Cirneco dell'Etna
Description

The Cirneco dell'Etna is a small breed of dog originally from Sicily. This hound was historically used to hunt rabbits and can work for hours without food or water.The breed also has a keen sense of smell and is primarily built for endurance over harsh terrain such as that of Mount Etna. It is the smallest of the Mediterranean island hunting hounds, the others being the Pharaoh Hounds and Ibizan Hounds.

Today they are increasingly kept for conformation showing and as pets, due to their low coat maintenance and friendly nature, although as active hounds they do need regular exercise. A Cirneco should measure from 43-51 cm (17-20in) and weigh between 10-12 kg (22-26lb). As with other breeds, those from hunting stock can be larger.

Text below written by Luigi Strano

The Cirneco dell'Etna is a small breed of dog originally from Sicily. This hound was historically used to hunt rabbits and can work for hours without food or water.The breed also has a keen sense of smell and is primarily built for endurance over harsh terrain such as that of Mount Etna. It is the smallest of the Mediterranean island hunting hounds, the others being the Pharaoh Hounds and Ibizan Hounds.

Today they are increasingly kept for conformation showing and as pets, due to their low coat maintenance and friendly nature, although as active hounds they do need regular exercise. A Cirneco should measure from 43-51 cm (17-20in) and weigh between 10-12 kg (22-26lb). As with other breeds, those from hunting stock can be larger.

The Cirneco dell'Etna is a small hound-type dog used in Sicily for rabbit hunting. It is found all over the Italian island and particularly in the area surrounding the active volcano, Mount Etna,where the dogs hunt on terrain formed by volcanic lava. Its presence in Sicily is noteworthy as one of the few ancient breeds that have undergone very little manipulation by man. Instead, the breed has been rigorously selected by nature for its ability to work for hours. The dog we have today is an extremely hardy breed. Affectionate and friendly, it is considered easier to train than some of its sighthound cousins.

The Cirneco has been in Sicily for thousands of years. Most authors agree that the origins of the hound-type dog lie among ancient Egyptian prick-eared dogs. Bas-reliefs discovered along the Nile and dated around 4000 B.C. depict what could be the Cirneco today. Most probably, the Phoenicians spread these prick-eared, hound-type dogs as they sailed along their trade routes between Northern Africa and the Mediterranean coasts. Ancient records of hounds with upright ears and a pointed muzzle are found in many countries in that part of the world. The most vivid proof of the presence of the Cirneco dell’Etna in Sicily for at least the past 2500 years is the many coins minted between the 5th and 3rd centuries B.C. depicting exemplars of the breed. In particular, the Cirneco dell’Etna is used on coins minted at Segesta, with about 150 variations.

In 400 B.C., Dionysus was said to have built a temple dedicated to the God Adranos on the south-western slope of the volcano, just outside the city of Adrano. Many dogs were bred there and legend claims that a thousand Cirnechi guarded the temple.The Cirneco was rarely seen and little known outside Sicily until 1932. Now Cirnechi have also been exported to many European countries where their elegant conformation has helped make them a success in the show ring and many have become FCI International Show Champions. The dog's affectionate temperament and adaptability make it an excellent family companion.

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    Good piece.

    Educational.

     
     01.02.2015 
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