Volpino Italiano

Table of Contents

The Volpino Italiano, often mistaken for the Pomeranian due to their similar fluffy appearance, is a distinct breed with a history that dates back centuries in Italy. This small, sprightly dog was traditionally used as a watch dog, alerting the larger dogs or their owners to intruders. With a keen sense of hearing and a natural inclination to be vocal, they excelled in this role. Sporting a dense, long coat that comes primarily in white, though other colors are recognized, the Volpino is both regal and cute in appearance. Beyond their guarding tendencies, they are known for their affectionate and loyal nature. Their playful demeanor, combined with their alertness, makes them excellent companions for families and singles alike. However, potential owners should be prepared to engage with their spirited energy levels and be dedicated to regular grooming sessions.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

12 to 15 years


Extr Small

Maintenance Level:


Shed Level


Best For

The Volpino Italiano is best suited for families and individuals who appreciate an active, alert, and affectionate companion. Their keen senses and vocal nature make them excellent watchdogs for households. Thanks to their smaller size, they’re also a good fit for apartment living, provided they get sufficient daily exercise.

Being deeply loyal, they form strong bonds with their owners, making them excellent companions for those who can spend quality time with them. Their playful nature and tolerance towards kids make them an apt choice for families with children. However, potential owners should be prepared to cater to their grooming needs, given their long, dense coat. This breed is also ideal for people looking for a pet with a rich historical background and a distinct, fluffy appearance that’s sure to turn heads.

Volpino Italiano Traits

Breed Characteristics

The Volpino Italiano, often referred to as the “little Italian fox” due to its fox-like appearance, is a breed that has been around for centuries, captivating the hearts of many. Originating from Italy, this breed is not only rich in history but also unique in its characteristics. Here’s a breakdown of the breed’s primary features, rated for a clearer understanding:


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Characteristics

Your Affenpinscher dog may be small in size (maybe you can relate), but they make up for it in confidence (again, relatable). With their bright eyes, smooshy faces, alert gaze and a wiry, bristling coat, these brachycephalic dogs may make “Star Wars” fans do a double-take, as these small pups really do resemble Ewoks. Their wiry coats range from black to beige, but they also come in ruddy browns and salt-and-pepper blends.

1. Ears
The Volpino Italiano has medium-sized, triangular ears that stand erect, adding to its alert, fox-like appearance.
2. Eyes
Bright and expressive, their almond-shaped eyes often sparkle with curiosity and intelligence.
3. Face and Head
Their wedge-shaped head, pointed muzzle, and erect ears give them a fox-like appearance, true to their name ‘Volpino’, which means ‘little fox’ in Italian.
4. Size
Small but sturdy, the Volpino Italiano stands about 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulders.
5. Coat
They sport a dense, straight, and long coat that’s particularly fluffy around the neck, giving them a mane-like appearance. The most common coat color is white, but they can also be found in other shades like champagne, though less frequently.
6. Coat Color
Their coat colors include black, gray, silver, red, beige or black and tan.
7. Tail
Their plush tail gracefully curves over the back, adding to their elegant appearance.
8. Weight
The Volpino Italiano typically weighs between 9 to 11 pounds.

Volpino Italiano Temperament

The Volpino Italiano is a delightful blend of lively spirit and loyal companion. With a history that ties them closely to ancient Italian civilizations, these little dogs are alert, intelligent, and inherently vigilant. They’re known to be especially attuned to their families, showing deep affection and often acting as self-appointed guardians. While they might be wary of strangers initially, once they decide someone is trustworthy, they can be quite welcoming.

Energetic and playful, the Volpino enjoys engaging in games, and its inquisitive nature makes it a keen explorer of its surroundings. Their independent streak means they sometimes like to do things their own way, but they always remain close to their loved ones, both physically and emotionally. They can be quite vocal, often using a variety of barks to communicate their feelings or alert their family of any unusual happenings.

Socialization from a young age is vital to ensure they grow up well-rounded and are comfortable in different situations. Despite their small size, they have a big heart and an even bigger personality, making them a cherished member of any household.

