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Italian volpino - Origins, characteristics and care

Volpino italiano - Orígenes, características y cuidados

Lobo Azul |

The Italian volpino is one of the most beloved breeds in the transalpine country and one of the oldest, since there are already representations of that breed in paintings from the beginning of the 16th century, with an appearance practically the same as today.

  • Size: small, 25-30cm
  • Weight: between 4 and 5 kilos
  • Hair type: long and thick. Very strong
  • Character: docile, happy and awake
  • Health: very robust, although it tends to gain weight
  • Life expectancy: 15 years, but it is not uncommon for it to reach 18

Origins of the Italian Volpino

Contrary to what happens with other small breeds, which have gone a long way from what dogs were like centuries ago, the Italian volpino does look like an “old time” dog, but small in size.

The first news we have about him dates back to the 15th century and already in the 16th century we see a painting by the artist Vittore Carpaccio , in which it seems that this Italian fox , another of the names by which it is known in Italy, is about to die. attract the attention of Saint Augustine with a bark.

It is known that it was Michelangelo's pet and has always been a dog of notable people, even helping in guard duties alongside the mastiffs, barking and warning these molossoids, who were responsible for scaring away intruders.

Despite how popular they have always been, in the middle of the last century they were close to extinction , although now they have recovered, leaving as a memory of that time the almost disappearance of the red variety.

Characteristics of the Italian Volpino

This is one of the most typical companion dogs, small in size (around 25 cm) and very light in weight (4-5 kilos), which makes it an ideal pet when living in an apartment.

It has pointed ears and always has its tail curled over its back, which gives it a very peculiar appearance. In fact, in exhibitions, specimens that have their tails close to their necks are more appreciated once they curl them up.

Their hair is another characteristic that distinguishes the Italian volpino from other breeds, which is thick, long and straight . Although it seems rough, when we touch it we notice that it is very silky and has two coats like all Spitz- type dogs.

Two colors are allowed. The milky white, which is what has prevailed, and the red, which is now barely visible and which causes Volpinos to be confused with Pomeranians .

Character of the Italian Volpino

It is an affectionate animal, with great attachment to its family and very lively. The normal thing is that they are sociable and although there are specimens that are more distrustful, they almost always go looking for pampering from people, even if they do not know them.

He also loves to play, which is why he is the ideal companion for the little ones as he is tireless, as he has no problems spending hours having fun with the children, thus spending his enormous energy.

It does not scare easily, and since in the past it was used to guard properties, you should know that it tends to bark, which means if we live in one of those apartments that is not well soundproofed.

Education of the Italian Volpino

His liveliness makes him a dog that is very easy to train, especially if we do short ten-minute sessions. In them we can use their natural tendency to play to our advantage to teach them how to behave.

In fact, thanks to this and the fact that he is very active, he can go to the Agility slopes , where he will stand out in the mini variety and we will have a great time, getting him to release some of the energy he has.

From a young age, it is advisable for him to socialize with people and dogs , since although he is sociable, it is true that some specimens are not so sociable because they were used to guard estates centuries ago.

Thus, as soon as you can go outside (once the vaccination cycle is completed) it is best that you see other dogs and people, hear noises, etc.

The main drawback when it comes to training him is barking , since it is a very serious difficulty if we live in an apartment, as it will cause problems with the neighbors, who may even report us.

We can avoid this with positive training, giving him treats when he stops barking, so that he associates being quiet with something good, so he will bark less or stop bothering as soon as we give him the order.

Here a very inexpensive item called a “clicker” will help us a lot, which can be found in all pet stores and which is a badge that makes a “click” that gives it its name.

When the volpino starts barking, we tell him to stop and as soon as he does, even if it's because he wants to and not because we told him to, we click and give him a treat.

He soon makes the association between the click and the prize, so as soon as he hears it he will listen to us. As the weeks go by he will no longer need to hear the click and will obey verbal commands.

Health of the Italian Volpino

Like any Spitz-type breed, the Italian Volpino is a very healthy animal as it is a rustic dog that lives without problems until 15 years old, and it is very common for them to reach 18 and even 20 years .

Yes, there is a genetic disease that affects them and it is called primary lens luxation, which can lead to glaucoma and leave the affected eye blind.

In order to avoid this, it is advisable to go to breeders who can certify that this disease is not present in their specimens, which is possible today thanks to genetic and DNA analysis.

There are no more specific diseases, although you do have to be careful with being overweight , because you tend to eat too much, so much so that you cannot spend all those calories despite how active you are.

For the rest, the vaccinations, deworming and annual check-ups that must be done to any dog ​​that lives with us are enough.

Italian Volpino Care

It is very easy to care for and thanks to its iron health, it will give us little work except for the hair, which like any dog ​​with a long coat will require our attention.

You have to brush it several times a week , although if we are not going to go to any exhibition with it you can trim its hair from time to time, never shave it, as it would lose its essence and its special appearance.

At the dog groomer closest to us, they will be able to advise us on these partial cuts, which will save us work and prevent the appearance of knots, although it is best to spend time combing it, which will strengthen ties with our dog.

We also have to be careful with the feed we give it . Due to their tendency to gain weight, it is best to talk to the veterinarian, considering the possibility of giving them specific food for obese dogs, with more fiber than usual, so that they become full sooner.

This feed must be of quality, forgetting about those sold in supermarkets that only cause medium-term health problems for dogs, as they contain vegetable flour and animal waste such as chicken beaks or legs.

Adopt an Italian Volpino

Although it is no longer in danger of becoming extinct, the Italian volpino is not a very widespread dog, especially outside its borders . Therefore, finding one to adopt will be very complicated in Spain.

Yes, it is more feasible in Italy, something that is also very simple, since the shelters advertise the animals they have through the Internet, so that without leaving home it is possible to see what is available.

It will be another thing to convince the Italian shelter to give us a dog to take to another country, although if they have many animals waiting to be adopted it is possible that they agree, in exchange for sending them regular photos, veterinarian reports, etc.

In the event that we are lucky enough to be able to adopt one, we are going to take a dog with centuries of history, which has been in the salons of noble people as well as on farms guarding property, always with the help of mastiffs.

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