Sometimes termed Sicilian Greyhounds, the Cirneco dell’Etna breed is known for its roots in Sicily almost 3,000 years ago. However, it is thought that the Cirneco dell’Etna actually did not originate first in Sicily, but rather in Egypt or Libya. In fact, “cirneco” literally means “dog of Cyrene”, otherwise known as Libya.
As a member of the Hound group, the Cirneco dell’Etna is a talented and athletic hunter that captures prey with quick bursts of speed. This is not surprising at all, being that the Cirneco dell’Etna is thin and agile, appearing fast while simply standing. In the 1930s the Cirneco dell’Etna was almost driven to extinction, but renewed interest in the breed has brought it back from its endangered days.
Characteristics of the Cirneco dell’Etna
The Cirneco dell’Etna has the distinct appearance and personality of a gifted hunter. Let’s explore these traits.
The Cirneco dell’Etna is rather tall, standing between 16.5 and 19.5 inches high. However, weighing only 17 to 26 pounds, this breed is among the thinnest relative to its height, with the males being taller and heavier than the females. The coat of the Cirneco dell’Etna is slender yet rugged, and can be seen in a light tan, dark tan, or chestnut color. Its short coat requires minimal care, with only a gentle weekly brushing with a soft brush or hound glove, and a bath as needed.
Perhaps the ears of the Cirneco dell’Etna are its most distinctive physical trait. His ears are large and stand completely upright, causing the breed to look ancient, as though he should be painted on an Egyptian tomb.
The Cirneco dell’Etna is a mild, low maintenance companion. The breed has a loyal and gentle nature and is naturally sweet and independent. Intelligent and inquisitive, this breed is naturally in-tune with its hunting instincts, and therefore is not a good companion for households with cats, small dogs, or rodents. The Cirneco dell’Etna is, however, great with children and makes a great family pet, as he is very friendly and affectionate. Because of the strong bonds he will form with his owners, the Cirneco dell’Etna can suffer from separation anxiety. If left alone for long periods, he will be lonely and unhappy. Cirneco dell’Etna‘s are good with traveling because they are simply happy to be near you, wherever you chose to go. It’s a good idea to provide your Cirneco dell’Etna with early socialization and training classes as a puppy to reduce separation anxiety later on. When leaving your Cirneco dell’Etna for the first time, try to have another individual stay with him. Return shortly and show your Cirneco dell’Etna that you will always come back for him. Once your Cirneco dell’Etna understands that he isn’t being abandoned, you can begin to leave him alone for longer periods of time, but never too long.
Without major health concerns during its lifetime, the Cirneco dell’Etna will usually live between 12 and 14 years.
Caring for the Cirneco dell’Etna
Like any dog breed, the Cirneco dell’Etna has specific care requirements, but ultimately just needs a loving owner to provide for him.
For nutrition, your Cirneco dell’Etna will require a high-quality dog food appropriate for his age and activity level. Because this breed is so energetic, you will especially want to be sure that you always have clean, fresh water available for him to drink. Due to the activity level of this breed, obesity is not usually a problem, but can still occur if your Cirneco dell’Etna is given too many table scraps and is not provided with ample opportunities for exercise. Contact your local vet if you have questions about your pets’ diet or weight.
Your Cirneco dell’Etna will require moderate to high exercise and mental stimulation to maintain a healthy weight and a happy life. Long walks and other activities with family members will be great fun for your Cirneco dell’Etna. This breed also enjoys playing in large enclosures, such as a fenced backyard. Originally from the desert, the Cirneco dell’Etna is extremely tough and durable. This breed can often go without food or water for hours under the hot sun- although you shouldn’t try to test his limits.
Luckily, the Cirneco dell’Etna is more trainable than the usual sighthound. Although he has a strong and independent temperament, early socialization and puppy training classes will help grow your Cirneco dell’Etna into a well-mannered companion. Despite his tough nature, gentle methods of training are usually best. Praising your Cirneco dell’Etna when he does something correctly is more effective that admonishing him when he does something wrong. Overall, your Cirneco dell’Etna will want to please you and thus will try his best during training despite his confident nature.
The most common health problem occurring in the Cirneco dell’Etna breed is problems with the ears. This is understandable, being that the ears of the Cirneco dell’Etna are absolutely huge. Ears should be inspected frequently for dirt or built up wax. If the ear is dirty inside, use a soft gauze and dog ear cleaning solution to gently wipe out the ears. The ears should be cleaned once a week at least. His nails should also be trimmed regularly when they grow too long for comfort. Lastly, your pet’s teeth should be brushed often with toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.
Overall, though, the Cirneco dell’Etna is actually a very hardy and healthy breed that will be a happy and long-lived companion given the care he needs. Make sure to bring your Cirneco dell’Etna to the vet regularly to provide for regular check-ups and parasite and infection control. If you ever have any questions about the health and well-being of your beloved Cirneco dell’Etna, contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.