17 Italian Dog Breeds (Large & Small Lovely Pups)

There are thousands of dog breeds that have been recorded to exist, some of which may be rare or battling being extinct due to certain challenges.

These breeds have their history tied to different nations of the world including America, Spain, and even Italy.

It may surprise you to know that the Italian Greyhound isn’t the only dog breed that is native to Italy.

There are more than 20 Italian dog breeds, which include some breeds you may already be familiar with.

That being said, we’ve compiled a list containing some of these breeds that originated from Italy.

Small & Big Italian Dog Breeds

1. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound Wearing Harness Standing
Photo by Bon9 / Getty
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Weight8 to 11 pounds
Height13 to 15 inches

Notably one of the best Italian hunting dog breeds, the Italian Greyhound is a little-sized sighthound that has primarily functioned as a hare and rabbit hunter.

They have great speed and have been categorized as a toy group under the UK Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club.

These slender pups with a compressed stomach and thick chest have one time been conserved as companion dogs.

They are depicted as cheerful, strong, smart, and sometimes up to mischief.

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2. Spinone Italiano

Spinone Italiano Dog Standing on Rock
Photo by Nemoris / Getty
Lifespan12 to 14 inches
Weight61 to 82 pounds
Height22 to 28 inches

This breed whose history is yet to be discovered has been originally employed to locate and recover gun down animals for hunters.

They have an athletic build that is well-fitted for the type of work they do. 

Their coat comes double layered and uneven which allows them to do well in harsh weather. They also possess feet that make them excellent swimmers.

High energy dogs as such may need an adequate amount of exercise daily. The Spinone is an ardent and peaceful breed.

3. Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiff Dog Standing on Grass
Photo by Okikukai / Getty
Lifespan8 to 10 years
Weight110 to 150 pounds
Height24 to 30 inches

The Neapolitan Mastiff is a big Italian dog with an intimidating appearance that can make you conclude that they may be aggressive.

They have got saggy skin around their face and may not seem suitable for a home companion pet.

The truth is that these dogs are peaceful and very devoted to their owners.

They make great watchdogs too as their size and facial appearance are enough to scare off strangers.

This mastiff breed has a high tendency to drool a lot and may need extra attention in getting their drool wiped.

4. Cane Corso

Black Brindle Cane Corso Dog Standing on Grass
Photo by Slowmotiongli / Getty
Lifespan9 to 12 years
Weight88 to 110 pounds
Height23 to 28 inches

The Cane Corso one of the large italian dog breeds with a history linked to the Neapolitan mastiff.

They have well-toned muscles with a big head and they do not appear as huge as many other mastiff dogs.

They possess a smooth coat that is short and rarely requires grooming.

The Cane Corso is smart, with a loving and easy-to-train personality, making them great family dogs.

They are natural watchdogs and guards just as their name implies in Latin “bodyguard dogs”.

The breed is a high-energy dog that you may need to get exercised both physically and mentally regularly.

5. Lagotto Romagnolo

Orange and White Lagotto Romagnolo Dog Standing on Grass with Flowers
Photo by Eudyptula / Getty
Lifespan15 to 17 years
Weight24 to 36 pounds
Height16 to 19 inches

This is a type of water dog useful specifically for retrieving during hunting. They possess a curled round rough coat that is woolly.

Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed got recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2015.

They are described as very cheerful pups that can get along well with their human owners, strangers, alongside other dogs and pets. This makes them less suitable as watchdogs.

Their coat may seem rough and likely to shed but they precisely shed less and may not require frequent grooming sessions.

6. Bergamasco Shepherd

Bergamasco Shepherd Dog Posing at Dog Show
Photo by CaptureLight / Getty
Lifespan13 to 15 years
Weight57 to 84 pounds
Height21 to 24 inches

The Bergamasco Shepherd is a medium-sized pup with a heavy coat that helps it cope well in harsh weather.

The coat forms knotted layers hanging down its body with hairs on its head and tail.

They have been classified as herding dogs primarily used to herd cattle.

The breed is smart and quite social. However, due to their herding history, they can be quite protective, hence, suitable as guard dogs.

They are average energy dogs and would only require a moderate amount of time dedicated to exercise.

7. Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog

Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog Standing in Forest
Photo by Anastasiia Cherniavskaia / Getty
LifespanOver 10 years
Weight66 to 99 pounds
Height24 to 29 inches

This adorable-looking breed is said to be an ancient breed with ancient engravings that have been spotted to look like it.

They have a long and coarse coat that seems a bit wavy.

Maremmano Sheepdogs have been noted as an intelligent breed with a notable sheep guarding instinct.

They are however devoted to their owners and will always try to be alert.

8. Bracco

Italian Bracco Dog Breed on Leash Looking Aside
Photo by DvcDvd84 / Getty
Lifespan12 to 13 years
Weight55 to 88 pounds
Height22 to 26 inches

This short and shiny coated Italian dog breed possesses a pointed face, noticeable large droopy ears, strong and well-toned muscled.

They have been deduced to be an old breed through some old discovered carvings from the 4th century that resembled them.

The breed is a hunting type that does well as a family companion pup. They can get along with being devoted to their owners as well as other dogs.

They may require getting socialized and trained early to fully accept strangers and control themselves around cats and other pets.

Bracco loves kids but respects its space so it’s important that you watch your kids when they are together.

