Italy is known for many great things: Pizza, pasta, and...puppies? Yes! There are many wonderful dog breeds that hail from Italy. In fact, a number of them date back to the Roman Empire, making them elegant yet powerful dogs.
And good news - there’s an Italian dog breed for everyone out there. Whether you’re a couch potato or an outdoorsy type, you’re sure to find your perfect match in this lot! So if you’re thinking of adopting an Italian breed, then check out the list below!
Italian Greyhounds, or Iggies, as they’re affectionately called, actually originated from the Mediterranean, probably Turkey or Greece. But they came to fame when the 16th Century Italian nobility discovered them. And since then, they have only grown in popularity. It’s not hard to understand why: Italian Greyhounds are also known as “velcro dogs” because they are so affectionate and loving towards their owners. If you want a cuddle buddy, look no further than an Iggy!
Maremma Sheepdogs originated from the Abruzzo region of Italy. These large dogs were originally used to guard livestock, so they have very strong protective instincts. Anyone considering such a dog should be an experienced dog owner, and likewise be prepared for some intensive training and socialisation during the dog’s early months. If raised right, these dogs can be extremely loving and loyal.
Neapolitan Mastiffs date back to the Roman times, when they were used in battle and in gladiator fights. Over the years, aggressiveness has been bred out of Neapolitans’ temperaments, but they still remain incredibly powerful and protective animals, making them excellent guard dogs. Novice dog owners should steer clear of this breed though - Neapolitans are stubborn dogs and need a firm hand at home! Not to mention that their size - they can weigh an average of 150 pounds!
Bergamasco Shepherds originate from the Bergamo region of Northern Italy, where they were originally used to guard and herd livestock. They are a very unique breed in that their coat is full of loose mats or flocks. Despite this, they are quite easy to care for, though they need lots of physical and mental stimulation every day to stay healthy and happy.
Bracco Italianos are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world - their origins date back to the 4th or 5th Century BC in Northern Italy! Braccos are now a rare breed, but due to their incredible sense of smell, they are excellent hunting dogs, making them a favourite of hunting enthusiasts. They need lots of exercise, but provided they are given enough, they can make kind and loyal family pets too.
Cane Corsos are large dogs, of the Mastiff type, which have been used for guarding and protection by rural Italians for hundreds of years. The breed almost completely disappeared during the World Wars, but since then, they’ve made quite a come-back. Cane Corsos can be calm and gentle inside the home, but they do need an experienced handler who will know how to curb their stubborn and protective instincts.
Spinone Italianos hails from the Italian alps, where they have been used for many years as pointers and retrievers. Spinones are known for being one of the most affectionate and laid-back of the pointer-type breeds, so they’re a great choice for people wanting an active yet loving family dog. Proper training is a must though, as their high attachment to their owners can result in separation anxiety.
Yes, it’s a dish, but it’s also an Italian dog breed! These adorable fluffies hail from, you guessed it, the Bologna region of Italy. Like most dogs bred for companionship, Bolos are well known for being extremely affectionate, loyal, and friendly. They are also low-shedders, making them great for people who like to keep a clean house. You will have to spend lots of time tending to that long white coat though!
Volpino Italianos date back to the 15th century when they were bred as companions for ladies of the court. A Volpino is also thought to have been the loyal companion of Michelangelo! Though they were bred for companionship, Volpinos might not be your go-to if you want a real lapdog. Indeed, these are feisty little creatures, who need to be stimulated both mentally and physically, in order to avoid problems such as excessive barking, destructive habits, or separation anxiety.
Hailing from the Romagna region of Italy, the Lagotto Romagnolo is one of the oldest water dogs in the world. Though originally a working breed, Lagottos are known for being laid-back and friendly, which means they can fit in well with families too. In fact, these medium-sized dogs are super smart and easy to train, so they could even be a good choice for first-time owners. On one condition: that these owners be extremely active and willing to take long walks every day!
So, which Italian dog breed has caught your attention?