How to Care for a Volpino Italiano

Caring for a Volpino Italiano requires a blend of attentive companionship, proper grooming, and consistent training. Here’s a breakdown:

The Volpino Italiano, with its fluffy and straight coat, is a breed that demands regular grooming attention to ensure it remains clean, healthy, and free of mats. Here’s a detailed guide to grooming your Volpino Italiano:

  1. Brushing: Given the density and length of their coat, it’s essential to brush your Volpino Italiano at least 2-3 times a week. This not only helps prevent tangling and matting but also promotes the distribution of natural oils, keeping the coat glossy. Use a pin brush or a slicker brush for best results.

  2. Bathing: While they don’t need frequent baths, it’s advisable to give them a thorough wash once every 6-8 weeks or when they’re particularly dirty. Always use a dog-specific shampoo that maintains the natural oils of their coat.

  3. Ears: The Volpino’s ears should be checked weekly for signs of dirt, redness, or inflammation which could indicate an infection. Use a cotton ball dampened with a pH-balanced ear cleaner to gently wipe the ears.

  4. Eyes: Wipe away any discharge from your Volpino’s eyes with a soft, damp cloth. If you notice excessive tearing or redness, it might be worth consulting your vet.

  5. Teeth: Dental hygiene is essential. Brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times a week to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease. Consider using dog-specific toothpaste and brushes.

  6. Nails: Trim your Volpino’s nails once or twice a month. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Use a dog nail clipper or grinder. Be careful not to cut into the quick, as it can cause pain and bleeding.

  7. Paw Pads: Check the pads for any signs of injury, cracks, or foreign objects, especially after walks.

  8. Shedding: The Volpino Italiano sheds, especially during seasonal changes. During these periods, increase the frequency of brushing to manage and reduce the amount of loose fur.

  9. Professional Grooming: While at-home grooming can keep your Volpino looking good, occasionally taking them to a professional groomer can ensure a thorough job, especially when it comes to trimming their coat if necessary.

Regular grooming not only ensures your Volpino Italiano looks its best but also provides an opportunity to check for signs of health problems such as skin infections, lumps, or parasites. It’s also a bonding activity, so ensure it’s a pleasant experience for your dog by offering treats and praises during grooming sessions.

The Volpino Italiano, a sprightly and alert breed, possesses both charm and intelligence. Training such a breed can be both rewarding and challenging. Here’s a comprehensive guide to training your Volpino Italiano effectively:

  1. Start Early: Begin training your Volpino as soon as you bring them home. These dogs are eager to learn, and early socialization and puppy training classes can be highly beneficial.

  2. Positive Reinforcement: Always opt for positive reinforcement techniques. Rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime works wonders with this breed. Avoid harsh corrective methods, as they can be counterproductive and can lead to behavioral issues.

  3. Consistency is Key: Make sure that everyone in the household is on the same page regarding commands and rules. Consistency helps avoid confusion for the dog and reinforces learned behaviors.

  4. Socialization: Volpino Italianos are naturally wary of strangers. To prevent this from turning into aggressive behavior, early and frequent exposure to various people, animals, and environments is crucial. This helps them understand that new experiences can be positive.

  5. Mental Stimulation: This breed is intelligent and requires mental challenges to prevent boredom. Incorporate puzzle toys, advanced commands, and agility training into their routine.

  6. Avoid Repetitiveness: Changing up the training routine can be beneficial as repeating the same commands and tricks can lead to boredom. Introduce new commands or tricks occasionally to keep them engaged.

  7. Leash Training: Given their alert nature, they might want to chase after smaller animals or react to unfamiliar stimuli. It’s essential to train them to walk calmly on a leash from a young age.

  8. Recall Training: Their curious nature makes recall training critical. Ensure they respond to commands like “come” or “here” for their safety.

  9. Address Barking: Volpinos are alert and can be quite vocal. While this makes them excellent watchdogs, excessive barking can be an issue. Address this behavior early on by teaching commands like “quiet” or “enough.”

