Dating to 500 B.C., ancient historians wrote about the Spinone Italiano, and later, artists of the 15th century painted them. The Spanish, French, Russians, Greeks, and Celts all lay claim to the ancient origin of this wiry-haired, rugged and versatile hunting and sporting dog. Yet, while there is much speculation as to the history and breeding origins of the Spinone Italiano, whatever the truth is, it would seems that the terrain molded this dog as much if not more than its actual lineage. Still a standard hunting dog in Italy today, North America, Germany and the Netherlands have adopted them as beloved pets.
Spinone Italiani APPEARANCE:
Male Spinone Italiani are usually between 23-27 inches tall and 70-81 pounds, while females are generally between 23-25.5 inches tall and 62-66 pounds. They have lean cheeks, a square muzzle and large, wide-set eyes with a pervasive soft expression. Their coats range in color from: Pure White; White with Orange markings; White speckled with Orange; White with Brown (chestnut) markings; Roan; or Roan-Brown (chestnut).
A generous, thick skin keeps the Spinone Italiano warm against the elements and also helps guard them against thick, bristly brush while hunting feather or fur. Their hair is flat, stiff and dense, but appears thinner for lack of an undercoat. But the hair certainly adds a sense of well-placed expressiveness with longer and more pronounced eyebrows, mustache and beard.
A side note: while docking tails and ears is legal in the United States, the Spinone Italiano will often be seen with full ears and a long tail elsewhere in the world.
TEMPERAMENT AND PERSONALITY:
Words used to describe the Spinone Italiani are adept, sociable, patient, docile, and couch potatoes. They actually love to spread out on the sofa and nap. And if a stranger approaches or knocks on your door, although they will alert you with a bark like a good guard dog, they do let their guard down and resort to their friendly nature.
It is becoming increasingly common to say that one should never leave a child unsupervised with any dog. Still, the Spinone Italiani are mild tempered and gentle, friendly and patient with kids. However, that is not the case with small critters. They may chase cats, because it is entertaining, but they will chase, catch and potentially injure or kill birds, rats or hamsters.
The Spinone Italiani live between 12-14 years, do well with travel, but do not like to be left alone and may become destructive if their boredom wins. As such, apartments are generally too small. Not only that, if your neighbors are too near, they may not appreciate listening to your dog yodel or chat. Even cleanliness cannot be a priority in your home as shedding is year round and drooling always a potential.
Caring for Spinone Italiani
Now we’ll show you how to care for a Spinone Italiani.
As a general rule, Spinone Italiani will need a healthy, lean diet that will help protect their joints, and is suitable for active breeds. More, certain boutique or fad diets (like kangaroo, alligator, ostrich or boar meat) or even grain free options might do more harm than good when it comes to long term nutritional care, especially since they have also been known to be picky eaters. Switching diets too often or even regularly might contribute to a bigger problem than anticipated, so make regular visits to a veterinarian to make sure they are getting enough of the nutrients they need.
While hearty exercise such as hiking, swimming or hunting is integral to the health of the Spinone Italiano, an everyday regimen of exercise is not necessary for this hunting breed. Occasionally, a secure back yard to wander about, explore and play in will be equally as sufficient on the days they are not bounding around with their humans. Some suggest that a warm home to come into so as to be near their humans is just as good as exercise, and that an approach to maintaining their positive well-being functions at the same level as the physical exercise.
As hunters, the Spinone Italiani can be aloof or perhaps stubborn—or both. One of the biggest takeaways is that training for them is a two way street. They will listen, and do most of what they are told, and sometimes they will be spot on 100%, but other times they also teach the human to be patient and let them have some independence. In other words, your task will be accomplished, but maybe not the way you expected. As hunters, the Spinone Italiani have often been accused of being laid-back, so positive reinforcement coupled with firmness is the best approach.
The Spinone Italiani are generally a healthy breed of dog, and while fairly new to the United States, the Spinone Club of America recommends the following breed specific health exams:
- Eye Exams, beginning at 1 year
- Consistent evaluations and checks for Hip/Elbow Dysplasia
- Optional evaluations for Autoimmune thyroiditis and congenital heart disease
A few other preventative measures that you can take to help give your Spinone Italiano a longer, fuller life include:
- Practicing good Dental Hygiene helps promote clean, healthy teeth and gums. Any loss of teeth can mean damage to internal organs, and even a potential for a shorter lifespan! So given them a good, daily brushing with dog specific toothpaste.
- Limiting exercise immediately after a meal to help prevent Bloat (a stomach condition called gastric dilation and volvulus, or GDV), which is a life-threatening condition that bloats and twists their stomach. Untreated, it can kill them.
- Groom them regularly to help balance the oils in their skin, improve circulation, get rid of dander and remove debris from the outdoors.
- Consistently check their ears after an adventure, because the Spinone Italiani have ears that will trap dirt, water or bacteria, which could then cause irritations or infections.