Italian Hound: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


Among the characteristics of the Italian hound , also known as Italian segugio , stands out its ability to hunt and its energetic appearance. There are two varieties: the short-haired and the wire – haired . It has a character is balanced, independent and loyal. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Italian hound dog breed.


Character of the breed Italian Hound

There are two varieties. The Italian short-haired hound and the Italian wire-haired hound, which, despite being the older, is currently the less popular of the two. It has a sober character, very resistant and imperturbable.

It adapts perfectly to the conditions of the poorest regions of Italy, since it needs very little to survive, and although it is also used as a companion dogits personality is somewhat distant and independent.

Likewise, the fact of having lived with human communities for centuries has meant that its somewhat distant and independent temperament has gradually moulded and softened until it became a more than acceptable companion.

It has a loyal and affectionate demeanour, without being clingy, but it is sociable and endowed with a very balanced character. Thus, its relationship with the family can be described as good and it gets along quite well with the children.

Although it never behaves in an excessively sweet or flattering way, with strangers it is vigilant and somewhat suspicious, without being fearful, aggressive or shy.

Something similar happens in its relationship with other animals, because with other dogs it is calm and cordial. On the other hand, when it meets animals of other species, it brings out its most primal instincts and shows a strong tendency to hunt them down, so it is advisable not to leave them near these types of pets.

As for its ideal habitat, although it can adapt to living in the city, its natural environment is the countryside or the mountains, open spaces in the middle of nature where you can unleash your instincts and get plenty of exercise.

This is vital for this breed, which needs to run freely for a long period of time every day to burn off all the excess energy that it accumulates throughout the day.

A bored Italian hound becomes a source of problems, as it develops a very destructive behavior and also becomes excessively noisy, with the consequent annoyances that this brings to the neighbors and the logical problems and complaints that derive from it.

  • Energy: they are very active, energetic and dynamic, so you need to do a lot of intense exercise on a daily basis.
  • Temperament: it is a bold, independent, dedicated, brave, resistant and very active animal. It adapts to all types of terrain and is resistant and fast. It is a bold but not very communicative dog.
  • Adaptability: it can live in the city, but its natural habitat is the countryside.
  • Sociability: medium / High. It is affectionate with its family, but with strangers it is suspicious and somewhat surly.
  • Health: it is a healthy and robust dog.
  • Longevity: medium / High. Live well for 10-15 years.
  • Utility: versatile. Hunting dog, sometimes used for company.
  • Use: hunting and company.

Characteristics of the Italian Hound

To know the physical characteristics of the Italian hound, you should know that the ancient breed closely related to the Egyptian sight hounds, the Italian hound is a very common dog in its country of origin, but very little known outside of it.

Traditionally it has been used to hunt rabbits, which is still its main use. But it can also be used in other types of disciplines, since it is tenacious, tireless and has an extraordinary sense of smell and, consequently, a great ability to track.

Regarding its general appearance, it is a dog with a square body structure, since its height at the withers is the same as the length of the trunk. Of balanced proportions, it has strong musculature and a fairly straight back, with the withers slightly higher than the croup.

Its head has an elongated and slightly elliptical shape. The length of the muzzle is half that of the head. The nose is large, with very mobile nostrils, and black in color.

The eyes are almond-shaped, large and bright, are dark ocher in color and are located in a semi-lateral position. The edges of the eyelids are black. Its expression is of great sweetness.

It has wide, long, hanging and triangular ears. Flat throughout most of their length, they end in a narrow point that gently bends inward.

It has “hare” -type feet , with toes arched and close together, and thin, hard, black pads. The nails are strong, curved and black.

Its tail is thin at the base and uniform throughout, except at the tip, where it is finest. At rest it hangs down and reaches the hock.

The hair of the short-haired variety is dense and smooth; in the wire-haired variety, it measures about 5 cm, and forms a fairly bushy beard and eyebrows, but without covering the eyes.

Let’s see now how is the Italian hound and the breed standard:

