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  • Temperament: Sociable, Patient, Docile
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 105 of 194
  • Height: 23-27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)
  • Weight: 56 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Two Spinone Italiano dogs heads and shoulders side by side outdoors in sunlight
Spinone Italiano head and neck facing left
Spinone Italiano sitting in three-quarter view
Spinone Italiano coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Muscular dog with powerful bone. Vigorous and robust, his purpose as hardworking gun dog is evident. Naturally sociable, the docile and patient Spinone is resistant to fatigue and is an experienced hunter on any terrain. His hard textured coat is weather resistant. His wiry, dense coat and thick skin enable the Spinone to negotiate underbrush and endure cold water that would severely punish any dog not so naturally armored. He has a remarkable tendency for an extended and fast trotting gait. The Spinone is an excellent retriever by nature.

HEAD

Expression is of paramount importance to the breed. It should denote intelligence and gentleness. Eyes – Must have a soft sweet expression. Ochre (yellowish brown) in color, darker eyes with darker colored dogs, lighter eyes with lighter colored dogs. Large, well opened, set well apart, the eye is almost round, the lids closely fitting the eye, to protect the eye from gathering debris while the dog is hunting, loose eye lids must be faulted. Which is neither protruding nor deep set. Eye rim clearly visible, color will vary with coat color from flesh colored to brown.

BODY

Neck – Strong, thick, and muscular. Clearly defined from the nape, blending in to the shoulders in a harmonious line. The throat is moderate in skin with a double dewlap. Chest – Broad, deep, well muscled and well rounded; extending at least to the elbow. The ribs are well sprung. The distance from ground to the elbow is equal to ½ the height at the withers. Back – The topline consists of two segments. The first slopes slightly downward in a nearly straight line from the withers to the eleventh thoracic vertebrae, approximately 6 inches behind the withers. The second rises gradually and continues into a solid and well-arched loin. The underline is solid and should have minimal tuck up. Croup – Well muscled, long. The hipbones fall away from the spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees, producing a lightly rounded, well filled-out croup.

FOREQUARTERS

Powerful and long, withers not too prominent; forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately angle 105. With well-developed muscles, the points of the shoulder blades are not close together. The ideal distance between the shoulder blades is approximately two inches or more. Angulation of shoulder is in balance with angulation in the rear. Forelegs: The forelegs are straight when viewed from the front angle with strong bone and well-developed muscles; elbows set under the withers and close to the body. Pasterns are long, lean and flexible following the vertical line of the forearm. In profile, they are slightly slanted.

COAT

A Spinone must have a correct coat to be of correct type. The ideal coat length is 1½ to 2½ inches on the body, with a tolerance of ½ inch over or under the ideal length. Head, ears, muzzle and front sides of legs and feet are covered by shorter hair. The hair on the backsides of the legs forms a rough brush, but there are never any fringes. The eyes and lips are framed by stiff hair forming eyebrows, mustache and tufted beard, which combine to save fore face from laceration by briar and bush. The coat is dense, stiff and flat or slightly crimped, but not curly, with an absence of undercoat. The Spinone is exhibited in a natural state.

HINDQUARTERS

Thighs are strong and well muscled, stifles show good function angulation, lower thigh to be well developed and muscled with good breadth. The hock, with proportion of one third the distance from the hip joint to foot being ideal, is strong, lean and perpendicular to the ground. Fault – Cowhocks. Feet – Slightly more oval than the forefoot with the same characteristics. Dewclaws may be removed.

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spinone italiano illustration

About the Spinone Italiano

The Spinone Italiano (plural: Spinoni Italiani) is a squarely and solidly built all-around hunter. Spinoni are muscular and powerful, built more for endurance than speed. The dense coat has a natural, unclippered look and comes in various colors and patterns. The face conveys the breed’s abundant Old World charm. Those soft, sweetly expressive eyes set off by shaggy eyebrows and a tufted beard have won many a heart in Italy—and they’re making new conquests here in America every day.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Spinone Italiano

Find a Puppy: Spinone Italiano

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Care

NUTRITION

Spinoni don’t have any specific feeding requirements or issues. Some are picky eaters, and bloat is more common in the breed than in some others. This can be related to the very sensitive nature of the Spinone breed, as Spinone tend to worry, and they will worry more when their owners are worried, so it can create a vicious cycle in terms of the dog not eating or possibly stressing themselves into bloat. Making sure the Spinone has quiet time to digest after eating in order to help prevent bloat is important.

GROOMING

Despite the standard saying that the breed should be “kept in a natural state,” Spinone do need some grooming. They should be hand-stripped, rather than scissored, to get out the dead hair, as well as maintain a coat length of one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half inches. Spinone need their ears cleaned at least once a week. The legs should be kept in a brushy column, and no feathers left on the tail. Nails should be trimmed once a week.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

EXERCISE

Spinoni are “low octane” as compared to other sporting breeds. While a hike or walk is always a good idea, it is not something that must be done every day. A large, securely fenced yard and plenty of playtime will keep a Spinone happy, along with being part of the family, which is just as important to his well being as exercise. Spinoni are not “kennel dogs,” or dogs who can just be left alone outside—they must be part of the family at all times, which means being a housedog, living inside with the family.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

One experienced breeder shares insight on breed trainability: “Spinoni are very soft, very stubborn, and very smart. Training is mostly about ‘barter.’ With many breeds, if you say ‘jump,’ they will ask ‘How high?’ as they are jumping, whereas a Spinone will ask, ‘Why?’ You can teach a Spinone the basics and even train them for competitive obedience—just don’t expect them to be ‘high and tight’ about it every single time. They may tell you, ‘No, not today. Maybe later.’ They are smart, but a challenge, and they will shut down if training is too hard or harsh. When hunting, they hunt where they want and will put food on your table. Spinoni are not ‘robot hunters’ who will go where you tell them to. Spinoni teach hunters to trust their dogs in the field.”

