Choosing a Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano is a rare breed in the United States but those who know him love him. A caring and affectionate dog, the Spinone is a cherished and jovial family pet and an excellent hunting companion.

History and Origin

The Spinone Italiano is an ancient pointer developed in the Piedmonte district in northwestern Italy. The origins of the breed are unknown but there is some documentation that the ancestors can be traced back to 500 b.c. The Spinone is a hunter, pointer and retriever, a true multi-purpose dog.

Considered a rare breed in the United States, the Spinone Italiano was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2000 as a member of the sporting group.

Appearance and Size

The Spinone Italiano is a medium sized dog with an oval shaped head and square muzzle. The eyes are yellow-brown in color and are set well apart. The ears are triangular and pendulous with rounded tips and carried low. The chest is broad and deep. The tail of the Spinone is carried horizontally and does not have any feathers or fringe. It is typically docked at about 5 ½ to 8 inches. The coat of the Spinone is wire-haired, slightly wavy and about 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length covering most of the body. There is no undercoat. The hair covering the head, muzzle, ears and front sides of feet and legs is shorter. The hair around the face is stiff, creating the appearance of eyebrows, mustache and beard. The coat color can be white, white and orange, white spotted with orange and brown roan.

The adult Spinone Italiano stands around 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 65 to 80 pounds.


The breed is well-known throughout Central Europe as an excellent gun dog but is relatively unknown in the United States. The Spinone has an excellent sense of smell and stays very close to the hunter. An affectionate and laid-back dog, the Spinone is a gentle dog at home but very serious when in the field.

Home and Family Relations

The Spinone is a loving and devoted family pet. This breed loves children and is very patient and easy-going. The Spinone also gets along well with other pets, even other dogs, but really likes being with his family. This breed is very sweet and is not a good choice for a guard dog but will protect his family if necessary.

The Spinone Italiano can live happily in an apartment as long as he is taken on daily walks.


The Spinone Italiano is an intelligent breed that is easy to train but can sometimes be a bit stubborn or headstrong. They excel in obedience and can be trained for search and rescue, agility, retrieving, fly ball and even as an assistance or therapy dog.

Special Concerns

Some Spinone Italianos may jump fences and some may even dig out of a fenced yard.

Common Diseases and Disorders

The Spinone Italiano is a hardy breed that has few known diseases. The most common are:

Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.

Gastric torsion (bloat) is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.

Pyometra is a life threatening infection of the uterus and may even require emergency surgery.

Cerebellar ataxia a disorder of the brain that results in staggering.

Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops between the ages of 2 to 5 years.

The average life span of the Spinone Italiano is 12 to 14 years.

We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.