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Cirneco dell etna standard

FCI-Standard N°199/03.11.1999/GB

ORIGIN : Italy.


UTILIZATION : Hunting dog, especially for the hunting of wild rabbits.


Spitz and primitive types. Section 7 Primitive type Hunting Dogs. Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : The classical studies on the subject of canine breeds disseminated in the Mediterranean basin have come to the conclusion that the Cirneco dell’Etna would descend from ancient hunting dogs bred in the valley of the Nile at the time of the Pharaos, dogs which would have arrived in Sicily with the Phoenicians. But very recent researches speak in favour of a new conception, according to which it would concern a native breed of Sicilian origin from precisely the vicinity of Etna. Coins and engravings prove in effect that the Cirneco existed in those parts many centuries BC.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Primitive type dog of elegant and slender shapes, medium size, not cumbersome, robust and strong. Of morphological conformation in slightly longish lines, of light construction; his body fits into a square; the coat is fine.


- Length of body equal to the height at the withers (built in a square).
- Depth of chest slightly less than the height from ground to elbow.
- Length of the muzzle does not reach half the length of the head (the ratio skull-muzzle is of 10 to 8, but preference is given to subjects whose length of muzzle reaches that of the skull.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Hunting dog, adapted to difficult terrain suitable especially to the hunting of wild rabbits; endowed with a lot of temperament, he is at the same time gentle and affectionate.



Skull : Oval shaped lengthwise, the superior axes of the skull and muzzle are hardly divergent or parallel. The upper profile of the skull is so slightly convex as to appear almost flat; the width of the skull between the zygomatic arches must not be more than half the length of the head; the superciliary arches are not very protruding; the frontal furrow is only slightly marked; the occipital crest and the occipital protuberance are only slightly developed.
Stop : Well accentuated, in shape of about 140° angle.


Nose : Of quite rectangular shape, rather large, its colour corresponding to colour of the coat (rather dark chestnut, light chestnut, flesh colour).

Muzzle : The length of the muzzle is at least 80% of the length of the skull; its depth or height (measured at the middle of the muzzle) reaches at least its proper length; its width (measured at the middle of the muzzle) is less than half its length. The muzzle is therefore pointed with a straight topline of the foreface; its lower lateral profile is defined by the mandible.
Lips : Fine, thin and taut, only just covering the teeth of the lower jaw. The mucous membrane at the corner of the lips is hardly visible. Jaws/Teeth : Jaws normally developed although do not appear strong; lower jaw lightly developed, with receding chin. Incisors, set square in the jaws, are perfectly in line and adapted. Teeth well developed and complete, scissor bite.

Cheeks : Flat.

Eyes : The eyes, which seem rather small, are of an ochre colour, not too dark, amber or even grey, never brown or dark hazel; in lateral position; soft expression; oval shaped, with pigmentation of the eyelid rims corresponding with the colour of the nose.
Ears : Set quite high and close together, erect and rigid, the opening towards the front; triangular shape with narrow tip, must not be cropped. Their length is not more than half the length of the head.

NECK : Upper profile well arched (convex). The length of the neck is the same as that of the head. In shape similar to a truncated cone; the muscles are apparent, especially along the crest of the neck. Skin fine and taut, fitting closely; no dewlap.


Topline : Straight, sloping gracefully from the withers towards the rump.
Withers : Raised above dorsal line, narrow because of the convergence of the shoulder blades; join harmoniously into the neck without any break in the line.
Back : Upper profile straight, with moderately developed muscles; the length of the thoracic part measures about 3 times the length of the lumbar part.
Loins: The length of the loins reaches about 1/5th of the height at the withers and its width is close to its length; muscles are short and slightly visible, but firm.
Croup : Upper profile rather flat, obliqueness below the horizontal reaching around 45°. The length of this lean and solid sloping rump reaches about the third of the height at the withers, and its width is nearly half of its length; muscles of the rump are not visible.
Chest : The length of chest is slightly more than half the height at the withers (about 57%) and its width (measured at the point of its largest width) is slightly less than the third of the height at the withers; the thorax reaches to, or nearly, the level of the elbow, but without going beyound that level; the ribs are only lightly sprung, but never flat; the perimeter of the chest which is more than the height of the withers by about 1/8th, determines a rather narrow chest.
Underline : The lower profile corresponds with an evenly ascending line along the belly without any sudden interruption. Belly lean and tucked up, flanks of equal length to that of the renal region.

TAIL : Low set, rather thick and of equal thickness in its entire length, quite long, goes down to or slightly lower than the level of the hock; carried sabre fashion when in repose; lifted over the back, trumpet fashion, when the dog is alert; hair smooth.


