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Italian Spinone

Other names: Spinone Italiano

Italian Spinone
Italian Spinone

Docile and gentle, this hunting and pointing breed of dog has ancestry dating back many years. The Spinone Italiano makes both a great dog to exercise with and also a fantastic family pet. His name is taken from the type of coat he has, the “spino”, wiry and thorn-repellent hair.  A sturdy, dependable dog with an amazing zest for life. Likewise, very easy-going and adaptable. He can be out hunting one day, then loves spending the next day hiking with his family.

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Key facts about the Italian Spinone

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Playful, Intelligent, Hunter
  • Size : Big
  • Type of coat : Long, Hard
  • Price : Between £1030 and £1170

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 7 - Pointing Dogs

Section

Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Italian Spinone

Adult size

Female dog Between 23 and 26 in
Male dog Between 24 and 28 in

Weight

Female dog Between 62 and 66 lb
Male dog Between 71 and 82 lb

Coat colour

Varied markings and coat colours ranging from all-over white, orange and white, orange and roan and any variety of these colours with orange or chestnut brown markings.

Type of coat

Medium length hair apart from on the front of the legs, muzzle, ears and head, where the hair is of a shorter length.

This dog has a water-resistant coat that is very wiry and dense in texture. He also has a beard, moustache and stiff eyebrows to help protect against cuts from bushes and the undergrowth, when hunting.

Eye colour

Brown or yellow-amber

Description

With the appearance of a square, muscular body, this Italian Spinone breed is very powerful and strong. Sporting a long head and either dark brown or amber eyes, depending on the colour of his coat. Triangle-shaped ears that hang down and a tail that swishes from side to side when he is at work.

These dogs are very endearing with their “human-like” expressive face. You would sometimes think that he is smiling at you.

Temperament

Affectionate

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The Italian Spinone is a very laid-back, placid dog who is fun to be around. Of course, like many other breeds, he loves nothing more than stretching out on the sofa to relax.

Playful

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As a very social dog, who loves nothing more than a run around the field, he is also fond of group activities. His natural responses include retrieving and he will happily keep bringing you balls and other small objects that you throw for him. Even though he’s a very patient and docile breed, he is also quite robust. They soon learn how to get their own way however, so training with a firm hand is needed.

Calm

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When a Spinone Italiano is a pup, he can be full of energy, high-spirited and somewhat rowdy. However, all this changes when he matures into a dignified, quiet dog who prefers to be seen and not heard.

Intelligent

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This dog is certainly very intelligent and loves to be kept busy. Although he is sometimes easily distracted and has a slightly stubborn streak too, he is a quick learner. You will discover that he is eager to please his new master.

Hunter

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As this is a hunting-dog breed, of course they have a natural instinct to hunt, point and then retrieve game and small animals.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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This is an even-tempered breed of dog who is very playful, loving and patient, especially with their family. When meeting any new people, they may be quite hesitant at first, but will soon warm to them after a short while.

Independent

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The Spinone Italiano is a good-natured pet who aims to please his owner. He can often be rather stubborn and as a hunting dog breed, he will be easily distracted by sounds, scents and sights.

As teenage dogs, males often go through a difficult stage which means they can be quite distracted and naughty if left alone. Females tend to have more hormonal temperaments, especially when they come into heat.

Behaviour of the Italian Spinone

Tolerates solitude

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A Spinone Italiano needs sufficient daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent separation anxieties. They much prefer if they have company at home during the day, rather than being left alone for several hours. A bored or stressed dog can sometimes be very destructive around the home.

Easy to train / obedience

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Certainly a dog that is eager to please his master. He responds well to consistent, fair training, especially when these routines have begun at an early age. These charming dogs pick up new things very quickly, although this also means that they collect bad habits quite easily too!

Barking

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In some cases, a Spinone Italiano pup might like to hear the sound of his own voice, however, in most cases, these dogs only bark when strangers are around. Ultra-sensitive too, this breed doesn’t like to be spoke to in a raised voice.

Tendency to run away

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As a hunting and pointing breed, you may discover that the Spinone Italiano can jump very high. Secure fencing is needed at your property to keep him secure. An occasional member of this breed might enjoy digging and tunnelling too, as a means of escape from the garden.

Destructive

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These dogs aren’t generally destructive, although as with any other breed that is left alone for long periods of time, they can soon become bored. If this is a factor with your Spinone Italiano puppy, crate training may be of benefit.

Greedy / Gluttony

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Providing your dog is fed a nutritious, healthy diet, his dietary needs should be met. Saying that though, as this is a very active dog, care should be taken not to over feed him too many snacks, to prevent him from becoming obese, especially if he doesn’t get a great deal of exercise.

Guard dog

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As a very sociable and friendly dog, this breed don’t make a first-class watchdog. They love nothing more than greeting everyone, although in most cases they will alert you to a visitor at the door, with a bark. He certainly doesn’t make an efficient guard dog.

First dog

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As this is a dog who loves nothing more than to please his master, he is a good choice for a first-time pet. Bearing in mind that they are very active, high-energy canines, they need masses of physical exercise each day. As people-orientated and amenable dogs, they fit happily into family life too.

