Italian Dog Breeds  
(Recognized and Unrecognized)
Italy has produced a great number of wonderful dog breeds of various groups (pointers, shepherd dogs, molossers, etc.).
Some of these breeds originated in a specific region or area of Italy, which is still recognizable in their name. The name of the area, or a symbol thereof, forms an integral part of their breeds names, like for the Neapolitan Mastiff (Naples) or the Cirneco dell'Etna (Sicily).
Italian Dog breeds (Recognized)
Pastore Bergamasco (Bergamese shepherd dog)
Other breeds refer to a town or area where they used to be very popular, although it is not clear whether they actually originated in that area. It is the case for the Bolognese (referring to the city of Bologna), or the Bergamasco, which, given its name, most probably sprang from the Bergamo area in the North of Italy, although its exact origin is not clear.

The rest of italian dog breeds are not specific to a particular area in Italy. Some of them include the adjective "italian" in their breed name, like the Spinone Italiano, but not necessarily.

Note that Cane Corso does not refer to a dog breed that originated on the island of Corsica.  Corso does not mean 'from Corsica' here, but is an adjective of which the true etymology is still unclear. Several hypothesis exists. Its etymology could be linked to an ancient celtic or provenzal word, close to the English word "coarse". Another theory is that it derives from the same root as the italian word corso (the Greek word kórtos, meaning "enclosure")

Not all Italian dog breeds are recognized by the FCI. The unrecognized ones are mentioned at the bottom of this page.
The Bergamasco is a breed of dog which has its origin in the Italian Alps, where it was originally used as a herding dog. The breed's most distinctive feature is the unusual matted coat which is a normal and healthy characteristic of the breed.
Bolognese (Bichon of Bologna, Bichon Bolognese, Bologneser)
The Bologonese is a typical small bichon dog with a cottony white coat. They are vivacious, adorable and intelligent, with acute hearing and eyesight, that can be true watchdogs.
More about the Bolognese

Bracco Italiano (Italian Pointer)
The Italian Pointer is an all-purpose gun dog, tranquil, obedient and loyal. The Bracco Italiano comes in two varieties: a heavier and more houndlike type, which is predominantly white and brown in color, and a lighter-bodied, more pointerlike type, which is white and orange.
Abruzzese Mastiff (Mastino Abruzzese)

Alp Mastiff (Cane Garouf, Italian Mountain Dog)

Bucciriscu Calabrese:

A dog similar to the Cane Corso, but slightly smaller and found only in Calabria in the South of Italy.

Cane di Mannera (Pastore Siciliano)

Lottatore Brindisino (Brindisino Pit Fighter)

Sicilian Branchiero
Not Officially recognized italian dog breeds
Dog breeds Homepage


Cane Corso
(Kennel Club Dog Breed Series)
by Emily Bates

More information:
Neapolitan Mastiff:
A Comprehensive Owner's Guide
(Kennel Club Dog Breed Series)
by Carol Paulsen
More information:
Italian Spinone
(Pet Love: Special Rare Breed Edition)
(Hardcover)by Richard Beauchamp

More information:
Bracco Italiano:
Special Rare-Breed Edition :
A Comprehensive Owner's Guide
by Juliette Cunliffe
More information:
External Links:

Your Guide to Italy: an informative website about everything related to Italy and the Italian culture.
(Kennel Club Dog Breed Series)
by Maria Andreoli

More information:
The Maltese :
Diminutive Aristocrat
by Vicki Abbott
More information:
| More Dog breeds |
Cirneco dell'Etna

Piccolo levriero italiano (Italian Greyhound)

Romagna Water Dog (Lagotto Romagnolo)


More known today as a show dog, the Maltese was once used to chase rats. It is unclear whether it was named after the Island of Malta or the Sicilian town of Melitia. Whatever its origin, it is considered an italian breed.
More about the Maltese >>

Maremma Sheepdog (Cane de Pastore Maremmano Abruzzese, Abruzzi Sheepdog)
This dog breed once had two variants: the dog from the Maremma plains (the Maremmano), and the one from the Abruzzi (the Abruzzese). In the 1950s the to variants were united under one breed name the Abruzzi-Maremma Sheepdog).

Neapolitan Mastiff (Mastino Napoletano)
An impressive, massive dog breed of ancient origin, characterized by a loose skin over the entire body and abundant, hanging wrinkles and a voluminous dwelap. More about the Neapolitan Mastiff:

Segugio italiano (italian hound)

Spinone Italiano (italian wire-haired pointing dog)

The Spinone is a loyal, all-purpose dog with a close lying, tough, wiry coat that is hard to the touch. It is often used for hunting, pointing, and retrieving game (HPR), but its friendly character and alertness also make it an excellent companion dog, or even seeing eye dog for the blind. The name of the breed is pronounced spin-own-ay (singular) and spin-own-ee for plural.

Volpino Italiano (Italian Spitz, Florentine Spitz, Volpino di Firenze)
The Volpino could be described as the Italian counterpart of the German Pomeranian or the Dutch Keeshond, the latter being formerly referred to as the Foxdog (volpino also translates as little fox), because these of their fox-like heads.
Cane Corso
An italian molosser breed mainly used as guard dog. More information about the Cane Corso.
Cane Corso "Pacha"
Kennel "Les Veilleurs de Syrius"