The Volpino is also called Lupino in Italy and is purebred only in red, cream, and white. He is a lively guard dog who would never consider himself a mere companion dog – even in Michelangelo’s day, the little barkers could be found on almost every larger farm in Italy and were always among the first to meet visitors and greet them (not always friendly). . Here you can find out everything you need to know about the “little fox”.
External Characteristics of the Volpinos – An Oversized Pomeranian?
Externally, Volpinos can hardly be distinguished from medium-sized Pomeranians or large Pomeranians, but they are not descended from them. Pictures almost always only show white Volpinos, but they are also available in red and cream-colored. The ideal height at the withers for males is 27 to 30 cm, females should be slightly smaller at 25 to 28 cm. A specific weight is not specified, 4 to 6 kilograms are usual. Like all lace, the Volpino is an open book whose mood can be clearly read on his face – his charming pointed smile is characteristic.
The Breed Standard
- The head is described as “pyramidal” in the FCI breed standard. Altogether it reaches about 4/10 of the height at the withers in length, whereby the egg-shaped skull is slightly longer than the muzzle. The midfrontal furrow is visible but not very pronounced and the stop is clearly visible.
- The sides of the muzzle are slightly convergent and taper towards the nose, with the thick lips lying taut. The nose is large and broad, with the nostrils wide open. The pigmentation of the nose and lips is always black.
- The rounded eyes do not protrude and should not be too large. They are dark brown in color and bordered with black lids.
- A special feature of all Spitz breeds is the triangular ears, which are always carried upright and pointing forward. They set on high on the skull and are quite close together, being about as wide at the base as they are high.
- The muscular neck is always carried erect and proud and is about as long as the head with no wrinkles at the throat and the withers are slightly prominent. It turns into a square body.
- The back is straight, the loins are convex in shape. The well-muscled croup lengthens the loin line and is not quite as wide as it is long. The angle to the horizontal should be 10° between the hips and the base of the tail. The ribs are deep but should not overhang the shoulders. Behind the rear ribs, the line of the belly hardly ever rises.
- The forelegs are vertical and parallel and their optimal position is precisely specified: the shoulder blade is inclined by 60° compared to the horizontal and about 1/4 as long as the height at the withers. The angle between the shoulder blade and the upper arm is about 125°.
- The forearm is longer than the upper arm and has strong bones, yet it appears fine and has dry muscles. When viewed from behind, the hind legs are exactly vertical and parallel. The angle of the knee joint should be 115 to 120°. The hocks are strong but not too broad and the paws are oval and firm.
- The tail begins high up in the extension of the croup and is always carried over the back. It should be about half the height at the withers and reach almost to the neck. It tapers slightly towards the tip, which is hardly recognizable due to the rich feathering.
The extraordinarily fluffy coat – typically Spitz
The dense stick hair consists of two layers: The soft and fluffy undercoat grows so dense that the long, awn-like top hair stands straight up. Flat lying hair never occurs in purebred Lupinos, the hair is fine and short only on the muzzle and ears. The head is covered with medium-length hair, which merges into a voluminous mane at the neck. The hair is also longer on the tail and on the back of the legs.
Desired and undesired colors
- White (milk white) is the most common and typical of the breed.
- Red (deer red) is less common, so red puppies are slightly more expensive. The color is intense and should only lighten slightly on the pants.
- Champagne or white biscuit shades are tolerated but undesirable in inbreeding.
- Biscuit coloring or gold with lightened underside occurs in the breed but is considered a fault.
- Red Volpinos should have a solid, strong deer red, white markings on the paws and slight dark shading on the mane. Deviating shades of red and brightening occur but are considered faults of inbreeding.
Differences from similar tips
- The German Mittelspitz is slightly larger than the Volpino. The Pomeranian is more common, which is the same size as the Volpino and can only be distinguished from it by tiny details, for example, the head shape of the Pomeranian is wider at the back and narrower at the front and the muzzle is slightly less pointed. German Spitz comes in many colors, so Spitz-Volpino crossbreeds are very popular.
- Small Japanese points (Nihon Supittsu) also look confusingly similar to Volpinos. However, they are usually much larger and only come in white.
- Pomeranians (Pomeranians) have a rounder head than Volpinos and are less heavily built. They are usually smaller too.
- Samoyeds, Finnish Spitz, American Eskimo Dogs, and Eurasiers are of the same type but are significantly larger than the Little Italian.
The Story of the Volpino Italiano – The Guard Dog of the Beautiful and Talented
Volpi’s are almost indistinguishable from Midpoints and Pomeranians. They belong to a group of predominantly white Spitz breeds, many of which are direct descendants of the Mittelspitz such as the Pomeranian and Japanese Spitz. However, the Volpino is significantly older than the European descendants of the German Spitz and, like the Wolfsspitz and the Mittelspitz, descends from the European peat dog. Peat dogs have accompanied people in Central Europe since the Bronze Age and used to be guard and hunting dogs.
Status symbol, playmate, and night watchman in one
As early as the 15th century, Volpinos were kept in their present form throughout Italy, especially in Tuscany. The famous sculptor Michelangelo is also said to have owned a Volpino. The sweet little dogs with the good guarding instinct could be found on almost every good farm and were an integral part of the cityscape of Florence and Rome. Everyone could use the Volpino:
- As a lap dog for the ladies (often given as a gift to young ladies)
- As a carriage dog and cattle guard at markets
- As a watchdog in the house