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October 24, 2022 12 min read


The Cirneco dell’Etna (also known as the Sicily Shepherd Dog) is an ancient breed that originated on Sicily, Italy. It’s one of the oldest herding dogs in the world and it’s thought that their original purpose may have been to keep flocks of sheep from straying into fields where they could become prey for wolves and other predators. While Cirnecos aren't typically used for herding anymore, they still retain some of those instincts which makes them great companions for walkers who want a dog who will stick close by while they're out on their morning jogs or evening strolls. In this article we'll take a look at everything you need to know about adopting or buying a Cirneco dell'Etna: appearance, personality quirks and how much these adorable little guys cost!

Cirneco dell’Etna Breed Overview

The Cirneco dell'Etna is a small, short-haired breed of dog of the bichon family. The Cirneco dell'Etna is an ancient breed that originated on Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy. It is known as the “hunting dog” and it was used to hunt rabbits, hares, foxes and other small game animals.

The Cirneco dell'Etna's coat may be gray or fawn colored with white trim or completely white. The most distinguishing characteristic of this dog is its unique hairless face which resembles that of a human (this is actually due to a genetic mutation).

Characteristics of the Cirneco dell’Etna

The Cirneco dell’Etna is a small dog breed that has been bred for hunting and retrieving. In addition to its keen nose and hunting skills, the Cirneco dell’Etna is also loyal, affectionate and intelligent.

The Cirneco dell’Etna makes an excellent companion because it is quiet, independent and easy to train.

History of the Cirneco dell’Etna

The Cirneco dell’Etna is a small, ancient dog breed that originated in Sicily, Italy. The name “Cirneco” comes from the Sicilian word for “fox,” referring to its foxlike appearance.

These dogs were originally bred as hunting dogs and flock guards on farms and ranches; they were also used for rodent control and rabbit hunting.

During World War II, some of these dogs were taken to Malta where they became popular among British troops stationed there due to their intelligence, friendliness and loyalty toward people (and other dogs).


The average life expectancy of a Cirneco dell’Etna is 12-15 years. However, these dogs can live up to 20 years when they are cared for properly.

Cirneco dell’Etna head shot

Height and Weight of Cirneco dell’Etna

Cirneco dell’Etna dogs are small, with a weight of between 6 and 14 kg (13 and 30 lb). They are medium-sized.

Cirneco dell’Etna Appearance and Color Variations

The Cirneco dell'Etna is a small dog with a long, thin body and a long, silky coat. They can come in many colors, but the most common color variation is white with spots on their chest and legs. This coat gives the impression that they are wearing tights or leggings because it is so full and fluffy.

Cirneco dell’Etna Personality

The Cirneco dell'Etna is a loving, loyal and affectionate companion. It's often compared to the Maltese or Bichon Frise because of its gentle temperament and playful nature. However, while they are affectionate, they are also independent and not aggressive with other animals or people.

They are very curious when it comes to their surroundings and can be easily distracted by new objects or sounds that catch your attention as well! They love playing games with you but will still give you time alone if you need it. This makes them an ideal dog for families who want a dog that can help out around the house but also entertain themselves when left alone for extended periods of time!

Cirneco dell’Etna Temperament

The Cirneco dell’Etna temperament is one of intelligence, alertness and overall joy. These dogs are very affectionate, playful and energetic. They can get along with other dogs, but they do not enjoy being around large groups of them. The Cirneco dell’Etna personality also includes a tendency toward independence. This dog is known for being masterful at getting what it wants without appearing to try very hard at all!

Where to adopt or buy a Cirneco dell’Etna?

You can adopt or buy a Cirneco dell’Etna from a number of breeders, rescues and shelters. Here are some tips to help you find the right dog:

  • Check out dog adoption websites like Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet. Many rescue organizations have dogs listed on these sites that are available for adoption in your area. You can also search for local shelters and humane societies, which often list their animals online as well.

  • Contact breeders directly. Although we do not recommend purchasing a dog online, some breeders may be willing to ship their puppies if they meet your criteria and agree with what you want in a puppy (example: is the puppy show quality?). Find out if this option is possible before you put down any money on shipping costs!

What’s the price of Cirneco dell’Etna?

The price of Cirneco dell’Etna can vary depending on the breeder, the dog's age, and health status. A puppy from a good breeder will cost you anywhere between $500 and $10,000.

Pros of Cirneco dell’Etna

  • Cirneco dell’Etna is a highly intelligent dog.

  • Cirneco dell’Etna is a good watchdog.

  • Cirneco dell’Etna is a good family dog.

Cons of Cirneco dell’Etna

Some people may be deterred from the Cirneco dell’Etna because of the breed's intolerance for hot and cold weather. They are not very tolerant with extreme temperatures, so it is best to keep them indoors when temperatures approach freezing.

