Let's talk Italian Short-Haired Segugios

The smooth-coated variety of an ancient breed of Italian scent hounds, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio is an elegant combination of composure, intelligence, and impressive physical prowess. Long used to hunt game in their native Italy thanks to their endurance and a superior scent-tracking, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio now enjoys favour as a family companion, too. Their gentle, relaxed nature makes them wonderful pets for families who enjoy outdoor activities as well as relaxing at home.

Official name: Italian Short-Haired Segugio

Other names: Segugio italiano a pelo raso, Segit

Origins: Italy

Black and white portrait of an Italian Shorthaired Hound
 Drooling tendencies   Warm weather?  Medium
 Shedding level  Very low Suited to apartment living?   Medium
 Physical activity needs Moderate (1-3 hours per day) Kid-friendly?
 High
 Compatibility with other pets  Medium Can stay alone?  Very low

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

 
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Illustration of a Italian Shorthaired Hound
Male
52 - 58 cm Height
18 - 28 kg Weight
Female
48 - 56 cm Height
18 - 28 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 months to 1 year
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Brown Italian Shorthaired Hound stood alert on grass

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Get to know the Italian Short-Haired Segugio

All you need to know about the breed

Despite their millennia-old reputation as a formidable hunter, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio now enjoys great appreciation as a gentle, protective companion capable of adapting to just about any lifestyle and owner provided they get physical and mental exercise in equal measure.

Like their rough-haired cousins, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio is an athletic breed capable of tracking a scent for hours… and hours. Yet, with all that energy to burn, they can also be content to relax indoors with you and any other canine pets. Just make sure you keep them busy, because a lonely, bored Italian Short-Haired Segugio knows how to sing the blues. And sing, or bay, they will.

These hounds have a unique musical voice traditionally used while on the hunt. In modern times, this ability translates into an alert to approaching strangers or an official complaint. For urban owners, getting the Italian Short-Haired Segugio out for a walk several times a day is a good strategy for making sure they – and your neighbours – and ultimately you - are happy.

Outside of walkies and play time, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio will want to be with you. However, since they are naturally independent, they aren’t clingy. And as far as strangers go, though they’re initially suspicious, they warm quickly. With solid training and early socialisation, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio can fulfil their potential as versatile, loyal companions.

Italian Shorthaired Hound running over grass, caught with paw up

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2 facts about Italian Short-Haired Segugios

1. A Royal Favourite

The Italian Short-Haired Segugio has enjoyed the favour of many over the centuries, but some owners stand out a bit more than others. It is said that the Emperor Caligula hunted with packs of these dogs. Proof that not all names should be dropped!

2. Segugio who?

Despite enjoying wide popularity at home, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio is a rare sight outside of Italy. In fact, not a single one has been registered in the United Kingdom in the last ten years. If you want to enjoy this Italian delight, you may just have to go to the source!

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History of the breed

The Italian Short-Haired Segugio most certainly dates back to pre-Roman times. While their exact origins are unknown, it is believed that the breed descended from the hounds of Ancient Egypt, brought to the Italian shores by Phoenician traders. Numerous depictions of dogs resembling the Italian Short-Haired Segugio have been found on artifacts dating back to the time of the Pharaohs and in statues from subsequent periods. These hounds eventually gave rise to the Italian Short-Haired Segugio, which would soon earn widespread favour as a superior scent tracker with the ability to move at high speed over various types of terrain. With declining game populations, these and other hound breeds became increasingly rare. Thanks to later efforts by enthusiasts and breeders, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio has re-emerged from near-extinction and, though rare abroad, is once again popular, both for outdoor sports as well as a family companion, in its homeland.

Black and white portrait of an Italian Shorthaired Hound

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Italian Short-Haired Segugios

1. Head

Long, narrow head, black nose, dark, oval eyes and triangular hanging ears.

2. Body

Deep-chested and muscular body with well-sprung ribs.

3. Tail

Thin, tapering high-set tail carried in a high curve.

Close-up of a black and tan Italian Shorthaired Hound looking to the side

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Italian Short-Haired Segugio
Three black and tan Italian Shorthaired Hound bounding through the snow

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Caring for your Italian Short-Haired Segugio

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Italian Short-Haired Segugio’s smooth, short coat can be maintained with a good brushing at least one to two times per week or, if both of you can manage it, daily. Their nails should be trimmed on an as-need basis and their teeth brushed regularly.
Plan on taking your Italian Short-Haired Segugio for at least one forty-five-minute to one-hour walk per day in addition to a couple of hours of freedom to roam in an enclosed space. These dogs also excel in dog sports like agility, obedience, and rally, which are great ways to keep them occupied and putting their athletic potential to use.
Intelligent and generally keen to please, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio can occasionally be stubborn. One of the keys to training them is keeping it fresh. This breed will respond best to firm, kind, and consistent training. Additionally, early socialisation will help them grow into friendly, warm adult dogs.

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All about Italian Short-Haired Segugios

A natural pack animal, the Italian Short-Haired Segugio will generally get along well with other dogs – particularly when introduced to them at an early age. However, any other pets – particularly smaller ones – are not good roommates for this breed.

The Italian Short-Haired Segugio is highly adaptable, yes. However, this comes with some conditions, one of them being regular exercise and the other, time spent with you. If you plan to leave them in the apartment for extended periods of time, this is likely not the breed for you.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/