Spinone Italiano Dog Breed

White Spinone Italiano
  • Other names:
  • Spinone
  • Italian Spinone
  • Italian Griffon
  • Italian Wire-Haired Pointer
  • Italian Coarsehaired Pointer
  • Italian Spinoni
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Pronunciation: [Spin-oh-nay Ih-tahl-YAH-no]

This ancient breed, which is said to date back to around 500 B.C., is an Italian hunting dog that is also a remarkable gun dog. The shaggy, wire-haired coat and distinctive "beard" has been remarked upon over the last couple of millennia. They are not the easiest dogs to live with, and they require more than most dogs in order for them to fulfill their potential. Although they have been around for a very long time, the American Kennel Club (AKC) only formally recognized the breed in the year 2000.

Spinone Italiano Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred9-12 yrs.22½-27½ in.61-85 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Spinone Italiano is in the Sporting Dog Group. They are not good dogs for first-time families, but for those who are experienced and have children (as well as a desire to hunt), this is an excellent breed. These dogs are also great as companion animals for disabled people, for the one thing they love is to have not just tasks but a meaningful purpose in helping people. They require a master who is gentle, calmly commands respect, and who is ready to spend most of their time together.


  • Decent watchdog
  • Low grooming needs
  • Few health problems
  • Dignified once mature
  • Loves to play with kids
  • Gets along well with other dogs
  • Demands constant companionship


  • Very expensive
  • Not a guard dog
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Difficult to acquire
  • Can be easily distracted
  • Gentle training is a must
  • Socialization is mandatory
  • Can be difficult to house train
  • Can be very rowdy when young
  • Is not a fast-paced hunting dog
  • Matures very slowly, over years
  • Training overall requires great patience
  • Beard tends to get wet and "drool" a lot
  • Requires a lot of steady, constant exercise

Spinone Italiano Breed Description

This is not a very well-known gun dog outside of Italy and parts of Europe and the UK. There tends to not be as much Spinone info as this rather big, somewhat goofy, and certainly loveable breed deserves. Fortunately, there are dedicated breeders in the U.S. — such as the Mals-About Spinone Kennel — that help keep the breed strong and in good hands.

This dog's intelligence is great enough to be almost too much. Spinones are keen to learn new tricks, are easily trainable, and are always in want of praise. If, however, they feel that the tricks are beneath them, or the person attempting to teach them aren't up to the task, or there is no point in the training, they are smart enough to resist — and you will have to learn to work with them or find someone who is able to do so.

The Spinone Italiano is an extremely loyal dog who will stick with you through most anything, and they expect you to do the same. They need near-constant companionship, a serious purpose in life, and lots of toys and treats to play with and learn from. (Agility toys such as treat-dispensing puzzles are perfect!)

This breed is strong and sure-footed, but they may not always be the fastest. They need a lot of exercise if they don't have a job as a companion to a disabled person or for what they were bred to do (hunting / gun dogs).

Spinone Italiano Coloring

There are a just a few colors that this breed comes in, but the most desired one is the brown roan Italiano Spinone. In particular, the brown parts should be a chestnut color, and that shade is sometimes called a "Capuchin friar's frock" or a "monk's habit."

The other coat colors of these dogs are:

  • Tan
  • White
  • Black
  • Triparti
  • Brown roan
  • Orange roan
  • White and orange

Spinone Italiano Variations

These days, there are no formally recognized varieties of the Spinone Italiano regarding size or most any other aspect, i.e., there are no Spinone toy, mini, or teacup dogs.

There is one sort of type that some breeders and aficionados of Spinones sometimes identify, however, and that is the white and orange coat color. Because this color combo is unique among gun dogs of the wire-haired style, this kind of puts these color Spinones in a varietal group — but then again, not really.

Spinone Italiano Temperament

The Spinone Italiano is a hunting and gun dog with considerable strength, a deep desire to please, and an insistence on always being in a social environment. As puppies, they can be very playful and rowdy, and despite this you should treat and train them gently. You might think that this early rambunctiousness and later gun work makes harsh training preferable, but this is not the case; they don't respond well to stringent discipline. They must be socialized with people early on so that when they are mature (which takes a few years), they don't become shy or overly suspicious of strangers.

Later in life, the Spinone Italiano temperament changes radically: these dogs become calm, quiet, and well-mannered. They rely on close attention in the field and constant attention at home, and they love living with other dogs. While they can be stubborn (especially if there is no human alpha, as they rely especially on a master when in the field), they are not unmanageable so much as melancholy when they are upset. They have a below-average tendency for aggressiveness.

Spinone Italiano Photos

Below are pictures and images of the Spinone Italiano.

Brown Roan Spinone Italiano
Orange Roan Spinone Italiano
White Spinone Italiano
Brown Roan Spinone Italiano
Orange Roan Spinone Italiano Puppy

Spinone Italiano Health

Although the Spinone Italiano is believed to be a relatively healthy breed, there remains some confusion over this and the breed's average lifespan as well as one extremely serious genetic problem. Like all large dogs with thick, hairy coats, there are a handful of health concerns that must be anticipated:

  • Bloat
  • Ear infections
  • Joint dysplasia
  • Thyroid problems
  • Walking difficulties

Cerebellar Ataxia, called CA for short, is the big problem for this breed. It is passed on to puppies when two Spinones bearing the recessive gene for this fatal condition are mated. While there has been a lot of progress in preventing carrier dogs from having litters, it still happens occasionally. When it does, the puppies die within about a year — either from the disease or by being euthanized.

One study, conducted by the UK-based Kennel Club, stated that the breed's average lifespan is about 8.7 years. Most breeders and kennel clubs, however, claim the typical Spinone lifespan is around 12 years.

  • Bloat
  • Cerebellar Ataxia

Spinone Italiano Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Spinone Italiano as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America's Pet Registry
  • Canadian Canine Registry
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
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