Spinone Italiano

The northern foothills and mountains of Italy have always been popular with Italian huntsmen because of the wild life intensity. Small wonder that they developed a superb Hunt. Point and Retriever (HPR) Gundog which could negotiate the harsh terrain, prickly undergrowth and marshland.


This is one of those rare dog breeds where some documentation from ancient times has survived - around 500BC and 100AD. It is possible that Roman soldiers brought a similar breed with them from Greece, or some could have been left behind by the Carthaginian Hannibal and merged with indigenous dogs. There are many theories but the only certain thing is it is an amalgam of several breeds.

Spinone puppies can be stubborn and they should be socialized and trained from an early age.


A happy, exuberant breed with an independent streak, Spinones need socialization and persistent, careful training when young. They can be difficult to house train and most are natural food thieves! This is not a dog for the excessively house proud, as they drool, moult, carry dirt into the house and should not be left alone as they can be destructive. However, they are really loving and adore children.

The shaggy Spinone is intelligent and fun-loving. It makes a good pet as well as a working dog.

must know

Some hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia are being monitored by the Spinone breed club.


The face is a cross between a cartoon dog and a hairy guru. Very endearing as a puppy, the Spinone grows into a big shaggy dog with a big personality. Dogs are 60-70cm (23.5-27.5in) high while bitches are 59-65cm (23-25.5in)

Strangers 2/5

Will give warning, but then friendly

Temperament 4/5

Friendly but need firm handling

Exercise 5/5

As much as you can possibly give, with free running

Grooming 2/5

Twice a week

Other dogs 2/5



Wonderfully amusing, very active but will calm down after adolescence

General care

Owners must have a commitment to exercise as Spinones need all that is possible and then more, but when out walking they can be deaf to all entreaties when they scent something interesting. Greedy dogs, they must not get overweight. Their coat has a natural propensity to attract mud and debris and needs to be groomed at least twice a week, more when moulting.

want to know more?

  • The Kennel Club publication Breed Standards has detailed breakdowns of all the gundog breeds;
  • The breed societies and clubs have their own websites and are happy to help people wishing to own gundogs and to answer queries;
  • Many gundogs and their owners enjoy and excel at Field Trials. For more information, see www.thekennelclub.org.uk and click on Activities and Events.

Gallery of Spinone Italiano