Volpino Italiano

By PetMD Editorial on Sep. 18, 2012

Similar in size and appearance to the Pomeranian, the Volpino Italiano is a much rarer breed. Developed in ancient Italy, this dog breed was loved by royalty and peasants alike as it is very friendly and energetic.

Physical Characteristics

Although the Volpino Italiano closely resembles a Pomeranian, the two breeds bare no relation. This dog is known for its thick, soft coat that comes in a sold white, red, or champagne color. The Volpino Italiano weighs about 9 to 12 pounds at an average height of 11 inches.

Personality and Temperament

This small dog breed is very energetic and lively. The Volpino Italiano is a good breed for a family dog as it has a loyal personality. This breed is known for bonding with its family and is very playful.


Because of the long and bushy coat, this dog breed requires weekly coat brushing and regular bathing. The Volpino Italiano requires a small amount of daily exercise.


The life expectancy of the Volpino Italiano is about 14 to 16 years. This breed is generally healthy, but can develop heart problems and cataracts.

History and Background

The Volpino Italiano is a direct descendent of Spitz-type dogs, which records show existed over 5,000 years ago. After breaking away from the Spitz breed, the Volpino Italiano became very popular in ancient Italy. This dog breed was said to be a favorite among palace lords as well as farmers, and is even rumored to be the dog of Michelangelo.

For reasons unknown, the Volpino Italiano neared extinction and in 1965 only five of the dog breed were known to exist. After about twenty years, a discovery project was formed to recover the breed using the existing dogs from farms.

Today, the Volpino Italiano dog breed still exists in small numbers and was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2006.

Featured Image: iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

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