Kaen Cirnechi dell’Etna | Cindy & Lily Bennett

Cindy & Lily Bennett, breeders of Kaen Cirnechi dell'Etna


Interview with Anna Pierson, Breeders of Kaen Cirnechi dell’Etna


Where do we live? How many years in dogs? How many years as breeders?

We are Lily and Cindy Bennett. We currently live in Sacramento, California, and go between Central Texas, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. My business, Mission Control Services LLC, is out of Montana. I am a puppy nanny and an independent travel agent. I transport all over the world and will soon have HAZMAT clearance to transport frozen semen. We have had dogs all of our lives. Lily really started showing from the age of 9 years. She started breeding about six years ago and has been blessed to have amazing Boston Terrier mentors (Dolores and John). We have had a few Cirneco dell’Etna litters with amazing results!


What is our kennel name? How many dogs do you currently keep?

Our kennel name is something that we wanted to be unique to us and our love of the breed. We love and respect other cultures and wanted the name to represent this, while still holding diversity. The word is Japanese; “Kaen,” pronounced like cayenne pepper. Kaen means “flame” or “blaze” in Japanese, which I felt was fitting for a breed that hunts on volcanic rock. It also ties in with our co-breeder’s kennel, Kr’ Msun.

We currently have three Cirnechi:

  • “Deagan” (GCHS CH Kr’Msun Nero D’Avola RN ACT2 ACT1J CGCA TKI ATT VHMA) who will be eight this May,
  • “Akira” (Deagan’s daughter) who will be two in July,
  • “Titan” who is just seven months old and is from Lithuania.

About a year ago, Lily was blessed to meet with Maria Arechaederra, a Hungarian Kuvasz breeder in Southern, California. Within minutes, Lily and “Magic” were clicking together. Next thing we know, we have Magic (GCH CH Ederra-Glacier Little Miss Magic CGC CGCA CGCU). Lily has owned her for about a year and she is just two years old.

Lily co-owns a beautiful Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, “Goose” (GCHG Whiskeytown Gray Goose NAII). He started Lily on her journey several years ago with Griffons, which helped her win Westminster Kennel Club Best Junior Handler 2021. Last but not least, we have nine-year-old “Ginger” (CS Ginger Bisket’s Country Rose CGC CGCA CGCU ATT VHM FDC TDN TKI TKA ACT2 ACT2J RN BCAT). She is a Miniature American Shepherd (MAS); just little for one, but this does not stop her. She runs it all!


Which show dogs from the past have been our noteworthy winners?

Deagan has been a very important dog in Lily’s life and breeding program, as our first introduction into the breed when Lily was nine years old. It’s always great to have a strong foundation dog, like Deagan, who can serve as an example of what you want to achieve in your breeding program. He has an amazing temperament and is extremely versatile. Deagan was bred by Dr. Cheryl McDermott DVM of Chehalis, Washington.

Getting Deagan not only introduced us to the breed but gave us a lifelong friend, and now, co-breeder. “Amy-Bella,” who has also made a significant contribution to our breeding program, also taught us a lot by learning pedigrees and familiarizing ourselves with more international lines. We were blessed to be able to grade their litter with the late Pat Hastings, who taught us so much during this experience. Lily was able to finish her pick of the litter as her first bred-by.


Which have been our most influential sires and dams?

Deagan has already had several champion offspring and multiple Group placements, not to mention he has taken one of the top Juniors through her Junior’s career. His dam, “Juno,” (GCHG CH Kr’ Msun Juno) is the first Gold Grand Champion in the breed.

“Amy-Bella” (BIS GCHS CH Colista’s Bella), is the very first and only Best in Show Cirneco, whom we were allowed to co-own and breed to Deagan.


Can we talk a bit about our facilities? Where are our puppies whelped? How are they raised?

Like most breeders, we whelp in the house and set up the whelping box in our dining room. It is very important for us to prioritize socialization and enrichment with our puppies, as this can have a significant impact on their overall well-being and behavior as adults.

