If you’re looking for a family dog that will be great with the kids but would also like a rabbit hunting partner, the Segugio Italiano temperament may be just what you’re looking for.
The Segugio Italiano is a friendly and protective breed that’s great with children. She is happy to spend time with the family, but she is a hunting breed who needs a lot of exercise.
The Segugio Italiano is happiest in a home with an active family.
Segugio Italiano Temperament
The Segugio Italiano is a smart dog who learns quickly.
Like most intelligent dogs (and most hunting dogs), the Segugio Italiano temperament can show an independent streak.
3. Eager to Please
In spite of her independence, she is generally eager to please, so she is easier to train than most hounds.
She is not especially outgoing, but she has a kind and friendly disposition.
She can be very sweet and enjoys giving affection and getting it back from her family members.
The Segugio Italiano temperament is quite adaptable. As long as she gets enough exercise, she will transition easily from working in the field to relaxing at home.
She could also adapt to apartment life, but again, exercise is all-important.
Segugi Italiani have a distinguished and self-confident air about them. Their lean lines and “light bone” (from the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) breed standard) give the Segugio Italiano a very elegant look.
The Segugio Italiano temperament is generally quiet and reserved but not shy or timid. If she is well exercised, she will be happy to relax at home with her family.
She has a kind, docile disposition that makes her a great family dog.
The Segugio Italiano temperament is not well suited to a home where she will spend a lot of time alone. She loves company and does not like being left out of family activity.
This breed does not do well living outside or in a kennel. She needs to be with her people. If left alone too long, she may become bored. You may then see some destructive Segugio Italiano behaviors.
She will bark to let you know that a stranger is around. These dogs make good watchdogs. They are not aggressive, however, so the Segugio Italiano temperament is not suited to work as a guard dog.
The Segugio Italiano temperament is protective toward its family, especially the children.
They love to play and will happily wear the kids out for you.
Many people find this breed's howl “melodious.” Even so, if you have close neighbors, she may need training early on to control it.
The Segugio Italiano is very determined. She is a single-minded hunter who shows impressive stamina in the field. She is eager to hunt all day, any day.
This dog is an unusual tracker and flusher who doesn’t always wait for the hunter to make the kill. She is happy to do it herself.
This is an active breed that is fast and sure-footed. She is capable of moving quickly and gracefully over all types of terrain.
The Segugio Italiano temperament is very enthusiastic when it comes to her job. She is eager to hunt for as long as you will let her and doesn’t seem to get tired.
Segugio Italiano History
The Segugio Italiano is an ancient breed whose history is uncertain. The most common theory is that her ancestors were Egyptian hounds who were once owned by pharaohs and were brought to the Mediterranean area by Phoenician merchants.
Some dog historians believe the Roman emperor Caligula hunted with packs of Segugi Italiani.
They were once hounds of the Italian nobility, working in large packs (of up to several hundred) to hunt wild boar. When the “grand hunt” fell out of favor with the nobles, the Segugio Italiano lost popularity.
The breed was near extinction by the late 19th century. In the 1930s, breeders began efforts to restore the Segugio Italiano. Breeders used Mastiffs in that process to improve the Segugio Italiano breed.
Prior to that time, the Segugio Italiano was a sight hound. When the mastiff blood was added to the breeding program, the Segugio inherited the mastiff’s excellent nose.
This breed is not yet well known in North America. But the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Segugio Italiano as part of its Foundation Stock Service program in 2018. That will probably help to make the breed more widely available outside of Europe.
Hunting with a Segugio Italiano
The Segugio Italiano now works as both sight and scent hound with scenting skills nearly as sharp as a bloodhound’s.
Currently, the Segugio Italiano is one of Italy’s most popular hunting dogs. The breed has a following in other parts of Europe as well. These days they do mostly rabbit tracking and flushing.
Segugi Italiani are valued highly by hunters because of their speed and ability to track over rough mountain terrain. They have strong legs and great endurance as well as excellent sighting and scenting skills.
They are perfectly designed for running quickly over all kinds of terrain with their lean bodies, long legs, and tough pads on their feet.
Segugio Italiano Training
As with most intelligent breeds, the Segugio Italiano can be somewhat independent-minded, making training a little challenging.
Because of that trace of stubborn streak, she needs good early training so it won’t be an issue later.
In the right hands and with firm but gentle training methods, she is usually eager to please and learns fast.
Because of her reserved nature, she also needs early socialization to prevent shyness. She is naturally good with children. As a pack hunter, she is also good with other dogs.
She can be suspicious with strangers, so she will benefit from early socialization to them as well. Aggression is not an issue with the Segugio Italiano temperament.
She does, however, have a prey drive, although it is not as strong as in many hunting dogs. If there are small pets in the home, she may do fine with them with early socialization.
However, she is unlikely to be trained out of her instinctive chasing of rabbits and other small mammals. For that reason, she will need to be contained in a yard and kept on a leash when walking.
Mental stimulation is very important with this intelligent hunting breed. She needs activities to keep her mind busy in addition to physical exercise. She is a great candidate for organized canine sports.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Segugio Italiano 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.
