21 Italian Dog Breeds

Different dog breeds have originated in different countries around the globe. In connection, we can trace the origin of most dog breeds in Italy. There are lots of things you will love about Italian dog breeds. These include their diversity.

Italian dog breeds are companion dogs, guard dogs, hunting dogs, and working dogs designed to protect livestock. They also come in different temperaments, appearances, and sizes.

Some Italian dog breeds love quiet surroundings, while others need a spacious room designed for different activities.

Whether you plan to purchase your Italian dog or just want to know the differences of each Italian dog breed, we have great news for you!

In this post, we will talk about the different Italian dog breeds you will surely adore because of their cuteness, activeness, and a lot more. Read on to know further.

1. Volpino Italiano 


By just reading its name, no one can deny that Volpino Italiano is an Italian dog breed. This dog breed is like a Spitz-type canine. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, these dogs are well-known in Tuscany.

Queen Victoria owns several Volpino Italiano dogs – this is great evidence providing the breed’s popularity. On the other hand, the said dog breed suddenly disappeared in the 1960s for no reason.

Fortunately, after several years, professionals revitalize the breed. With that, new registrations of Volpino Italiano started in 1972.

2. Spinone Italiano


Aside from being an ancient Italian dog breed, one of the best things about this Spinone Italiano is very adaptable. They are good to work with because of their calm behavior.

Spinone Italiano is an ideal hunting dog because of its muscular and strong physique. Beyond that, it also has endless endurance. Aside from hunting, this dog breed is also impressive in setting, pointing, flushing, and retrieving.

Even though these dog breeds have the best hunting skills, they are also the best human companion because of their friendly and gentle nature.  

3. Segugio Maermmano (Maremma Scenthound)


This Italian dog breed originated in Maremma, Tuscany. With their exceptional hunting skills, this Segugio Maermmano is ideal in hunting large animals, such as boars. Beyond that, people can also train this hound for hunting hare.

Italian Kennel Club recognized this Italian dog breed in 2009. Since 2009, over 6,000 Maemma Scent hounds have been registered. Thus, they became one of the most known Italian dog breeds.

4. Segugio Italiano


The Segugio Italiano is popularized by many for being an even-tempered, calm, and smart dog breed. Despite that, it has the power to knock down bigger animals in the forest. For the past 2,000 years, this Italian dog breed has been used as a boar hunter even though it only weighs around 40 to 60 pounds.

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Despite being popular in Italy, this dog breed is quite underrated in other countries. Even though the Foundation Stock Service has recognized it, this breed is still unregistered. Within ten years, even one Segugio Italiano has not been registered in the UK.

5. Segugio dell’Appennino


Segugio dell’Appennino is a small Italian dog breed that is meant for hunting hares. Despite being small, their masculinity is still noticeable. It is an ideal dog for hunting hair because of is agile and fast.

These dogs’ height is approximately 20 inches that weigh between 20 to 40 pounds. Even though the breed has been in the country for several years, the Italian Kennel Club only considered it an official canine breed in 2010.

6. Sardinian Shepherd Dog


In 2013, the Sardinian Shepherd Dog was officially recognized by the Italian Kennel Club. This is an ancient Italian breed that has served its owners for different purposes for several years. Originally, Sardinian Shepherd Dog was used for guarding livestock and herding.

7. Saint Bernard


Despite being massive, this Saint Bernard is a gentle Italian dog breed that has been used for multiple purposes. Among 196 registered breeds of AKC, this one has the 48th ranking. This dog breed is huge, weighing around 180 pounds and standing 30 inches.

Considering the dog’s gentle temperament and calm behavior, Saint Bernard is a popular rescue dog that has been used for several centuries.

8. Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai


Pastore Della Lessinia e del Lagorai originated in Triveneto, a northeastern region in Italy. Since this Italian dog breed has been discovered, it is being used to herd cattle.

Unfortunately, not among the major Kennel Clubs or organizations recognize this breed. On the other hand, a current project that aims to protect and prevent the extinction of this particular dog breed exists.

9. Neapolitan Mastiff


Neapolitan Mastiff is a massive and ancient dog breed in Italy. They weigh approximately 150 pounds and can stand up to 31 inches. Considering its large and muscular body, we can say that these are a type of guard dogs.

Aside from being guard dogs, this breed is also an affectionate and loving companion. They are considered giants with soft hearts. Because of this, they became one of the popular dog breeds around the world.

10. Maremma Sheepdog


In Italian, Maremma Sheepdog is called the Maremmano-Abruzzese. This Italian dog breed has been serving its owners for many centuries ago. Its primary work is to guard livestock in the mountain. Considering their white coats, they can easily blend in with the sheep he protects against predators, including human thieves and wolves.

11. Maltese


Are you looking for a super adorable Italian dog breed? If yes, then you may be probably looking for this Maltese. This dog breed is known for being one of the best family companions and shows dogs.

Its 7 inches height and 7 pounds weight made it like a fluffy dog. This ancient dog breed lives a high-class and very pampered life. Because of their cuteness, they easily captivated the attention of many aristocrats of various societies.

