By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

Volpino Italiano


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Volpino Italiano is a spitz-type rare breed of dog, originating in Italy. These small-sized dogs are characterized by a fluffy coat, straight muzzle, fox-like pointed ears, wedge-shaped head, deep, dark eyes and a curly, feathered tail. Besides its attractive appearance, the Volpino Italiano possesses a striking personality that makes it a great family pet.

Volpino Italiano Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesItalian Spitz, Florentine Spitz, Cane de Quirinale
Common NicknamesVolpino
CoatThick, long, dense and fluffy
ColorBlack, tan, red and white
GroupWatchdog, Rare dog
Lifespan/ Life Expectancy14 to 16 years
Height10 to 12 inches
Weight9 to 11 pounds
Litter size2 to 8 puppies
TemperamentLively, affectionate, playful, intelligent and energetic
Good with ChildrenYes
BarkingLoud and noisy particularly on seeing strangers
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationUKC, FCI, Italian National Kennel Club, Volpino Club of America, North American Volpino Club

Video of a Volpino Italiano Puppy Playing with a Ball


Volpino Italiano, being a direct descendant of the Spitz breed of dogs, has been in existence for more than 5000 years, as revealed from records. In fact, several paintings and artifacts of the 1500s, depict a similar breed having erect ears and white, curled tails. Being a favorite among the ladies, its popularity in the Italian royalty persisted for over centuries. Queen Victoria had many Volpinos in her possession which she had brought on her visit to Italy, White Turi, Bipo, Lena and Linda being some of them.

Though small in size, it was used as a guard dog assigned with the task of alerting the bigger breeds at the sight of an intruder. In spite of its long and eventful history, it became popular outside of Italy, not before the 1880s. It obtained recognition from the FCI in 1903, but was on the verge of extinction in the second half of the 20th century, with only five Volpino Italiano registered in the year 1965. Several initiatives were taken for its revival in 1984 by Enrico Franceschetti as well as the Italian National Kennel Club (ENCI).

At present, they are still categorized as a rare breed with only 4000 dogs present in total. Though they are majorly concentrated in Italy, their breeding has been taking place at present in 15 countries including Brazil, Russia, Holland, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, U.K., U.S.A, Holland, Finland, and Canada.

Through a Kennel Club survey conducted in 2006, approximately 120 puppies were registered in Italy every year, while the numbers in Sweden, Finland and Norway are between 200 and 300 whereas America has 20 yearly registrations.

Though it bears a striking resemblance with the Pomeranian in terms of size, the Volpino Italiano seems to be an ancient and rarer breed in comparison to the latter.

Volpino Italiano mix

Some breeders American Eskimo breeders took these dogs to America changed their names to American Eskimo and produced Toy and Miniature Eski dogs because of crossbreeding. The resulting puppies were originally Volpinos but after crossbreeding did not retain the royal stature of the latter.


These energetic, lively and active dogs have a loyal and affectionate nature, bonding well with the members of their house, thus emerging as a good family dog.

In spite of its closeness to its family, it is not too clingy and can move around independently. However, it longs for the affection and attention of its loved ones.

If their watching ability is channelized in a proper way, they can make for good watch and even gun dogs.

They mingle well with kids, especially those who can handle them in a matured and tactful way.



Though small in size, they are active and playful in nature, needing moderate amount of exercise to keep them energized. A brisk walk or some amount of playtime at home or even in your apartment would be fine enough.


The Volpino requires minimal grooming including brushing its thick coat once or two times in a week to prevent excess shedding. Bathe it when it gets dirty and keep its eyes, ears and teeth clean to keep any infections at bay.

Health Problems

The Volpino Italiano is considered to be a healthy breed than most other dogs. Apart from heart ailments and cataracts that they may be prone to, this breed is at the risk of suffering from a genetic disease known as PLL (Primary Lense Luxation) which in extreme case might result in euthanizing of the dog.


Being intelligent and loyal, training these dogs should not be too difficult a task, provided the owner is tactful enough and uses positive reinforcement techniques.

Watch dog training

Give him socialization training so that he is capable of distinguishing a friend from a foe. He should also be obedient enough to follow commands as well as simple rules set by his owners like staying fixed in his place prior to being released for mealtime, or sitting when the door bell rings and so on. Choose a trigger command like “say”, “speak” or even “bark”, when you wish your dog to bark, and be loud while saying it. Each time you wish your dog to bark, use the same command and give him a treat once he has responded to you. To sharpen his skills create a mock situation by going out of the house, giving the bark command and checking what your dog does, if he is successful reward him well.


Feed your Volpino with good quality dry dog food to keep it healthy.

Interesting Facts

  • The Volpino Italiano was said to be Michelangelo’s pet breed, also being a part of his Sistine Chapel paintings.

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