Italian Spinone

Are you interested in understanding more about the shaggy haired Italian Spinone? Then read on for information on this breed’s personality, health, training needs, and more!

White Italian Spinone dog on a snowy background

Height: Male 60-70cm, female 58-65 cm
Weight: Male 34-39 kilos, female 29-34 kilos
Italian Spinone Lifespan: 10-12 years
Pedigree (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is Kennel Club registered

Positives and Negatives

Below are the positive and negative traits commonly seen amongst this breed type.

Pros

  • Minimal shedding
  • Excellent jogging companion
  • Placid and laid back compared to other hunting and pointer breeds
  • Very friendly with other dogs

Cons

  • This breed is a drooler
  • Not great for first time owners, can be very stubborn
  • Doesn’t like to be left alone for long periods of time
  • Not hypoallergenic, can cause allergic reactions

Overview

The Italian Spinone dog is one of the oldest native breeds to Italy. They were bred to hunt, point and retrieve alongside huntsmen in the Alps of Italy’s Piedmont region.

Sitting Italian Spinone dog seen from the side

The breed is loved in Italy and has increased in popularity across Europe and the United States.

Italian Spinone’s make excellent human companions, especially amongst senior citizens. To this day they are still used for hunting and retrieving game in areas and countries where this is legal.

Unlike other hunting breed types this pooch is praised for it’s laid back and friendly nature. They are greatly attached to their owners and don’t like being left alone.

An active dog requiring lots of exercise, this breed makes a fantastic jogging partner and fits in great with an active family.

Although this dog keeps its shedding to a minimal it is not hypoallergenic. This breed is well-known for being messy. They drool quite a bit and also drag debris through your home which sits attached to its coarse fur.

Italian Spinones love the water, they’re webbed paws make this pooch an excellent swimmer, allowing them to retrieve game on both land and water.

Working Spinones used to have their tails docked down to half their natural size. Nowadays this is rarely seen.

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History

The Italian Spinone is estimated to be one of the oldest breeds of hunting dogs still alive today. Of course, with time comes disputes over how and where this breed originated.

One theory suggests this dog came from a mix of Italian settler dogs left by Greek traders, in particular the White Mastiff and French Griffon.

Others believe it derives from Russia, whereas some think this breed is a descendent of the Segugio, a dog dating back to the Middle Ages.

Italian Spinone dog staring

In 1470, Andrea Mantegna painted an image of the Duke of Ludovico III Gonzaga, in the Palazzo Ducale of Mantova, based in Lombardy, North Italy.

Underneath the Duke’s chair is an image of a dog that looks strikingly similar to the Spinone Italiano.

The breed we know today was developed in the 19th century in Piedmont, an area located at the bottom of the Alps. They were highly important dogs that accompanied huntsmen across the hilly terrain. They would track and trace dead or live game all day long at a steady pace.

Italian Spinones are still used for hunting and retrieving today but are more commonly seen as companions.  This pooch is highly popular in the show ring and are regular competitors at dog shows.

Personality

The Italian Spinone Temperament is generally laid back and gentle. This makes it suit owners of all types. They are playful and energetic with so much love and affection to offer.

An Italian Spinone Dog Watches Out Pensively

An Italian Spinone puppy tends to be mischievous and requires plenty of time and patience. They can have destructive traits if they become bored or don’t get enough exercise.

Are Italian Spinones Good With Strangers?

At first, Italian Spinones may be a little shy upon their first meet with someone unknown. Once they have gotten over the initial greeting they will be warm and friendly to the newcomer.

Are Italian Spinones Good With Children?

This breed makes the perfect family pet! They are active and playful with children, making them a great games partner!

Their temperament is calm within the home, so you won’t have an over-excited dog bouncing all over the house.

Italian Spinones are highly affectionate and very people-orientated. They don’t like to be left alone and love lots of attention, making this dog a great match for a family environment.

Are Italian Spinones Ok With Other Dogs?

This is a non-aggressive breed that loves to meet and interact with other doggies on their daily walks. Both friendly and playful, this pooch is always looking to have a run around with other playmates.

You must socialize their playful behavior and teach them manners. Some Spinone puppies can be overbearing to other dogs. You should always keep them leashed until you have full recall of your dog.

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Exercise

You will need to take this dog out for 2 hours of exercise each day. They are energetic and playful so a flat won’t be a suitable environment.

This breed can easily gain weight so it’s important to keep up with their exercise requirements.

White Italian Spinone dog in the woods

Italian Spinones should have access to a large garden. This will allow them to let loose every once in a while from their calm and peaceful personality in the home.

Listed as a gun dog, the Italian Spinone would find and retrieve live or dead game. They would track the land with huntsmen and had the stamina to continue all day long.

Health

The following health issues have been commonly seen amongst the Spinone Italiano. You should always familiarize yourself with any breed-related health problems before purchasing or rehoming a dog.

  • Hip Dysplasia- A common skeletal condition caused by poor development within one or both of the hip joints. It is painful and will lead to arthritis.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus- Any dog suffering from GDV must seek immediate veterinary care. Large meals/fast eating can cause the stomach to twist trapping the gases and food inside.
  • Epilepsy- One of the most common neurological disorders in dogs, epilepsy can cause seizures. Most dogs affected can generally lead healthy lives.
  • Entropion- Where the eyelids turn inwards.
  • Panosteitis Normally seen within puppies aged 5-14 months old. This condition is also known as Growing Pains and causes inflammation in the leg bones of large breed dogs.
  • Hypothyroidism- An abnormal thyroid gland will reduce your dogs metabolism. It will slow down your dogs activity, make them more susceptible to the cold and causes an increase in weight.
  • Atopy (Atopic Dermatitis)- A lifelong inherited skin disease that causes itchiness. The main areas affected are often the paws but can include the stomach, ears and armpits.

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Intelligence & Training

An Italian Spinone is moderately easy to train however, at times they can be stubborn and easily distracted. This breed isn’t recommended for first time owners.

Reward based training is a good way to keep this pooches attention. You must be wary about how many food treats you give out and should replace this with affection where possible.

This is a people-orientated dog and harsh training styles can leave a Spinone feeling emotional or even distressed.

This pooch can become destructive if it doesn’t receive enough attention. You must make sure they receive 2 hours of daily exercise and have things to play with indoors. This may allow you to leave them alone for up to 5 hours.

A Spinone dog was developed to be a hunters companion, where they proved themselves to be an intelligent breed. They excel in tracking and tracing prey on land or water.

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Grooming

A shaggy looking dog is often a term used to describe the Spinone Italiano. Their wiry and dense coat may need a professional groom every once in a while. You will need to brush through their fur 2-3 times a week.

Italian Spinone resting in the backyard

The thick coat collects dirt and debris that will spread across your home. Spinones drool and are known to get messy rather quickly, especially since they need to be outside for at least 2 hours each day.

Brushing the natural oils through your dog’s fur helps remove dirt and will add a shine to their coat. When bathing you should use harsh coat shampoos over oils, as those will be harder to rinse out.

Be sure to trim the fur around your dogs eyes, ears, elbows, paws and tail area. Many owners often hand strip this breed, as the coat is wiry. It is not painful for your pooch and you can do this with your hands, a stripping knife or a stripping stone. This grooming method is also commonly seen amongst Spinone show dogs.

Hand stripping a coat is beneficial for this breed as it makes the coat more repellent to dirt and water. It also decreases the chance of the fur becoming matted. You may find it easier to hand strip the coat to the size you want by using tools such as a stripping knife.

Your dog’s lip folds, ears and neck are areas that tend to smell the most. They should be given more attention when it comes to Italian Spinone grooming.

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