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5 exclusive Italian dogs, straight out of a medieval painting
5 exclusive Italian dogs, straight out of a medieval painting

During the pandemic, dogs and cats were unavailable all of a sudden. Kennels and rescue centers were empty. Because I guess if you sit at home all day, who wouldnt want some company. But now that that Covid urgency is over, it still seems like a good idea  and you start thinking about a dog that suits you better for that necessary walk around the block. We choose some extraordinary beautiful Italian pedigree dogs for this article, but most of these dogs from good kennels you have to expect to be put on a waiting lists. Expect to pay 5000 Euros or more for a pedigree puppy from a champion kennel. On average these dogs will cost between 1000 and 2000 Euro each.

Lagotto Romagnolo, the Italian dog for a truffle hunt

The Lagotto - The original truffledog

A few years ago I was allowed to join a truffle hunt in the Romagna part of Emilia Romagna. It was a beautiful walk through an autumn forest, for which we had to get up at 5 am. As far as the trufflehunt itself, I wasn't overly impressed. But the two lovely animals that came along stole my hart. Mother and son Lagotto Romagnolo ran happily way out in front of us.

A sleeping truffledog

The little one still had to learn the trade and come along for the experience, but his mother knew exactly where she had to go, although I had a vague suspicion that the truffle hunter had hidden the truffles between the tree roots for the sake of the 'hunt'.

Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto is the only breed in the world that specializes in searching for truffles. We, the tourists took more pictures of the dogs than anything else, they were loads more photogenic than the trees. They are a truly Italian dog breed, as the Lagotto is native to the swampy areas of the southern Po Delta. The breed originated in the vicinity of Ravenna and in the plains of Comacchio. In Roman times, this area was swampy and the Romagnolian Lagotto devoted itself to apporting the shot birds, their coat and undercoat are very useful to protect them from the ice cold water of the river.

Lagotto Romagnolo puppy

Meanwhile, the Lagotto searched for truffles, if there wasn't anything else to do. The name "Lagotto Romagnolo" comes from the Romagna language, the expression "Càn Lagòt " means: "water dog". They have a curly coat, usually liver brown or dirty white, or orange-brown in color. They are loyal, sweet to children, they rarely bark, but like to dig pits, if you have a nice lawn or flower garden, beware.

Lagotto just a few weeks old

Volpino Italiano, the Italian dog related to a Keeshond

tThe Volpino

Volpinos are sweet and playful, just a little bigger than a toy, they are fairly hard to find, as there are no more than about 3,000 running around in the world. The Italian volpino is known by many names, such as "pomacchio" or "pumetto" or "volpino of Florence" or "vaglió" (also called peasant dog), it is a dog of very old breed, just like the Dutch Keeshond which it is related to, traces of the volpino can be found since the Bronze Age. If you look at paintings from the Middle Ages, you will see that he appears regularly, as in the painting Sant'Agostino in Vittore Carpaccio 's studio from 1502.

Vittore carpaccio visione di santagostino

He may be small, but he really has spunk, he is alert and smart. The volpino is above all a sociable animal, once highly prized in aristocratic circles. But remember, he is a real barker by nature, something you prefer to teach him not to do as soon as possible when he is young. Always ready for a game, he likes children, but it is not a dog to leave alone all day while you're off to the office.

More than a ball of wool

Cirneco dell'Etna, turns on the edge of a dime

Cirneco dell'Etna

This one comes from the region around Etna and was at one time the symbol of Atletico Catania, the soccer club of Catania. A beautiful, slender hunting dog that will guard the family with love until the very end. An agile beast that can change direction in a split second especially while chasing its prey.

Cirneco dellEtna puppies

The Cirnico is a smart Italian dog and should be trained early, it is very active and needs at least 20 to 30 minutes exercise per day. They are also great jumpers, so if you plan on leaving him in the yard, build an extra high fence. My own dog, who I suspect to have some Cirneco blood, jumps easily on a 10 feet high wall without even trying.

Cirneco dell'Etna

The breed is believed to date back to at least 1000 B.C. and to have descended from the dogs of the Egyptian pharaohs of the last dynasties and from dogs imported to Sicily by the Punics. They are short-haired and the colors range from golden to dark brown, sometimes with white spots. They are really intelligent and generally independent and solitary. He has his sympathies and makes it pretty obvious: with some people or dogs he does not socialize at all and barks when he meets them; with others he is initially aggressive, but then socializes quickly; with others he feels immediately at ease and loves to play. When he is off the leash, he will explore the surroundings, but always knows where his owner is and comes back regularly to show that he hasn't forgotten about you.

Bolognese, a cute little toy italian dog

The tiny Bolognese

No, we're really talking about a dog here. The Bolognese is a small dog breed of the bichon type, originated in Italy we know as far back as the 11th century. They are sometimes called Bolos, the name refers to the northern Italian city of Bologna. It is part of the toy dog group (we used to call it lapdogs). Bolognese dogs can be seen in the tapestries made in Flanders in the 17th century. The Venetian painter Titian painted Duke Federico Gonzaga with a Bolognese. The breed also appears in paintings by Goya, Gosse and Watteau. Other notable owners of the breed include Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796), Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764) and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.

De Bolognese

The breed was loved by the nobility and was often gifted between noble families during the Renaissance (especially between Italian and Belgian royalty). As the nobility began to die out, this Italian dog breed almost became extinct. It was in the 1980s that an Italian breeder helped the Bolognese regain its current popularity.

Bolognese dogs

The distinctive single woolly coat (i.e., no undercoat) falls in loose open fluff all over the body, with shorter hair on the face. A Bolognese sheds very little, is not shaved or clipped, but must be brushed regularly to prevent tangles. Not a dog you can easily leave home alone all day, so count on it to go wherever the owner goes.

Bracco Italiano, a dog of nobility

The Bracco Italiano

One of the best friends of my Sicilian mutt (but oh so sweet) Maggy, is Gia, a real Bracco Italiano, one of the oldest pointer breeds in the world. Maggy was very shy and afraid of everything when she first came to us, except for Gia, who played with her and ran up mountain after mountain and introduced her to the other dogs in the park. Gia is an authority and doesn't have to growl to prove it, everyone accepts it. The Bracco prefers to go into the mountains to her owner's second home, winter and summer she trudges along the mountain trails all day.

The Bracco Italiano

It is a dog of noble origin, if nobility existed in the dog world this breed would certainly belong to it. Although it already appears in paintings as far back as the 4th and 5th centuries, it was especially loved by the noble families in the Middle Ages. Dante mentions them in a beautiful sonnet about bracchetti and hunters.... he has sweet eyes and is definitely a loveable dog. Bracchi were bred by the Medici and Gonzaga families, who gave puppies as gifts to the court of France in 1527. It is and was a dog especially loved for hunting birds, an exclusive sport enjoyed by the Italian aristocracy. There are two types, the Lombardian is white and chestnut colored and a bit larger than the Piedmontese which is white and orange.

Rifugio Hope

If you want to buy one of these dogs, I advise you to look on the internet to find the nearest kennel, but keep in mind that there are many dogs who may not be pedigree dogs but still deserve love. If you want to contribute to the good work of our friends at the Sicilian shelter where we found our dog, please visit the website of Rifugio HOPE or link here to their Go Fund Me campaign.