Top Ten Italian Dog Breeds

Dogs are man’s best friend for a long time and we can’t imagine our lives without these companions and protectors of ours. 

When it comes to Italian dog breeds, some are built for hard work while others will want to sit around at home with you binge-watching your favorite series. Here we have selected the top ten Italian breeds for you to check out.

Believe it or not, one of them is literally called the Bolognese.

Italian dog breeds, Italian greyhound - The Proud Italian

1. Italian Greyhound

The Italian greyhound became popular in Renaissance Italy. This lead to them becoming popular all across Europe, especially with royals and nobility. They’re sometimes referred to as Iggys and like many other breeds, they were almost extinct during the World Wars. Luckily, breeders in North America have revived their numbers.

They are the smallest greyhounds, lively and intelligent, and sometimes stubborn.

They are full of energy when you take them on walks, but besides that, they generally have a low level of energy. They adapt easily to living in an apartment or a house. Italian greyhounds can be stubborn when it comes to training, so you should be really patient and prepared with lots of treats to motivate them.

They are great pets, very devoted to their masters and cold and distant to strangers. 

Neapolitan Mastiff, Italian dog - The Proud Italian

2. Neapolitan Mastiff

This massive and vigorous dog has lots of wrinkles, especially around the face and powerful jaws. They were originally used as dogs of war by the Roman army.

They are protective and gentle with their masters, but otherwise aggressive and brave. They are large, so they need space, but can adapt to life in an apartment because they don’t need too much exercise.

They have short coats that can be gray, black, mahogany, or tawny and their fur must be cleaned of the dead hair during the shedding period. They also produce a heck of a lot of slobber, so you should be well prepared for that. They are good as watchdogs and for protection.

In Italy, they’re considered as a national treasure and much beloved.

They are great for people that love to sit on the couch and enjoy a good show on television.

Bolognese dog - The Proud Italian

3. Bolognese

The Bolognese dog got his name after the city of Bologna where this Italian breed most probably originated from. It’s a small dog with long fluffy hair forming rich tufts and it looks really cute. 

They are calm, loving, and friendly, and they need company most of the time. Bolognese dogs are obedient and affectionate to their masters. They don’t need a lot of activities but don’t mind taking long walks with you.

If you want to have this dog as a pet, you should know that taking care of them requires time because their fur needs daily brushing and combing, and also regular baths to keep them white and clean.

They get along well with children and are pleasant and cheerful companions.

Bergamasco, Italian shepheard - The Proud Italian

4. Bergamasco

Bergamasco is an Italian sheepdog that originates from the Italian Alps near Bergamo. Nowadays people still use it for herding cattle and sheep in the Italian and Swiss Alps.

This dog’s look is quite curious as it appears that it has dreadlocks all over his medium-sized body. However, the look is due to their three types of hair. They have a fine dense and oily undercoat, then long harsher hairs and a top woolly outer-coat. The coat is actually a protection against the freezing winter temperatures, as well as snakes and insects.

Although they are loving family dogs, the Italian shepherds are now incredibly rare. 

They need lots of exercise, but when it comes to grooming, you might be surprised that when they reach maturity, their coat requires very little maintenance.

Spinone Italiano, top 10 Italian dog breeds - The Proud Italian

5. Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano probably got their name after an Italian thorn bush, the spino. They are popular for being able to hunt in dense cover, and both retrieve from and track on water. 

These are muscular and large dogs with wiry fur, usually white. Their color can be entirely white, white with orange patches, or mixed with white and black. 

They are active and demanding when it comes to physical exercise. They need long walks, running and even swimming. And if they smell prey, they can leave their master and go for it!

They are friendly and cheerful, but also devoted to their masters and pretty quiet. If you lead an active lifestyle, Spinone Italiano would probably make a great companion.

Bracco Italiano, Italian dog breeds - The Proud Italian

6. Bracco Italiano

The Bracco Italiano or the Italian Pointer appears to be one of the oldest pointing breeds in Europe.

It is a large athletic dog with droopy ears. They have colored patches that can be white and orange, or white and brown, but also with chestnut and amber markings. Their driven nature requires exercise and stimulation, and if they get enough of it, they usually are calm and loving.

The Italian Pointer is a good bird hunter and an incredible retriever.

They like being active, so they would be delighted to run by a bike, to take part in hunting, and to swim. They also need socializing, so they are best with an active and sociable owner.

Cane Corso, italian dog breeds - The Proud Italian

7. Cane Corso

The Cane Corso or Courser is the most popular Italian dog breed. It’s also one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. The name contains the word for dog in Italian (cane) and Corso comes from Latin, it means protector. And as you can probably guess, these dogs are very good at protecting flocks and houses. Plus, the police use the Courser due to its very well-developed sense of smell.

They are large and strong, mastiff-type dogs with a short and coarse coat. They can be black, gray, fawn, and red. 

The Cane Corso is rather athletic and it needs daily exercise. It likes to run, to take long walks in the open air, but the good news is once it comes back home, it will stay calm.

They are intelligent dogs, very affectionate, and loyal to their family.

Cirneco dell’Etna, top Italian dog breeds - The Proud Italian

8. Cirneco dell’Etna

The Cirneco dell’Etna or Cirneco of Etna is a small hunting dog, which looks similar to a greyhound. This Italian dog breed is originally from Sicily and the harsh terrain of Mount Etna where people used it for hunting wild rabbits.

It has a short coat, light to dark tan in color, and sometimes with white markings. 

These dogs are intelligent, quiet, and friendly, and they always announce to you strangers by barking.

They feel best in a yard, in a fenced space, where they can run and be active. They can also adapt to life in an apartment, as long as they get an hour of daily exercise.

The Cirneco dell’Etna can run away from its master or it can jump over the fence if it is not high enough, when it notices the scent of prey. After all, they are hunting dogs.

Maremma Sheepdog - The Proud Itailan

9. Maremma Sheepdog

This Italian dog breed was and still is, used to guard sheep against wolves in the Maremma area of Tuscany and Lazio, and also the Abruzzo region.

They are large, solid, muscular, white dogs. They can become very protective of their people and territory. They like living in the open and a lot of exercises to burn their energy.

The Maremma Sheepdog is an excellent watchdog for herds and houses, however, they aren’t necessarily a good choice for new dog owners.

Lagotto Romagnolo, italian water dog - The Proud Italian

10. Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo comes from the Romagna sub-region in North-East Italy. Its name comes from “Romagnol can lagòt” and it means “water dog”. They have a woolly, curly water-resistant double coat and they naturally love water. That’s why this dog is also known as the Italian water dog.

They are also popular as truffle hunting dogs. They can be rather vocal and often enjoy digging. 

They are affectionate, eager to please, and laid back.


The Italian dog breeds have various roles to fulfill, such as hunting, guarding, or simply being a friend to us, humans. They are all unique and wondrous. That’s why everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.