Dog breeds: Fonnese dog

Dog breeds: Fonnese dog

Origin, classification and history

Origin: Italy (Sardinia).
F.C.I classification: Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer dogs
Molossians and Swiss cattle dogs
Mountain dogs

It is an autochthonous Sardinian breed widespread since time immemorial throughout Sardinia. It was officially recognized in 2013.

Fonnese dog (photo Gian Piero Canalis)

General aspect

Medium sized dog, solid structure, powerful musculature, well proportioned bone structure. Its conformation is that of a mesomorph whose trunk slightly exceeds the height at the withers.
Rough hair, of variable length and color (see standard).
Very agile, it moves with elegance and power at the same time.
Dark, intense and disturbing gaze.


Strong and determined with a tendency to dominate.
Guard and defense dog, excellent guardian against possible predators (foxes or stray dogs), very good also as a big hunting dog (wild boar), but patient with the animals he takes care of. He must be treated like a true companion on whom you can always rely, respecting his strong intelligence and dignity.
Wary of strangers but tending to be obedient and very affectionate with the owner. That's what they say: a dog with only one owner.
Sometimes it communicates the presence of an intruder with a simple touch of a paw and with a particular rumbling.
There has been a noticeable tendency since a one-month-old puppy, to give his master the paw as a sign of obedience, spontaneously, without any training.
He was the inseparable companion of the Sardinian bandits in their risky life in the bush.

Fonnese dog (photo Gian Piero Canalis)

Fonnesi dogs (photo Gian Piero Canalis)

Standard of the Fonnese Dog

1 Height at the withers:
Males 56-60 cm
-Female 52-56 cm

+/- 4 cm tolerance.

2 Weight:
- Males 29-35 kg
- Females 25-30 kg

3 Trunk: - its length exceeds the height at the withers by 5-10%.
- The rump, robust and muscular, has an inclination from the horizontal of about 15 degrees
- Moderately broad chest with well-developed muscles and its width is closely related to the brightness of the side. The handlebars of the sternum are located at the level of the tip of the shoulder joint.

4 Head and muzzle: Head: mesomorphic, with occipital crest well detected
The relationship between the length of the skull and the length of the muzzle is 1 to 1.
The skull is slightly convex and its bizygomatic length is equal to its length.
Cranial region: The bi-zygomatic arches are evident and the frontal sinuses are not very pronounced.
Facial region: The muzzle is of great power, with lateral faces slightly converging towards the truffle. Frontally it appears as inscribed in a square. The lower limit of the muzzle is given by the jaw.

5- truffle wide, fleshy and black, placed on the same line as the nasal bridge, it must be voluminous, with wide and open nostrils.

6- Teeth: white, well developed, regularly aligned, complete in number. The canines are in opposition to each other (pincer closure) or those of the jaw touch, with their rear face, the front face of those of the jaw (scissor closure).
- Lips must be well stretched and adherent and always have pigmented mucous membranes.
- Eyes: the gaze of these animals is very intense and characteristic and represents a typical element of the breed. The expression is a little sad, deep, authoritative, close together, in a frontal position, with superciliary arches of considerable development. Their color is amber in all its shades and the eyelids must be pigmented and well adherent to the eyeball.
- The ears: they are triangular in shape, not too long (7-8 cm) above the bi-zygomatic arch, hanging capacities and, carefully, close to the cheeks.

7- Package: vigorous, solid and muscular, of medium length, equal to about a third of the height at the withers, without dewlap, it harmoniously joins the shoulders and the withers.

8- Leather: Thick well pigmented, adhering to the various parts of the body, it does not present a dewlap in the neck.

9- Arts:
Front limbs:
- solid and dry, straight, they appear perpendicularly both in front and in profile. The feet are oval, with collected toes and with black, hard and resistant plantar pads. The nails are always black and solid.
- Forearm slightly longer than the arm which is inclined by about 60 degrees with respect to the horizontal.
- Well fitting elbows. Moderately long and not very inclined metacarpus (about 10 degrees from the vertical), presence of spurs.

Hind limbs:
- solid and muscular, with good haunches, so as to give the image of power and agility.
- Thigh wide and flexed (about 75 degrees with respect to the horizontal) the femoro-tibio-patellar angle is about 125/130 degrees.
- Moderately long and muscular leg.
- Long hock in proportion to the length of the leg. Vertical, seen from behind, is parallel to the median plane of the body. It has a tibio-tarsal angle of about 150 degrees. Compact feet, with hard and pigmented plantar pads. Strong, black and solid nails. Presence of spurs.

10- Shoulder with solid muscles and a shoulder / humeral joint of 110-120 degrees. Firmly adhering to the body.

11- Musculature: strong, powerful and well developed.

12- Upper line: straight and horizontal, with little pronounced withers.

13- Tail: inserted not very high, it has a broad base, large at the root, robust, which gradually tapers towards the end. Its length slightly exceeds the articulation at the hock. In rest it has the shape of a pump handle. It should never be carried upright and in motion slightly beyond the line of the back. Some specimens may be born anuri or brachiuri. The tail can never be amputated.

14- Proportions: The back is wide and about a third of the height at the withers.
- The lumbar region blends harmoniously with the back.
- The rib is moderately broad, with ribs a little circled. The circumference of the chest, measured at the elbows, is 25% higher than the height at the withers.

15- Cloak:
The hair is goat, with a thick and dense woolly undercoat, 5-7 cm long, shorter in the limbs, almost satin to the muzzle, where it has bristly defenses in the eyes and beard in the chin. There is a short-haired variety, which is rare today. The permitted colors are black, ash, in its various shades, and honey. The latter can also be brindle, and are believed to be the oldest.
In males the hair forms a mane in the neck.

16- Pace:
Agile and loose. At the trot the hindquarters give a noticeable push and the hindquarters stretch moderately. At gallop it moves with great agility, overcoming the roughness of the ground in which it operates.

Defects: prognathism, lack of substance or excess weight, white at the ends, depigmentations to the eyelid and labial mucous membranes or to the truffle, heavy gait, sizes less than or greater than 3 cm with respect to the maximum and minimum foreseen by this standard, - tail rolled up and folded on the back, depigmented nails

curated by Gian Piero Canalis

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