FOREQUARTERS : Straight and parallel. Seen in profile a vertical line drawn from the point of the shoulder touches the tip of the toes. Another vertical line, going from the radial-humeral articulation, divides the forearm and the carpus in two more or less equal parts ending at half - length of the metacarpus. Seen from the front, the limb must correspond to a vertical line lowered from the point of the shoulder which divides forearm, carpus, metacarpus and foot in two, more or less equal parts. The height of the foreleg from the ground to the elbow is slightly more than half the height at the withers.
Shoulders : The length of the shoulder blade must reach about 1/3 of the height at the withers, with an obliqueness below the horizontal of 55° ; the upper tips of the blades are close to each other; the scapulo-humeral angle measures 115° to 120°.
Upper arm : Its length is equal to half the length of the leg measured from ground to elbow; almost perfectly parallel or almost so to the median plane of the body, slightly oblique below the horizontal, with noticeable and distinct muscles.
Elbow: Set at level or below the sternal line, parallel to the median plane of the body; the humeral-radial angle measures about 150°.
Forearm : Its length is equal to the third of the height at the withers; straight and parallel; the cubital-carpal groove is well obvious; bone structure is light but solid.
Pastern joint : Extends the straight line of the forearm; pisiform bone prominent.
Pastern : Its length must not be less than 1/6 of the height of the foreleg, measured from the ground to the elbow; wider than the carpus, but flat and dry, the pastern is slightly sloping from back to front; bone structure is flat and lean.
Forefoot : Oval shaped (harefoot) with well-knit and arched toes; nails strong and curved, brown or fleshy pink nearing brown, but never black; pads hard of the same colour as the nails.

HINDQUARTERS : Straight and parallel. Seen in profile, a vertical line, which descends from the rear point of the pelvic tuber to the ground, touches almost or touches the tips of the toes. Seen from behind, a vertical line drawn from the rear point of the buttock to the ground, splits the point of the hock, the metatarsal and the hind foot in two equal parts. The length of the hindlimb measures about the 93% of the height at the withers.
Upper thigh : Long and wide. Its length measures one third of the height at the withers; muscles are flat and the rear edge of the buttock is slightly convex; its width (outer surface) is equal to 3/4 of its length; the ileum-femoral angle measures about 115°.
Stifle : Must be on the vertical which goes from the buttock to the ground; the tibia-femoral angle is about 120°.
Lower thigh : Of slightly inferior length to that of the upper thigh, shows an obliqueness of 55° below the horizontal. The coverging muscles are lean and very distinct; bone structure is light; the groove along the Achilles tendon is well marked.
Hock : The distance from the sole of the foot to the point of the hock is not more than 27% of the height at the withers; its outer surface is wide; the tibial-tarsal angle is about 135°.
Metatarsal : Its length is equal to a third of the length of the foreleg measured from ground to elbow; of cylindrical shape and in vertical position, thus perpendicular to the ground; no dewclaws. Hind feet : Slightly oval with otherwise all the same characteristics as the forefeet.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Gallop, with intermittent trotting phases.

SKIN : Fine, well fitting to the underlying tissues on all parts of the body. Colour varies according to that of the coat. The mucous membranes and the skin of the nose are in the colours described for the nose and must never show black patches nor be depigmented.


HAIR : Smooth on the head, on the ears and legs; semi-long (about 3 cm) but sleek and close lying on the body and the tail; hair straight and stiff like horse hair.


• Self-coloured fawn, more or less intense or diluted like isabella, sable, etc.
• Fawn with more or less extensive white (white blaze on the head, white mark on the chest, white feet, white tip on tail, white belly; a white collar is less appreciated). Self-coloured white or white with orange patches is tolerated; a fawn coat with a mixture of slightly lighter and darker hairs is allowed.


Height at withers :

Males : From 46 to 50 cm. Tolerance up to 52 cm.
Females : From 42 to 46 cm. Tolerance up to 50 cm.

Weight :
Males : 10 to 12 kg.
Females : 8 to 10 kg.

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

• Aggresive or overly shy.
• Convergence of the cranial-facial axes.
• Concave foreface.
• Accentuated over-or undershot mouth.
• Wall eye.
• Totally hanging ears or bat ears.
• Tail curved up over the back.
• Black nails.
• Pads (digital and central) black.
• Black depigmentation, even limited.
• Self-coloured dogs brown or liver.
• Black or brown patches.
• Presence of black or brown hairs.
• Brindle coat. • Black mucous membranes.
• Total depigmentation.
• Size above or by 2 cm below the margins indicated by the standard.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


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