Cirneco dell’Etna running

Things to know if you own a Cirneco dell’Etna

If you are thinking about getting a Cirneco dell’Etna, it is important to know that they are very intelligent dogs. They will learn quickly and can be taught to do many things in order for them to help out around the house. These dogs have a great work ethic and enjoy doing what their owner needs them to do. They also love going for walks, playing games and spending time with their family members.

The Cirneco dell'Etna is a loyal dog that will always stick by your side no matter what situation you may find yourself in. Their loyalty makes them great guard dogs because they will let the whole neighborhood know if someone comes around trying to cause trouble or break into your home without permission! Because of this trait, these dogs make excellent companions for families who need protection while away from home during the day (such as working parents).

Diet and nutrition of Cirneco dell’Etna

The Cirneco dell'Etna is an active dog that needs regular activity, including walks, hikes and playtime.

The Cirneco dell'Etna has a quiet bark but can be vocal when excited or to alert you of danger.

Cirnecos are extremely intelligent dogs and respond well to consistent training methods used by experienced owners. They should not be taught using harsh methods because this could result in fear or aggression issues later on down the road if proper training techniques aren't utilized consistently throughout their lives.


Most importantly, your Cirneco will need daily brushing to keep their coat clean. Be careful not to over-brush as this could lead to skin damage and excessive shedding (which they’re already prone to).

Brush your dog weekly, or every other week depending on how fast his hair grows.

Bathe him monthly with a mild shampoo at room temperature in soft water, if possible. Make sure you rinse thoroughly and pat dry thoroughly before applying any conditioner or moisturizer.

You should also trim your dog's nails regularly; if you feel uncomfortable doing this yourself, bring him into the groomer for regular nail trims.


The Cirneco dell'Etna is a lively and energetic dog that needs daily exercise. They love to run and play but are not suited for apartment living since they are too active indoors.

The Cirneco dell'Etna can be trained to walk on a leash, but it should be done gradually. If you introduce your Cirneco dell’Etna puppy or adult dog to the leash gently, you will have an easier time walking with him later on.


Training is important. Cirnechi are well-known for their ability to be great family pets, but they also have the potential to make fantastic guard dogs and hunting companions as well. They can be trained as working dogs as well, but only if you are careful with your training methods.

As a pup, it is important that your Cirneco receives proper socialization with other animals and people early on in life. This will help ensure that your dog becomes accustomed to new situations and does not become too shy or nervous around unfamiliar things later on in life.


A daily brushing is recommended to keep the coat clean, shiny and healthy. Regular grooming will also help to reduce shedding.

Brushing is especially important during the shedding season, when your Cirneco dell’Etna’s fur will be at its thickest. Use a slicker brush or stiff-bristled toothbrush for this purpose; combing out the hair with a fine-toothed comb or curry may be beneficial as well.

Bathing should only be done once every two months, as over bathing can strip away natural oils from the skin and cause dryness or itchiness in some dogs. Otherwise, use warm water to rinse off dirt from your dog's coat after each walk or play session outside! You can also use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt stuck between paw pads and pads of feet (watch out for hot pavement!) As with bathing frequency, do not bathe your Cirneco dell'Etna more than once per month—doing so too often can dry out their coats even further!

Cirneco dell’Etna FAQs

How often should you bathe a Cirneco dell’Etna?

A Cirneco dell’Etna’s coat is extremely low maintenance. As a matter of fact, this breed is known for being very clean and has no doggy odor at all. Therefore, it can go without bathing for up to three months! However, if you prefer to bathe your Cirneco more often than that (which we don't recommend doing), every two to three months should be fine.

There are several ways you can bathe your dog:​

Are the Cirneco dell’Etna dogs good for families?

If you have children, then Cirneco dell’Etna dogs are the perfect companions for your family. They are known to be gentle with children and very friendly. They don't mind being picked up and carried around by little ones, even though they do prefer to be on the ground with their families most of the time.

Cirneco dell'Etna dogs like other pets as well, so if you have other animals such as cats or birds in your home, there's no need to worry about introducing them into your pack!

Dose Cirneco dell’Etna get along with other pets?

The Cirneco dell’Etna dog is a friendly and social breed that gets along well with other dogs, cats, children, and even strangers. They are not aggressive animals by nature. Though they may bark at the sight of a stranger or unfamiliar animal in their territory (like any dog), they don’t typically have an aggressive temperament towards people or other pets.

Do Cirneco dell’Etna bark a lot?