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As of now, Maltese is now considered a well-around lap dog among wealthy individuals. Beyond their cuteness, they are also talented, which made them a popular show dog that gained lots of awards.

12. Lupo Italiano


The Italian Wolf is another term that describes Lupo Italiano – another popular Italian dog breed. Breeders breed only a few Lupo Italiano each year. Thus, you should be willing to wait if you want to own this kind of dog.

Aside from its small population, you need to strictly follow the rules set by its breeders as Lupo Italiano is thoroughly being managed and protected. In addition, to keep this dog in your possession, you need to comply with all the requirements and follow the set rules.

13. Levriero Sardo


The Phoenician traders are believed to bring this rare and unique breed to Sardinia island. With its great physique, Levriero Sardo is previously used for hunting hares.

Many believe that this dog breed is near to its extinction. This is because there are only 100 Levriero Sardo left in Italy. In addition, only a few breeders are dedicating their time and efforts to increase the family of this breed.

14. Italian Greyhound


Compared to the Greyhound you know, this Italian Greyhound has a much smaller size. This Italian Greyhound is just 15 inches tall and weighs lighter than 11 pounds. This Italian dog breed has been included in the sighthound group after the Federation Cynologique International recognized it.

On the other hand, AKC considered Italian Greyhounds as a toy breed. Similar to usual Greyhounds, this one has a deep chest with a slender body. Considering their compact size, this breed has the fastest running speed.

15. Dogo Sardesco


The main purpose of this Dogo Sardesco is to guard livestock. It is considered a working Italian dog breed and believed to be related to a Mastiff or Molosser.

Aside from guarding your livestock, this breed is also used for hunting. Unfortunately, there’s a point in history where Dogo Sardesco was used for dogfighting. This is an effective guard dog because of its protective nature.

16. Cirneco dell’Etna


This Italian canine breed is known for having an athletic, muscular, and lean body. It was initially used for hunting in Sicily. Sicily houses Mount Etna, which became an instant inspiration for this dog’s name.

If you are not in Italy, you might have difficulty finding someone who owns this dog breed. Each year, only 100 to 150 pieces of this dog breed are being registered.

17. Cane Paratore


Another rare Italian dog breed is the Cane Paratore. This is mainly because it doesn’t have a chance to increase their number in Italy. Most numbers of this dog breed can be found in Abruzzo.

Being a rare Italian dog breed, you need much luck to find Cane Paratore in other parts of Italy. Cane Paratore and Cane Corsos are two rare Italian dog breeds that are related to German Shepherds.

18. Cane Lupino del Gigante


Cane Lupino del Gigante only has 200 living members, making it one of Italy’s rarest breeds. Its main purpose is to herd sheep in the Apennine Mountains.

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Unfortunately, the region experienced a sudden decline in sheep raising. This is the main reason why the population of this dog breed has been significantly reduced.

By just reading its name, you may think that Cane Lupino del Gigante is a giant dog breed. But the truth is that they are medium-sized doggies that weigh around 65 pounds.

19. Cane di Oropa


Cane di Oropa is known for its powerful and hardy nature. Despite that, they are not the largest breed of dog. Their well-built body is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions in the Western Italian Alps.

This is a good herding dog you can use to accompany a group of cattle and sheep through the rugged terrains.

You can identify Cane di Oropa from other Italian dog breeds by looking at their natural bobtail. In line with that, their tails are protected against frostbite. Moreover, it is also one of the Italian dog breeds that are connected with German Shepherds.

20. Cane Corso


The Cane Corso is believed to be a giant molossoid dog that lived in Ancient Rome. Aside from that, this Italian dog breed is also related to the Neapolitan Mastiff. They are also considered to be the remaining coursing Mastiffs in Italy.

Being a coursing Mastiff, we can say that this one is more athletic, agile, and faster compared to other Mastiff breeds. Aside from that, they are also gifted with exceptional energy levels, stamina, and endurance. Despite having the largest dog population in Italy in the past years, Cane Corso now has a limited population saved since the 1980s.

21. Bolognese


As you may notice on its name, you can conclude that Bolognese is an Italian dog breed that originated in Bologna, Italy. Bolognese is one of the smallest dog breeds in the world. Despite their size, they have the biggest personality.

They are very sociable and love to play with other puppies or humans. One of the best things you will love about this Italian dog breed is that they are very clingy. This means that they always want to be with you every second of the day.

Aside from that, their coats are pure white and so fluffy, making them an ideal lap dog. They also have a high energy level and loves to play outside with other dogs and their beloved owner.


By reading this list, we can conclude that Italian dog breeds are very interesting and diverse. Some of the aforementioned Italian dog breeds above are rare, even though few have been recognized internationally.

For several years, dogs have played an important part in a person’s life. They can be used as therapy dogs, rescuers, hunters, protectors, and companions. In line with that, individuals worldwide appreciate and love these canines and consider them as essential members of the family.

If you are looking for a petite or giant dog, Italian dog breeds are the ones to choose from.

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