Breeds 101

Italian Spinone


The Italian Spinone has recently found popularity far beyond its native land. Rightly so.

The Italian Spinone could be descended from the Segugio, or perhaps the now-extinct Korthal Griffon. Its present form developed in Piedmont and Lombardy, Italy, and was apparent by the 1200s.

Italy’s all-purpose hunting dog, the Spinone Italiano is an excellent retriever that can hunt on any terrain.

It may produce a little more tenacious saliva than some people are willing to cope with and it may have a rather pungent canine aroma but otherwise this is an avuncular, calm, easygoing and obedient breed that thrives on work, be it hunting, field trials or chasing bouncing dog toys.

Although the Italian Spinone looks dignified, reserved and all-knowing, it is, in its ambling way, actively playful, even rowdy.

Appealing in both looks and character, this breed should become increasingly popular.

Although popular in Italy and some other European countries, it has not taken off in the U.S.

Large; females 22 to 25 inches, 70 to 80 pounds; males 23 to 27 inches, 80 to 90 pounds.

White, orange and white, orange roan, chestnut and white, chestnut roan.

Gentle, devoted, eager to please, and affectionate; cautious about new people and situations, but good with children. Calmer than most pointing breeds.

Energy level: Medium.

Best owner:
Hunter, athletic owner in suburban or rural home.

Daily exercise (long walk or off-leash run), fenced yard, socialization, training, weekly brushing and occasional hand stripping, tolerance of messy beard.

Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.