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Meet the Cirneco dell’Etna Temperament: Affection, Independent and Gentle

Bred as a rabbit and hare hunter, the Cirneco dell’Etna temperament is friendly, lively, and gentle.

Photo of Cirneco Dell Etna Portrait Min

Before you bring a Cirneco dell’Etna home let's get you better acquainted with this breed's temperament so you know what to expect.

Cirneco dell’Etna Temperament and Personality

They are Loyal and Love their Humans

Breeders created Cirneco dell ‘Etnas as gentle and alert but also playful and curious dogs. They adore being around humans and are loyal companions.

As for strangers, once they get to know you, they have a great memory and will remember who your friends are, even if they only see them once in a while.


They take a while to warm up to strangers, greeting them with loud barking and a reserved attitude, warning them to stay away from the people the Cirneco loves.

But the Cirneco never acts aggressively and, in time, those whom you consider friends the Cirneco will come to consider as friends as well.

They are Good with Kids 

This breed is highly compatible with kids. They are energetic but affectionate around them. Just be sure to supervise them, as kids can get out of control sometimes with pets, and the last thing you want is for the Cirneco to feel he needs to fight back.

They can be Pet Friendly (Sometimes)

Cirneco dell’Etnas are also friendly towards other pets. Contrary to most sighthounds, they even get along well with familiar cats, but even then, you should remain cautious. Because of his high prey drive, you should keep an eye on him around cats. He may feel inclined to chase and even kill animals that are smaller than him.

They are Adaptable

Cirneco dell’Etnas are extremely adaptable. They can thrive in an array of environments from city dwelling to country life.

However, they do not love loud noises, including yelling. If you have a fight with a family member, the Cirneco will be just as upset until the fight is over.

They Love to Snuggle

Because the Cirneco dell’Etna has a short coat, you should not keep them outside. They love to nestle under blankets, beddings, and on warm furniture.

Photo of  Cirneco Dell Etna Woman Min

They especially like to cuddle with their favorite humans. One thing’s for sure: Cirnecos hate the cold.

They have a Ton of Excess Energy

If your household is the kind that likes to laze around, then you're going to have a very bored and potentially destructive Cirneco on your hands.

This is a dog who has a ton of energy and who only feels satisfied when he can channel it productively. Your best bet is to involve him in some kind of doggy sports.

They can be Independent to the Point of Stubbornness

This breed tends to be rather independent. While this is a good thing – you can leave him alone at home without worrying about him feeling separation anxiety – it can also go south rather quickly. For instance, it can come out as stubbornness while training, or present as a challenge to other dogs of the same gender.

The best way to keep the Cirneco's independence in check is to start training him as early as possible (around six weeks old) and to socialize him as early and as much as you can.

They have a high prey drive

Keep your Cirneco on a leash when you’re out and about with him.

All he needs is to catch sight of a squirrel or other small animal, and he’ll be off like a shot. You definitely don’t want him getting lost or, worse, to dart out into traffic.

However, if you are in a situation with him where he tries to chase after something, your stern voice calling him back to you should be enough to get him back on track – provided you have properly trained him.

A Brief History of the Cirneco dell'Etna

Named after Mount Etna on the Italian island of Sicily, another name for the the Cirneco dell’Etna is the Sicilian Greyhound. The “Cirneco” in the breed's name comes from the Greek word meaning, “dog of Cyrene (Libya).”

The breed has likely been around for some 3,000 years after their ancestors arrived on the Sicilian shores.

Though they appear delicate, the Cirneco dell’Etna is a tough and durable worker.

How Do You Train a Cirneco dell’Etna?

Cirneco dell’Etnas are eager to please and incredibly intelligent. They have a strong and independent temperament but still do well with gentle and positive training methods.

Photo of Cirneco Dell Etna Two Running Min

Their owners consider them easier to train than most sighthounds. In fact, because they are so intelligent, they do well with both short and long training sessions.

Short sessions tend to work better though, as Cirneco dell’Etnas may become bored and easily distracted during longer training sessions.

And here’s something truly interesting about this breed: they respond better to praise than they do treats! This is great news for you, as you don’t really have to worry about him becoming obese (so long as you feed him the right food, of course).

Cirneco dell’Etnas are a great breed for agility or lure coursing competitions, thanks to their quick speed and nimbleness.

As I mentioned earlier, because of their hunting background, Cirneco dell’Etnas have a strong prey drive. Avoid off-leash training sessions with this breed, as they’ll chase after the first squirrel they see.

I strongly recommend early socialization for Cirneco dell’Etna puppies to help them grow into well-mannered and well-adjusted adults.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

The Cirneco dell’Etna Appearance

The Cirneco dell’Etna weighs between 22-26 pounds for males and 17-22 pounds for females.

They stand between 16.5”-19.5” in height

As for colors, the Cirneco comes in fawn, white, or sable, as well as color combinations that include fawn and white, orange and white, or fawn sable.

