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Frequently Asked Questions about Cirneco dell'Etna

1. How do Cirnechi get along with dogs of other breeds, cats and different kind of animals?
Does the hunting instinct influence the obedience in walking?

2. How different are Cirneco males and females by character and behavior?

3. What is the expected life-span of a cirneco, how old can they become?

4. What is the typical odour of a Cirneco? Do they stink as a usual dog?

5. How do Cirnechi cope with cold? Do I have to dress them in the winter?

6. Could you tell more about purchasing and delivery of a puppy from Sicily?

How do Cirnechi get along with dogs of other breeds, cats and different kind of animals? Does the hunting instinct influence the obedience in walking?

The Cirneco dell Etna gets along well with dogs of other breeds and with cats. In nearly all families where our puppies live, there are either others dogs or cats being part of the family as well, they live together in harmonious families and we haven't had owners who experienced any problem.
Of course, I'm talking about puppies that were raised since their childhood together with a cat or pets. Adult dogs need to be introduced to cats, they have to get used to the presence of a cat in their house.

Cirnechi can get along well with ferrets. There are also examples of our puppies who build friendship with a rabbit, birds (parrots, chickens).
But with such kind of smaller pets, I consider to keep an eye on the dog. Even if a Cirneco doesn't pay attention to the rabbit, or doesn't touch him under supervision of the owner. I wouldn't recommend to trust them alone with the pet. The cirneco's hunting instinct can get triggered all of a sudden by some unforeseen movement of the pet, or the pet might want to escape when he becomes afraid during playing with the dog, while the dog believes it is a running/chasing game...

About obedience. Hunting instinct is inherited in the breed, it is a fact it is present in each puppy. But Cirnechi are highly intelligent dogs. And they understand what behaviour the owner likes, and what behaviour is undesirable. To have training with the dog isn't sufficient. Basically, obedience is affected by the established relationship and bond between the dog and his owner. In the mindset of the dog, only a fair, consequent and positive owner deserves respect.

For clarity, I can give examples of behaviour of our cirnechi. An example of excellent obedience in one case, and their ability to think and decide autonomous in another.
Our male saw that a fledgeling had fallen from his nest high up the tree to the ground. Within seconds, he jumped to the bird to grab it. When his nose was almost touching the bird, I managed to shout NO! (because physically I could not run so quickly to remove the dog/protect the bird). The dog turned his head to me, then sniffed the bird and, without touching him, he returned to me.
The same dog was taken for a walk in the forest, unleashed, he remained for 3 minutes out of sight. When he returned to us, he was proudly carrying a squirrel he had killed ... He gave it to me with a satisfied look in his eyes. Nobody had told him "no!" when he was catching it. So, from his point of view, it could be done.

How different are Cirneco males and females by character and behaviour?

In the breed Сirneco dell'Etna, some sexual dimorphism (sex-dependent differences) is expressed between males and bitches.
Males are taller, bigger and stronger. In general they have a "male" appearance. In bitches, on the contrary, the species is very "feminine", gentle.
As stated in the standard of the Cirneco dell'Etna breed:
Males: from 46 to 50 cm. Tolerance up to 52 cm. Weight 10 to 12 kg.
Females : from 42 to 46 cm. Tolerance up to 50 cm. Weight 8 to 10 kg.

About what character is more suitable, better or more appropriate, differences between males and females would be incorrect. Often males have a very soft, gentle and affectionate character. They are fans of being petted, hugged by their owners, melting from attention, easily become spoiled as "mum's sons", because they always get all by their affection. At the same time it seems that such a male is a bit a simpleton, but he can be quite courageous and self-confident. He will fearlessly protect the garden, guard the apartment or owner. Be the first Champion in the exhibition, with his head lifted with pride, and to win of all around him. And even he can get involved in a fight with a neighbour's dog.

In any case, no matter how the character of a cirneco male is, brave or timid, affectionate or independent, I think males are of a more simplicity, straightforwardness and honest. They are direct and unfeigned. If the cirneco boy is hurt, he will warn the whole district about this and will not pretend. Puppy boys who get vaccinated or microchipped usually complain with the most noisy voices, while females remain brave and silent!

