The Most Popular Dog Breeds in Italy

Italy is a great place to visit if you are looking for a place to learn about the history of civilization, contemporary culture art, and as well as to taste delicious foods. This country has witnessed the apogee and defeat of the Roman Empire. With this, it is also known for the number of dog breeds that originated on its soil. There are many popular dog breeds in Italy, and they range from small Malteses to giant Neapolitan mastiffs.

The world has been given very special and striking dogs by Italy. These dogs are known because of their remarkable beauty and strong personality. Aside from that, they also have well-developed senses and amazing abilities.

If you are curious and want to know what these dog breeds are, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you a list of the most popular dog breeds in Italy.

1. Volpino

Volpino is a popular dog breed in Italy, but it is also probably the rarest to find. It is a small, spitz-like dog, which history is thought to go as far back as the 15th century. They were used as companions for ladies of the court and as well as by the working class as excellent watchdogs and insect catchers. In fact, it is believed that the painter, Michelangelo, owned a Volpino.

Even though this dog breed is small, it is full of energy. They are playful, alert, and friendly. However, they can also be willful and vocal. To make sure that they don’t become too stubborn or noisy, a lot of training is needed.

2. Spinone Italiano

The name of this dog breed is thought to have derived from the thorny “Spino” brushwood they have to use when hunting in their home region of Piedmont. They are coarse-haired, pointing dogs that have very ancient origins. Today, they are very popular in Italy due to their versatility and ability to retrieve on land and in water. They were almost extinct after the two World Wars. But today, their numbers are constantly growing in Italy.

The Spinone Italiano is popular for being gentle and more mild-mannered compared to their pointing relatives. However, they can have a stubborn streak. They can also develop strong attachments with their people, which results in them developing separation anxiety.

3. Neapolitan Mastiff

Another popular dog breed in Italy is the Neapolitan Mastiff. The origins of this dog breed go all the way back to the Roman Empire. It was during the time when big molossus dogs like them were used as gladiators in battles. They were also vicious guardians.

In more recent years, in Southern Italy, Neapolitan Mastiffs were more specifically developed to resemble the large, loose-skinned, and wrinkled dogs that we know today. They are still very effective guard dogs, but they are now gentler and more family-friendly. Today, they are regarded as a national treasure in Italy and are much beloved.

4. Maremma Sheepdog

a litter of Maremma Sheepdog
The Maremma Sheepdog is a popular dog breed in Italy. It is used to guard sheep against wolves in the Abruzzo region and in the Maremma area of Tuscany and Lazio. This dog breed has strong protective instincts. It is popular for being loyal, calm, and courageous. They are also intelligent and independent thinkers who are protective of their people and territory. However, they are not good for novice dog owners.

5. Lagotto Romagnolo

a Lagotto Romagnolo outdoors
The Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed is known to be one of the oldest water dogs. It was developed in the Romagna region of North-East Italy. The word “Lagotto” when translated in English means “Duck Dog.”

They are also popular truffle hunting dogs because of their working versatility, a keen sense of smell, and drive. They are also known for being affectionate, trainable, and easer to please. However, they can be challenging to groom because they have a curly coat that is prone to matting.

6. Italian Greyhound

a black and white Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound was thought to have originated from the Mediterranean, around Turkey and Greece. They were developed in Renaissance Italy and became popular across Europe, especially among royals and nobility. They were also almost wiped out during the World Wars. But enthusiastic breeders in North America were able to revive their numbers.

Italian Greyhounds are known to be affectionate, easy-going, and playful. Even though they are very energetic outdoors, they also love to curl up for a nap on the sofa when they are indoors.

7. Cane Corso

a Cane Corso on the grass
The Cane Corso is a large, muscular, and mastiff-type dog that belongs to the molossus dogs’ group. This dog breed has been around Italy for hundreds of years. It is originally developed for their guarding capabilities. They were also used in hunting and herding.

In Italy, the Cane Corso is very popular among the farming community for being dedicated protectors of farm properties and livestock. Since the 1970s, their numbers have been increasing. In fact, they are now the most popular Italian dog breed even in the United States. It is an incredibly loyal and affectionate dog breed that families would love to have as a pet.

8. Bracco Italiano

The Bracco Italiano is one of the eldest pointing dog breeds in Europe. In the 18th century, they nearly became extinct. But a group of reliable breed enthusiasts helped in growing their numbers again. Today, they are one of the most popular dog breeds in Italy.

These dogs are large, driven, athletic, and intelligent. They are energetic but are usually calm, loving, and loyal in the home. It is a perfect dog to have for those who like to go out and exercise. Just be ready for their high prey drive.

9. Bolognese

a cute Bolognese dog
This is a beautiful little dog that is popular for being calm, affectionate, and amiable. They are also loved by many because they are low shedders. However, they have long coats that need significant attention when it comes to grooming.

The descendants of this dog breed can be traced as far back as 11th century Italy, around the Bologna area. They were owned by the nobility of the time. The breed also almost died out as classes and cultures changed. But an Italian breeder in the 1980s helped in restoring their popularity.

10. Bergamasco Sheepdog

The Bergamasco Sheepdog is one of the most popular but rarest dog breeds in Italy. It was originally used for herding and protecting livestock in the mountainous alpine territory near Bergamo in Northern Italy. It is a highly intelligent, active, and independent thinker. They are also affectionate and loving family dogs.

They have unique flocked hair that kept them well-insulated against the freezing winter temperatures. They also have long eyelashes that kept the snow out of their eyes and protected them from developing snow blindness.

These are some of the most popular dog breeds in Italy. Which of these dog breeds would you like to have as a pet? Remember, when choosing a dog for a pet, you need to do further research on whether you can offer the right home and lifestyle that will fit their breeds, size, and temperament.