A detailed description of the Italian Spinone

A detailed description of the Italian Spinone

The Italian Spinone or Spinone Italiano is considered to be a very versatile dog from the gun dog grouping, and hails of course from Italy. Today, they are still widely used as gun dogs as well as making popular pets, and they are classed as one of the most ancient dog breeds with a known history going back to around 500 BC.

While the Spinone’s traditional role is working at hunting, retrieving and pointing, they are adaptable and intelligent enough to be able to take on other roles too. Today, the Spinone can be seen in a wide variety of roles, including gun dog work, assistance work, and as a general purpose pet and companion.

In this article, we will look at the physical and temperament traits of the Italian Spinone in more detail. Read on to learn more.

The appearance of the Italian Spinone

The Italian Spinone should have a reasonably square appearance, with the length of the body approximately equivalent to the height of the dog. They are solid and strong, with a well-muscled body and sturdy legs that are capable of taking the dog over all sorts of varied terrain. They are not dissimilar in appearance to the German Wirehaired Pointer, another pointing breed, but should have a rather longer head and more pronounced occipital lobes. The dog’s expression should be alert but calm, and are very expressive, being described by some enthusiasts as almost human in their appearance!

In some countries where tail docking is still permitted, the tail may be docked to half its length, but within the UK, a full natural tail is expected. Notably, the Spinone has webbed paws that are rather disproportionately large in relation to the body, traits that make the breed an excellent and powerful swimmer.

The coat of the Italian Spine should be wiry and tough, and lie close to the skin. The hair on the body is medium length, but the legs, feet and head hair is generally shorter. The eyebrows of the dog tend to be long and rather stiff, and the dog also sports a beard and moustache. The Spinone does not have an undercoat, and should not be groomed to excess, as this can lead to an overly long and silky coat, which is classed as a fault.

The Spinone can be seen in various different coat colours, including:

  • All white
  • White with orange
  • Orange roan with orange points
  • Orange roan without orange points
  • White with brown
  • Brown roan with brown points
  • Brown roan without brown points

On white coloured dogs, the pigmentation of the lips, nose, skin and the pads of the paws should be an orange-red shade, while on dogs that are predominantly orange or brown, it should be slightly darker.


The Italian Spinone is classed as a large breed dog, which can stand up to 28” tall at the withers and weigh up to 39kg. Dogs tend to be larger all round than bitches, and the dog should appear muscular, stocky, rather square and all in proportion.


The Spinone’s slightly comical and rather friendly appearance fits well with their personality, and the Spinone is renowned for being docile, laid back and easy going, as well as very friendly and affectionate with both other dogs and people. They are also very patient and tolerant of children, and enjoy playing with kids of all ages.

The breed is reputed to be very non aggressive, and will be equally well behaved and friendly with strangers as they are with their families. They are among one of the nicest natured of all dog breeds, and enjoy a reputation for being kind, gentle and social.

The Spinone is considered to be loyal and very amenable to training, and can retain a wide range of commands. However, they may be prone to stubbornness, and if they cannot understand the reason behind why they are being asked to do something, they may dig their heels in!

While they are very active dogs that need plenty of exercise and like to spend lots of time outdoors, they are not particularly fizzy or likely to run off, and their preferred gait is a rather relaxed trot. This makes them an excellent companion for people who enjoy jogging! They also do not need to live in a huge home in order to be happy, provided that they can be walked regularly. Two walks of one to two hours per day is considered fine for the Spinone, and they do also enjoy mental challenges too, such as puzzle games and interactive play.

Due to their large, floppy lips they do have something of a tendency to slobber, and may be rather messy in this respect, particularly just after they have eaten or drunk. However other than this, they tend to be relatively neat, clean dogs when within the home.



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