The Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano is one of the oldest pointing breeds. Evidence of his ancestry exists as far back as 500 B.C. In the 15th and 16th century pieces of Italian art portray dogs that closely resemble the Spinone Italiano.

Since “Griffons” was the designated term for all hunting dogs of Europe, Italianos are often called Griffons. They’ve long been considered an all purpose hunting dog.

The Spinone Italiano was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2000.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 61 to 85 lbs.
  • Height: 22 1/2 to 27 1/2 inches
  • Coat: Weather-resistant, dense, and wiry
  • Color: White, orange roan, white and orange (with or without orange markings), chestnut, or white with chestnut markings
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years

What’s the Spinone Italiano like?
The Spinone Italiano is energetic, gentle, and happy. He needs a good deal of exercise so he’ll fit in best with a family who has motivation and a love for the outdoors. He is devoted to his family and does not like to be left alone. He is great with kids and other animals.

The Spinone Italiano has a curious nature about him and might wonder away so training should begin early. Socializing exercises are also important; though he is naturally a pretty social dog. He aims to please so be firm and consistent during training sessions and use positive reinforcement when he’s done something correctly.

Grooming your Italiano takes very little time. A weekly brushing will make him happy and bathe him as needed. One thing you should occasionally do is hand-strip (pulling out dead hairs to keep his coat in great condition).

The Spinone Italiano is generally a healthy breed. Potential concerns include the following:

  • One of the most common diseases in dogs, with larger breeds being the most affected. It is ultimately a malfunction of the hip joints.
  • The development of arthritis in the elbow joint
  • A disease caused by an increase in metabolism
  • When an eyelid is inverted causing an eyelash to irritate the eye

Takeaway points

  • The Spinone Italiano is very quick and easy to groom.
  • The Spinone Italiano has a very curious nature so a secured fence is recommended when off his leash.
  • The Spinone Italiano would not be an ideal breed if you work long hours or spend a lot of time away from home.
  • The Spinone Italiano is great with children.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Spinone Italiano

Sam Clark, Animal Photography

  • Breed Group: Sporting
  • Height: 22.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 61 to 85 pounds
  • Life Span: 10 to 12 years

Gentle and docile, this ancient all-purpose hunting breed can be good with kids and other dogs. The Spinone Italiano is affectionate, devoted and has a sense of humor. He can rock as a family dog or jogging companion. The downside: a wet beard in your lap after he drinks.

The Spinone Italiano dog : the best family pet - ever!

Want to know which is the best dog for children?

We look at the Spinone Italiano dog, its temperament, and whether it could be the perfect dog breed for your family.

What do you think makes the best family dog?

For us it would be a loyal, patient, affectionate, gentle, calm companion with a sense of fun and a great sense of humour who isn't easily spooked.

Which describes the Spinone Italiano dog to a 't' - and that's why, in our experience, it makes the most amazing family pet and the best dog for children we have ever come across.

What makes us qualified to say?

Our Spinone Ellie talks to our nephew Harry.

We have a Spinone rescue dog - Ellie - who is very typical of her breed.

However much she might enjoy going for long walks - and she does! - she just as much enjoys hanging out with the family.

And she doesn't mind whether that means sleeping in front of the fire in the winter, or splashing round in the paddling pool on a hot summer's day.

She's fun, she's funny, she loves the younger members of the family - and they love her.

But don't just take our word for it. Ask anyone with an Italian Spinone dog and they'll tell you the same.

Why is the Spinone Italiano the best dog for children?

Because the Spinone Italiano dog is a gentle, patient, loving, happy breed.

Although he is used widely as an Italian hunting dog, the Spin is not just child friendly - he adores children, loves nothing more than to be part of a family, loves being with other animals - including cats - and loves nothing more than jumping in the back of the car and going travelling with the family.

A joy to live with, he will want to be involved in whatever you and your family are doing, whether that's going for a long walk or lazing around watching T.V.

He's one of the most social of all Italian animals and will bond with the family very quickly. He's affectionate with everyone and a clown if he thinks it will get him more attention.

The Italian Spinone is so easy going and easy to look after that he's well suited to inexperienced dog owners as well as those who have had dogs before. His personality makes him an excellent 'Pets as Therapy' dog too.

Are there any drawbacks that make the Italian Spinone not the best family dog?

Our Spinone Ellie chills out
with baby William.

We would always advise against leaving any dog breed with a small child.

All dogs, no matter what their size and personality, are wolves at their core and can be frightened by the sudden movements or high-pitched screams of small children.

Having said that, there's only one drawback to a Spinone with kids. One of the larger Italian dog breeds, the Spin's specifications mean that his size, weight and energy make him quite a large, heavy and powerful dog.

That makes it important to keep an eye on him around very small children, especially if you have a young and enthusiastic dog. He's a very gentle breed and won't mean to hurt, but in his good-natured enthusiasm may just knock a little person over.

Oh - and one final thing - you'll need a sense of humour.

Have a look at this story - typical of Italian Spinone puppies - and you'll begin to understand why.

Still not sure if the Spin is the best family dog ever?

Just have a look at this lovely clip of a very patient Spinone Italiano dog called Maximus. If nothing else has convinced you, we think Maximus will!

