Also known as the Italian Griffon or Spinone, the Spinone Italianos are a muscular, rugged, large dog. They are a robust, powerful, vigorous animal with a strong boned, substantial, squarely built body and muscled appearance that makes them suitable for dealing with all types of terrain. The Spinone Italianos have a close, short, wiry, hard textured coat, which is weather resistant. Their large, almost round eyes vary in color depending upon the dogs coat color and have a sweet, soft expression that is almost human like. The eyebrows are more rigid with longer hair while the dog’s cheeks and muzzle have a much softer or gentler feel, giving their face an almost bearded or mustached appearance. Unlike many other dog breeds, the Spinone Italiano has no undercoat. With a full beard and long drop ears, they look very wise. Their shorthaired tail is from five to eight inches in length.
The Spinone Italianos have weather resistant, hard textured coats that help them endure cold water. The coat length on the body is from one and a half to two and a half inches in length with shorter hair on their feet, side and front of legs, muzzle, ears, and head. It has no undercoat and the overcoat is slightly crimped or flat but never curly, stiff, and dense. The accepted colors of the Spinone Italiano include white and orange, solid white, white with brown markings, orange roan with/without orange markings, and brown roan with/without marking that are brown. Although brown colors vary, chestnut brown or ‘monk’s habit’ is the most desired coat color.
The Spinone Italianos are an ancient gun dog believed to have existed in Italy over two thousand years ago and believed crossed with a German Pointer or Griffon. The specific location of origin is unknown but some believe they could have originated in France, Spain, Greece, Russia, or Celtic Ireland. During World War II, the Spinone Italianos almost became extinct. They gradually rebounded back in number because of their popularity as Italian hunting dogs.
Spinone Italianos are extremely intelligent, easy-going, pleasant, enthusiastic, upbeat dogs that are calm and lovable. Happiest when treated as a treasured part of their human family, the gentle Spinone Italiano have a wonderful personality, willing to please, and extremely devoted. Although a serious working dog, they are often very entertaining and clownish. Spinone Italianos love all children and with their gentle, very calm but enthusiastic, playful nature, make excellent playmates. Children must learn how to treat the Spinone Italiano properly showing the dog the respect and love it deserves. Most Spinone Italianos enjoy the company and get along well with other dogs and animals.
They are not a great choice as a protector breed or guard dog because they are affectionate towards strangers as well as family members. Happiest when with his family members, they enjoy traveling, following their master from room to room, jogging, going on long walks, or just curling up next to their loved ones. Many Spinone Italianos have a tendency to slobber and although usually a quiet dog, from time to time it may howl along to a loud noise such as a siren. Well-mannered dogs, the Spinone Italianos are excellent family pets and field sports dogs.
The Spinone Italianos are generally a healthy dog breed but, like other larger dogs, hip dysplasia is a concern. Some dogs exhibit lameness and pain while others show no signs. CA or Cerebellar Ataxia is a deadly hereditary disorder or condition that strikes Spinone Italiano puppies. It is a recessive gene, which means that both parent dogs must have this. They normally use euthanasia on Spinone Italiano puppies with Cerebellar Ataxia.
The Spinone Italianos medium length coat requires a weekly brushing using a coarse brush to remove any loose hair, dirt, dander, and keep the coat healthy. They do need a little stripping instead of cutting to remove dead hair and neaten the dog’s coat. Many people believe that Spinone Italianos groom themselves similar to the way cats do, so only require a bath when necessary. Wipe their beard when required, as it seems to attract food. Some owners find the Spinone Italianos coarse fur difficult to groom and choose taking their pet to a professional groomer occasionally, instead of trying to maintain it themselves.
Spinone Italianos are very adaptable dogs that adjust to country, city, or suburban living and are happy in an apartment or huge farmhouse, as long as they are with their human family. They are an indoor dog that loves spending time outside with their companions so even a small fenced yard will keep them happy. Spinone Italianos have a low to medium activity when inside and a medium to high activity level outside. It is a dog that moves more methodically and slowly than several other breeds of gun dogs. Along with a small yard, Spinone Italianos enjoy daily walks, jogs, or runs with their master. Regular exercise and fresh air keeps the dog health and prevents restlessness and boredom.
A highly intelligent dog, the Spinone Italiano learns new tricks and tasks quickly but is sometimes a little stubborn. The reward system using patience, praise, food rewards, or chew toys often works the best with these sensitive dogs. Keep the training sessions short, fun, and interesting because if the Spinone Italiano becomes bored or sees no point in what you are trying to teach him, the dog will resist learning. Trained properly, the Spinone Italianos are not only wonderful companion animals but make great hunters.