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Spinone Italiano | Breed Info: Pictures, Puppies, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Italian Spinone dog on hill

Height: 22 – 27 inches
Weight: 62 – 70 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: White, brown, fawn, chestnut, orange roan, brown roan
Suitable for: Active families, those looking for a low-shedding dog
Temperament: Friendly, playful, intelligent, patient

You may not have heard of the Spinone Italiano or Italian Spinone, but he is a dog worth knowing. His wiry coat and laidback demeanor make him an excellent choice for a family with kids. He is patient and will tolerate plenty of activity without getting overexcited himself. That’s saying nothing about how cute this pooch is.

The Spinone Italiano has a history that goes back to the ancient Greeks. His original purpose was for hunting, hence, his name which refers to the thorny vegetation he traversed, thanks to his wiry coat. Like many European breeds, this one almost became extinct because of the devastation of World War II. Enthusiast kept the line alive so that we can enjoy this lovable canine today.

Divider 1Spinone Italiano Puppy

spinone italiano puppy
Image Credit: AnetaZabranska, Shutterstock

There isn’t much not to like about the Spinone Italiano. They are sweet dogs that will make an excellent pet and faithful hunting companion for upland game. Because of the breed’s history and historical use, they have a keen prey drive and will chase whatever runs from them. They also have a bit of a stubborn streak that you must rein in early.

The Spinone Italiano is an affectionate dog with a calm disposition. He isn’t yippy and isn’t prone to nipping, either. There are a few health issues with this breed. A reputable breeder will screen for them. Nevertheless, the pup has an average lifespan for a canine of its size. He is a pet that will do well inside or outside of the house.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Spinone Italiano

1. The Ancient Greeks and Romans Touted the Spinone Italiano’s Hunting Abilities

The Greeks brought the Spinone Italiano to Italy, where selective breeding made him the superb hunter he is today. It’s no wonder that French canine expert Selicourt remarked that the best pointers came from Piedmont, the ancestral home of this dog.

2. The Spinone Italiano’s Coat Has a Purpose

Hunting through brush is tough for a dog with burrs and coarse undergrowth. That’s why breeders selectively bred the Spinone Italiano’s coat to be the way it is to avoid getting tangled when in the field. The result is a low-shedding dog.

3. A Special Spinone Italiano Is a True Hero

In 2013, the AKC Humane Fund recognized a special Spinone Italiano named Drago for his efforts as a therapy dog in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He and his owner made over 1,000 visits to comfort children and adults traumatized by the event. He received the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) in recognition of his service.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Spinone Italiano 🧠

The Spinone Italiano has the ideal combination of intelligence and temperament to make an excellent hunting dog. His style is that of a pointer. Unlike many of this type, he is calm and well-mannered on and off the field. He only barks when it’s appropriate and is not given to wanderlust. After all, he loves his family and would prefer to stay on the homefront.

Are Spinone Italianos Good for Families? 🏡

The Spinone Italiano has many of the traits that are desirable for a family pet. He is quite sociable with kids and other members of the household. He’s even friendly toward strangers. That said, this pooch isn’t the best watchdog. His strength is providing love and affection. He’s not prone to separation anxiety, but he does crave attention.

Do Spinone Italianos Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

This pooch will tolerate other dogs, given his hunting history. However, it’s essential to socialize the Spinone Italiano early to get him used to other canines and people. His high prey drive may cause problems of getting along with other pets like cats or small animals, especially if they run from him. That instinct and his size make him incompatible with them.

three spinone italiano dogs sitting on grass
Image Credit: AnetaZabranska, Shutterstock

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Spinone Italiano:

When it comes to making the right choice for a pet, it’s essential to get the scoop on what you can expect. The Spinone Italiano has a lot going for him with his gentle manners. He is tolerant when it comes to the weather, being able to handle the heat or cold. He is a hunting dog, after all.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Spinone Italiano is a food-motivated dog. Fortunately, his energy level tames the tendency to gain weight. As a larger breed, it’s essential to give him a diet appropriate for a canine of his size. These pups mature slower than smaller ones. That’s part of the reason that food for these pets differs. It is less energy-dense to suit his different metabolism.

Plan on feeding him two or three meals a day as a puppy. You can reduce it to two as an adult. As always, we recommend taking up the bowl when your dog is finished eating instead of free-feeding. It’s a much better way to gauge his appetite and monitor his weight.

Exercise 🐕

Although the Spinone Italiano is a hunting dog, he is considerably less active than others of his ilk. However, he’s still going to need plenty of exercise and a daily walk to keep him healthy. This pup is an intelligent breed that will benefit from the mental stimulation of new things to see and investigate. He will also do fine with a large backyard in which he can run.

spinone italiano dog outdoor
Image Credit: MarinaGreen, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

The Spinone Italiano is generally an agreeable dog that will take to training easily. Positive reinforcement with treats and praise is the best approach to keep his stubbornness under control. This pooch doesn’t respond well to stern reprimands, due to his sensitive nature. Being gentle but firm is the order of the day for this playful pup.

Grooming ✂️

The wiry coat of the Spinone Italiano belies the fact that he needs occasional grooming to keep him looking his best. A weekly brushing should suffice. We also suggest checking his ears occasionally. Like many breeds of his type, ear infections are a concern sometimes if the hair gets dense. Pulling it will help keep them in good shape.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Spinone Italiano is a healthy dog for the most part, with not many glaring issues. We strongly urge you to only get a puppy from a breeder that has done the recommended health screens for joint and bone issues that plague larger breeds. The pup’s near extinction during World War II increased the risk for inbreeding that can make these conditions more prevalent.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Ear infection
  • Gum disease
Serious Conditions

Divider 5Male vs. Female

Some people prefer male or female dogs. If you’re not going to breed them, then go with your preference. There are some differences between the two. The female Spinone Italiano is sometimes more reserved and independent than her male counterpart. He can be more affectionate with people but may also get more aggressive with other dogs.

Divider 3Final Thoughts: Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano is as sweet of a dog as he looks. With his happy face and cute brown eyes, he’s sure to make you fall in love with this playful yet calm canine. He’s an excellent choice for families who want a pooch that is loyal and not a lot of work. We predict that his popularity will continue to grow as people discover the delightful qualities of this gentle hunter.

Featured Image Credit: Luminoisty-images.com, Shutterstock

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