The in vitro activity of twenty chemically defined essential oils (EOs) obtained from Boswellia sacra, Citrus bergamia, C. limon, C. medica, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Eucalyptus globulus, Foeniculum vulgare, Helichrysum italicum, Illicium verum, Litsea cubeba, Mentha spicata, Myrtus communis, Ocimum basilicum, Origanum majorana, O. vulgare, Pelargonium graveolens, Rosmarinus officinalis, Santalum album, Satureja montana, and Thymus serpyllum was assayed against clinical animal isolates of Microsporum canis, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, T. erinacei, T. terrestre and Microsporum gypseum, main causative agents of zoonotic and/or environmental dermatophytoses in humans. Single main components present in high amounts in such EOs were also tested. Different dermatophyte species showed remarkable differences in sensitivity. In general, more effective EOs were T. serpyllum (MIC range 0.025%-0.25%), O. vulgare (MIC range 0.025%-0.5%) and L. cubeba (MIC range 0.025%-1.5%). F. vulgare showed a moderate efficacy against geophilic species such as M gypseum and T terrestre. Among single main components tested, neral was the most active (MIC and MFC values 5 0.25%). The results of the present study seem to be promising for an in vivo use of some assayed EOs.