Breed standards are the official guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.
Last Updated: 22 Jun 2020
FCI Standard No 199 ORIGIN: Italy DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE OFFICIAL VALID STANDARD: 30.10.2016 TRANSLATION: Mrs. Jane Moore. Revised by Mrs. Renée Sporre- Willes. Official language: EN UTILIZATION: Hunting dog – in particular used for wild rabbit. F.C.I.-CLASSIFICATION: Group 5 (Spitz and primitive types) Section 7 Primitive type Hunting Dogs With working trial in Italy.
Group 4 (Hounds)
The Cirneco has been present in Sicily since ancient times. A Mediterranean dog of ancient origins that probably descends from hunting dogs that existed in the era of the pharaohs in Ancient Egypt and was introduced to the Mediterranean basin by the Phoenicians with Sicily as the elected region of adoption. Evidence of the presence of the Cirneco on the island is provided by his portrayal on coins, incisions and mosaics dating from many centuries before Christ and was always considered the most ancient, eclectic and highly regarded hunting dog.
Medium sized primitive type of dog with an elegant and slender shape, compact and strong built with a fine coat and upright ears, always alert. The conformation is built on sub-longish lines.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The length of the body is equal to the height at the withers (square). The depth of the chest is slightly less than the height from elbow to ground. Length of head is 4/10th of the height of the withers . The muzzle never to be shorter than skull. Dolichocephalic skull and with a cephalic index of less than 50%.
Stop with an angle of approximately 150°. The length of the loin is approximately one fifth of the height at the withers and its width is nearly the same as its length. The length of the croup is about a third of the height at the withers and its width is nearly half its length. Depth of chest slightly less than half the height at the withers (about 43%) and width (measured at the widest part of the chest) is less of a third (about 27%) of the height at the withers. The thoracic perimeter exceeds the height of the withers by about 1/8th.
The Cirneco is strong-willed, uncompromising, affectionate and alert, a resolute dog, very attached to his owner. Fundamentally a hunting dog who uses his keen sense of smell, but is also an excellent companion. The specific skill is searching for scent and pursuing wild rabbit and other small game both fur and feather. The ideal hunting ground is among the nooks and crannies of rock faces and in particular the terrain formed by volcanic lava on the slopes of Mount Etna where the Cirneco leaps from one rock to another, surefooted and elegant. The breed uses sight only to select the most suitable location and nothing escapes his attention. The hearing is used to pick up the movement of the rabbit when it has gone to ground, but it is the powerful, reliable sense of smell that allows the dog to follow a trail and flush out the prey.
Head And Skull:
CRANIAL REGION: Skull: Longish skull with the width being less than half the total length of the head. Lengthwise seen from above tends towards an oval shape; upper longitudinal axes of the skull and the muzzle are parallel or only slightly divergent. The upper profile of the skull is only slightly convex, to appear almost flat, the width at the level of the zygomatic arches is less than half the total length of the head. Superciliary arches slightly elevated, frontal region slightly elevated and receding, frontal furrow slightly marked, occipital crest barely visible and occipital protuberances only slightly pronounced. Stop: Slightly accentuated.
FACIAL REGION: Nose: Quite large with a rather rectangular shape. The colour of the leather ranges from light to dark flesh-colour to brown, depending on the intensity of the coat colour. Viewed in profile the nose is in line with the muzzle and it protrudes over the vertical line of the lips. Muzzle: The length of the muzzle never to be shorter than the length of the skull. Measured at the middle of the muzzle, the depth is at least as half of the length of the muzzle; the width is less than half of the muzzles length. The muzzle is pointed with the lower profile defined by the mandible, the bridge of the nose has a straight profile. Lips: Fine, slim and taut, only just covering the teeth. The commissure is barely visible. Cheeks: Flat.
Rather small. Colour should be ochre, amber or hazel, never grey, brown or yellow. Set at a semi-lateral position and with soft expression. Oval shaped eye-rims of the same colour as the nose.
Set very high and close together, carried upright and rigid with frontal opening. Natural of a triangular shape with a narrow tip that tilts slightly backwards. Cartilage thick at the base. When alert, the vertical axes are parallel or almost parallel. The length of the ears should not exceed half the total length of the head.
Jaws/Teeth: Complete dentition (lack of PM1 and M3 permissible). and scissor bite. Normally developed jaws, although not strong in appearance. Mandible only slightly developed with receding chin. Incisors set square to the jaw perfectly fitting and aligned.
Upper profile well arched; length the same as the head. Neck set harmoniously into the withers with a smooth outline. Shape of neck similar to a truncated cone and well muscled especially along the crest of the neck.
