Volpino Italiano – Italian Spitz

Volpino Italiano


This name means little fox and gives you a good idea of what the dog looks like. It is often referred to as an Italian Spitz.


The breed’s origins are not known, but it is believed to be a descendant of the European Spitz which dates back to the Bronze Age. It was a favourite of the Italian royals and aristocracy  particularly around the areas of Florence and Rome. It was often used to accompany its
owners in their carriages as its alert demeanour meant it would warn of any imminent danger. The Italian artist and sculptor Michelangelo owned a volpino.

After the Second World War its popularity declined. Although an attempt to revive the breed was made in the 1980s, there are now believed to
be only around 2000 left in the world. It is not that well known outside

Physical Characteristics

It is a small breed with long hair, a ruff of hair around its neck a curly tail with long hair, a cute fox like face with erect ears. It comes in three recognised colours – white, ‘rosso’ – ginger (quite rare), or champagne. It has lovely big, dark liquid eyes you could fall in love with.


male 27 – 30cm at the shoulder (10 – 12 inches)

female: 25 – 28cm at the shoulder ( 9 – 11 inches)


4 – 5 kilos (9 – 11 lbs).


The Volpino has a friendly temperament and is easily trained. It’s also good with children and used to be thought of as a ‘lady’s dog’.

It is playful and affectionate and can has quite high energy for a small dog. It gets very attached to its famiy and can bark quite a lot if intruders are seen or anyone it isn’t used to.

Personal Experience

Since coming to Italy we have had two Volpino crosses. The first was Truffles, the red and white dog who we found abandoned and the second, Whisky, who we took in after we heard a local farmer didn’t want him anymore.

Whisky was two years old when we heard he was looking for a home and I remember going to pick him up with Alan and wondering if he would miss his owners. He sat on my knee on the way home and never looked back or showed the slightest concern that he was leaving. He was a lovely, highly intelligent little dog with a wonderful personality and it broke our hearts when he died eight years later.

Volpino Products

If you love your Volpino then tell the world. Have a look at some of these cool gifts and products featuring this rare little dog.




Italian Dog Breeds

Ask anyone about Italian dog breeds and you’ll probably get the same response. They may be able to name one, maybe two. In fact, there are sixteen Italian dog breeds.

Probably one of the most famous Italian dog breeds is the Neapolitan mastiff (like Hagred’s dog Fang, made famous in the Harry Potter films). This wrinkly, drooly dog is actually a gentle giant as well as being incredibly loyal.

The gentle and slender Italian greyhound known as the piccolo levriero italiano weighs just under 11 pounds and is therefore classified as a toy breed, but they are true greyhounds and very fast. Italian greyhounds make ideal companion dogs although they can be a bit fragile and can break their legs relatively easily, so probably not best in a boistrous household.



If you dream of truffles, that elusive and unforgettable earthy fungus, then the dog for you is the gorgeously woolly Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog). Highly intelligent, great with kids and very trainable, this compact but robust little dog will steal your heart.

The Pastore Maremmano Abruzzese or Maremma Sheepdog is a large white hairy beauty with the most adorable looking puppies in the world. Originally a working dog, it is tremendously loyal and affectionate but also quite independent and not really a first time owner’s dog, you need some experience to handle a Maremma in the house.

The very rare Volpino Italiano known also as the Italian Spitz or Florentine Spitzis a fluffy little dog with a big personality. If you want intelligence, affection and loyalty in a small package look no further. You’d be in good company as Michelangelo had one.


Other Italian dog breeds:

Bergamasco Sheepdog (Pastore Bergamasco)

Bolognese (Bichon Bolognese)

Bracco Italiano (Italian Pointer)

Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff)

Cirneco d’Etna(Sicilian Hound)


Segugio Italiano (Italian Hound)

Spinone Italiano (Italian Wire haired Pointer)