(aka:Spinone, Italian Spinone, Italian Griffon, Italian Wire-haired Pointer, Italian Coarsehaired Pointer)
Spinone Italiano Description
The Spinone Italiano is a distinctive looking dog with almost human-like features, according to some. With a strong bone structure and muscled appearance, this dog breed is suited to nearly any kind of terrain. The wiry short coat gives this dog a tough covering that is close fitting to the skin. However, on the rest of the body-ears, head, muzzle, head and legs and feet are covered with shorter hair. For the eyebrows, the hair is longer and more rigid, while the muzzle and cheeks have a softer feel-giving the face almost a mustached or bearded look.
It is also important to note that the Spinone Italiano does not have an undercoat, and while some owners like to allow the coat to grow longer, it is often undesirable to the breed's nature.
The tail of this dog breed is about half its length (or 5.5 inches to 8 inches from the base) and short haired. The longer head structure and a very pronounced eye socket structure further enhances a human-esque look, while the expression of understanding is what causes most owners to feel that the eyes are more human than dog like.
Gentle, devoted, and eager to please their owners, Spinone Italianos are excellent family pets for those with the space and the time to dedicate to these animals. They are well suited to inexperienced dog owners as well as those with experience, and their intelligence means that training should not prove too much of a challenge. The Spinone Italiano is fairly quick to learn and very responsive, with a sociable attitude. These dogs have real strength of character, and whilst they can be playful and entertaining can also be very sensible, laid back, and even serious. Early socialization is recommended for the Spinone Italiano in order to promote and stable and confident temperament. He does need a lot of attention and exercise, and being a large dog will also need plenty of space.
The Spinone Italiano loves to swim, and digging is another favorite pastime, as is jumping. This means that he needs a safe and secured area in which to play and exercise when not on a leash. He is a sensitive dog, and training needs to be positive. These dogs are known to be very good with children, although his size may prove a problem with very small children. They also tend to get along well with pets, and will usually be polite if a little cautious around strangers. The Spinone Italiano will bark to raise an alarm, so he does make an effective watchdog, and his size is likely to put off any potential burglar. These dogs will fare well with a family that can provide them with plenty of activity, attention, love, and space.
A moderate amount of work will need to be put into the grooming of the Spinone Italiano. You will need to brush his coat on a weekly basis, and you may wish to get the coat clipped every few months. Show dogs will need to have the coat stripped every few months. These dogs may suit light allergy sufferers, as they are fairly low shedders.
Thought to have originated in Italy (as you can tell from the name), the Spinone Italiano is considered an ancient breed of Gun Dog that may have originated in Celtic Ireland.
There are some sources that believe the Spinone Italiano is a descendant of the Spanish Pointer, but others are convinced that the Russian Setter is the ancestor. The actual origin is not known.
Almost becoming extinct during WWII, the Spinone Italiano began to be used as a hunting dog and then rebounded into a healthier number and continues to do so today as a popular hunting dog.
This highly intelligent dog is able to pick up new things and tasks quite easily, though it's also the Spinone Italiano's intelligence that can hinder their training just as easily. If the Spinone Italiano doesn't feel that the task is necessary or useful, they may resist completing the task.
A reward system of training is the most recommended route, as the Spinone Italiano is a sensitive dog that can have its feelings hurt if handled in a brusque manner. Loyal and intelligent, this dog breed will enjoy learning new tasks. Remember that this dog breed needs to be told that they are doing well when they are doing well, and gently criticized when not- it will make a world of difference.
Very capable of learning complicated tasks, don't be surprised if this breed resists some similar tasks. Again, this is generally because the dog doesn't feel that there is a 'point' to what it is doing, so you may need to work harder during these kinds of tasks. For example, some Spinone Italianos are not willing to grab a fake bird during a training session for hunting, but will go after a real dead bird with little prodding.
You will want to find a reward for this dog that they will genuinely look forward to during their training. This might be something like chew toy or a food treat that will help motivate them during simple tasks. If you choose something that they do not enjoy, be prepared for them to dismiss it and you. This may take a few tries to find something that is going to motivate the dog, but once found, this will be an invaluable training tool.
If trained properly, this dog breed is perfectly suited for the hunter, someone who may be visually or physical disabled, as well as for someone that simply wants a companion. They will feel useful and helpful in these situations which allows them to show off their intelligence.
The life expectancy of the Spinone Italiano is around 12-14 years. There are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed, although these are relatively health and hardy dogs. This includes bloat and HD. The parents of the Spinone Italiano puppy should have OFA certificates.