General Appearance: Seen in profile an imaginary vertical line from the point of the shoulder touches the tip of the toes, fore legs keep a perfect alignment to the vertical axis seen from both sides. The length of the foreleg from ground to elbow is slightly longer than half the height at the withers. Shoulder: Shoulder blade well laid back, length about one third of the height at the withers, the tips of the shoulder blades are close. The scapulo-humeral angle is moderate. Upper arm: Half as long as the length of the foreleg from ground to elbow. Conspicuous clean musculature. Elbow: Set in line with the brisket, or below, neither turned in nor out. Angle between upper-arm and forearm approximately 160°. Forearm: Perpendicular to the ground. Well marked carpo-cubical groove; light but solid bone. Carpus (Wrist): Straight line following on from the forearm. Protruding pisiform bone. Metacarpus (Pastern): Length not less than one sixth of the height of the foreleg from the ground to the elbow, wider than the wrist. Slight inclination from back to front. Bone flat and lean.
Topline: Straight sloping from the withers to the croup. Withers: High, narrow due to the convergence of the shoulder blades. Back: Upper profile straight without conspicuous muscles. Loin: The length of the loin is nearly the same as its width. Short, slightly developed muscles but firm. The length of the loin is approximately one third of the length of the chest. Croup: Upper profile is rather flat and the inclination approximately 45° below the horizontal, hence steep, lean and strong. The length is adequate and width is nearly half the length. Inconspicuous musculature. Chest: Good depth of chest nearly to the elbow without going beyond. Ribs slightly sprung, never flat. Rather narrow forechest. Underline and belly: The contour of the lower profile rises smoothly, lean without excessive tuck up. Flanks same length as the loin.
General Appearance: Seen in profile show an imaginary line from the point of buttock touching the tip of the toes. Seen from behind, an imaginary vertical line from the point of the buttock to the ground divides the hock joints, rear pastern and hind feet in two equal parts. The total height of the hind leg is shorter than the height at the withers (approximately 93%). Thigh: Long and broad. Length is one third of the height at the withers, flat muscles with back profile of the thigh slightly convex. The angle between pelvis and thigh is approximately 115°. Stifle (Knee): The angle of the stifle joint is approximately 115°. Lower thigh: Slightly shorter than the thigh with an inclination to the horizontal of 45°. Musculature lean and well defined, light bone structure with marked leg groove. Hock joint: Length from the point of hock to ground is not longer that 27% of the height at the withers. Broad at the hock joint and with an angle of approximately 135°. Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Length equal to one third of the length of the foreleg from ground to elbow, cylindrical, perpendicular to the ground. No dewclaws.
Forefeet: Slightly oval shaped, arched with tight toes. Strong curved nails of brown or pinkish flesh-colour tending towards brown – never black. Hard pads with pigmentation matching the colour of the nails.
Hind feet: Slightly oval shaped, arched with tight toes. Strong curved nails of brown o pinkish flesh-colour tending towards brown – never black. Hard pads with pigmentation matching the colour of the nails.
Low set, fairly thick at base and of equal thickness for most of its length. Reaching to the hocks or slightly longer. Carried sabre fashion when at rest and scythe shaped over the back when alert. Hair semi-long and close.
Short, brisk steps or springy fast trot.
Skin: Fine and taut all over the body. Pigmentation varies according to the colour of the coat, must never have black spots or depigmentation.
Hair: Of vitreous and dense texture, smooth on head ears and legs, semi-long (2.5 cm approximately) sleek and fitting on the body and tail.
a) Fawn colour in all shades ranging from dark to light and dilutions. b) Tan and white: White blaze or mark on head; white mark or blaze on chest; white feet; point of tail; belly; but white collar less appreciated. The tan coat with mixture of slightly lighter and darker hairs is permitted.
Height at the withers: Males: 46 – 50 cm. Females: 44 – 48 cm.
Tolerance of 2 cm under minimum and over maximum height. Weight: Males: 10 – 13 kg. Females: 8 – 11 kg.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work.
SEVERE FAULTS: • Divergence of skull-muzzle axes. • Short muzzle. • Accentuated occipital crest and frontal region. • Accentuated stop. • Ears with thin cartilage, semi-pendent or divergent. • Short neck, dewlap. • Feet long, wide, flat, splayed toes. • Rear dewclaws.
DISQUALIFYIING FAULTS: • Aggressive or overly shy dogs. • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified. • Accentuated divergence of skull-muzzle axes. • Nose leather black or without any pigmentation. • Concave nose ridge (dish-face). • Undershot bite. • Overshot bite. • Wall eye. • Pendent ears. • Black eye rims, toe nails, pads, digital pads. • Tail curled over the back; absence of tail (anury) or stump tail (brachyury). • Coat colour that is solid brown, black or brindle. Black or brown patches or black or brown hairs. • Height not within the upper or lower tolerance.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. • Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation, should be used for breeding.