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The Volpino Italiano:

Is a distinct Breed With Ancient Origins

Prepared by
North American Volpino Club
in 2010
Terralea Collins, President
Michael Rubini, Vice President
Laura Fox, Secretary

Volpino Italiano Means

Little Fox or "Foxy" in Italian

Other Names Include:

  • Italian Pomeranian

  • Italian Spitz

  • Florentine Spitz 

  • Cane di Firenze

  • Volpino

  • Vulpino Romano

  • 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

Volpino Italiano

  • 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 - Italiano 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. 

Solid Color Volpino's were bred with large 30 pound red Poms, that is what made them smaller and party color as Poms were originally only red.



Volpino Standard - UKC and ENCI.  Pomeranian Standard - AKC



Interrelated and share similar features but have evolved into the distinct breeds they are today. 
POMERANIAN              VS            VOLPINO ITALIANO
Antonio Crepaldi describes the Pomeranian's as having evolved into a "hyper typicity.”" , He notes the accentuation of the "Cobby" effect, particularly by the tail with long fur that easily reaches the head, not because of it's length, but because the trunk is short. He writes,  that in “in its refinement, the American Pomeranian has nothing to share with the rusticity of the typical Volpino Italiano.” pp. (362-364).)
Pelu' dei Piccoi Guardiani  -
Volpino Italiano from Italy
Pomeranian ears and faces smaller and cobby.
The white party mix is a throw back to the Volpino.
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