THE CIRNECO DELL’ETNA Pharaoh Hound Cousins, not Progeny
T he Pharaoh Hound did not survive in Egypt. It is the Maltese Kalb tal Fenek which we know as the “Pharaoh Hound”. A mere 90 miles away from the open expanses of Malta lies the island of Sicily. It was here where the rocky slopes, treacherous lava, and irregular ter- rain of the island demanded the evolution to a more compact tan to chestnut colored dog with prick ears. Proximity and simi- larities of obvious characteristics re fl ect that evolution, which brought di ff erentiation over the course of thousands of years, was nonetheless rooted in the same genetic pool. How to train the eye away from the assumed or expected? With the Pharaoh Hound as the known and familiar we must learn why the Cirneco dell’Etna is not sim- ply a miniaturized version. And we begin with the obvious: Unlike the Pharaoh Hound, the Cir- neco has well de fi ned height limitations which result in a disquali fi cation when breached. Th e range for dogs is 18 to 19 ½ inches and for bitches 16 ½ to 19 inches. Th is is the ideal but mitigated by a toler- ance before there is a disquali fi cation. Th e tolerance for dogs allows a span from 17 ½ to 20 ½ inches and for bitches 16 to 19 ½ inches. Cirnechi outside of the stan- dard but within the tolerance should be
Provided by the Cirneco dell’Etna Club of America
evaluated as with any other deviation from the ideal. It is important to know that the sizes are not exactly equivalent to those established for the breed in its native land nor in Great Britain because there has been a translation from the metric to the Eng- lish system and then again to our AKC quarter inch wicket system. Th e second body characteristic of importance is proportion. Th e Cirneco dell’Etna standard states: “Length from point of shoulder to haunch bone EQUAL to height at withers”. Th is is a square body not rectangular. In this regard it is impor- tant to visualize, not a Pharaoh Hound, but a Doberman. Type. What is type? Th is is where the breeds truly di ff erentiate and are de fi ned. Type is in the head as well as in the expres- sion. For the Cirneco, salient characteris- tics establishing type include: In the Breed standard, the expres- sion is described as “alert”. This is reflective of the Cirneco’s function as a hunter and the acute awareness of all aspects of its surroundings should be readily apparent. An integral part of expression and type lies in the eyes which are described as: “Relatively small, oval in shape, semi- lateral position. Amber or ochre blending with coat… Brown or yellow iris is a fault to be severely penalized.”
Although the description is that of eyes of a hunter and brings to mind eyes akin to a cat, ex.- those of a tiger, it is impor- tant to note that eyes that are in any way contrasting or obvious due to incongru- ence or lack of uniformity with the color of the coat are a severe fault. Th ey are not “striking”, they are incorrect. A third element in describing the alert characteristic is in the ears, which, in contrast to the Pharaoh Hound, the Cirneco ears are “Set very high and close together, upright and rigid, parallel, or almost parallel when alert. Triangular shape with narrow tip.” Along with the body proportions which dictate that the Cirneco be “square”, the head and neck are an elegant balance with well de fi ned limitations. t ɨFDPSSFDUQSPëMFPGUIFIFBEJTEFëOFE by the planes described as: “Top of skull and foreface parallel or slightly diver- gent” and a stop which is characterized as “Slight stop” t ɨF MFOHUI PG UIF NV[[MF TIPVME CF equal to or only slightly less than the length of the skull. Th e longer muzzle is valued as the ideal although typically it will fall short of being half the length of the head. t ɨFMFOHUIPGUIFFBSTIPVMEOPUFYDFFE half the length of the head. Ideally this would make the ear and the muzzle equal
Left: Correct ear shape and carriage; Right: Correct eye shape and position.
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