Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano (plural Spinoni Italiani) is an Italian dog breed. However, it should be recognized that the Spinone is a unique, indivisible breed and the correct reference is Spinone (Spinoni plural). Its original purpose was as a versatile gun dog, which the breed is still a master of today. The Spinone is a loyal, friendly and alert dog with a close lying, wiry coat. It is an ancient breed that can be traced back to approximately 500 BC.

It is often used for hunting, pointing, and retrieving game (HPR), but the intelligent and strong Spinone can be used for practically anything ranging from companions to assistance dogs. The name of the breed is pronounced spee-NO-neh (singular) and spee-NO-nee for plural.

Spinone Italiano Appearance

The Spinone has a square build (the length of the body is approximately equal to the height at the withers). It is a strong-boned, solidly built dog with a well-muscled body and limbs that are suited to almost any kind of terrain. Brown and white Spinone can sometimes be confused with a German Wirehaired Pointer by someone not familiar with the breeds. However, the long head and pronounced occipital are unique to the breed. He has an expression that shows intelligence and understanding and is often described as having human-like eyes. The tail of the Spinone is customarily docked at half its length (approx 5.5 to 8 inches or 140 to 200 mm from the base of the tail), and it sports dewclaws on all four feet, giving its hind legs a substantial appearance. Even as adults, Spinoni retain disproportionate, puppy-like, webbed paws which make them powerful swimmers.

Spinone Italiano Coat

The coat is tough, slightly wiry, and close fitting. The preferred length is 1½–2½ inches (4–6 cm) on the body; however, the ears, muzzle, head, and parts of the legs and feet are covered with shorter hair. Eyebrows have longer and stiffer hair; longer but softer hair covers cheeks and muzzle, creating a profuse moustache and beard.

The Spinone should not have an undercoat. A long, soft or silky coat is undesired and is a sign of excessive grooming.

Spinone Italiano Color

Acceptable variants (UK and US) are solid white, white with orange markings, orange roan with or without orange markings, white with brown markings, and brown roan with or without brown markings. Pigment of skin, nose, lips, and the pads on their feet should be a fleshy red-orange in white dogs, slightly darker in orange and brown roan dogs. The white and orange coloration is unique amongst the wirehaired gun dogs.

Spinone Italiano Height and weight

Height at withers:

  • Dogs: 60–70 cm (23.5–27.5 in)
  • Bitches: 59–65 cm (22.5–25.5 in)
Weight should be in the correct proportion to size and structure:
  • Dogs: 34–39 kg (75–86 lb);
  • Bitches: 29–34 kg (64–75 lb).

Spinone Italiano Temperament

The Spinone is easy going, docile, and affectionate towards both people and dogs. It is well known for being loving and gentle with children. Its extremely patient nature also helps with this, but children should be taught not to take advantage of this trait. It is loyal to those it knows and still friendly to those it doesn't. The breed is not known for any aggression and is therefore not a wise choice for somebody looking for an aggressive guard dog.

Centuries of working with man as a hunting companion has created a loyal, intelligent dog that is easily trained, although some can be stubborn about performing a learned task if they see no point in it. Because they are sensitive, motivational training works best for this breed, as this gentle creature's feelings can easily be hurt when handled incorrectly.

The Spinone can be a very active breed, but it is not a racy dog like most other hunting breeds. The Spinone typically moves at the relaxed trot that is characteristic of the breed. It has often been called the perfect dog to run or jog with, because it will not run off in front and leave its human companion struggling to keep up as it prefers the slower pace itself. It can be more than happy in a small yard and does not necessarily need acres of land. The small garden combined with regular walks would suit a Spinone well.

In part due to its long beard, the Spinone can have a tendency to slobber.

Spinone Italiano Health

Like all purebred dogs, it has its share of health problems, but careful breeding is helping the situation cease.

Spinone Italiano Life expectancy

In 2004, The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom conducted a breed health survey which found the average life expectancy of Italian Spinone to be 8.7 years. Other sources suggest a lifespan upward of 12 years.

Known medical issues

  • Cerebellar ataxia: Cerebellar ataxia (CA) is a deadly hereditary condition that is known to affect Spinone puppies. It is a recessive gene; therefore, both sire and dam must have been carriers for any pup in a litter to have this condition. No puppy with CA has lived past the age of 12 months to date. Most puppies that have been diagnosed with the condition are euthanised at 10–11 months. However, the AHT (UK) has developed a test for this condition. Carriers can now be identified to a 95% certainty.
  • Hip dysplasia: Like most large breeds, the Spinone can suffer hip dysplasia. This is when the hip bones become abnormal and make it difficult and painful to do any exercise. Dogs diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia can have their ball and socket joint replaced surgically with an artificial joint.

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