Segugio Italiano Appearance
The Segugio Italiano is a medium-sized dog with a lean, muscular build. She has a square body shape (height approximately equal to length).
There are 2 coat varieties of the Segugio. One is a smooth coat, which is thick and so shiny it looks almost like glass. The other is a wire-haired coat that is also dense and thick.
Segugio Italiano colors are the same for both. They can be wheat/golden, black, or red, with or without white markings. They can also be black and tan.
She has a long head, large in size, with an oval-shaped skull. Her ears are fairly low-set and hanging. They are triangular and very long. Her eyes are fairly large and can be brown or amber. She has a sweet, somewhat sad expression.
Her muzzle is long and broad. According to the FCI breed standard, she has a Roman nose and a scissor or pincer bite. Her neck is long and slender.
Her tail is thin and uniform, set fairly high. She carries it straight when she’s resting, long and lifted above the back when she’s moving.
Segugio Italiano Size
Average Segugio Italiano weight is 40-60 pounds and its height averages 19-23 pounds.
Segugio Italiano Lifespan
The life expectancy of a Segugio Italiano is 11-13 years.
- Segugio Italiano a Pelo Forte (Short-haired Italian Hound).
- Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso (Rough-haired Italian Hound).
Staying Healthy: Segugio Italiano Health Issues
The Segugio Italiano has no known hereditary health conditions. They do, however, have an occasional diagnosis of bloat (also called torsion). Bloat is not uncommon with deep-chested breeds.
This doesn’t sound so horrible, but it’s actually a medical emergency. It’s a twisting of your dog’s stomach that creates a blockage. You should know the symptoms and call your vet right away if you notice any of them.
Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different or your Segugio Italiano. 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.
Caring for the Segugio Italiano
Segugio Italiano Grooming
Both smooth and rough coats need weekly brushing to remove dead hair. Some owners will add a little oil to her food to bring out the glossy texture of the smooth-haired Segugio Italiano.
The primary grooming task for a Segugio Italiano is to check the ears frequently and keep them clean. Their ears can collect mites and foreign bodies, especially when they are working out in the field. Regular cleaning will also help to prevent ear infections.
Segugio Italiano Diet
If you are hunting your Segugio Italiano, or she trains regularly in activities such as agility, you may want to consider a high-protein, low-fat working or active-dog formula. Otherwise, she should do well on any high-quality food.
Segugio Italiano Exercise
This hunting breed requires a lot of exercise. Two hours a day is optimal.
The Segugio Italiano will adapt to a life that doesn’t include hunting, but she does need some type of regular vigorous activity to take its place.
Long walks are good, but jogs or cycling outings are even better. She will love outdoor games or organized dog sports such as rally, agility, or rally. She is athletic and should do very well at these types of activities.
If you live in an apartment, she will likely adapt well as long as she gets regular outside activity. She will then be happy to lounge around in the evening.
Finding a Segugio Italiano
Buying a Segugio Italiano from a Breeder
The Segugio Italiano is a rare dog outside of Europe. If you’re looking for a Segugio Italiano for sale, you will probably need patience. There are not many Segugio Italiano breeders.
An Internet search at the time of this writing found one breeder in the US and none in Canada. This should improve with time, though, so it may pay to keep trying.
They also maintain a directory of European breeders who are willing to export a Segugio Italiano puppy. SICA even contacts the breeders themselves to find those who will export to America.
Expect to be put on a waiting list, however. The list of breeders even in Europe is small. SICA cautions that it costs from $800 to $1000 to ship Segugio Italiano puppies via cargo (unaccompanied).
Segugio Italiano Rescue/Adoption
If you would rather adopt a Segugio, again, you will have to be patient. SICA may also be the best place to start your search for a Segugio Italiano for adoption. If there are any Segugio rescues, they will surely know about them.
You might also try searching online for user forms or Facebook groups for Segugio Italiano owners. These groups exist for nearly every breed.
It would be a great way to find a reputable breeder or a Segugio that’s available for adoption. As a bonus, you could also ask questions from other owners if there is anything else you would like to know about the breed.
Is the Segugio Italiano the Right Breed for You?
For a hunting family, the Segugio Italiano is a marvelous breed. Their sighting and scenting skills are exceptional, and there’s nothing they would rather do than share time with their human family doing something they love.
But the Segugio Italiano is also the rare hunting dog who could adapt well to a non-hunting family. Making sure she gets a couple of hours of exercise every day is the key to successfully adding a Segugio Italiano to your family.
If you’re able to meet that need, the Segugio Italiano traits of friendliness and gentleness make her a wonderful family pet or companion dog.
If you have children, she’s an especially good choice because of her love for children.
The Segugio Italiano temperament would be a wonderful addition to any active household.
Paula is an experienced writer who loves dogs and had many of them through the years. Her family always had large dogs—Border Collies, Labs, and Golden Retrievers. When her beloved Golden died of cancer, she decided to practice what she preached and do some research before choosing her next breed. She now shares this knowledge with thousands of dogtemperament.com readers worldwide.