Other names: Corsican Dog


The Cursinu was first bred in Corsica during the 16th century. A versatile and athletic working dog, the Cursinu is an effective guard dog, watchdog, and hunting companion. The Cursinu is highly active when on the job, but turns docile once the working day is over. They become very attached to their owner but can be a little wary around strangers.


Key facts about the Cursinu

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Intelligent, Hunter
  • Size : Large
  • Type of coat : Short, Long

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types


Section 7 : Primitive type - Hunting Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Cursinu

Adult size

Female dog Between 18 and 22 in
Male dog Between 18 and 23 in


Female dog Between 55 and 62 lb
Male dog Between 55 and 62 lb

Coat colour

Fawn. Black and tan, deep brown.

Type of coat

Flat, dense, coarse, sometimes fringed. Short to mid-length.

Eye colour

From hazel to dark brown.


The Cursinu is a robust dog, with a lean and athletic frame and long, sturdy legs. He usually has a distinct black and tan speckled coat. His skull is flat, his eyes oval, and his ears triangular, drooping or semi-drooping. He has a relaxed and gentle expression. 



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The Cursinu is very affectionate toward his owners but tends to keep a distance from people he doesn’t know very well. He can come across as a bit aloof.


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This dog doesn’t know the difference between work and play, so games and playtime need to be stimulating and challenging. But once he’s done what he needs to do, he prefers to relax.


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When he’s working or playing, this dog is extremely high-energy. But when he’s not, he turns into a quiet and docile animal.


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The Cursinu is a highly intelligent working dog. His versatility means he can follow a wide range of complex obedience commands. Experienced dog handlers will really enjoy training this smart dog. 


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A natural hunter, the Cursinu was bred to track wild boar and small game, and can adapt to the most difficult of terrains. In fact, the Cursinu is still used as a working dog. 

Fearful / wary of strangers

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He does become quite shy around people he doesn’t know. He will tend to keep his distance until he feels comfortable enough to come and say hello. This generally makes him a good guardian.


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This primitive dog is quite independent, but still very attached to his master and members of his social group.

Behaviour of the Cursinu

Tolerates solitude

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This dog can bear being alone if accustomed from a young age, but by no means should he be isolated for days.

Easy to train / obedience

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This dog can be distracted, so would benefit from a positive education and building a trusting relationship with his owner.


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When hunting, the Cursinu utters a sharp and short bark, but never without reason.

Tendency to run away

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His hunting instinct and dynamic energy can quickly compel him to follow interesting tracks.


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If this dog becomes destructive, then something isn't right. One of his needs is not being met. He may need more exercise or more company.

Greedy / Gluttony

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The Cursinu will be content with little, but will respond well to treats as a motivator for training.

Guard dog

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The Cursinu is a perfect watchdog; he’s alert, loyal, and very protective of his owners.

First dog

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A Cursinu is not the dog for everyone. He needs an experienced master who knows how to meet his many physical and mental needs.


Cursinu in a flat

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These dogs shouldn’t be kept in towns, flats, or small houses with no outdoor space. 

Need for exercise / Sporty

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These dogs need about 90 minutes of exercise each day. This needs to include plenty of high-energy activities like running off the leash and games of fetch. They should have plenty of physical, mental, and olfactory stimulation.

Travelling / easy to transport

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A Cursinu will have no problem dealing with short to moderate car journeys. Longer trips need to be planned out much more carefully. 


Cursinu and cats

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This dog has a high prey drive, and was bred to chase small, furry animals, not live with them. The hunting instinct must be well and truly controlled before hoping to bring a cat into the mix.

Cursinu and dogs

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These dogs can be quite possessive over their owners, so it's best to introduce them to other dogs from an early age. Otherwise, they might get jealous. 

Cursinu and children

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The Cursinu loves the company of children and can be very patient and delicate with them if they are respectful.

Cursinu and the elderly

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Some elderly people might struggle to give this dog all the exercise it needs. 


We do not have enough data to set an average price. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £80 to £110 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


Very little grooming required. A weekly brush.


Moderate year around, except during shedding season, during which the shedding is heavy. 

Nutrition of the Cursinu

2-3 cups of high-quality dog food. One meal a day is enough, preferably at a quiet time in the evening.

Health of the Cursinu

Life expectancy

This is a well-bred and very healthy working dog with an average life expectancy of 13 years.

Strong / robust

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The Cursinu is a tough and sturdy working dog, who is comfortable in rugged terrain. He is a well-balanced, athletic animal. 

Withstand heat

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These Meditteranean dogs have no trouble dealing with the heat. His native Corsica has high temperatures, especially during the summer and spring.

Withstand cold

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They are not afraid of the cold or bad weather.

Tendency to put on weight

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These active dogs tend to stay lean well into their old age.

Common illnesses

Good to know

The Cursinu is very rare outside of Corsica. He’s a real working dog, who may struggle with domestic life. 

Origins and history

Also known as the Corsican dog, the Cursinu has been around since the 16th century. Although little is known about his origin, he's thought to have developed from various spitz breeds like the German Spitz and Elkhound. The breed almost went extinct during the late 20th century. Experts linked his decline to growing industrialisation and the introduction of more continental working dogs into Corsica. Troubled by the fall in the numbers, a group of dog lovers formed The Association for the Protection of the Corsican Dog. Not only did they halt the decline, but they've also contributed to his recent resurgence. He's still used as a sheepdog, guard dog, and hunting companion. The Cursinu is rarely kept as a household pet. 


Léon, André, Marie, Lisbet

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