|Sensitivity to strangers|
|Affection for family|
|Suitable for first-time owners|
|Ease of grooming|
Small in size, but big in heart, the Volpino Italiano is a Spitz-type companion dog, which is very attached to its owners.
The Volpino Italiano was already well known in the Italian peninsula by the Renaissance. However, European Spitz were widespread on the continent as early as the Bronze Age. In fact, paintings of the 15th or 16th century portray this friendly breed as a dog of the aristocracy. During that period, it was also used as a guard dog. The famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo owned a dog of this breed.
Unmistakable by its plumbed tail, the Volpino, also known as the “Italian foxy dog” or “Italian fox“, is about 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) tall at the shoulders, so it belongs to the small dog group. It is well proportioned, and it has a curled tail and a white or red coat. The reddish color of its coat makes it look similar to the Pomeranian.
Volpino Italiano: Origins
Until the 1950s, this breed was very popular in Italy; but around the 1960s, it suffered a sharp decline in popularity that almost made it extinct. In the last few decades, the Volpino Italiano has once again become a very popular dog and is no longer endangered. However, the red variety has almost completely disappeared.
Historically, the Volpino Italiano acted together with the Italian Mastiff. In Italian southern farms, the Volpino was the one that warned about the presence of strangers and, immediately after, the Italian Mastiff intervened using all its power to make the malicious ones flee.
Since ancient Rome, Volpinos have always been the dogs of the nobility. Ladies adored them and the breed was known as the “people’s dog”, thanks to their robust physical characteristics and remarkable resistance to disease. Small Spitz-type dogs resembling the modern Volpino have been identified in a number of paintings, of which the earliest may be St. Augustine in His Study by Vittore Carpaccio. The work portrays a Volpino Italiano about to bark and its owner intending to write the Confessions.
Volpino Italiano: Temperament
Docile but determined, the Volpino Italiano is really attached to its owner. It is alert, attentive, highly intelligent, and territorial. Because of its tendency to bark in the presence of strangers, despite its small size, it was often used as a guard dog.
It adapts well to apartment life. It is not moody and, if trained properly, great benefits can be obtained. However, when outdoors, it is truly active: The Volpino Italiano will have fun rolling in the mud and running in all directions. This breed is playful and bound by a strong loyalty to its family, whom it will defend without a second thought. Although it may be a little wary of strangers at first, it knows how to welcome them with affection once it realizes that they are not dangerous or ill-intentioned towards their owners.
Volpinos can live perfectly well in small houses. However, it should be noted that it is a dog that barks frequently if not trained with patience. If you live in a building with intolerant neighbors, barking can be a problem.
Volpino Italiano: Grooming
The Volpino should be taken out for walks quite often to socialize with other dogs and people. It will immediately show its gratitude by demonstrating its hyperactive and playful nature. Regular walks will prevent them from becoming overweight, an extremely common condition in this breed, even from puppyhood.
If you have a small backyard, it would be ideal, but it is a dog that adapts very well to apartment life, too. On the other hand, there is no particular feeding advice for this breed. Its coat will become white and shiny in a short period of time, even after the most uncontrolled runs in the mud. This is due to its particular glassy texture. But not everything is so easy. To prevent its hair from matting, it must be brushed frequently.
The ideal role of the Volpino Italian is that of companion dogs, given its great attachment to its owners and its affectionate and playful temperament with children. For a long time, it was also used as a guard dog. Today, it represents a valid alternative for those who want a little extra protection and do not have large spaces or an exterior garden.
Versatile and easy to train, Volpinos may be good at dog sports. Being a breed that obeys its owner without problems, it usually obtains excellent results even in agility competitions.
Volpino Italiano: Ideal Owner
The ideal owner of the Volpino Italiano is the one who, besides wanting a pet dog that feels comfortable in the apartment life, can take it for a walk as soon as he has the opportunity, since this is the most awaited moment of the day for our four-legged friends.
It is the perfect dog for those who are looking for a faithful companion, who is also obedient and plays with children. It is a dog that does not represent a danger to the people around it and does not fight against other dogs in vain.
The ideal owner of the Volpino Italiano should also be willing to tolerate some barking, as it is not a particularly quiet breed. It can be trained with a little patience so that it behaves a little more discreetly.
However, its nature is to be a watchful, active, and enthusiastic dog, ready to follow its owner wherever he goes and to defend him.
Volpino Italiano: Health
Volpinos are robust and rustic, notwithstanding its “noble” past. In addition, since they are not subject to particular diseases, their average lifespan is around 15 years. However, there are Volpinos that live up to 18 or 20 years. One of the few diseases that might affect this breed is the well-recognized, painful, and blinding inherited eye condition called Primary Lens Luxation (PLL).
In affected dogs, the zonular fibers which support the lens in the eye, breakdown or disintegrate, causing the lens to fall into the wrong position within the eye. If the lens falls into the anterior chamber of the eye, glaucoma and loss of vision can quickly result. We always recommend that you contact certified breeders to ensure that this genetic disease is not present in the Volpino Italiano puppy you wish to adopt.
Their ears and eyes should always be clean and checked. In addition, you should not overfeed your pet, especially if it does not walk often, as this can lead to it becoming overweight
Volpino Italiano: Relationship with Children
The Volpino Italiano is the perfect playmate for children. The Volpino puppy is always ready to play with them and it can even tolerate some “rough treatment” from the little ones without responding. From day one, this breed establishes a loving relationship with each member of the family.
It is always ready to entertain kids as many times as they want, showing itself to be soft and not impetuous. It is a great companion dog both inside and outside home. Its long-life expectancy and low propensity to get sick make it a perfect specimen to help your children grow up in close contact with a loving and protective pet.
Volpino Italiano: Puppies
Due to its friendly character with humans and other dogs, the Volpino Italiano can be walked on a leash with no risk of picking fights with other dogs. Needless to say, it will defend itself if it feels threatened by another animal. Tireless, this breed loves playing, even with big dogs. In addition, it can be an excellent playmate for all other dog breeds.
The only thing to keep in mind is that Volpinos may become a bit clumpy and irritable if they are not socialized from puppyhood.
Volpino Italiano: Price
The Volpinos have gone through a difficult time in the early sixties. The work of ATAVI (Associazione Tecnica Amatori Volpino Italiano) was fundamental in saving this breed from extinction. However, some varieties, such as those with a reddish coat, have become increasingly rare due to competitors such as the Spitz and the Pomeranian.
As a general rule, a Volpino Italiano puppy chosen from the best breeding establishments, with pedigree and free of pathologies such as PLL, may cost between 700-900 dollars, about 600-800 English pounds.
Volpino Italiano: Breeders, and Puppies for Sale
Under this section, you can find the best registered breeders in countries such as: The United States, England, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and India, from whom you can request all the information you need. It is essential that you buy a dog from a reliable breeder so that you can be sure that your puppy has been:
- Bred for good health and temperament,
- Well-selected (this means that its parents were chosen without genetic diseases);
- Properly socialized, so that it is not too fearful or too aggressive;
- Vaccinated and well-groomed.
In addition, if you adopt a puppy, the reliable breeder will provide you with a veterinary certificate which states that the animal has been dewormed and is completely healthy.
You can always ask for the pedigree, which is essential: it allows you to check the purity of the dog’s breed. An animal with a pedigree has certain characteristics of its breed that differentiate it from the rest.
Now that we have clarified all the most important aspects, you can go in search of your new 4-legged friend, who is surely waiting for you.
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as:
- Chinese Crested Dog
- Volpino Italiano
- Fox Terrier
- Pomeranian Dog
- Yorkshire Terrier