Italian Hound breed standard

  • Overall Appearance: With a well-balanced, perfectly symmetrical, and developed build, this hound is lean, muscular, and without a hint of fat, allowing for tireless activity.
  • Size: medium / large.
  • Height at the withers: hard-haired variety: between 52 and 60 cm for males and between 50 and 58 cm for females. Shorthair variety: between 52 and 58 cm for males and between 48 and 56 cm for females.
  • Weightwire-haired variety: between 20 and 28 kg for males and between 18 and 26 kg for females. Shorthair variety: between 18 and 28 kg for males and between 16 and 26 kg for females.
  • Origin: Italy.
  • Other names: Italian Hound / Chien courant Italien / Italienischer Laufhund / Italienische Bracke / Segugio italiano.
  • Body: compact, well muscled and with harmonious lines.
  • Head: it is elongated and represents almost half the height at the withers.
  • Skull: seen from above, it is almost oval in shape, while seen in profile the axes of the skull and those of the muzzle are divergent. The upper profile is slightly domed. It has underdeveloped zygomatic arches and the occipital protuberance is not very visible.
  • Muzzle: the profile of the muzzle is convex and the lateral faces of the muzzle are convergent.
  • Nose: large, fresh, moist and black in color. The nostrils are mobile and open.
  • Eyes: they are large, almond-shaped, shiny and dark ocher in color. They are somewhat lopsided. The eyelids are perfectly adapted to the eyeball and the edges are black.
  • Ears: they are long, wide, flat, hanging and triangular. They are implanted at the level of the zygomatic arches. The insertion, crooked and very rigid, deflects the ears to the front. The tip is slightly bent inwards.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is very little marked. The upper profile rises from the muzzle in a gentle slope down to the skull.
  • Jaws: they are strong and have full teeth, with white teeth of a normal size. The bite is regular and complete in scissors, although some specimens close in pincers.
  • Neck: very thin and light. The skin is fine, without folds or dewlap.
  • Chest: It has slightly convex sides and the upper costal arches are arched. The thoracic cavity is of medium width, with the ribs not very tight and slightly convex.
  • Back: it has a straight dorsal profile, with strong but little marked muscles, a short lumbar region and a convex rump.
  • Forelimbs: they are vertical and well poised. The shoulders are long with lean, well-defined muscles, with the tips of the shoulder blades close together. The forearms are vertical, and the arms, close to the body, have long, dry muscles.
  • Hind limbs: they are well poised and endowed with a solid skeleton. The legs are shorter than the thighs, they are provided with lean, solid muscles and light bones. The thighs have protruding muscles that are well differentiated from each other. Its knees are perfectly plumb in relation to the limb, and the hocks are low and well angulated.
  • Feet: oval in shape, they are called “hare’s feet”; They have arched toes, with thin, hard, black pads and strong, curved nails, generally black. Some specimens have light nails.
  • Tail: it is set high, in the line of the rump, and, at the start, it is thicker in the wire-haired hound. It is covered with hair throughout its length and reaches the hocks. The dog wears it down, and when it is moving it raises it and can exceed the line of the back.
  • Skin: it is fine and thin, with black pigmented mucous membranes.
  • Hair: in the wirehaired it is softer on the head, ears, limbs, tail and muzzle, and has a beard and bushy eyebrows, although they do not cover the eyes. In the shorthair it is dense and smooth, with hard hairs on the trunk, muzzle and extremities.
  • Color: the unicolor fawn coats predominate throughout its range, from dark red, sometimes charcoal, to light fawn; This mantle may present a white mask on the muzzle and skull, which may or may not be symmetrical, a white star on the chest and spots of the latter color on the neck, tail and extremities. The coat of the Italian hound can also be black and tan, and when a white spot appears on the chest it is said that the dog is tricolor.
  • Movement: when hunting, it preferably moves at a gallop.
  • FCI classification: FCI No. 198 (hard hair) and No. 337 (short hair). Group 6 – Bloodhounds, scent dogs and similar breeds. Section 1 – Bloodhound-type dogs.

Education and training of the Italian Hound

Regarding how to educate an Italian hound, say that it is a pure working dog whose most typical characteristics are its toughness and frugality, since from the beginning it was adopted as a hunting dog by the poorest rural society in Italy, for people who had little to offer their dog and who could not afford to have more than one dog.

Therefore, the segugio is the typical dog that gives a lot and expects very little in return, beyond a caress and the possibility of sharing its time with its human family.

All this makes the connection that you establish with your guide or your master is very special, because as a very intelligent animal that it is, it learns very quickly and has a great desire to please.

For this reason, it is usually easy to train, although some specimens are more stubborn than necessary, a characteristic that can be easily solved with well-directed and consistent training.

Used mainly for hunting, which still remains its fundamental occupation today, the Italian hound specialized in hunting hares and rabbits, for which it uses a very particular technique: it is dedicated to surrounding the animals by tracing large circles around them. to them and makes them move towards the place where the hunter is.


Food of the Italian Hound

As for how to feed an Italian hound, due to its high level of energy that it expends throughout the day, the feed must be abundant in protein (of animal origin) to be able to cover the high energy needs of this dog and provide nutrition suitable for muscles, skeleton and joints.

But not only that, you also need a balanced diet with quality fats that allow you to keep your hair, eyes and skin in perfect condition, and serve as fuel for your extraordinary energy.

On the other hand, it is advisable to divide the daily ration into two doses. It is also not advisable to feed the dog immediately after or before exercising.

Fortunately, it is not difficult to find food for dogs of this breed in specialized pet stores or through online stores.


Health and diseases of the Italian Segugio

A typical working dog, of ancient selection and always used for hunting, the Italian hound is basically a healthy animal and exposed to few major problems, except for some joint diseases.

In any case, the veterinarian is in charge of always setting the guideline to be followed regarding vaccinations, deworming and other health controls.


Specific care of the Italian Segugio breed

As for how to care for an Italian hound and its aesthetic maintenance, it is very simple, since a weekly brushing is enough in the case of short-haired dogs, and a more frequent brushing for wire-haired ones.

They also need dead hair to be routinely removed with the help of their fingers or a special blade to prevent healthy hair from tangling or losing its natural texture.

With these few cares, the Italian hound turns out to be an active, healthy, strong, happy companion and very devoted to its family.


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