How Do You Groom a Cirneco dell’Etna?

Cirneco dell’Etna has a short, smooth coat that requires minimal care. They only need weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush and a bath when needed.

These dogs barely shed. However, they are not hypoallergenic. If you tend to suffer from allergies when you're around dogs, then this breed's dander will more than likely irritate you.

Check their ears regularly for dirt or wax buildup. And trim their nails often to avoid overly long or ingrown nails.

Staying Healthy: Cirneco dell'Etna Health Issues

Cirneco dell’Etna’s are a strong and healthy breed. Since they are a rare breed, not a lot is known about their health.

They could get muscle and toe injuries from running too much but other than that, the Cirneco dell’Etna is not known for having genetic health conditions.

Experts believe this is because natural selection weeded out the weaker links in the breed. This is due to their ancestors’ owners forcing their ancestors to work long hours in the brutal heat, often without food and water. Talk about an “only the strong survive” kind of situation!

The lifespan of a Cirneco dell'Etna is between 12-14 years.

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different for your dog. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely dog from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 14 yrs+ without pain and suffering.


The Cirneco dell’Etna is an energetic breed who requires moderate physical exercise. This is a breed that does best when they have a job, such as training for dog sports. Interestingly, despite being a working dog at heart, the Cirneco doesn’t require the same level of intense exercise as, say, a Husky might.

They love to be around their family and would love to accompany their owners on long walks or hikes. Cirneco dell’Etnas have strong hunting instincts, though, so you shouldn’t allow them off-leash in unsecured areas.

Finding the Perfect Cirneco dell’Etna

Are you ready to add a Cirneco dell’Etna to your family? You have a couple of options for finding the perfect one.

Photo of Cirneco Dell Etna Trotting Min

One option is purchasing a Cirneco dell’Etna puppy from a breeder. Cirneco dell’Etna breeders are the perfect option for those looking to a puppy to their family. Puppies are adorable, but they are a lot of work.

Do you have the time to dedicate to raising a puppy? You will need both time and patience to train them, socialize them, and keep a constant eye on your puppy.

If you aren’t home often and don’t have the time to raise a puppy, perhaps Cirneco dell’Etna rescue is the better option. You can often find adult dogs in rescue and adults are perfect for busy families.

Adult dogs will likely already know basic commands and will not need the constant supervision a puppy would.

Whether you are interested in adoption or a breeder, the Cirneco dell’Etna Club of America is a great start. They have information on breeders as well as rescue organizations.

Cirneco dell’Etna Puppies for Sale

Cirneco dell’Etna puppies for sale will cost between $800-$1000. Depending on where you live and whether you want an AKC registered puppy, the cost could be lower or higher.

The Cirneco dell’Etna price for adoption will cost between $250-$400 depending on the organization. Rescue prices include any veterinary care as well as any necessary spay/neuter surgery.

Cirneco dell’Etna Rescue and Adoption

If you decided on Cirneco dell’Etna rescue, the Cirneco dell’Etna Club of America has a section on their website for rescue.

Because the Cirneco dell’Etna dog is rare, you might not find a purebred at your local rescue. You may, however, be able to find Cirneco dell’Etna mix at your local rescue.

Cirneco dell’Etna Breeders

Ready to add a puppy to your family? Now it’s time to find the perfect breeder. To find Cinerco dell’Etna puppies near you, begin your search at the Cirneco dell’Etna Club of America or the AKC Marketplace. Both websites allow you to search for breeders based on location.

Before you decide on a breeder, do your research. Ask them a lot of questions about the breed and what they would be like as a pet.

Cirneco dell’Etna’s puppies are wonderful and loving but they do need attention. Write out questions in advance and have a list of what you like in a pet. Be honest with the breeder about what you are looking for a dog.

Take your time finding the right breeder and you’ll find your perfect Cirneco dell’Etna puppy!

We completed a great step by step guide to finding a dog breeder. Check it out here.

Cirneco dell'Etna vs. Pharaoh Hound

People often compare the Cirneco dell’Etna to the Pharaoh Hound, as they look similar, but the Pharaoh Hound is larger and more popular than the Cirneco dell’Etna.

Photo of Pharaoh Hound Vs Cirneco Dell Etna
Pharaoh Hound

As far as temperaments go, the Pharaoh Hound is a calm dog. He also, like the Cirneco, loves kids and settles in nicely with his new family. So, really, the only true difference between these two breeds is their appearance. It then really boils down to a matter of taste when deciding between the two.

Conclusion: Why the Cirneco dell’Etna?

The Cirneco dell’Etna is a lively, affectionate, and intelligent. They are loyal to their family and get along well with children and other dogs.

Extremely intelligent, the Cirneco dell’Etna is eager to please and does well with positive training methods. They’ll do best in a home with an active family as they require moderate exercise.

If you’re looking for a gentle, independent, and resilient dog, the Cirneco dell’Etna will be the perfect companion for you.