Spinone Italiano Guide

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The spinone Italiano has a hound look about it, with a fairly long head and muzzle, large, dropped ears and somewhat pendulous lips. It is a strong, muscular dog, able to trot at fast pace all day and then retrieve over water or land. Its dense wiry coat allows it to hunt under any conditions. The coat is generally single, consisting of rough, dry, thick hair about 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length. Longer hair garnishing the lips and eyebrows adds further protection in addition to adding to its intelligent and gentle expression.

This is a devoted and gentle dog, very willing to please. It is affectionate and gets along well with other dogs and pets and children. It is also courageous. The spinone is calmer and easier going than most pointing breeds.

AKC RANKING 119

FAMILY gundog, pointer

AREA OF ORIGIN Italy

DATE OF ORIGIN 1200s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION pointing and retrieving

TODAY'S FUNCTION pointing and retrieving

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 23.5-27.5 Weight: 71-82

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 22.5-25.5 Weight: 62-71

OTHER NAME Italian Spinone

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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Like all sporting dogs, the spinone needs daily exercise. This can take the form of a long walk or good run off leash. It can live outdoors in temperate to cool climates, but it is a family dog and prefers to share time with its people. Coat care consists of weekly brushing, plus occasional hand-stripping to neaten the face and feet.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: ectropion, gastric torsion, otitis externa
• Occasionally seen: cerebral ataxis
• Suggested tests: hip, (eye)
• Life span: 12 – 14 years
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The spinone is one of the earliest breeds developed as a pointing dog, with evidence of wirehaired pointing dogs dating as far back as 500 B.C. Dogs resembling the spinone can be found in artwork of 15th- and 16-century Italy. Still, its exact origin remains a mystery, although some believe it arose from Celtic wirehaired stock, whereas others place its origins with Greek traders who brought it to Italy during the times of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, few records remain of the breed's subsequent development, even though present-day spinoni trace back principally to Italy's Piedmont region. It proved itself adept at penetrating thorny cover and finding feathered or fur game. During World War II, the spinone further distinguished itself by tracking German patrols. The end of the war found the breed in trouble, however, because its numbers had been decimated and many of the remaining dogs crossed with other breeds. The spinone was in danger of being lost. In the 1950s, breeders began a concerted effort to reconstruct the spinone Italiano. Its hunting abilities are well worth the effort. This is a dog that can point, set and retrieve, aided by a good nose and good sense. It is noted for hunting at a fast trot in a diagonal pattern that keeps it fairly close to the hunter and is classified as a versatile hunting breed. It is now a popular dog in Italy and some other European countries, but it has been slower to attract attention in America. The spinone Italiano is also known as the Italian griffon. The word spinone is derived from pino, an Italian thorn bush through which these tough-skinned dogs could hunt in search of the small game often hiding within. The plural form is spinoni (spi-no-ni); the singular is spinone (spi-no-nay).
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