A Volpino Italiano (Italian pronunciation: [volˈpiːno itaˈljaːno]; literally, "Italian foxy [dog]") is a spitz-type breed of dog originally from Italy.

Volpino Italiano
Volpino Italiano
Other namesCane del Quirinale
Florentine Spitz
Italian Spitz
Common nicknamesVolpino
Classification / standards
FCI Group 5 Spitz and Primitive dogs, Section 4 European Spitz #195 standard
UKC Northern Breed standard
NotesThe AKC FSS declined recognition of the Volpino during the Summer of 2006 due to concern over its similarity to the American Eskimo Dog. As of July 1, 2006, the UKC recognized the Volpino with the same breed standard as the FCI.
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)


Spitz-type dogs were found throughout the ancient world. These little pets wore decorative ivory bracelets and collars. Engravings of similar dogs were found in Greece from 400 BCE, called Melitan. Michelangelo owned a Volpino, and would add them to his paintings, including in the Sistine Chapel left side, third from rear, lower left corner, painted 1508-1512.

In 1903 the FCI recognized the Volpino Italiano as an Italian breed.

Queen Victoria of England went to Florence in 1888 and bought her first Volpinos:[1] white Turi, red Fluffy, Gena/Gina, Bippo, Lenda, and Lena.

Artifacts and paintings of spitz-type dogs, dating back to the 1500s, with white curly tails and erect ears are found and preserved in the British Museum.[2]

The Volpino has been known and loved by Italian royalty for centuries, being a special favorite of the ladies. Although bearing a strong resemblance to the Pomeranian, the breed is much older and thus has a different background. The northern dogs found their way south very early in the history of domesticated dogs. Volpino means "foxy (dog)" in Italian, where the dog is also called Lupino meaning "wolfy (dog)".

Despite the Volpino Italiano's long history, the breed became unknown outside of Italy until the 1880s and is now quite rare but making a comeback since the 1980s, as American Eskimo breeders went to Italy, took them back to America, changed the name to American Eskimo, even though they looked nothing like the Eski, they claimed they were the runts then mixing with the Eskis. Toy and mini Eskis are originally Volpinos but now since mixed they no longer hold the royal Volpino Italiano status.[citation needed][dubious ]

Florentine Spitz Puppy

Despite its small size, this dog was originally kept as a guard dog. Its job was to alert the large mastiffs to an intruder. However, due to their temperament and intelligence, they also became popular as pets. For unknown reasons, the breed's popularity dropped, and in 1965 the last dogs were registered. In 1984 an attempt was made to revive the breed by Enrico Franceschetti and the ENCI. The dogs still living as guard dogs on farms became the new breeding stock. Volpinos remain rare, with about 4,000 dogs worldwide. Most are in Italy, but some are now being bred in 15 countries, including Canada, Finland, Brazil, Denmark, Russia, Ireland, Holland, Greece, Scandinavia, Sweden, Hungary, Holland, UK and the USA. A 2006 survey of kennel clubs found an average of 120 puppies registered each year in Italy (with ENCI) and a total of 200-300 registered each in Sweden, Norway and Finland, 20 per year in America.

Some studies show that the Volpino Italiano may be the ancestor of the Maltese dog.[citation needed]

Clubs and organizationsEdit

Italian National Kennel Club (Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana) (ENCI) [1]

North American Volpino Club [2]

Volpino Club of America [3]

Volpino Italiano health and genealogy [4]


The Volpino makes a good watchdog, and some can even be used as gun-dogs (bird dogs) if trained properly. They will make extremely active, affectionate pets.


The basic well being and health of the Volpino Italiano breed are far better than with most dogs. However they are not immune to genetic and other diseases.

As of mid-2013, the greatest threat facing this race is the genetic mutation of the eye lens called primary lens luxation (PLL). This is an extremely painful disease that manifests itself when the zonal cords holding the lens in place weaken and break at a genetically pre-determined time (usually about 4 to 8 years old). Once the zonal cords break, the lens begins to move into the interior of the eye increasing the pressure in the eye and causing the animal great pain. Because of the expense in removing the lens or the eyes, the animal is usually euthanized.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-05. Retrieved 2016-11-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "chous". Britishmuseum.org. Retrieved 22 January 2018.