What to Know About a Cirneco dell’Etna and a Pharaoh Hound


In this Article

  • Characteristics of Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound
  • Caring for Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound
  • Health Problems to Watch for With Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound
  • Special Considerations for Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound
  • History of Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound

The Cirneco dell’Etna and the Pharaoh Hound are relatively similar breeds of dogs, differing from each other only in a few regards. The Cirneco dell’Etna is a muscular and sleek breed with athletic hunting abilities. They also make perfect house dogs since they’re very low-maintenance and are good with humans and other dogs. 

The Pharaoh Hound is their cousin from Malta. However, the Cirneco dell’Etna is smaller. 

Meanwhile, the Pharaoh Hound has a rugged yet elegant appearance since they were bred to hunt small game in harsh terrain. While the Pharaoh Hound is super-friendly, they are also very persistent and know how to follow a scent. 

Characteristics of Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound

Male Cirneco dell’Etna dogs range in height from 18 inches to 19.5 inches at the shoulders. Meanwhile, the female Cirneco dell’Etna dogs grow from 16.5 inches to 18 inches at the shoulders. While the males weigh 22 pounds to 26 pounds, the females weigh 17 pounds to 22 pounds. 

The Cirnechi (plural of Cirneco dell’Etna) have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. You’ll find Cirneco dell’Etna dogs in various mixtures of tan coats and white markings. These combinations include light and darker shades of tan, white blaze on the head with a tan body, and white marks on the chest, feet, tail, or belly, with a tan-colored body.  

The Pharaoh Hound is taller and heavier. Males range in height from 23 inches to 25 inches at the shoulders, while females measure 21 inches to 24 inches at the shoulders. The average weight of Pharaoh Hounds is 45 pounds to 55 pounds, and the Pharaoh Hound’s lifespan is 12 to 14 years. These dogs can be tan or chestnut with white markings on multiple body parts, including tail tip, chest, toes, and the center face line.  


The Pharaoh Hound has a short and smooth coat that sheds moderately. Routine brushing can help you maintain its coat daily. The breed also does not drool heavily, making them a good couch companion. 

Likewise, the Cirneco dell’Etna also has a short and smooth coat, but with minimal shedding and grooming requirements. Like their cousin, they also don’t drool much. 


Cirneco dell’Etna dogs are affectionate with family and do well around children. They’re also good with other dogs, making them an excellent addition to a house with pets. However, you shouldn’t leave them alone with cats and other small animals due to their strong prey drive. It’s recommended to practice early socialization and puppy training classes to ensure that your Cirneco develops into a well-behaved companion. 

As for strangers, your Cirneco dell’Etna dog will be pleasant toward them. They’re pretty playful and adapt to changing conditions quickly. It’s imperative to train your dogs, but luckily, the Cirneco dell’Etna is easy to train since they have high energy levels and considerable mental stimulation needs. 

Since they’re not very vocal, they’re suitable for quieter neighborhoods or homes with little children. 

The Pharaoh Hound is also a very affectionate breed that is good with their owner and other dogs. They’re also relatively open to strangers and adapt quickly to changes. Since they’re moderately playful, they’re fun to be around. 

The Pharaoh Hound has slightly higher mental stimulation needs than their cousin, so you’ll have to give them some activity to keep them busy. They’re also a tad bit more vocal than the Cirneco dell’Etna. 

Caring for Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound

Whether you have a Cirneco dell’Etna or a Pharaoh Hound, caring for the breeds is essential to ensure their proper growth and health. 


The Cirneco dell’Etna and the Pharaoh Hound need high-quality dog food according to age and activity level. If you are unsure, speak to the vet about which food is best for your pet. 

You should also ask them if it’s safe for your pet to consume human food. If you purchased the Cirneco dell’Etna or Pharaoh Hound from a breeder, you could ask them about the food they were weaned onto. 

Some Pharaoh Hounds may be prone to getting obese. Therefore, do not give your dog too many treats during training and keep a check on their daily caloric intake. This will help you adjust your dog’s nutrients according to their requirements


Since the Cirneco dell’Etna temperament is strong and independent, you need to be a firm yet loving leader during training. Be consistent with commands and praise your dog when they respond correctly. 

Cirnechi usually enjoy obedience, agility, rally, and tracking training due to their interest in hunting. You can also train your Cirnechi with lure coursing, where you use an object to guide them around a field or course. It can be something as simple as a toy on a string. 

Training a Pharaoh Hound can be relatively tricky, although they are eager to please and learn quickly.

If they are in a “free situation,” Pharaoh Hounds, unfortunately, do not come when called, no matter how well-trained they are. Instead, they run off, following their instinct for hunting. Many Pharaoh Hounds are caught after a few days, while others may be hit by moving traffic.


Pharaoh Hounds need regular exercise to stay healthy and in a good mood. If you prefer running, take your dog with you for a 15- to 20-minute run twice a day.

Again, Pharaoh Hounds should not be left alone to exercise off-leash in an open area of your house. 

The Cirneco dell’Etna also needs regular exercise. You should not leave Cirneco dell’Etna off their leash in an unenclosed space, since they (like their cousin) will run after any animals or person they perceive to be prey.

If your backyard is fenced, you can play with the Cirneco dell’Etna there. However, don’t leave them alone in the backyard since they get unhappy and lonely if they don’t get attention from their owners during playtime. 


Since both Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hounds have short and smooth coats, they’re low-maintenance. It would be best if you brush their coat gently once a week with a bristle brush. Only give them a bath when they’re dirty. 

Make sure you check their ears for debris or wax buildup. If you find any dirt or excess wax, clean it with an ear-cleaning solution and gauze. Your vet can guide you about the best brand to use. 

