Spinone Italiano

Since the 15th century. man has long thought the Spinone Italiano to be the symbol of loyalty. Indeed, the breed has centuries of practice working side by side with its human. A versatile hunting dog, the Spinone is somewhat of a mystery outside of Italy. In Italy, the breed is still a popular pointing force.

Aside from their many working capabilities — The Spinone Italiano has just as many aliases. From Italian Coarse Haired Pointer, Italian Griffon and plainly — Spinone.

So what does the Spinone have to offer you and your household?

Here is what you need to know about the Spinone Italiano.

History

There are no shortages of countries looking to take credit for the development of the Spinone Italiano. Moreover, you have the: French, Russians, Greeks, Spaniards and even the Irish think they had some influence. However, it is a French dog expert by the name of Selicourt, who believes that the Italians in the Piedmont region deserve most credit. 

We may never know about the Spinone Italiano and its original beginnings. There is some light being shed that a dog fitting the description of a coarse coat pointer as far back as 400 BC. That was during Roman times, according to the historic works of Seneca. Furthermore, there is a painting in the 15th century of a large breed with a light coat, according to the Spinone Club of America.

Italy was a changing country during the 19th century, and naturally, changes for the Spinone came as well. Conflicts and regional mix breeding, as well as different needs for dogs made it hard for a uniform type. Thankfully for the breed, however, persistence would win in time and the first standard to gain acceptance by the Societa Braccorilia was back in 1897.

The first half of the 20th century wasn’t any easier for the breed. Trying times during the World Wars nearly drove the breed to extinction. Luckily, again, persistence would play a key part in the Spinone Italiano’s existence. 

On top of the local damage, hunting breeds became more popular than the traditional sporting group breeds. This left the Spinone out in the dark. But not for long. Again, more changes came and the breed had made their way into the United States in the 1930’s. In fact, the Spinone has been competing in the Miscellaneous Class since 1932. This would help promote the breed, just as their club in America forming in 1980 would as well.

It would take a good several decades before the breed would gain recognition with the UKC and the American Kennel Club. In 1995, the UKC gave the breed official recognition just as the AKC did in 2000.

Today, the breed is rather rare in he states. They are still popular in Italy. The Spinone Italiano is still a viable hunter, with the same versatile working skills. They even serve assistance dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed is the 111th most popular breed in America. In 2016, the breed was the 105th most popular staying in the area of uncommon.

Size

This medium energy breed is of large class. The American Kennel Club states that the male should stand between 23 to 27 inches, where a female should range between 22 to 25 inches.

With regards to weight, both should be height and weight proportionate. However, the Purina website cites that male should weigh between 70 to 81 pounds. A female should weigh between 62 to 70 pounds.

Personality and Temperament

For centuries in Italy, the Spinone Italino has been known as the symbol of loyalty. Wherever you go, the breed will follow. It doesn’t matter if you are working them upon the marshlands or around the rocky terrain, this breed is faithful to the cause. This is a versatile breed. A Spinone is capable of being an assistance dog to a retriever/pointer hunter. Although the Spinone is less active than most normal sporting group breeds, they do have the ability to be highly energetic.

You may hear others refer to this breed as the Italian Griffon. The Italian Griffon is very friendly. Even though they are faithful, first to their people, they can even be friendly with other dogs and strangers. This depends on whether they perceive a threat, of course. Typically, the Spinone is laid back and docile around the homestead. 

The Italian Griffon can be quite vocal. They have a lot to say at random times and aren’t afraid to tell you their opinion. Whether that be through a grunt or some other method. Certainly, the Italian Griffon will bark to alert you whenever necessary. Their great sense of smell can lead you to a trail or their responsive senses to a presence.

The breed is very adaptable. While they’re much better off in the country, where they can be themselves, the breed could make it work in an apartment.

One of the biggest things for this breed is being close to their people. They enjoy being at the center of things. This breed does well with children and has a bunch of patience for antics other breeds wouldn’t put up with. 

A possible drawback, is their independent side. The breed can be stubborn and if they don’t want to do something, they won’t. The Spinone Italiano wants to know what’s in it for them. They may be do what you say, but not without a little lip first or hesitation.

All in all, this is an awesome family dog, that is strong and protective. If you love the outdoors or hunting, this is the breed for you. A friendly dog that you can take anywhere  including dog parks, around the neighborhood and elsewhere. 

Health

A Spinone Italiano will face the same challenges most breeds do when it comes to health. They are considerably healthy, but do have a few items that land on the list affecting well-being.

