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Shorthaired Italian Hound Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Federation Cynologique International (FCI)

Native Country

Other Names
Italian Hound, Italian Segugio, Segugio Italiano, Segugio

Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-14 Years

Litter Size
No Litter Information Available

Breed Group

General Description

The Segugio Italiano is either of two Italian breeds of dog of scent hound type, the wire-haired Segugio Italiano a Pelo Forte or the short-haired Segugio Italiano a Pelo Raso.  Apart from the coat type, they are closely similar,  and in some sources may be treated as a single breed; the Federation Cynologique International and the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana treat them as separate. They are also genetically close to the other two Italian scent hound breeds, the Segugio Maremmano and the Segugio dell'Appennino. They are traditionally used for hunting hare, but may also be used in boar hunts.

In 2009 registrations in the national stud-book were 1740 of the wire-haired breed and 4500 of the short-haired.

Breed Standard

Head: Long. Slightly domed skull. Stop not very pronounced. Large nose. Long, domed nosebridge.
Ears: Triangular, flat, pendulous, pointed at the tips.
Eyes: Large, dark ocher-colored.
Body: Can be inscribed inside a square. Very well-knit neck without dewlap. Moderately wide chest. Well-muscled loin. No tuck-up. Straight, muscular back. Level, well-muscled croup.
Tail: Set on high, hanging in saber fashion. Carried no higher than the back in action.
Hair: Medium in length (under 5 cm), harsh except for on the head, legs, and tail. A shorthaired variety with smooth hair also exists.
Coat: Solid fawn, ranging from dark smoky reddish-fawn to light fawn, and black and tan. Fawn may be accompanied by white markings on the muzzle, skull, neck, lower legs, and tip of the tail, and white flashings on the chest.
Size: Dog: 52 to 60 cm. (20.5-23.5 in).Bitch: 50 to 58 cm. (20-23 in).
Weight: Dog: 20 to 28 kg. (44-62 lb).Bitch: 18 to 26 kg. (40-57.5 lb).


The origins of the breed are unknown but are believed to be ancient. In some Ancient Roman statues, including two in the Vatican Museums in Rome and one in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Diana the Huntress is portrayed accompanied by a hunting dog which is thought to show some similarity to the modern Segugio Italiano.

Two closely similar skeletons of dogs of greyhound or scent hound type from a seventh-century Lombard necropolis at Povegliano in the province of Verona were described in 1995; they show some morphological similarity to the modern Segugio, except that they are taller, with a height at the withers estimated at 64 cm.

Dogs of this type were used during the Italian Renaissance in elaborate hunts with a large number of hunt servants and hunt followers mounted on horseback.

Dogs similar to the modern Segugio, both smooth-haired and rough-haired, were shown in Milan in 1886, but there was no clear distinction of breed. In 1920 a breed club, the Societa Italiana Amatori del Segugio e del Cane da Tana, was formed in Lodi, and a breed standard was drawn up; it was dissolved in 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, after restrictive legislation was passed by the Fascist government. By the end of the war the breed was at risk of disappearing.

A new breed society was formed in 1947, with the name Societa Italiana Pro Segugio; in that year, the total number registered in the two national stud-books (LOI and LIR) was 69. The breed standard was revised by the cynologist Giuseppe Solaro. In 1948 there were 120 new registrations.

The rough-haired breed was fully accepted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale in 1956, and the smooth-haired breed in 1993. In 2015, registrations in the national stud-book were 3647 of the short-haired breed, and 1106 of the rough-haired. He has been exported to a number of countries


This robust, very hardy, fast, lively, enthusiastic dog with a superb nose works alone or in packs. He is perfectly adapted to the most rugged terrain and hunts hare, fox, and wild boar. He has a resonant, harmonious voice. Although the Italian Hound is independent and not very outgoing, he can be a companion animal. He needs firm training.

He needs space and lots of exercise and requires regular brushing.


The Segugio Italiano was traditionally kept for the purposes of hunting. It is renowned for its keen scenting ability and its considerable stamina when hunting, staying in the field for up to 12 hours without a break; like most scent hounds it bays loudly when pursuing game. Its traditional quarry is hare, but it may also be used to hunt boar; it hunts well alone, in small groups, or in packs,  with the hunters remaining stationary and the hounds driving game towards them to be shot.

In addition to its traditional role as a scent hound, the Segugio Italiano has increasingly been kept as a companion dog.


No health information readily available for research.

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