  10. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If certain behaviors become challenging to handle, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

Remember, every dog is an individual. Some Volpinos might pick up training faster than others. Celebrate small victories, be patient, and make the training process enjoyable for both you and your dog. The end goal is to have a well-adjusted, happy, and obedient companion.

Providing your Volpino Italiano with a balanced diet is vital for their overall health, energy, and longevity. This small, lively breed has specific nutritional requirements that you should be aware of. Here’s a comprehensive guide on feeding your Volpino:

  1. High-Quality Commercial Food: Opt for high-quality commercial dog food that lists meat (chicken, beef, fish, or lamb) as its primary ingredient. Avoid brands that use fillers, by-products, and artificial additives.

  2. Portion Control: Overfeeding can lead to obesity, a problem in many small dog breeds. Use a measuring cup and follow the recommended serving sizes on the dog food label, adjusting based on your dog’s age, weight, and activity level.

  3. Fresh Water: Ensure your Volpino has access to fresh water at all times. Regularly clean the water bowl to prevent bacterial growth.

  4. Homemade Meals: If you choose to prepare homemade meals, consult a veterinarian or pet nutritionist to ensure you’re providing a balanced diet. Ingredients like lean meats, whole grains, and certain vegetables can be beneficial. However, be aware of foods that are toxic to dogs like onions, garlic, grapes, and chocolate.

  5. Treats in Moderation: While treats are excellent for training and bonding, they should constitute no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Opt for healthy treats like carrot sticks or dog-specific biscuits.

  6. Supplements: Before introducing any supplements (like omega fatty acids or joint supplements), consult with your veterinarian to determine if they’re necessary and appropriate for your pet.

  7. Special Dietary Needs: As they age, Volpinos might require diets catered to specific health concerns, such as joint issues or dental health. There are specialized commercial foods available for senior dogs, dogs with sensitive stomachs, or dogs with allergies.

  8. Avoid Human Junk Food: Never feed your Volpino Italiano foods high in salt, sugar, or spices. It’s not only unhealthy but can also lead to digestive issues or poisoning in severe cases.

  9. Routine Vet Check-ups: Regular vet visits can help monitor your Volpino’s weight and overall health. Your vet can provide dietary recommendations tailored to your dog’s individual needs.

  10. Changing Foods: If you need to change your dog’s diet, do so gradually over a week. Start by mixing a small amount of the new food with the old, gradually increasing the new food’s proportion each day. This helps prevent digestive upset.

In conclusion, a balanced diet is crucial for the Volpino Italiano’s health and well-being. By understanding their dietary needs and monitoring their weight and health, you can ensure your furry friend stays happy and vibrant throughout their life.

The Volpino Italiano is a spirited and energetic breed that thrives on regular exercise and play. This lively little dog has a surprising amount of energy packed into its small frame. Meeting its exercise needs is essential for its physical health, mental well-being, and to curb any potential behavioral issues. Here’s a breakdown of the exercise requirements for a Volpino Italiano:

  1. Daily Walks: A daily walk or two is essential for the Volpino. While they might not require the long treks that some larger breeds do, a brisk 20-30 minute walk will help burn off their energy and keep them content.

  2. Playtime: Volpinos are playful and enjoy engaging in games with their owners. Fetch, tug-of-war, or even a simple game of chase can be delightful for them. Their curious nature also makes them excellent explorers, so letting them sniff around during walks is an additional form of mental exercise.

  3. Mental Stimulation: Puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys can be a great way to engage their brains. Training sessions, even short ones, are not only good for teaching manners but also for providing mental challenges.

  4. Socialization: Volpinos are social creatures and often enjoy playdates with other small dog breeds. Regular visits to a dog park or arranging playdates with other dogs can be beneficial for their social skills and offer a different kind of exercise.

  5. Indoor Activities: On days when outdoor exercise might be limited due to bad weather, indoor games can be a lifesaver. Hide and seek, indoor fetch, or setting up a mini agility course can keep them active.

  6. Safety: Always ensure that if they are playing in an open area, it’s securely fenced. Their curious nature might get the better of them, leading them to wander off.