Lifestyle

Italian Spinone in a flat

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The Spinone Italiano dog isn’t really suited to living in a flat, as he is constantly on the move with his high-energy personality. He needs and also enjoys an active environment and an enclosed, outside space is certainly a benefit, where he can roam freely when he wishes to.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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These dogs definitely need sufficient mental stimulation and exercise to fulfil their needs. They will love nothing better than going for a jog with their owner, hiking and swimming and of course any energetic activities that include tracking, hunting or other agility sports. This dog has a need to work and run!

Travelling / easy to transport

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Quite a large dog who will actually travel well in a car. He is quite a patient, placid dog, so will lie down to your command. Probably best not to take him travelling on public transport.

Compatibility

Italian Spinone and cats

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Remember that the Spinone Italiano is a hunting dog and his instincts mean that he will chase after small animals. This sometimes includes cats, unless he has been socialised and brought up in the same household with them, from a young age.

Italian Spinone and dogs

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Providing that both dogs have been socialised to meet and interact with another canine, a meeting between them should be fine.

Italian Spinone and children

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A very placid and laid-back dog breed, they are brilliant with children. They love playtimes and games of fetch and will interact with children very well.

Italian Spinone and the elderly

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As a very active dog breed, the Spinone Italiano needs an enormous amount of daily exercise and may not be best suited to an elderly person’s lifestyle. However, as very patient and quiet dogs, they do actually make lovely companion pets.

Price

Expect to pay between £1,030 for a Non KC Registered and £1,170 for KC Registered dog. You may need to be added to a waiting-list with a certified Spinone Italiano breeder in the UK, as not many pups are registered annually.

Providing a good-quality, nutrient rich dog food to meet the dogs energy levels will cost between £50 and £60 monthly. You also need to take into account the costs to spay or neuter your pup, vaccinations, pet insurance and annual veterinary examinations. Then the monthly cost increases to between £80 and £100.

Grooming

With a wiry, dense coat, the Spinone Italiano needs only occasional grooming to keep him looking good. His coat is also weather-resistant and gives him protection when hunting through the undergrowth, in all weathers. To remove any dead hair from the dog’s coat, hand stripping is necessary. Occasional bathing is recommended, but as the Spinone tends to drool onto his moustache and beard, especially when eating and drinking, a quick facial clean up on a daily basis is advised. As a hunting breed, his ears will need to be checked for burrs and debris. Likewise, good dental hygiene ensures that your dog will have clean breath.

Hair loss

Yes, the Spinone Italiano dog sheds his coat frequently. Obviously, frequent grooming and stripping of his coat can help with this hair loss.

Nutrition of the Italian Spinone

An adult Spinone Italiano needs an average 2-3 cups of dry, good quality dog feed daily, shared between two meals. This breed is often prone to bloat or gastric torsion which can be eliminated by raising the dog’s feeding bowl and with limited exercise immediately after feeding.

Health of the Italian Spinone

Life expectancy

When a dog is properly cared for and given a high-quality diet, the Spinone Italiano is expected to have a lifespan of between 12 and 14 years.

Strong / robust

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This dog is quite determined in any task, and can hunt all day long without tiring. Equally as happy spending time at home with their human family and lazing on the sofa.

Withstand heat

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The Spinone breed is quite happy in all climates and has no problem when the weather is warmer.

Withstand cold

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The Spinone has a dense and wiry coat  that certainly gives protection during cold weather periods. This breed loves to swim, even in deep, cold water, which doesn’t usually cause a problem.

Tendency to put on weight

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As a very energetic and active dog, this breed doesn’t easily put on weight. However, a less active Spinone, who enjoys lazing around the home rather than getting lots of exercise outside, will certainly be more prone to weight gain.

Common illnesses

  • Addison’s disease – a life-long health condition that mainly affects young adult females
  • Cerebella Ataxia – predominantly affecting male dogs that produces symptoms of weakness and in-coordination
  • Eclampsia – can be potentially fatal in bitches
  • Hip and Elbow dysplasia – a significant cause of lameness in dogs

Good to know

Like many dogs with a shaggy, unkempt coat, the Spinone Italiano dog can be quite messy.  After an energetic hike he will probably have mud, grass and other matter clinging to his rough coat. He won’t mind if he leaves this debris deposited through your house when he returns home. Similarly, he tends to drool or slobber and when eating his food, this often clings to his facial hair. He only needs to cuddle up to you after feeding and you will be covered in food debris and saliva. He also sheds his coat, so all in all, he’s not a very fastidious house guest.

Origins and history

In European countries, various regions developed and bred pointing and hunting canines depending on the type of game and of course, the terrain of the country. Because of this, the Spinone Italiano was first developed some 300 years ago, as an Italian Pointer dog. Initially, it was bred in the north west of Italy, in the Piedmont region. The parent dogs used to develop the breed are thought to have been a French Griffon and a white Mastiff, to produce a perfect hunting and pointing offspring.

Names

Good names for an Italian Spinone: Bear, Heart, Miko, River

Find out more dog name ideas here