Volpino Italiano (Italian Volpino)

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white, red
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • loves children
  • playful
  • friendly
  • excellent companion
  • sheds a lot
  • prone to severe separation anxiety


The Volpino Italiano is a quite rare dog breed. These dogs are not big, but they are well-built and quite sturdy. This breed is unpretentious and can adapt quickly to any conditions. This enchanting dog will be a perfect, faithful friend for everyone whether it is an elderly or single person, or big families.


The Volpino Italiano is known since the XVII century. However its ancient origin was confirmed by well conserved canine skeletons in the remains of European lake settlements, which are dated back to 4000 BC. The images of the Spitz-type dog were found on the Greek architectural landmarks of 400 BC and 470 BC. Its ancestor is believed to be the EuropeanSpitz. The name of the breed is originated from the Italian word «volpe» that means «fox». This dog had another names such as the Italian Spitz, the Cane de Quirinale and Florentine Spitz.

Volpino Italianos were the everybody’s favourites. They were kept by both the elite and peasants. They brightened up the life of princesses and ladies who embellished the necks of their treasured pets with expensive jewellery. Actually the alternative nickname of the breed (Cane de Quirinale) proves well its immense popularity with the Italian aristocracy. Quirinal is one of the famous Seven Hills of Rome and the situation of Quirinal Palace, which was the residence of popes and kings since time immemorial. The most known admirer of the Volpino Italiano was Queen Victoria who was charmed by these dogs after the visit to Florence.

Peasants loved the Volpino Italiano as it was a perfect guard dog. In spite its moderate size this dog was often called Picoli Guardiani (the little guardian). This brave and vigilant dog alerted with ringing bark about approaching of wolves or unbidden guests. It was also charged with waking up of a sleeping mastiff, which protected the livestock and the farmer’s property from looters and wild animals.

After the Second World War the breed was at risk of the total extinction. The Volpino Italiano fell out of favour with Italian people due to post-war political turmoil. With the downfall of the monarchy power in Italy the common people turned their backs on this dog as it was considered the favourite pet of kings. Besides the dog lovers switched their attention to the toy Pomeranian, which was developed from crossing of the Volpino Italiano with the German Spitz.

The situation was saved thanks to the works of the breed’s renewal initiated in 1984 by the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI-Italian abbreviation of the club). The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the Volpino Italiano in 2006. Nowadays this dog remains a rare breed outside its motherland, Italy.


The Volpino Italiano is a very friendly, vivacious, faithful and watchful dog. It wants to be a part of its human family and won’t do well without constant interaction with its masters. This breed is highly prone to separation anxiety so it won’t make an agreeable pet for the person with too rigid work schedule. Despite its sweet appearance and small size this dog should be properly socialized in an early age in order to behave politely in any situation.

The Volpino Italiano treats children kindly and tenderly. In fact kids are usually delighted with its indefatigable playfulness and enjoy spending time with the Volpino. At the same time this breed won’t appreciate rough games and may become defensively aggressive. That’s why it’s important to teach the children how to communicate with dogs in a proper manner.

Volpinos are distrustful of strangers. They also stand out for strong desire to defend their territory so the breed can be trusted with the work of a watchdog. However its specimen won’t do well in the role of a guardian because it lacks necessary ferocity and anyway it’s too small to be intimidating.

The dog is sociable and gets along well with other pets. The Volpino Italiano will be happy to have a canine companion on a permanent basis. It’s also quite amicable to unfamiliar canines unless they don’t pose threats to its special people. It will live peacefully with a cat and other pets especially if they have been raised in the same household.

Health Problems

The Volpino Italiano is prone to such diseases as:

· cataracts;

· heart problems;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· patellar luxation;

· epilepsy;

· distichiasis;

· cryptorchidism.


The Volpino Italiano needs rather thorough grooming especially when it sheds. You should brush your pet two or three times a week to keep its coat and skin healthy. It is not necessary to bathe the dog often. Brush its teeth daily or twice a week to prevent dental and mouth cavity infections. Trim the dog’s nails regularly.

This breed sheds in great numbers. Males usually experience shedding period every 18 months and bitches every 4 to 12 months. It’s imperative to resort to daily brushing during these times in order to reduce the amount of the dog’s hair floating around the house.


The Volpino Italiano is very clever dog and easy trainable. It can perform easily and with ardour any of your tasks. But remember that these dogs are sensitive to rudeness. So the training should be led with firmness, but you must be also gentle, patient and encourage your pet.

The Volpino Italiano won’t tolerate rude or disrespectful handling and usually reacts to it with rebellious and stubborn behaviour. It’s also a good idea to keep the favourite treats of your pet handy during the training sessions. This nimble and inquisitive dog seems to enjoy learning process as an opportunity to spend quality time with its master. The early socialization is important.


The Volpino Italiano is an energetic dog. However it does not need a lot of daily exercises. The dog likes walks and outdoor games. It is sufficient to give it twenty minutes a day on active exercises.

As this breed is fairly vigorous indoors it can be equally successfully kept in a small apartment and large suburban house. One should remember though that as any dog it possesses strong primal instinct to walk and requires a daily opportunity to socialize with other canines.