  7. Watch for Overexertion: Even though they’re energetic, it’s important not to overdo it, especially in puppies or older dogs. If your Volpino shows signs of fatigue, it’s time to wind down and rest.

  8. Consistency is Key: Like all breeds, the Volpino thrives on a consistent routine. Try to keep their exercise and playtimes around the same time every day.

In conclusion, while the Volpino Italiano might be small in stature, its exercise needs are not to be underestimated. A combination of physical activity, mental stimulation, and social interaction will keep this lively breed happy, healthy, and well-behaved.

The Volpino Italiano, with its petite size and vivacious character, is a breed that adapts well to various living situations, but certain environments will undoubtedly play to its strengths and provide the most comfort. Here’s a snapshot of the ideal environment for a Volpino Italiano:

  1. Living Space: Despite their small size, Volpinos are quite active indoors and will appreciate a space where they can move around freely. However, they can adjust to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise and playtime. A house with a secure backyard can be a bonus, offering them space to explore and play.

  2. Safety: Volpinos are curious by nature and can sometimes be a bit mischievous. A secure, fenced yard or area is crucial if they’re left to play outside, ensuring they don’t wander off chasing after something that piques their interest.

  3. Social Setting: Volpinos are very social dogs that thrive on interaction. They prefer being around their human family members and might suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. An environment where there’s always someone around or where they have a companion can be ideal.

  4. Climate Tolerance: With their thick double coat, Volpinos can handle cooler temperatures relatively well, but they’re not overly fond of extreme heat. In hotter climates or during summer months, it’s essential to ensure they have a cool, shaded area to rest and that their outdoor activities are scheduled during cooler parts of the day.

  5. Mental Stimulation: Volpinos are bright and benefit from an environment that challenges their intellect. Providing them with puzzle toys, interactive games, and regular training sessions can keep them mentally satisfied.

  6. Socialization Opportunities: These dogs usually get along with other pets, especially if introduced at a young age. An environment where they can interact with other friendly animals, whether in the home or through regular visits to dog parks, can be beneficial.

In essence, the Volpino Italiano flourishes in a loving, secure environment where it can engage in regular play, have opportunities for social interaction, and be an integral part of family activities. While they’re adaptable to different living conditions, ensuring their safety and providing ample stimulation, both mental and physical, are keys to their well-being.

Volpino Italiano Health

The Volpino Italiano, like all breeds, comes with its unique set of health considerations. Being aware of these can help owners take preventive measures and provide the best care possible for their furry companion. Here’s an in-depth look into the health profile of the Volpino Italiano:

  1. Primary Lens Luxation (PLL): This is a genetic condition where the lens of the eye becomes dislocated. Symptoms can include redness, squinting, or cloudiness of the eye. It’s crucial to get a diagnosis from a vet, as untreated PLL can lead to glaucoma or blindness.

  2. Patellar Luxation: Common among smaller breeds, this condition involves the dislocation of the kneecap, which can be painful and can lead to limping. While mild cases might not require treatment, severe instances might need surgical intervention.

  3. Dental Issues: The Volpino Italiano’s small mouth can be a breeding ground for dental diseases if not regularly maintained. Regular brushing and dental check-ups are vital.

  4. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is an inherited condition where the retina deteriorates over time, leading to eventual blindness. Regular eye check-ups and early detection can help manage the progression.

  5. Hip Dysplasia: While less common in smaller breeds, it’s still a potential concern. This involves a malformation of the hip joint, which can lead to arthritis or lameness in severe cases.

  6. Allergies: Some Volpinos can be sensitive to certain foods, environmental factors, or chemicals. Symptoms can range from itchy skin, ear infections, to digestive issues. Identifying and eliminating the allergen is crucial for the dog’s comfort.

  7. Regular Vet Check-ups: To maintain their overall health, regular vet visits are essential. These check-ups can help detect any potential health issues early on and ensure that the Volpino receives necessary vaccinations and preventatives against parasites.