Cirneco dell’Etnas are not typically known for being barkers. They do have a distinctive bark, but they are not likely to be nuisance barkers. While they will bark when they feel the need to alert you or protect their home, they do not do it frequently or unnecessarily.

Cirneco dell'Etnas make good watchdogs because they are attentive to their environment and react accordingly. If there is an intruder in your yard or someone suspicious comes by your house, your Cirneco may let out an alarm bark if it senses danger (or maybe even if it just doesn't recognize the person). The barking is more of a warning than anything else—it lets you know something's up so that you can take action!

Cirneco dell’Etna family

Are Cirneco dell’Etnas aggressive?

If you've never owned a dog before, you may be wondering if your Cirneco dell'Etna is aggressive or not. The answer is no. Cirneco dell’Etnas are friendly and affectionate dogs who aren't generally known for being dominant or aggressive with other dogs. They can be playful with older children and adults, but if the play gets rough it's best to stop them before they hurt any fragile limbs (like fingers).

In general, Cirnecos are not guard dogs either. They're too small to be intimidating and tend to bark more than bite when faced with danger (though they will defend themselves if threatened).

Are Cirneco dell’Etnas high maintenance?

The Cirneco dell’Etna is not a high maintenance breed, but it's also not low maintenance either. The breed is on the medium maintenance side of things.

Cirnecos do shed their hair, which can be annoying to those with allergies or asthma. However, the amount of shedding varies between individual dogs and by season: they'll shed more during spring and fall than they will during summer or winter. If you have an allergy problem, you should probably stay away from this breed if you want something that doesn't shed much at all (this also applies to long-haired breeds like Coton de Tulear and Lhasa Apso). That said, there are plenty of people who have lived happily with their Cirnecos despite having allergies!

Do Cirneco dell’Etna shed?

As far as shedding goes, the Cirneco dell'Etna is not a good fit for allergy sufferers. These dogs shed year-round and tend to shed their undercoat twice a year. They are also known to shed during the spring, so you can expect to see some dustings in your home during that time of year.

How smart is a Cirneco dell’Etna?

Cirneco dell'Etna is a smart dog. They are very trainable and can be trained to do tricks.

Are Cirneco dell’Etnas good walking dogs?

The Cirneco dell’Etna is not a good walking dog. Some people might be shocked to read that, because they assume that all dogs love going on walks. However, the truth is that your Cirneco dell’Etna will probably enjoy his walk much more if you go alone with him rather than with another dog or people.

Do not push your Cirneco dell'Etna too hard when you are out for a walk together; he needs his space and may become stressed if he feels like he does not have enough room to move freely in public areas where other animals are present. If your Cirneco dell'Etna does become overstimulated by being around other animals on the streets, then take him somewhere else where there are fewer distractions so that he can calm down again before returning home from your walk together!

Can Cirneco dell’Etna swim?

The Cirneco dell’Etna can swim. They are excellent swimmers and love the water. They are also great retrievers, which means you can throw a toy into the pool or ocean and watch your dog retrieve it for you!

Do Cirneco dell’Etna like to cuddle?

These dogs are incredibly affectionate and love to cuddle. They’re loyal to their owners and will follow them around the house, staying close by as they work or play. If you have a Cirneco dell’Etna, don’t be surprised if it jumps on your lap in the middle of a meeting or immediately curls up next to you when watching TV.

Are Cirneco dell’Etnas clingy?

Yes. Cirneco dell’Etnas are very affectionate and love to be with their owners. They are extremely loyal and have earned the nickname “the Prince of Dogs” due to their regal mannerisms and high intelligence. They also enjoy sleeping in their owners' beds! As a result, they are often considered to be lap dogs.

Cirneca dell'Etna dogs are playful by nature and will keep you entertained with tricks like fetching or rolling over on command—but they can also be protective of their territory (including you!).

Are Cirneco dell’Etnas good house dogs?

Yes, they are good house dogs. They are very affectionate and love to cuddle. They get along very well with children and other pets, even if they have never seen them before. Cirnecos also have an excellent temperament for people who don’t know them well or are strangers in the home, as long as proper introductions are made first.

Are Cirneco dell’Etnas hypoallergenic?

The short answer is no, Cirneco dell’Etnas are not hypoallergenic. They do shed and have hair that can get on your clothes and furniture with their constant shedding. This makes for a very clean dog but if you're allergic to dogs in general it might be best to look at another breed.


The Cirneco dell’Etna is a beautiful, intelligent, and highly trainable dog. It’s no wonder that they are such popular pets worldwide! The Cirneco dell’Etna is also very affectionate with their owners, so they make great companions for any size family or living situation. However, because of their sensitive nature, it is important to give them lots of love and attention throughout their lives so that they don't develop behavior problems later on down the road.

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