The Puppy Culture system is a well-respected program that focuses on early socialization and training for puppies, and it can be an effective tool for breeders to help produce well-adjusted puppies. Early socialization is crucial for puppies to become well-adjusted, confident, and friendly adult dogs. Puppies that are exposed to different people, animals, and environments during their critical socialization period (between 3 and 14 weeks of age) are more likely to be comfortable and confident in new situations later in life.

Proper socialization can also help prevent behavioral problems such as fear, aggression, and anxiety in adult dogs. By introducing puppies to a variety of stimuli in a positive and controlled manner, breeders and owners can help them to develop a strong foundation for a happy and well-adjusted life.


What is our “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?

For selecting and grading puppies, my approach is structure, temperament, form and function, movement, and drive. These are all important qualities that can contribute to a dog’s success in the show ring and in other performance activities.

Structure refers to the physical conformation of the dog, including their body shape, bone structure, and movement. A well-structured dog is more likely to move fluidly and effortlessly, which is important in the show ring.

Temperament is another important quality to consider when selecting show puppies. A dog with a good temperament is typically friendly, confident, and well-behaved. This is important in the show ring, where dogs are judged not only on their physical appearance but also on their behavior and demeanor.

Drive is also an important quality to look for in show puppies. Drive refers to a dog’s motivation and enthusiasm for activities like training, competition, and work. A dog with good drive is typically eager to learn and perform, which can make them more successful in the show ring and other performance activities.

By selecting show puppies based on structure, temperament, and drive, I hope to set myself up for success in the show ring and beyond. It’s important to remember, however, that every dog is unique, and while these qualities can be important predictors of success, they don’t guarantee it.


Do we compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?

Yes, the natural athleticism, intelligence, and agility of Cirnechi dell’Etna make them well-suited for many different sports and activities.

Straight and Oval Track Coursing are great activities for Cirnechi dell’Etna, as they have a strong prey drive and are natural hunters. Fast CAT is also a popular activity for this breed, as these hounds have incredible speed and agility.

In addition to these racing activities, Cirnechi dell’Etna can excel in Obedience and Rally competitions due to their intelligence and trainability. They can also participate in Herding Trials, which can showcase their natural herding instincts.

Barn Hunt is another activity that Cirnechi dell’ Etna can participate in, which involves using their sense of smell to locate rats hidden in a maze of straw bales. This activity is not only fun for the dogs, it also helps to develop their scenting abilities.

Lastly, Agility is a great activity for Cirnechi dell’ Etna as they are athletic and nimble. This activity involves navigating through an obstacle course, which can help build their confidence, focus, and physical fitness.

Overall, the Cirneco dell’Etna is a versatile breed that can excel in many different sports and activities. It’s essential to observe your dog’s behavior and preferences, and tailor its training and activities accordingly to ensure that they enjoy and excel in the activity you choose.


Is “performance” part of our decision-making when it comes to breeding?

You bet! Lily first started in 4-H, where they taught all different aspects of performance, and she discovered which ones she loved. Lily also discovered that the Cirneco dell’Etna is a very versatile breed and excels in a wide range of activities. Deagan and Ginger even helped her with public presentations, both times taking home a Grand Championship for them. From running and speed sports to performance sports that require more advanced training and skills, these hounds are well-suited for a variety of activities. It’s great to see owners taking advantage of their dogs’ natural abilities and interests by participating in these activities and building a stronger bond with their furry companions.


How would we define “conditioning” as it relates to our breed?

Conditioning can be different things to different people. We like to consider it the overall care for our dogs, like the coat, nails, teeth, and exercise of a Cirneco Dell’ Etna. It’s important to note that grooming and dental care should be done regularly to prevent any issues from arising. Additionally, exercise should be tailored to your dog’s age and physical abilities, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that your dog is healthy enough for certain activities. Exercise is also crucial for their physical and mental well-being, as our breeds are active and athletic.

