Oggi 21/09/2019 ore 15:45

The Etna Cirneco

Cirneco dell etnaAt the end of our quick review of the fauna it seems appropriate to mention the Cirneco of Etna [photo], although this dog does not represent a natural breed, the old ties of his history with that of the Etna people certainly make of him a good representative element of our volcano.
Philip Urzi writes of the Cirneco: "The Cirneco of Etna, which belongs to the group graiode (P. Mégnin) as a hunting dog is considered among those to be searched.
Its general conformation is that of a sub-dolichomorpho whose body lies in the square, he is harmonic with regards to his format, and slightly discordant if we compare the profiles. It is a lively dog, with light structure, medium sized (50 cm at the withers), provided with an excellent sense of smell and great stamina.
It is a dolichocephalic animal with thin and long snout and well built rigid ears.
The head of attractive appearance is supported by a thick neck, muscular and much arched, the chest is deep and wide, the belly tucked up and dry.
The tail at rest is like a scimitar, the coat is of uniform tawny color.
The origins of this animal, as well as the etymology of his name, are very old and somewhat uncertain.
It is known that at the time of the Greeks Cirneco was considered of precious value and the esteem that was felt for it is proved by the existence of 36 different coins of money (from the sixth to the third century BC.) from many Siciliote colonies, including Segesta , Erice, Mozia Panormo, Messana, Syracuse.
Particularly interesting for the perfect match of the somatic characteristics with the current Cirneco is the representation of this animal in a silver tetradracma of Segesta (fifth century BC.).
This dog has found favorable conditions in the distant past to its existence on the slopes of Etna, particularly in the western slope in that area with the city of Adrano at its center. This is documented by some historical reminders.
Claudius Aelian (third century.AD) in his major work "On the Nature of Animals" tells how a thousand dogs were kept to guard the temple of God Adrano priestesses, and were regarded as having supernatural instinct to distinguish the guilty from the righteous. In some coins of the Greek Adran the motif we find is a dog with pointed ears and a tail slightly curved.
“The Etna Cirneco owes its survival mainly to the excellent hunting quality among the rugged looking and sharp volcanic rocks where the rabbit finds refuge in places almost inaccessible to other dogs, the acuteness of its senses, its agility, its courage and character make it irreplaceable in the difficult and hard hunting".