Females, who seem to be tender, can be very bitchy. They are complicated, as all female representatives. They can be VERY clever, think many steps ahead and use it for their personal profit.
Females, as a rule, are very affectionate with their owners. May be somewhat distrustful to strangers, although, after a quick evaluation of the case, they will be very tender and steal the stranger as his new owner :-)

Females are often jealous. If you give attention to one, the other will jump immediately, so that you pet her. The most jealous one will try to remove the rival's body, squeezing herself between the other dog and you, and pushing your hand away from the rival. I have a couple who shows such jealousy. It is Birba and Nastya .
In general, there is always some kind of competitive relationship between bitches, and their relations are much more complicated than the relationship between males.

If we talk about females in general, then bitches, are more obedient than males, are more dependeing on the owner, they have more patience and possess an exquisite intelligence.

In the photo there are pairs of males and females.

What is the expected life-span of a cirneco, how old can they become?

Life expectancy of a cirneco, with good care and maintenance, is about 15 years. And this is not the limit.
I have a personal and subjective explanation for this.
Cirnechi are active dogs. A lot of time spend in motion, games. Their body is designed as functionally as possible, movements have great productivity. Within the natural movement of the cirneco, a gallop is characteristic, alternating with trot. They are lively, energetic.

What I want to tell.... According to Newton's First rule, every physical body tends to rest. The longer the body remains active, the longer it lives. Because, according to the rule of dialectics, life is a movement. Cirnechi are an excellent example.
Another reason why cirnechi live a long time. This is a very ancient breed, for many centuries nature has led his cruel but fair natural selection, weeding out weak, sick dogs, culling out genetic diseases. Therefore, in general, the Cirneco dell'Etna is a healthy breed, not burdened with any specific health problems. Although, as with any living being, some of the Cirnechi may have some health problems.

With age, the cirneco his fur changes to grayish-white, just like people. At a very old age, the muzzle becomes almost white.
In the pictures below you see Ambra at the age of 9. Still very active and a cheerful dog. Although physically the age is already visible: the proud posture was replaced by a depressing posture of a donkey, she is more often frozen, wrapped in blankets. Became more sensitive, delicate, effeminate. And, of course, she is spoiled :-) She is firmly sure that she belongs to be cuddled up near the fireplace, and owners should give her exactly the most delicious piece. :-)

What is the typical odour of a Cirneco? Do they stink as a usual dog?

If there is one thing what you shouldn't worry about... There is no such thing as a typical cirneco smell :-) Cirnechi do not smell at all! They have no undercoat, it results in a lack of skunk smell. Yesterday, I asked my Sicilian friend, - what do Cirnechi smell like? She sniffed my dogs and said: "They do not smell like dogs ... Strange ... What do they smell like? ... I cannot understand ..."

I'll tell you :-) If you smell a Cirneco, you catch the warm and pleasant fur. Often they carry the perfume of the owner, if you have a habit of applying perfume on your hands, when you pet the dog, the smell stays on them. The fur absorbs odours very well. The smell of the house is also there. The smell of cooking: the smell of fried meat, chicken, oranges ... The smell of baking before Easter ... The smell of bonfire from the barbecue ...

And sometimes, you bury your nose in the warm fur of a cirneco, close your eyes and breath the whole story, as if you are finally free, rushing along with the dog at topspeed, as if you are a dog by yourself... Catching smells by your nostrils, absorbing road dust and taking the sun in your fur, collecting all the winds and fogs, hitting down all of the dew on the run,- there is inverted sky and the whole world in miniature, pierce the air charged with ozone, adding the delicate extracts of these wonderful events, to bring them all carefully on the skin to home and to tell all what you saw and felt.
A Cirneco is dressed in the smell of the whole World for those who have activated their antennae :-)

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How do Cirnechi cope with cold? Do I have to dress them in the winter?