Our dogs all love to bike or scooter. We use special equipment to keep them safe while doing so. It’s important to provide them with opportunities to use their natural instincts and abilities through Performance Events and other activities, as well as with more leisurely activities like hiking, swimming, and playing games.

All in all, taking care of your dog’s physical and mental well-being is crucial to its overall health and happiness. As their owner, it’s up to you to provide them with a balanced and stimulating lifestyle that keeps them healthy, happy, and fulfilled.


Are there any health-related concerns in our breed? Any special nutritional needs?

While there may not be an OFA CHIC program specifically for the breed, it’s important to still prioritize health testing to help identify and prevent any potential health issues in the Cirneco dell’Etna. It is important to still check for common health issues and work with a knowledgeable veterinarian. Some of the tests we run are for hips, eyes, thyroid, and heart. It’s also important to keep in mind that genetics is just one part of overall health, and factors such as diet, exercise, and environment also play a role in a dog’s well-being. By staying proactive and attentive to your Cirneco dell’Etna’s health, you can help to provide them with the best possible quality of life.


Do we think our breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?

Absolutely! Preservation breeders have an important role to play in ensuring the health and well-being of rare breeds like the Cirneco dell’Etna. By prioritizing responsible breeding practices, health testing, and preserving the unique qualities of the breed, you can help to ensure that the Cirneco dell’Etna continues to thrive and bring joy to future generations of dog lovers. This work is crucial for preserving the breed’s genetic diversity and reducing the incidence of hereditary health issues. By carefully selecting breeding pairs based on their health, temperament, and conformation, you can help to produce healthy and well-adjusted puppies that are true to the Breed Standard.

By prioritizing health testing and responsible breeding practices, breeders are not only ensuring the well-being of the individual dogs they breed, they are also contributing to the long-term health and stability of the breed as a whole. In addition, by preserving the unique qualities of the Cirneco dell’Etna, breeders are helping to maintain a valuable piece of canine culture. This work is essential toward ensuring that this wonderful breed continues to thrive and bring joy to dog lovers around the world.

Preservation breeding is crucial for maintaining the health and integrity of rare and unique breeds like the Cirneco dell’Etna. It’s admirable that breeders prioritize health testing and responsible breeding practices in their efforts to promote and protect the breed. By doing so, you are not only helping to preserve the breed’s physical health, but also its temperament, behavior, and other important characteristics that make it so special. It’s important work that requires a lot of dedication and commitment, but the rewards are immeasurable.


Is our breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own our breed?

Both the Pharaoh Hound and the Cirneco dell’Etna are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, making them great companions for children and adults alike. Their intelligence and eagerness to please also make them excellent candidates for various dog sports and activities, such as Obedience, Rally, and Agility.

Additionally, their alertness and loyalty make them excellent watchdogs and companions for people who value their dog’s protective nature. However, it’s important to note that both breeds require adequate exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. As long as their exercise and mental needs are met, the Pharaoh Hound and the Cirneco dell’Etna can make excellent family pets and companions for those who are willing to give them the attention and care they deserve.

The Pharaoh Hound and the Cirneco dell’Etna love to play and run around, and they are generally patient and tolerant with kids. However, as with any breed, it’s important to supervise interactions between dogs and children to ensure that both are safe and happy. Additionally, both breeds require a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy, so it’s important to be prepared to provide them with plenty of opportunities for exercise and play.

With proper socialization, training, and care, the Pharaoh Hound and the Cirneco dell’Etna can make wonderful additions to any family.


What is the biggest misconception about our breed? What is our breed’s best-kept secret?

The Cirneco dell’Etna is a smaller and more compact breed than the Pharaoh Hound, with a distinctive appearance and personality. They have a more delicate bone structure and a leaner body shape than the Pharaoh Hound, and their ears are large and erect, while the Pharaoh Hound’s ears are folded. The Cirneco dell’Etna also has a shorter and denser coat than the Pharaoh Hound.