9. Volpino Italiano

White Volpino Italiano Dog Breed Sitting on Blue Staircase
Photo by DevidDO / Getty
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Weight8 to 16 pounds
Height10 to 12 inches

The Volpino is among the loving small italian dog breeds that are suitable for family living. They are an ancient breed whose existence has been threatened once by extinction.

The breed enjoys activities like running and agility training. Once they are done with these, they get back to being your cuddly little affectionate pup.

They are very hairy with a small pointed face and tiny triangle-shaped ears.

Breeders of the Eskimo dogs have once tried crossing them with their Eskimos to create a smaller Eskimo dog.

10. Cirneco dell’Etna

Cirneco Dell'Etna Sicilian Hound Puppy Standing
Photo by nickpo / Getty
Lifespan12 to 14 years
Weight19 to 29 pounds
Height17 to 20 inches

This Italian breed whose name is correctly articulated as “Cheer-NECK-o” is believed to be among the oldest dog breeds with an existence that dates back to the second century BC.

They are sighthounds usually found amongst peasants or poor farmers.

They are very affectionate family dogs possessing a short and fine coat which makes grooming an easy and infrequent task.

The breed is highly trainable and has a more than average ability to adapt and hunt in harsh environmental conditions.

11. Segugio Italiano

Segugio Italiano Dog at Park
Photo by f8grapher / Getty
Lifespan11 to 13 years
Weight39 to 62 pounds
Height19 to 25 inches

The Segugio Italiano has been described by the American Kennel Club as intelligent, eager to please and friendly, due to its ability to get along well with its family, other dogs, and kids.

They are very cautious around strangers and that makes them dedicated to being watchdogs.

Their enthusiasm towards pleasing their owners makes them an easy breed to train.

These dogs can either come with a short or wired coat. Interestingly, both of these coat variants are seen to exist as two separate breeds.

12. Bolognese Dog

Bolognese Dog Waiting to be Groomed
Photo by Brezina / Getty
Lifespan8 to 18 years
Weight6 to 9 pounds
Height10 to 12 inches

Bolognese Dog is a small Italian dog breed that has a striking resemblance to the Bichon Frise.

It possesses a long wavy and silky coat that is termed hypoallergenic due to its low tendency to cause an allergic reaction in humans.

The breed is loving and cheerful to both its human family and strangers hence it isn’t a watchdog-suited breed.

Although they might act reserved around visitors at first, they would loosen up and become cheerful in no time.

It is highly adaptable and lives to please its owner. This makes training easy

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13. Saint Bernard (St. Bernard)

St Bernard Dog Standing on Rock
Photo by Artush
Lifespan8 to 10 years
Weight120 to 180 pounds
Height26 to 35 inches

The history of this breed is traced back to carvings and recordings which were done by some monks around 1707.

Accounts by the early British described this breed as Alpine Spaniel. The St. Bernard dog breed is quite popular in the United States as a nanny dog that can patiently watch over kids.

They are curious, intelligent, and enjoy the company of the family. They tend to drool a lot so they may need to be wiped regularly.

Their double-layered short coat comes out as fluffy and can be a bit rough.

14. Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai

Close Up of Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai Dog
Photo by Martina Frison / Getty

These are Italian shepherd dogs primarily used to herd sheep and cattle although they have not been registered under a major kennel club. They are among the rarest sheepdogs in the world.

Pastore della Lessinia e del Lagorai dog breed has a double-layered coat and a triangle-shaped ear that can either stand upright or drop downwards.

This breed is one hard-working species that may need to be exercised frequently to help keep their energy level evenly toned.

They are very lively and watchful, making them a good fit at their herding job.

15. Dogo Sardo

Italian Dogo Sardo Dog Breed
Photo by @jackalsoldcountryblood / Instagram
Lifespan10 to 12 years
Weight77 to 110 pounds
Height22 to 26 inches

Although with a history linked to Sardinia, Italy, the Dog Sardo dog breed had been known better in other regions abroad than its home.

They have been employed in dog fight sports and livestock guarding in the past. The breed has a firm and agile build with its short or average-sized coat.

It is devoted and enthusiastic about working and staying active. They can sometimes be prone to aggression but this can be curbed through early training.

This breed, although highly intelligent and loyal, may be more suited for families with older kids.

16. Segugio Maremmano

Two Segugio Maremmano Dogs on Leash
Photo by Buffy1982 / Getty
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Weight29 to 51 pounds
Height18 to 21 inches

This Italian scenthound breed had been traditionally utilized to hunt animals like hare and boar.

Their coats which can be black and tan or fawn and tan can either come smooth or rough.

They have been recognized by some Italian body that records their growth rate on an annual basis.

17. Sardinian Shepherd Dog

Rare Italian Sardinian Shepherd Dog
Photo by Gian Piero Canalis
Lifespan10 to 12 years
Weight55 to 88 pounds
Height22 to 24 inches

This Italian breed has a double long coat that appears rough and unkempt. They are attributed to sighthounds and molossoid dogs.

With their monkey kind of appearance and coat color, they have been employed over the years as herding dogs to help watch over livestock.

These working dogs currently have no kennel club recognition.

Wrap Up

It’s likely that you may not have heard of most of these dog breeds whose origins traces back to Italy. However, they exist, although they may not be so popular.

Hopefully, this list will help to acquaint you and expand the varieties you have to choose from if you are planning to adopt an Italian dog breed.

It is important that you get a pup from a reputable dog breeder, although it may be hard as most of the features above are among the rarest dog breeds.

This is the only proven way to get the exact breed you are looking out to get. You do not want to acquire an entirely different breed with a different personality from what you’re expecting.

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Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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