Breeds of dog

Specific breeds

The majority of dog breed names in Italy use the English name, eg spaniel, labrador, golden retriever, terrier; boxer etc. Where a breed name includes the name of a country or sometimes a major region that seems to be in part in Italian, eg bulldog inglese; terrier scozzese; corgi gallese; setter irlandese but it is still just Yorkshire Terrier. There are of course some wholly (or nearly) Italian names and I have listed a few below as it proved impractical to attempt any sort of comprehensive list.

Bloodhound – segugio

Springer spaniel – spaniel inglese a salto

Mastiff – mastino inglese

Greyhound and/or whippet – levriero

Afghan – levriero afgano

Italian greyhound – piccolo levriero italiano

Lurcher – incrocio tra collie e levriero

Dachshund – bassotto

Bull terrier – incrocio tra bulldog e terrier

Alsatian – pastore tedesco

Newfoundland – novaterra

Beagle – bracchetto (or beagle)

Bearded collie – collie barbuto

Pointer – cane da ferma; but also pointer

Poodle – barboncino

Pug – carlino

Breed Types

Breed – razza ( usually use “di razza; ie of breeding so “E un cane di razza = He is a pedigree dog and what breed is he? is Di che razza e?)

Large – taglia grande

Medium – taglia media

Small – taglia piccola

Beautiful – bello/a

Well behaved/good – Buono/a (phrase “bravo cane” = “good boy” in English)

Short haired – pelo raso

Long haired – pelo lungo

Hound – cane da caccia

Gundog – cane di penna

Hunting dog – bracco

Guard dog – cane da guardia

Guide dog – cane guida

Toy breed – cane di piccola taglia; nano/a

Lap dog – cagnolino da salotto


A few popular Italian dog breeds are the Pastore Maremmano (Maremma Shepherd Dog, a medium haired, white, large shepherd dog, very popular also as family pet), the Italian Volpino (small, long-haired lap dog), the Pastore Bergamasco (Bergamo’s Shepherd Dog, unique dreadlock haired medium-large sized), the Italian Spinone (wire-haired hunting dog, medium-large size) and the Bracco Italiano, (another hunting breed, short-haired, looks like a bloodhound). And finally the  Cirneco dell’Etna, a short-haired, copper coloured small dog with pointed ears, originated in the region surrounding the Etna volcano in Sicily.

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