Before moving to Sicily, I lived in the central part of Russia, in Volgograd. Where the winters are extremely cold, windy and snowy. The average winter temperature in that part of Russia is -7'C. On cold days it reaches minima to -30'C. I owned 2 cirnechi at that time. In the autumn clothing wasn't necessary, despite the fact that they do not really like rainy weather. It was necessary to dress them in winter, nevertheless. And even in spite of this, Ambra's feet reamained very cold. On cold days walks were short and it was necessary to keep moving and keep the dog very active to stay warm.

In Belgian weather conditions (the average winter temperature is +5'C), it is not as cold as Russian winters, but more foggy, rainy, humid it wasn't necessary to dress the dogs.Ambra remained a permafrost, so she gladly jumped into her vest, when there was a long walk. The rest of the dogs did not need clothes. During long winter evenings Cirnechi love to stay near the fireplace, until their ears, nose are red-hot. as if they have to charge their battery. In their dogbeds I put, in addition to dry-beds, also some fleece blankets. They gladly cover themselves.

In Sicily (the average winter temperature is +10'C), local hunters keep Cirnechi all year round outside, although in winter the minima can be very low, especially in the mountains area where the temperature can drop below zero and snow accumulates. Cirnechi are very strong dogs and adapt themselves to such conditions.

Without a doubt, the Cirnechi are warmth and sun-loving creatures. They have no undercoat. They do not have any impressive subcutaneous fat, which would be warmed like penguins in Antarctica. But with insignificant lowering temperatures, the Cirnechi can cope very well without clothes, it is even good, as it affects the condition of their fur (it becomes thicker, richer) and develops overall hardness of the dog. In case of excessive spoiling, clothing at the slightest cooling, you are offer the dog "a disservice", depriving it of the opportunity to use internal resources, to become stronger, harsh, and more enduring. If the air temperature does not drop below zero, then the Cirneco can do without clothes.

Could you tell more about purchasing and delivery of a puppy from Sicily?

Conditions for the import of animals to countries are different, but in general, countries require a vaccination against rabies (at the age of 3 months) and a periode of quarantine, being 1 month since their vaccination. So the puppy can travel since the age of 4 months. In that time, they do grow up within the cirneco pack, the dogs get a proper education within the pack, and we take the pups to several places to socialise them and prepare them for travelling.

There are 2 ways to pick up a puppy from Sicily.

1) Come to collect the puppy by yourself. We will be very glad to meet you! We prepare all the documents for the puppies trip and assist you at the airport.

2) We deliver the puppy to the nearest airport accompanied. This is a very easy and completely problem-free and secure way.
We have an experienced and trusted buddy who accompanies the puppy. The puppy travels in the cabine in a soft carrier, or in a carrier by car. During travelling all is taken care of, he monitors the puppies condition, gives water, food,... Keeps contact with me and the owner of the puppy. Tells where he is with the puppy, how the trip is going so far, if the puppy ate, how he feels. Sends photo from the trip. By arrival at the airport you meet the traveler with the puppy. He will give you all the necessary documents and hand over his puppy.

Some price indications for delivery service to different destinations:
Catania- Brussels 350 euro.
Catania-Moscow 400 euro.
Catania- New York, Los Angeles $1000.
Catania-Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, Washington, Florida, Louisiana $1200.
Catania-North Carolina, California $1500.
Prices may vary depending on the season. If your destination is not on this list, please contact me, we can make you a quote.

Often owners worry, or are afraid of the puppies long journey travelling to home, worrying that he will get stressed. No need to worry. At this age (16 weeks) the puppies are very curious, and for them it is an adventure, rather than an ordeal. This is already visible at the airport. The puppy enjoys of new acquaintances, people who pet him, endless attention, new surroundings and experiences. After all, the puppy has already passed his first socialization by us, he is familiar with traffic noises, transport in a pet carrier. After a lot of fun and having new impressions at the airport, the puppy sleeps safely and serenely during his flight :-)
In the weeks before the puppy travels I make him familiar with a box, so he feels comfortable during the trip, he recognises his carrier as his bed. For his travelling I give a blanket with the smell of the mama.

Copyright by Diana Elisova,
kennel Cyrenensis


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