Spinone Italiano (Spinone)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
white, white with orange markings, white speckled with orange, white with brown (chestnut) markings, roan or brown roan (chestnut)
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • wonderful companion                           
  • excellent hunter
  • friendly
  • versatile
  • independent-minded
  • stubborn
  • requires a sufficient amount of daily exercises

The Spinone Italiano is a versatile hunting dog with its homeland in Italy. Its exceptional stamina allows it to work in the harshest terrain of this country. This docile and faithful animal is quite suitable for the role of a loving family pet.

The date of origin of the Spinone Italiano is impossible to determine with any rate of precision. Actually its ancestry remains rather a mystery too. The practically identical dog was more or less thoroughly described around 500 B.C. in Italy. However ancient Italian historians Xenophon, Faliscus, Nemesianus, Seneca, and Arrianus all mentioned rough-coated hunting dogs similar to the Spinone Italiano in their books written over two thousand years ago. It’s strongly suggested that Italians initially obtained these types of dogs from Celts, who inhabited the Northern Italy before the Roman conquest.

Unfortunately there is a gap in the references of the Spinone Italiano for over thousand years so nothing can be concluded about its development during this period. In the XIV century the dog’s depiction began to show up in the artworks of Italian painters. Thus Mantenga and Vecellio oftentimes used it as a source for their inspiration.

The invention of the gun hunting entailed the necessity of the modification of the old-fashioned hunting dog so it would be able to work alongside with an armed man. The Spinone Italiano suited for this job perfectly since it had acute scent and was truly human friendly. There are few theories as to what breeds took part in creation of the modern version of this breed. Some dog’s fans propose that now-extinct Spanish Pointer is an immediate forefather of the Spinone. Other experts insist that the breed appeared as a result of crossing of several French Griffon breeds. It’s also suggested that the Rough-Coated Russian Setter was the main contributor in development of the breed to its present form.

The Spinone Italiano was developed as an exclusively hunting dog. Despite its modest appearance and relative sluggishness it used to have a great deal of admirers among Italian hunters. This popularity can be generally explained by the capability of this dog to hunt in very thick and hazardous vegetation. Even the dog’s name was derived from the kind of thorn bush, namely the Pino. This plant is characterised with such density that no one can penetrate it without serious threat of injuring ears, eyes or skin. The Spinone Italiano is one of few breeds, which are able to reach small game hiding in its depth.

During the Second World War the Spinone Italiano took service with Italian partisans, who combated German occupying forces. This dog was used to find the location of the German troops and showed its working abilities effectively in the toughest terrains and regardless of the nasty weather conditions. Nevertheless lots of dogs were killed or simply starved during the war time so when it was over its number dwindled dramatically. The honour of saving the Spinone from the full extinction belongs to Dr. Ceresoli whose efforts gave this rare and old breed the second chance.

The Spinone Italiano was given recognition of the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1995. Five years later the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised the breed.

The Spinone Italiano has much more docile and mild temperament than majority of the hunting dogs. This breed loves to be in the company of its owner and his family and it will make an exceptionally staunch friend for all family members. It treats children with proper gentleness and usually establishes close connection with them. This dog is quite tolerable to a rough game and it will actually become its active and willing participant.

This sociable and adaptive breed demonstrates its good nature in communication with unknown people. However the Spinone Italiano requires timely socialisation in order to prevent it from being overly shy or nervous with strangers. It can be trained into an excellent watchdog, which will always notify its owner about the approach of an intruder. Nonetheless its affable character won’t allow it to become a good guard dog.

The Spinone Italiano is rather accepting to the presence of other canine animals. If it has been meeting with other dogs since its puppyhood it won’t be prone to dominance, aggression or possessiveness issues in the future. This breed will be happy to co-exist with other dogs and can be introduced to the household with other canine. The Spinone was developed to detect and retrieve the game and it wasn’t purported to kill it. That’s why most of specimens will be able to live peacefully with a home cat and other pets especially if they have been brought up together.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• ear infections;
• hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• cerebellar ataxia;
• gastric torision.


The Spinone Italiano is pretty undemanding when things concern its maintenance. Its coat should be diligently brushed on a weekly basis. It also requires such a procedure as plucking two or three times a year. This relatively easy operation can be done by the owner himself, but it’s easier to apply for help of a professional groomer.

The dog’s ears have tendency to collect dirt and grime and it should be systematically examined and cleaned. Its owner should also approach with due consistency to other care practices including nail clipping, teeth brushing and such.

The Spinone can be trained with moderate amount of efforts from the handler. This breed is endowed with inquisitive mind, which makes it capable of learning very sophisticated tricks. At the same time it’s somewhat obstinate and independent in its judgments. If it dislikes something or deems some actions inappropriate in any given circumstances then the trainer will have hard times trying to make it to follow its commands.

The dog will react highly negatively to any training techniques, which are based on screaming or implementation of physical force so the handler should avoid them as much as possible. The crucial requirement for the successful training of the Spinone Italiano is to form trustful and friendly relationship with the dog and to treat it accordingly during the lessons.

The Spinone Italiano is a sporting dog and as such it needs to be exercised prolifically. Its master should take it for a long walk every single day but the dog also craves to spend some time running and playing unrestrained on a territory with a high fence. Remember that under exercised dog will most probably develop undesirable deviations in its behaviour for example the tendencies for hyper activity or uncontrollable destructiveness.

On the bright side the adult Spinone is usually much less fidgety than other gundogs. This dog will gladly accompany you in jogging or hiking since it can endure a great deal of strenuous physical activity. It can comparatively easy adapt to urban life and will make a fabulous pet for a moderately active family.