10 Italian Dog Breeds: Working, Guard & Companions

10 Italian Dog Breeds: Working, Guard & Companions

Author WDF Staff


Do you love everything that has to do with the beautiful country of Italy? Are you a fan of their cheese, wine, and gelato? If that's the case, you will love these Italian dog breeds. Italy has a rich history, and its people have used dogs for various purposes for thousands of years. Some were bred for companionship, and some were fearless warriors and guards who kept the livestock, farms, and their owners safe. Here are the 10 of our favorite Italian dog breeds.

1. Bergamasco Shepherd

The Bergamasco Shepherd, a huge Italian herding dog, is easily recognized by its thick, drooping dreads. With black or merle coats, the gentle giant can reach a weight of up to 85 pounds. This breed excels because of its patience and protective nature when it comes to kids. There is no need to worry about the Bergamasco Shepherd since it will care for your family. To avoid matting and knotting, this dog requires daily brushing.


2. Cane Corso

There is something that strikes fear in most who are not familiar with the mighty Cane Corsos, originally bred by Romans as guards and war dogs. These massive canines can reach 120 pounds of pure muscle. Only experienced dog owners who aren't afraid of dealing with a strong, independent dog should get one of these dogs. Although they are devoted to those they love, Corsos have a tendency to become too guarded when new individuals enter their lives. They require regular exercise and thrive in a vast, securely fenced yard.

cane corso in garden

3. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds supposedly originated in the Mediterranean region around Greece and Turkey. Still, their popularity grew throughout the Renaissance period in Italy. They have a reputation for being warm, laid-back, and amusing. Despite their enthusiasm for walks, they don't require as much exercise as other breeds, and they often prefer to curl up on the couch for a nap. They might be a bit stubborn when it comes to training, so providing lots of praise is essential.

italian greyhound

4. Maremma Sheepdog

The central and southern Italian areas are home to this huge livestock dog. Its name means "the dog of the Maremma region's shepherd." In terms of size, the Maremma Sheepdog stands out. In rural herding communities, it protects livestock from predators such as wolves and coyotes.


5. Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo, one of the earliest water dogs, was produced in the Romagna area of Italy. Lagotto is referred to as a "duck dog" in the local language. Lagottos are noted for their devotion, eagerness to please, and training ability. As a bonus, they're a lot more laid back than other working dogs. On the other hand, their curly coat is prone to matting, so you'll need to put in the effort. However, future owners should know that Lagottos adore digging and can be rather chatty.

lagotto-romagnolo near water

6. Neapolitan Mastiff

For centuries, the Roman Empire utilized mastiff-type dogs, like Neapolitan Mastiffs, like gladiators and war dogs. They were fierce defenders as well. More precisely, the modern-day version of the Neapolitan Mastiff was carefully developed in Italy's southern regions in the last couple of centuries. Their temperaments are calmer and more family-friendly, yet they still have the ability to protect their families. It is absolutely vital to keep their wrinkled skin clean in order to avoid infections and other complications. Be prepared to get a dog that drools profusely.

Neapolitan Mastiff puppy

7. Cirneco dell'Etna

The Cirneco dell'Etna, an old Sicilian coursing hound, is slender, graceful, and robust. They're known for their fast bursts of speed, but they can also be cherished low-maintenance pets in the house.

Cirneco dell'Etna

You may want to consider a Cirneco if you lead an active lifestyle and like lure coursing, as they are naturally athletic. Boredom can lead these dogs to seek out their own entertainment if they are not kept occupied on a regular basis. Their mischievous tendencies include digging under and jumping over fences.

8. Bracco Italiano

Bred in Northern Italy from the 4th or 5th century BCE, the Bracco Italiano is considered one of Europe's oldest pointing breeds. In the 18th century, these dogs were nearly extinct, but they were saved by a group of breed enthusiasts. Braccos are huge, agile, intelligent, and driven. If they get adequate exercise and excitement, they tend to be peaceful, affectionate, and loyal in the home. However, this is not always the case, and future owners should prepare for different scenarios.

bracco italiano on beach

9. Bolognese

The modern-day Bolognese may be traced back to 11th-century Italy near the city of Bologna, where they were adored by the elite at the time. In the 1980s, an Italian breeder helped to revive the breed's popularity after it had practically vanished over the years. They're recognized for being peaceful, friendly, and agreeable, as well as for being low-shedding, making them pretty popular with some people. Bolos have a tendency to form deep bonds with their family and prefer to spend most of their time with them.

bolognese running

10. Volpino Italiano

The adorably tiny, spitz-type Volpino Italiano is arguably the most uncommon of all the canines on this list. Thought to date back as far as the 1400s, these dogs were used as companions and vermin catchers by both the aristocracy and the working people. According to legend, the artist Michelangelo was a fan of the Volpino. Small in stature, these dogs pack a powerful punch. While they're loving, energetic, and always on the lookout, these dogs may also be stubborn and vocal. Providing them with a lot of positive reinforcement will keep them from becoming overly abrasive or loud.

Volpino Italiano

World Dog Finder team

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