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

Responsible breeders will screen their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to. As with all breeds, the Spinone’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, ideally every day, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Spinone Italiano
Spinone Italiano
Spinone Italiano
Spinone Italiano
Spinone Italiano
Spinone Italiano

History

Spinoni, a very old breed, are among the many field dogs of Continental Europe famed for versatility. Their strengths as hunter’s companions include intelligence, a great nose, the ability to retrieve on land or lake, and the stamina to work all day and eagerly ask for more. The name Spinone refers to “pino,” the thorny undergrowth found in Italy’s Piedmont region. It was there that all-weather, all-purpose Spinoni were first bred to work alongside human huntsmen on the hilly terrain of Alpine Italy.

Did You Know?

The Spinone Club of America and the Club Italian Spinone, U.S.A. were both formed in the late 1980s. CISP, U.S.A. is also the official sister club of the Club Italiano Spinone of Italy.
The Spinone Italiano is AKC's 146th breed.
The Spinone originated in Italy, where it is estimated to be a cross of coarsehaired Italian Setters, bred with those left by Greek traders and others from the Adriatic coast, in addition to crosses with the White Mastiff and perhaps French Griffons.
The highly adaptable Spinone Italiano is known for its superior nose and ultrasoft mouth.
The Spinone is also known as the Italian Coarsehaired Pointer.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Muscular dog with powerful bone. Vigorous and robust, his purpose as hardworking gun dog is evident. Naturally sociable, the docile and patient Spinone is resistant to fatigue and is an experienced hunter on any terrain. His hard textured coat is weather resistant. His wiry, dense coat and thick skin enable the Spinone to negotiate underbrush and endure cold water that would severely punish any dog not so naturally armored. He has a remarkable tendency for an extended and fast trotting gait. The Spinone is an excellent retriever by nature.

HEAD

Expression is of paramount importance to the breed. It should denote intelligence and gentleness. Eyes – Must have a soft sweet expression. Ochre (yellowish brown) in color, darker eyes with darker colored dogs, lighter eyes with lighter colored dogs. Large, well opened, set well apart, the eye is almost round, the lids closely fitting the eye, to protect the eye from gathering debris while the dog is hunting, loose eye lids must be faulted. Which is neither protruding nor deep set. Eye rim clearly visible, color will vary with coat color from flesh colored to brown.

BODY

Neck – Strong, thick, and muscular. Clearly defined from the nape, blending in to the shoulders in a harmonious line. The throat is moderate in skin with a double dewlap. Chest – Broad, deep, well muscled and well rounded; extending at least to the elbow. The ribs are well sprung. The distance from ground to the elbow is equal to ½ the height at the withers. Back – The topline consists of two segments. The first slopes slightly downward in a nearly straight line from the withers to the eleventh thoracic vertebrae, approximately 6 inches behind the withers. The second rises gradually and continues into a solid and well-arched loin. The underline is solid and should have minimal tuck up. Croup – Well muscled, long. The hipbones fall away from the spinal column at an angle of about 30 degrees, producing a lightly rounded, well filled-out croup.

FOREQUARTERS

Powerful and long, withers not too prominent; forming an angle with the upper arm of approximately angle 105. With well-developed muscles, the points of the shoulder blades are not close together. The ideal distance between the shoulder blades is approximately two inches or more. Angulation of shoulder is in balance with angulation in the rear. Forelegs: The forelegs are straight when viewed from the front angle with strong bone and well-developed muscles; elbows set under the withers and close to the body. Pasterns are long, lean and flexible following the vertical line of the forearm. In profile, they are slightly slanted.

COAT

A Spinone must have a correct coat to be of correct type. The ideal coat length is 1½ to 2½ inches on the body, with a tolerance of ½ inch over or under the ideal length. Head, ears, muzzle and front sides of legs and feet are covered by shorter hair. The hair on the backsides of the legs forms a rough brush, but there are never any fringes. The eyes and lips are framed by stiff hair forming eyebrows, mustache and tufted beard, which combine to save fore face from laceration by briar and bush. The coat is dense, stiff and flat or slightly crimped, but not curly, with an absence of undercoat. The Spinone is exhibited in a natural state.

HINDQUARTERS

Thighs are strong and well muscled, stifles show good function angulation, lower thigh to be well developed and muscled with good breadth. The hock, with proportion of one third the distance from the hip joint to foot being ideal, is strong, lean and perpendicular to the ground. Fault – Cowhocks. Feet – Slightly more oval than the forefoot with the same characteristics. Dewclaws may be removed.

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spinone italiano illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BROWN ROAN Check Mark For Standard Color 462
ORANGE ROAN Check Mark For Standard Color 136
WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 199
WHITE & ORANGE Check Mark For Standard Color 213

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
BROWN MARKINGS Check Mark For Standard Mark 022
ORANGE MARKINGS Check Mark For Standard Mark 102

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