The Volpino Italiano:
Is a distinct Breed With Ancient Origins
North American Volpino Club
Terralea Collins, President
Michael Rubini, Vice President
Laura Fox, Secretary
Volpino Italiano Means
Little Fox or "Foxy" in Italian
Other Names Include:
Cane di Firenze
Cane del Quirinale
(Romano and Quirinale refers to ancient Roman past)
Victorian authors have also used the term "lupette" or lupetties' - meaning, small wolf.
The Volpino Italiano is a member of the Spitz family and is one of the oldest breeds of dogs.
As a Spitz, the Volpino Italiano is related to the modern breeds Pomeranian and American Eskimo.
The breeds are interrelated and share similarities but have evolved into distinct breeds.
Whats in a Name?
Spitz vs Pomeranian
When researching these breeds
confusion can arise by the use of the words "Spitz" and Pomeranian".
For many years, particularly in the 19th and early 20th century, Spitz and Pomeranian were used interchangeable to describe all dogs in the Spitz family.
In addition to describing a family of related breeds, today "Spitz is also used to describe specific breeds such as the German Spitz or Japanese Spitz
Similarly, Italians sometimes refer to any Spitz dog as a "Volpino", while Volpino Italiano refers to a specific breed.
In the past, Italians also used variations of the word "Pomeranian" to refer to these breeds; as evidenced by old dictionaries:
Vocabolario - Bergamasco - Italiano by S Zappettino published 1859: Cane Volpino - o cane pomerano.
Dizionaire Tascabile Veneziano - Italiano by Ermolao Paoletti published 1851: Can pomar Volpini - o pomerano.
Vocabolario Domestic Genovese - Italino by Paganini published 1837: Can pomele - cane volpino o pomerano
The Pomeranian breed originally was a middle to large sized Spitz about 30 pounds. During the Victorian era, these original Poms were bred with the smaller Volpino Italiano to create the toy version popular today.
Many 19th century photos of "Pomeranians" appear to actually be Volpino Italianos as shown below.