The Cirneco dell’Etna History
The Cirneco dell’Etna, or ‘Rabbit hunter of Etna’, originated from the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily . They hunted for rabbits, hares and small game, and living in such conditions enabled them to become sturdy and efficient, with the ability to go without food or water for extended periods of time. The Cirneco dell’Etna is one of the most ancient breeds in all of Europe, and has been bred in his native land for nearly 2,500 years. In fact coins engraved with pictures of dogs resembling the Cirneco have been found in Sicily dating back to 6 BC.
This breed has been bred true to type for centuries, being free from the influence of foreign genetic material and has, until very recently, been almost unknown outside of his native island. Tragically, during World War II Sicily became a battleground and many Cirnechi were killed. However, since then numbers have been steadily growing.
The Cirneco is a darling family pet, being especially loving towards children. He is gentle, affectionate and even-tempered, with a bubbly and magnetic personality. In the house he is quiet, generally only barking at the approach of a stranger. He is an intelligent and obedient dog, and loves affection, becoming especially bonded with ‘his person’. Although he truly needs an active household, he easily adapts to modern day life in a town or city and his compact size is perfect for the typical family home. He has proven himself in agility, lure coursing and is a champion in the show ring, as well as being a tireless hunter or when at play. In fact in an effort to preserve the breed’s strong hunting instincts, in Italy they require all Cirnechi to pass a hunting/working test before being awarded championship points.