adult Neapolitan mastiffs are known to be calm and sleep a lot. âHowever, Neapolitan puppies are very active, curious, cute and cuddly,â he says. “And regardless of your puppy’s age, it’s important to watch their calorie intake, as many of these dogs engage in leisure activities rather than physical exertion.”
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Playful and intelligent, Volpini has existed since Antiquity. Sporting a fluffy white double coat, these little puppies are full of energy and can be vocal (albeit sympathetic!). With a history as an indoor companion dog, these dogs form a strong bond with their people. Robinson says it’s worth noting that the talkative Volpini barks a lot, so unless you and your neighbors are prepared to hear their voices sing on a regular basis, their talkative behavior may not be suitable for apartment living or apartment living. many Zoom calls from home.
While training a Volpino might not be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, with the right socialization and positive reinforcement training, they can be a particularly fun and loving canine companion.
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