Italian Short-Haired Hound (Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso)

Country of origin:
Italy
Height (cm):
48-58
Weight (kg):
18-28
Life span (years):
10-14
Colour:
fawn, black & tan
Size:
average
Hair length:
short
Recognized by:
FCI, KC, DRA
FCI code:
337
Intelligence:
Good with kids:
Trainability:
Shedding:
Watchdog:
Adaptability:
Allergy:
No
Pros Cons
  • excellent hunter
  • wonderful family companion            
  • calm
  • good with kids
  • independent-minded
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • doesn't suit for living in a small apartment
  • chases other animals

Overview

The Italian Short-Haired Hound (Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso) is a highly dependable and adaptable Italian hunting dog. Besides its fabulous tracking skills the dog is endowed with of super-fast legs, which won its fame as a true sight hound. It also makes a good-tempered and obedient family companion if it’s provided with sufficient amount of physical exercise.

Foto flickr.com (morale77, Clara)
History

The ItalianShort-HairedHound existed in its native country since time immemorial. Dogs almost identical in appearance to the breed can be found in Italian art works during the Renaissance period. For example the depiction of an extremely similar dog was located in the painting of XVI century, which was discovered in the Castle of Borso d’Este. Remains of supposedly ancestors of the Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso were dug out in an ideal condition of preservation in an archaeological research in the Lombard necropolis not far from Verona.

There is a hypothesis that the Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso inherited its hunting prowess and unique appearance from the primitive hounds of ancient Egypt. Many of ancient images of the Egyptian Paranoiac period contain the portraits of hounds with big drooping ears, which bear close resemblance with the present-day version of the breed. These dogs were imported to the Mediterranean regions by Phoenician merchants and quickly blended with local canine population. It’s suggested that they were mixed fairly uncontrollably with the Celtic hounds of southern Gaul. Subsequent crossings were made in more organised manner with ancient Roman Molossus. In order to perfect the scenting abilities of the ItalianShort-HairedHound breeders used mastiff-type dogs in the breeding process.

In time the Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso proved to be a universal hunting dog, which could equally effectively trace its prey by sight and scent. This handsome dog was said to have legs of steel, which allowed it to follow escaping animals for endless hours. During the renaissance era noble hunts were incredibly impressive spectacles and usually were accompanied by hundreds of breed members. Nonetheless, when such grand hunts suffered a great loss in popularity, dogs also became much less needed and therefore less numerous.

Being previously a proficient hunter of a wild boar presently the Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso is commonly used as a gundog in hunting rabbits and other types of small game. The breed experienced rebirth of its former glory when its specimen won the first European Cup in 1933. It was granted full recognition of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1993. Today the ItalianShort-HairedHound thrives in its homeland as a versatile hunting dog although it can be fairly rarely met in other countries.
Temperament

Over centuries of working with a human hunter the ItalianShort-HairedHound evolved into an excellent companion both for individuals and families with kids. It’s not the dog, which would be pleased with the life in a kennel in your yard as it feels an acute need to be actively involved in all family’s events. The well-socialised member will express very touching attachment to children of the family and will very patiently endure their occasional mischiefs.

The Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso usually behaves reservedly and warily when it meets unfamiliar people. At the same time it hasn’t been noticed to demonstrate unmotivated aggression but it can become an issue in some improperly socialised individual dogs. The breeds’ slightly laid-back attitude and lack of ferociousness won’t allow it to make a good guardian. However, it can become a pretty effective watchdog.

This breed is endowed with calm and peaceable personality so it tends to experience few problems in interaction with other canines. Moreover it gets accustomed to work together with several dozens of other dogs. The ItalianShort-HairedHound is a hunter to its core and will view all other animals as prey objects. Of course there is a chance that it will tolerate the presence of a household cat if they have been introduced to each other early enough. However some dogs will be aggressive towards all non-canine animals so this breed is a bad option for households with a pre-existing non-canine pet.
Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:
• gastric torsion:
• ear problems.
Grooming

The ItalianShort-HairedHound needs relatively low amount of maintenance. Thanks to the shortness of its coat occasional brushing is usually quite sufficient to keep it well groomed. However more frequent use of a brush will add to its coat an extra sheen.

The floppy ears of this breed are highly susceptive to irritation and infection if its master ignores the necessity of their regular cleaning. It’s also imperative to get rid from any alien objects in the dog’s ears after each and every hunting trip.
Training

The ItalianShort-HairedHound is a smart and responsive dog, which training usually needs very few efforts. The breed is endowed with natural inquisitiveness and usually learns with eagerness. It’s also has mind of its own so sometimes it can be simply in no mood for training. That’s why it’s essential to use in the work with this dog exclusively mild persuasion and respect its occasional unwillingness to oblige.

The Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso reacts with open defiance to any unfair or rude treatment so this kind of approach won’t bring intended results. Positive reinforcement with ample favourite dog’s treats will make its training an easy and pleasant work.
Exercise

The Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso is well-known for its exceptional stamina and ability to operate in the most rugged terrain or thick vegetation for countless hours. This implies that the breed needs very intensive physical activity to feel itself happy and at ease. The dog, which isn’t occupied in hunting, should be taken for a brisk and long walk every single day.

The ItalianShort-HairedHound won’t become an ideal choice for an apartment living, as it will most likely suffer from deficient physical space in a city apartment. Without proper exercise regimen the dog will show its discontent with such a life with destructive behaviour, hyper activity, excessive barking and even outbursts of aggression.
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