Don’t forget to check on your dog’s nails every 3 to 6 weeks. Trim them if they’re too long, as they may hurt your dog when walking. You can always get help from a veterinarian or groomer if you don’t know how to do that on your own.

 Although you should clean your dog’s teeth daily, taking them for an annual dental visit is also essential.

Parasite Protections and Vaccinations

Almost every dog breed is susceptible to disease-causing fleas, heartworms, and ticks. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends every pet owner get year-round protection from heartworm, ticks, and fleas for their pets.

Like all dogs, Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound need a core set of vaccinations to prevent several health issues, such as rabies and DHPP (distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and parainfluenza). Your vet will thoroughly analyze your dog’s condition and recommend some non-core vaccines to prevent diseases, such as kennel cough, canine Lyme disease, leptospirosis, and canine influenza.

Vets usually decide the timing and dosage of your Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound’s vaccinations, depending on their age. So book regular appointments to stay informed about your dog’s vaccination schedule.

It’s recommended for non-breeding dog owners to have annual blood work performed to preventively diagnose issues.

Health Problems to Watch for With Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound

While Cirneco dell’Etna are relatively healthier, Pharaoh Hounds are susceptible to some cancers, predominantly at an older age. According to the chairperson of the Pharaoh Hound Club of America health committee, Dr. Stephen Sipperly, the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) certification requirements for a Pharaoh Hound include screening for patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, mammary cancer, eye disorders, and mast cell tumor.  

Skin Allergies 

Your Cirnachi and Pharaoh Hound can react to changes in the weather, especially when it gets cold and dry. Pharaoh Hounds are particularly prone to dry, flaky skin in winter. Fatty acid or other nutritional supplements along with typical moisturizing products can help against dry skin. 

Some Pharaoh Hounds also develop skin or food allergies. The vet may recommend medicated shampoos and conditioners for skin allergies. Likewise, anti-inflammatories (antihistamines, steroids/ immunosuppressants, and newer oral and injectable alternatives) may be prescribed to Pharaoh Hounds with skin or food allergies. 

As soon as you see your dog scratching themselves excessively, consult your vet at your earliest convenience. They may also recommend immunotherapy, hyposensitization, and environmental controls. 


Hypothyroidism is a condition where your dog has an underactive thyroid gland, meaning there’s a low concentration of thyroid hormones in the body. Hypothyroidism slows down the functionality of your dog’s critical systems, leading to several health issues. 

Your Cirnachi or Pharaoh Hound with hypothyroidism may show:

  • Decreased activity
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Noticeable changes in the coat
  • Changes in the skin

The condition is diagnosed with a blood test, and can then be treated based on your dog’s individual condition.  Treatment usually consists of daily thyroid hormone replacement pills.

Orthopedic Issues

Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound are susceptible to several orthopedic issues, such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. 

Patellar luxation, more commonly known as the dislocated kneecap, is the condition in which your dog’s kneecap (patella) displaces to one side or moves from its original place at the front of the knee.

Depending on the extent of the dislocation, patellar luxation may or may not be a problem for your dog. If it affects your pet’s mobility or causes discomfort, orthopedic surgery may be required. 

Dogs with patellar luxation show these symptoms:

  • Bow-legged
  • Frequent limping 
  • Doing lower back hunching

As your dog ages, they may display the signs of hip dysplasia, also known as hip dislocation. This health condition involves the movement of the ball-and-socket joint of your dog’s hip, resulting in painful grinding and rubbing of the two bones. 

Getting early hip dysplasia treatment for your dog is better to prevent the condition from worsening. Your Cirnachi and Pharaoh Hound may show the following hip dysplasia signs:  

  • Fatigue 
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain when sitting
  • Decreased thigh muscle mass
  • Increased muscle mass in other areas

Special Considerations for Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound

The Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound both have short and smooth coats that don’t require an extensive grooming routine. 

If your dog likes playing in the backyard, make sure there’s a fence between them and the road. Make sure that the fence is high enough to prevent them from escaping. Typically, a six-foot-high fence would be enough for your Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound. Remember that fences measuring four feet or less can be easily jumped over.

History of Cirneco dell’Etna and Pharaoh Hound

The history of Cirneco dell’Etna can be guessed through its name. Cirneco means “dog of Cyrene” in Greek. The breed has chased hare, game birds, and rabbits for thousands of years in Europe. 

By the 1930s, there were very few Cirnachi in the world, but then, a passionate vet named Dr. Maurizio Migeneco wrote an article about their plight, which was read by Baroness Agata Paterno Castello, an aristocrat from Sicily. Castello spent over two decades reviving Cirneco dell’Etna in the region. 

Meanwhile, the Phoenicians get the credit for spreading the Pharaoh Hound worldwide. The sailors went from the Mediterranean to Britain, running a luxury items trade business. 

They introduced the Pharaoh Hound to Malta. The Maltese then used the breed for rabbit hunting. According to a popular myth, the Pharaoh Hound breed originated from an ancient Egyptian dog breed, Tesem. Many Egyptians also believe that Pharaoh Hounds resemble the dog breed and images pictured on the walls of ancient Egypt tombs.

Show Sources

Photo Credits:

1. Eudyptula / Getty Images


American Kennel Club: “Cirneco dell’Etna.”, “Flea and Tick Protection for Puppies,” “Hip Dysplasia In Dogs: Prevention, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment,” “Pharaoh Hound,” “Puppy Shots Schedule: A Complete Guide to Puppy Vaccinations.”

Europetnet: “Pharaoh Hound.”

Merck Veterinary Manual: “Hypothyroidism in Animals – Endocrine System.”

VetStreet: “Pharaoh Hound Breed Information.”

VCA Animal Hospitals: “Luxating Patella in Dogs.”

search close