In conclusion, while the Volpino Italiano is a relatively healthy breed, being aware of potential health concerns and taking preventive measures can go a long way in ensuring a long, happy, and healthy life for your pet. Regular vet visits, a balanced diet, and a watchful eye for any unusual symptoms are the cornerstones of responsible pet ownership.

Volpino Italiano Breed Comparison and Consideration

When considering a Volpino Italiano, it’s beneficial to compare this breed with others to determine which might be the best fit for your household. Here’s a brief comparison of the Volpino Italiano with some similar breeds:

  1. Volpino Italiano vs. American Eskimo Dog: Both breeds share a striking resemblance due to their fluffy white coats. However, the American Eskimo Dog can be larger, especially if you’re comparing it to the standard or toy variety. In terms of temperament, the American Eskimo tends to be more reserved with strangers, whereas the Volpino Italiano is generally more sociable.

  2. Volpino Italiano vs. Pomeranian: Pomeranians are one of the more popular toy breeds and, like the Volpino, have a fluffy coat. Poms, however, come in a broader range of colors. Both are alert and can be quite vocal, but Pomeranians might be more challenging to train due to their stubborn streak.

  3. Volpino Italiano vs. German Spitz: These breeds are quite similar in appearance and temperament. Both are lively, alert, and affectionate. The main difference is in their origins and subtle variations in their coat and body structure.



When choosing between the Volpino Italiano and other breeds, consider factors such as:

  • Size: Ensure you are comfortable with the size of the dog. If you live in a small apartment, smaller breeds or those with lower energy levels might be preferable.

  • Grooming Needs: Fluffy breeds like the Volpino Italiano require regular grooming to keep their coat in top condition. If you’re not up for this commitment, consider a breed with a shorter or less dense coat.

  • Activity Level: The Volpino Italiano is active and alert. If you’re looking for a more laid-back breed, this might not be the right fit.

  • Training and Socialization: Some breeds are more independent and might be a challenge to train. Think about your experience level and the amount of time you can dedicate to training.

  • Health Issues: Each breed comes with its set of potential health concerns. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with these and consider potential veterinary expenses.

In conclusion, while the Volpino Italiano is a charming and lively breed, it’s essential to weigh its characteristics against others to find the best match for your family and lifestyle.


Yes, the Volpino Italiano is known for being affectionate and gets along well with family members, including children. They are loyal and protective, making them great family companions.

Like many other breeds with a fluffy coat, the Volpino Italiano does shed. Regular grooming can help manage and reduce the amount of hair that is shed around the home.

While they are intelligent and eager to please, the Volpino Italiano can sometimes be a bit stubborn. Consistent, positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

The Volpino Italiano is a lively and active breed but doesn’t have excessive energy levels. Regular walks, play sessions, and occasional trips to a dog park should be sufficient for their exercise needs.

Like all breeds, the Volpino Italiano has its set of health concerns. Some potential issues include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and certain eye conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial.

Yes, the Volpino Italiano is considered a rare breed, especially outside of Italy. Efforts have been made to preserve and promote the breed in various countries.

Top Takeaways

The Volpino Italiano is a captivating breed that boasts a rich history dating back centuries. Known for their charm, these dogs once graced the laps of Italian nobility and were frequently featured in Renaissance art. This strong connection with the past renders them particularly intriguing for history aficionados and dog lovers alike.

Despite their petite size, the Volpino Italiano’s alert demeanor positions them as fantastic watchdogs. Their acute hearing, paired with an innate protective instinct, ensures they’re always on guard, promptly notifying their owners of unfamiliar sounds or newcomers. However, it’s worth noting that their diminutive stature might not exactly strike fear into the heart of an intruder.

Their lush, fluffy coat demands regular grooming sessions, but with proper care, these dogs can live up to a ripe age of around 16 years. The adaptable nature of the Volpino Italiano means they are suitable for various living conditions, as long as their exercise requirements and need for social interaction are sufficiently addressed. In a nutshell, the Volpino Italiano truly embodies the adage, “good things come in small packages.”

Top Volpino Italiano Names

These are the top Volpino Italiano chosen by Pawstray pet parents!

Female Names


Ginger Adam









Male Names











Scroll to Top