In terms of personality, the Cirneco dell’Etna is known for being independent and highly adaptable, with a strong prey drive and a natural instinct for hunting. They are loyal and affectionate with their families, but can also be reserved and wary with strangers. The Pharaoh Hound, on the other hand, is known for being more outgoing and friendly, with a playful and energetic personality. They are highly trainable and eager to please, and often excel in performance sports and activities.

While both breeds are wonderful and unique in their own way, it’s important to understand that they are not interchangeable and should be appreciated for their individual characteristics and traits.

For example, the Cirneco dell’Etna has a more rugged and sturdy build, which allows it to navigate the rugged terrain of its native Sicily. The breed is also known for its exceptional hunting abilities, particularly when it comes to hunting small game like rabbits and hares. The breed’s coat is also different from the Pharaoh Hound’s, as it is shorter and coarser to protect against the elements.

Another misconception is that both breeds are too active and high-energy to make good apartment dogs. While both breeds do have high energy levels and require regular exercise and stimulation, they can adapt well to apartment living as long as their needs are met. It’s important for potential owners to research and understand the breed’s needs and requirements before making a decision, to ensure that the hounds are a good fit for their lifestyle and living situation.


If we could share a comment or two with judges of our breed, what would we like to say to them?

Judging for both form and function is important in preserving the integrity of any breed, particularly those that were developed for specific working purposes, like the Cirneco dell’Etna. When Breed Standards focus solely on physical appearance, there is a risk of losing the functional traits that are necessary for the breed to perform its original tasks. By prioritizing both form and function, judges can help to ensure that the breed remains healthy and capable of performing the tasks for which it was originally developed. Additionally, promoting functional traits in the show ring can help to educate the public about the breed’s history and purpose, which can, in turn, help to increase awareness and interest in preserving the breed.

Again, judging for form and function is crucial in maintaining the integrity of hunting breeds like the Cirneco dell’Etna. In addition to physical appearance, judges should also be evaluating the dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for, such as tracking, flushing, and retrieving game. This means looking at the dog’s natural instincts, behavior, and working ability, and considering how well it would perform in the field. By prioritizing both form and function, judges can help to ensure that breeding programs are focused on producing healthy, capable, and functional dogs that can excel in their original roles.


Do we have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?

Working with dogs can be very rewarding, and it’s important to have a love and passion for the breed you are working with. Understanding their unique characteristics and behaviors can help you to better train and work with them, and develop a stronger bond. It’s also important to be patient and consistent with training, as this can help to bring out the best in your dogs and enhance their natural abilities. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to ensure their health, well-being, and success. It’s so much fun to watch their unique personalities and individual quirks come to life! And if it is your dream to have your judging license in your breed, then follow it… as I am.


For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing we’ve ever experienced with a Hound?

In the wintertime, Vancouver, Washington, gets really cold and gets snow. Cirnechi all like to share the same bed in a group and are huge cuddle dogs, But one winter day, we couldn’t find Deagan and looked for him everywhere. We tried looking in the kennel as a last resort and came to find him cuddled with Ginger, our MAS, in the blankets in the kennel. (His Ginger had crawled into the kennel to take a nap.) From that day on, we’ve kenneled them together and they are the happiest this way. The kids love to see the two dogs cuddling together in the kennel. Deagan loves this too, as he gets his best friend and a “warm fuzzy” to cuddle with.

Dogs are incredibly intelligent and adaptable creatures, and with the right training and guidance, they can achieve amazing things. Whether it’s participating in dog sports, assisting people with disabilities, or simply being a loving companion, dogs have so much to offer.



Are you looking for a Cirneco dell’Etna puppy?

The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?

Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.


Want to help rescue and re-home a Cirneco dell’Etna dog?

Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.


Cirneco dell’Etna Breed Magazine

Showsight Magazine is the only publication to offer dedicated Digital Breed Magazines for ALL recognized AKC Breeds.

Read and learn more about the Cirneco dell’Etna dog breed with articles and information in our Cirneco dell’Etna Breed Magazine.


Cirneco dell''Etna Breed Magazine - Showsight


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