The Cirneco dell Etna is one of the oldest breeds we know today and they have been present in Sicily since the ancient times. Approximately 2000 years ago, 150 coins depicting the Cirneco were minted in Sicily, but the breed will be even older. One theory says, that they are related to ancient Egyptian dogs from the time of Egyptian pharaos and that these dogs were introduced to Sicily by Phoenician traders.
2) Natural selection
Unlike most of the breeds we know today, who were bred by human intervention, for example by crossbreeding, the Cirneco dell Etna evolved naturally. It is one of the few breeds that acquired its modern characteristics through natural selection.
For a long time, this dog was only named as Cirneco and the dell Etna was added in 1939. The Cirneco refers to either greek word “kyrenaikos,” or to latin word cyrenaicus. That can be translated as “of Cyrene” which is an ancient Greek city in todays Libya. Dell Etna relates to the area of the famous Etna volcano in Sicily. So both parts of the name are describing two different regions, related to the breed. By the way, the plural form of Cirneco is not Cirnecos, but Cirnechi.
4) Modern times
Until the 1930s, these dogs were almost unknown outside Sicily and even there it was quite a rare breed. That changed in 1932 when veterinarian Maurizio Migneco published an article about this breed denouncing the state of oblivion into which this ancient Italian breed had fallen. After the article, a rich Italian aristocrat, baroness Agata Paternó Castello was moved and she decided to revive the breed. She started breeding them in 1934 and the breed was officially recognized in 1939 by Italian Kennel club and in 1956 by FCI. Even though the breed was revived, it is still a very rare dog breed and there are only around 150 new purebred Cirneco registration in Italy every year.
5) Elegant hunters
The Cirneco is amazing hunter, they especially excell at hunting rabbits. They use both, their excellent sight and great hearing to locate and hunt the prey. They are also very fast and even druing the hunt they are elegant. According to the FCI The ideal hunting ground is among the nooks and crannies of rock faces and in particular the terrain formed by volcanic lava on the slopes of Mount Etna where the Cirneco leaps from one rock to another, surefooted and elegant.
Of course, the Cirneco dell Etna is not only an amazing hunter, today, majority of them are companion dogs and they are actually very good companions. It is true that they are independent dogs by nature and they can be stubborn, but they are also very smart, bright, playful, curious, affectionate and creates a strong bond with its family. They are also good playful partners for older kids and they can live with other dogs in the family as well.
7) Escape artists
The Cirneco dell Etna is known as an expert escape artist. They can easily escape especially thanks to their great jumping, they can really jump very very high, so you should have a high fence around your property, that is also burried several inches bellow the ground.
8) Adranos legend
There is a very old legend saying, that thousands of Cirneco dell Etna dogs are guarding the temple of the god Adranos on the slope of mount Etna. The dogs had a divine ability to find and attack any thieves or nonbelievers who approached the temple.
This is medium sized, slim and athletic dog breed with average height between 44-50 cm which is 17-20 inch and weight is typically between 8-13 kg, which is 18-29 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
The cirneco coat is sleek and lie close to the body. Fawn, sable and fawn sable are the most desirable colors in the Cirneco Dell’etna. Some of them can have some white patches, most often on the chest. The short and glossy coat that is also very easy to care for, the grooming needs are minimal.