The Italian Spinone
|Weight||25 - 35 Kg (approx)|
|Life Span||12 + Years (approx)|
The Spinone Italiano, also known as the Spinone, Italian Spinone, or Italian Griffon is a large, rugged dog of distinctive appearance. He has a long head, with hanging ears, and eyes described as "human like." In body he is a substantial, strong boned dog of square build. This deep-chested breed has a topline that slopes slightly up from below the withers to the muscular hindquarters. Everything about this breed indicates great strength as well as stamina. Suited for hunting in all climates and on all terrain. Its coat protects it from the water and freezing temperatures of the swamp. It goes nonchalantly into cold, deep water - being an excellent swimmer and a model retriever.
The spinone is one of the earliest breeds developed as a pointing dog, with evidence of wirehaired pointing dogs dating as far back as 500 B.C. Dogs resembling the spinone can be found in artwork of 15th- and 16-century Italy. Still, its exact origin remains a mystery, although some believe it arose from Celtic wirehaired stock, whereas others place its origins with Greek traders who brought it to Italy during the times of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, few records remain of the breed's subsequent development, even though present-day spinoni trace back principally to Italy's Piedmont region. It proved itself adept at penetrating thorny cover and finding feathered or fur game. During World War II, the spinone further distinguished itself by tracking German patrols. The end of the war found the breed in trouble, however, because its numbers had been decimated and many of the remaining dogs crossed with other breeds. The spinone was in danger of being lost. In the 1950s, breeders began a concerted effort to reconstruct the spinone Italiano. Its hunting abilities are well worth the effort. This is a dog that can point, set and retrieve, aided by a good nose and good sense. It is noted for hunting at a fast trot in a diagonal pattern that keeps it fairly close to the hunter and is classified as a versatile hunting breed. It is now a popular dog in Italy and some other European countries, but it has been slower to attract attention in America. The spinone Italiano is also known as the Italian griffon. The word spinone is derived from pino, an Italian thorn bush through which these tough-skinned dogs could hunt in search of the small game often hiding within. The plural form is spinoni (spi-no-ni); the singular is spinone (spi-no-nay).
This is a devoted and gentle dog, very willing to please. It is affectionate and gets along well with other dogs and pets and children. It is also courageous. The spinone is calmer and easier going than most pointing breeds.
Care / Grooming
This breed requires just a small amount of stripping - pulling dead hair as opposed to cutting, to neaten the coat. Other than that, just a weekly brushing will suffice. Bathe as necessary. Some say this breed grooms himself like a cat.
Little data has been accumulated for the Spinone breed in general. Hip dysplasia does exist, as in other comparably sized dogs. Sometimes bloating does occur, though not a huge problem. Some are prone to an inherited disease, which manifests itself as a Cerebellar Ataxia, or abnormal gait originating from a problem in a part of the brain. For more information, go to the Spinone Club of America.