However, you can avoid certain conditions by purchasing a Spinone Italiano from a reputable breeder, who is able to provide you with proper documents and health clearances. In addition, you’ll want to schedule regular veterinarian to ensure you dog’s well being.

Bloat is a serious problem facing the breed. You can help this condition, or avoid it, by feeding your dog smaller portions instead of one big meal. Bloat is an excess of air or gas inside the dog’s stomach and has no way to release itself. This causes the stomach to twist or distend. The condition is painful and deadly at times.

A serious problem affecting the Italian Griffon’s mobility, motor skills or balance is Cerebellar Ataxia. If your Spinone Italiano is swaying, appearing to be weak or falls frequently, then it is best to consult your veterinarian. Supportive treatment or medical treatment is available.

Cloudiness of the crystalline lens that causes night blindness at first, then evolves into complete blindness can be found with the Spinone. It is common among smaller breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Bichon Frise and terrier breeds.

Hypothyroidism is another issue affecting the breed, in which they rank 14th worst in the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals survey thyroid statistic department. Along with the Tibetan Mastiff and German Wirehaired Pointer, the breed has a 8.6% rate for autoimmune thyroiditis. Out of the 269 evaluations only 81.3 percent of the Spinone had a normal rating. Hypothyroidism can lead to issues with the coat, weight gain, lethargy and is due to low thyroid level affecting hormonal production.

Hip Dysplasia is another issue for the Spinone Italiano. The OFA ranks the breed 71st with a 18.5 dysplastic ranking among the Bouvier Des Flandres, Barbet and Briard. This is the malformation of the hip joint that causes pain, discomfort, and lameness.

Elbow Dysplasia will do much of the same as Hip Dysplasia, where the Spinone ranks 49th worst in the OFA survey with a 6.4 rating out of 763 evaluations. Abnormal growth in the elbow is common for other breeds too like the Kuvasz and Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Care

This is a breed that has lower energy than most Sporting Group breed. You can get away with two short walks or a backyard play session. Certain Italian Griffons have higher energy levels but most will enjoy playing or working. That is important for the breed, to be part of the family, working or feeling like an equal. The Spinone thrives off of close contact and may exude destructive habits when left to their own devices. If you have a garden, you’ll want to keep a careful eye on this breed as they are infamous diggers.

Patience and positive reinforcement is necessary for this independent and stubborn breed. Breaking up their training activities is best to help break up boring routines. The Spinone doesn’t always feel like doing when their people of.

With their herding and hunting experience it is important to watch smaller children, smaller animals around this breed. They may have a side of prey drive in them, naturally. It is always best to keep up a fence or put the breed on a leash to prevent them from running off.

Check their ears and trim their nails regularly to prevent build up inside ears and overgrowth with the breed’s paws. Close contact, a job, and patience is ultimately what will win the breed over.

Feeding

With just about any other breed, it is important to provide a high quality diet. Of course, how much your dog eats will depend on their age, metabolism and energy requirements. Not all dogs are the same. The Spinone Italiano is no different, and is said to be a picky eater. Meat should be the first ingredient and even though the breed is said to be a picky eater, they just need balance. Fruits, veggies, minerals and vitamins along with meat should suffice their diet needs.

Most experts seem content feeding their Italian Griffon 2 to 3 cups of top quality dry kibble per day. Because the breed suffers from a fatal disorder, Bloat, it is best to break that up into two or three meals,

As always, you should provide your Spinone Italiano with fresh drinking water.

Coat

The Spinone Italiano has a particular coat. It needs to be between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in length, according to the American Kennel Club. Also, you will need to provide your Italiano with weekly brushing, and if need be, a professional groomer to help hand strip their coat.

The bread is a seasonal shedder and has a dense, stiff and flat coat. It should be shorter on the head, ears and front of the legs. The body should be longer in length.

According to the breed standard, there are four acceptable coat color options: Brown roan, orange roan, white, white and orange.

There are two acceptable markings for the coat: Brown markings and orange markings.

Fun Spinone Italiano Facts

  • The FCI gave the breed recognition back in 1955.
  • The Duchess of Northumberland, Jane Percy owns a Spinone Italiano by the name of Fuzzy.
  • According to the Las Vegas Review Journals, the Italiano is the 12th most expensive dog breed in the world with an average cost of $1,750.
  • The AKC suggests that the breed has crosses of a white Mastiff, French Griffons and Setters out of Italy.

Closing Words

Ancient and versatile, the Spinone may be new to the rest of the world, but are popular where thy come from, Italy.

This hard working breed is here to stay. The Spinone Italiano is too good to pass up for dog lovers. They are sweet, caring, and friendly to all. Above all, they are protective, and smart enough to help with most jobs you need from a dog.