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Spinone Italiano


member of the sporting group, the Spinone Italiano is most popular in Italy (as its name suggests). Not quite as popular in the United States, this wonderful dog breed is gentle, always willing to please, and gets along well with people and other pets. You could sum up the Spinone Italiano in two words: courageous and loving.

A Brief History Of The Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano is said to be one of the earliest of dog breeds used for pointing. There is evidence that suggests wirehaired dogs were used as early as 500 B.C. Italian artwork from the fifteenth century shows depictions of dogs that had a remarkable resemblance to the Spinone Italiano.

Even with the above research facts, the exact origin of the breed remains a mystery to this day. Some dog enthusiasts claim that the Spinone Italiano came from the Celtic wirehaired stock while others suggest that the breed came from Greece during the reign of the Roman Empire.

Unfortunately, there is not enough real documentation on the breed to pinpoint its actual bloodline and development. Principally speaking, however, today’s Spinone Italiano can be traced back to the Piedmont region of Italy.

The breed became well-known for its ability to hunt through thorny brush with vigor and relentlessness while retrieving small game. In World War II, these dogs further made progress in their usefulness by tracking German Patrols.

When the War came to an end, so did the popularity of the breed. Its numbers declined rapidly and the remaining few canines that were left had been crossed with different breeds. Practically instinct, the Spinone Italiano came back to life during the 1950s with the help of enthusiastic breeders who wanted to recreate the breed. Their efforts worked, as the Spinone is one of Italy’s top breeds of today, being recognized by the AKC in the year 2000.

Upkeep Requirements For The Spinone Italiano

Upkeep of a healthy Spinone Italiano means daily vigorous exercise, like all sporting dogs need. This can be from a romp out hunting the fields or a long walk on the leash several times each day.

These dogs can live outdoors if need be, even in colder climates, but is most happy when sleeping inside with its family. They are highly affectionate and is rated as one of the most friendliest of breeds, both towards strangers and other pets.

Health Concerns

The average lifespan of Spinone Italiano ranges from twelve to fourteen years. The only major health concern with the breed is CHD and minor problems that may occur are otitis externa, ectropion, cerebellar ataxia, and gastric torsion. Rarely seen are allergies and elbow dysplasia. Veterinarians suggest that these dogs get tested for potential hip and eye problems.


This breed is also called the Italian Griffon and the Spinone Italiano or Spinone. Spinoni Italiani is plural. The exact history is unknown, but experts think these dogs go back to 500 B.C. Around this time, Senofonte described in his Gynegiticon a dog with high endurance and wiry fur that was a pointer. They were mentioned in writings about hunting dogs for the next thousand years. Though these dogs were not necessarily the Spinoni Italiani we know today.

Andrea Mantegna painted The Return of Cardinal Gonzago in about 1450. It was a mural done in a castle located in Mantua, Italy. The wiry furred hunting dogs were written about in Medieval literature. Renaissance art gives indication that pointers with wiry fur were prevalent in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The AKC recognized this breed in 2000.

General Looks

It is a big, well muscled dog with a square build. Its pendant shaped ears flop. It has a long head. It has a bushy beard, eyebrows, and mustache. Its eyes are yellow-brown, if the coat is paler and darker if the coat is darker.

Is This Your Breed?

The Spinone is very energetic and likes running in a field. It has a natural caution. It is best to socialize these dogs from pups. It needs brushing and hand-stripping. When it drinks water its beard gets wet and dribbles.


The coat’s length is very important. It is dense. A coat from 1.5 to 2.5 inches covering the body is preferred. It should be shorter on the muzzle, head, ears, and leg’s front and on the paws.


The colors are white, rich chocolate brown, orange or brown roan, white or brown with orange or brown areas.


It trots easily and loosely with endurance.


This breed relishes a good and close hunting relationship with its owner. It is a great tracker, retriever, swimmer, and pointer. But  it doesn’t do well, when alone for an extended amount of time. It gets stressed easily and is sensitive and dependent.

It is a very smart dog and trains easily. For this breed to be confident and friendly it needs early socialization. It needs to be around various people, including children and in different situations early on.

Basically, these dogs are calm, good natured, and playful. But they are dogs for an experienced dog owner because they are a bit complicated.


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