Levriero Meridionale

Levriero Meridionale

Levriero Meridionale dogs are an ancient southern Italian breed that has survived for centuries on the Italian peninsula, where they once were prized and well loved by Italian feudal lords and noblemen. They were very popular before the invention of the firearm, but their numbers declined rapidly once people began hunting with guns; hunters started using dogs that would run beside them rather than relying on sight hounds which could locate prey from far away. Today they are still most commonly found in southern Italy and are rarely seen outside of the region.

Illustration courtesy of the American Kennel Club

Quick Facts


Height

Male: 26-28in

Female: 24-27in

Weight

Male: 44-50lb

Female: 44-50lb

Fun Fact

While there is still a great deal of debate on the Levriero Meridionale dogs’ origins, these dogs look very much like some of the dogs that are found in North Africa. Because southern Italy and North Africa are so close geographically, it's possible that these dogs came to Italy during the reign of the Roman Empire, when animals were brought up to Rome from North Africa through Sicily.

About this Breed

Levriero Meridionale dogs are an ancient southern Italian breed that has survived for centuries on the Italian peninsula, where they once were prized and well loved by Italian feudal lords and noblemen. They were very popular before the invention of the firearm, but their numbers declined rapidly once people began hunting with guns; hunters started using dogs that would run beside them rather than relying on sight hounds which could locate prey from far away. Today they are still most commonly found in southern Italy and are rarely seen outside of the region.

Levriero Meridionale dogs are one of a few breeds that have been in Italy for hundreds of years. Genetically speaking they are related to other Italian hunting and herding breeds and are very distinct from breeds found in other countries in Europe. Because of this they are considered a relic of Italian cultural patrimony, and their bloodlines are now highly regulated—lovers of the breed in Italy work tirelessly to ensure that the breed continues on in its pure state.

Given their exercise needs, Levriero Meridionale dogs will always do best in a home where they have plenty of land to roam and plenty of time outdoors. While they are not especially energetic when not on the hunt, they are not necessarily suited to apartment living because they are used to spending a great deal of time out of doors; they might not be happy feeling cooped up in a small urban space.

They are very loving with their family and do very well with children. They also get along well with other dogs; however, because of their high prey drive and their instinct to chase small mammals, they are not necessarily trustworthy with cats. If they’re raised with cats since puppyhood, though, it is possible that they can coexist peacefully.

Finding one of these dogs might be difficult. They are rarely found north of Rome and almost never outside of Italy. For people interested in adding one to their home, a trip to Italy may be in order.

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