The Spinone Italiano is one of the oldest breeds of gundog. The breed was developed way before written records were kept of dog breeding, so we can’t possibly know all of the breed’s history. Additionally, most of what currently touted to be fact is actually just speculation or a myth. One thing on which all researchers agree is that the breed is definitely native to Italy and is most likely developed into its current form millennia ago in the Piedmont region. Furthermore, the limited evidence, which is available for historians, also suggests that the Spinone Italiano may have been developed almost to its modern form by the early Renaissance, although some experts believe that it may have developed as long ago as 500 B.C. However, there is still an ongoing debate between dog experts as to how to best classify the breed. Usually, this breed is commonly placed in the Griffon family by many people, a group of wire-haired scent hounds and gundogs native to Europe. In fact, the breed is often suggested to be the ancestor of that entire group. On the other side, other experts claim that the breed is more closely related to giant wire-coated coursing breeds of the British Isles, the Irish Wolfhound, and the Scottish Deerhound. Until new genetic or historical evidence comes to light, this mystery will probably remain unsolved.

Moreover, the first descriptions of a wire-coated hunting dog in Italy came around 500 B.C. The Italian standard for the Spinone claims that the famous ancient historians Xenophon, Faliscus, Nemesianus, and Seneca all included the breed in their works over two thousand years ago. However, these writers were obviously not describing the modern breed, but rather its ancestors.

Apparently, the Celts were known to have a number of wire-coated hunting dogs, in Gaul, which consisted of modern-day France and Belgium, the breed was known as the Canis Segusius. As we know, the Celts were the primary inhabitants of large portions of what is now northern Italy before being conquered by the Romans, so it is possible to say that the Italians first acquired these dogs from the Celts at the time.

Furthermore, an interesting point which adds to the confusion to deciphering the true origins of the breed is that there is no further mention of this type until after the beginning of the Renaissance around 1400 A.D, leaving a huge gap in the Spinone Italiano’s historical record. However, with the beginning of 1300-1400, things began to change, for example, it was also around this time that guns were first being used in hunting. This necessitated the creation of new breeds as well as the modification of old ones to create dogs with the current canine skills necessary to work alongside now armed hunters. At the beginning of the 15 th century, the Spinone Italiano reappears in the historical records in the painting of the Italian artists. The dogs shown are remarkably similar to the modern Spinone and are almost the exact same breed. Some famous painters to include the breed in their works were for example Mantenga and Vecellio. It is also very likely that the wealthy aristocracy and merchant classes of Italy used this breed while bird hunting. However, because of the gap in their history, there is debate whether the breed depicted in the Renaissance painting is the same mentioned by the ancient historians. Some researchers claim that the Spinone is descended from the now-extinct Spanish Pointer but others, especially French experts, claim that the breed is a mixture of several French Griffon breeds. Some even think that the breed comes from the rough-coated Russian Setters, but there is no evidence to back up any of these suggestions.

Actually, the first written mentions of a modern Spinone Italiano came from around the 1680s when the French author, called Selicourt wrote: “La Parfait Chasseur” (the Perfect Hunter” in which he described a breed native to the Piedmont region of Italy. Moreover, the breed gets its name from a thorn bush, the Pino which is a favorite hiding place of many species of small game. The name Spinone was not officially used until the late 1800s and before that time the breed was also known as Spinosos in most areas.

The Spinone had an important role during WWII as the Italians used the breed to track the German troops they were fighting against. However, even though this breed served heroically, WW II was just as devastating for the Spinone Italiano as for any other breed. Several events contributed to the decreasing numbers of the breed such as new breeds developing, the world wars, and also eventually its breeding ceased as people were not able to hunt and by the end of the wars, the Spinone was almost extinct. Not much later a Spinone lover called Dr. Ceresoli toured the entire country trying to find out how many fogs had survived. He discovered that a few breeders were forced to cross their dogs with other continental wire-coated gun dogs, such as the Boulet, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, and the German Wirehaired Pointer. Although the breed remained uncommon, Ceresoli tried to do everything to preserve the breed’s original form.

The first type began to arrive in the United States at the end of the 10 th century and eventually the Spinone Club of America was founded to protect and promote breed interests. In 1995 the UKC became the first kennel club to grant full recognition to the breed. The AKC followed after 5 years placing the breed in the sporting group.

  • Weight: 75-85 lb
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Group: AKC Sporting Group
  • Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, hunters
  • Temperament: Gentle, docile, loyal, friendly
  • Comparable Breeds: German Wirehaired Pointer

Also known as the Spinone, Italian Spinone or Italian Griffon, the Spinone Italiano looks more like a tired old man than the rugged pointer that it is. Bred in Italy as a specialist hunting dog, the Spinone is as intelligent as it is strong and has almost human-like eyes which lend to its gentle and almost pensive appearance.

Spinones are strong boned and solidly built with powerful muscles which allow it to navigate almost any terrain. Its body is covered in a thick, wiry coat which enables it to tolerate a wide range of environments. These characteristics make the Spinone Italiano an ideal hunting dog, a purpose which the breed is still used for today. The Spinone is also a highly versatile breed and can be used in showing, agility, obedience and therapy work.

Spinones are a very gentle and devoted breed of dog and live to please their owners. They are highly affectionate and get along extremely well with children and other pets. Their temperament is also fairly easier going that other hunting breeds.

Bred in Italy as a specialist hunting dog, the Spinone is as intelligent as it is strong

Watch the video: Dog Breeds-Italian SpinoneSpinone Italiano (September 2021).