AKC Dog Breeds: Spinone Italiano

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Sporting Group
Height: 22-28 inches   Weight: 62-82 pounds  Color: white, white with orange markings, white with brown markings, or speckled brown - with and without larger brown markings

An excellent retriever by nature and an experienced hunter on any terrain, the Spinone is robust, sociable and docile. His wiry, dense coat and thick skin enable him to negotiate underbrush and endure cold water that would severely punish any dog not so naturally armored. The Spinone Italiano, or Italian Pointer, is Italy's all-purpose hunting dog. The dog is a Pointer of the old school, that is, a rather slow-footed dog similar to those used before the era of wing shooting. It is estimated to be a cross of coarse-haired 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. An effective hunting dog with plenty of stamina, he has become used to working in many different types of terrain. The Spinone Italiano was registered with the AKC in 2000.

General Appearance
The Spinone Italiano, also known as the Spinone, Italian Spinone, or Italian Griffon is a large, rugged dog of distinctive appearance. He has a long head, with hanging ears, and eyes described as "human like." In body he is a substantial, strong boned dog of square build. This deep-chested breed has a topline that slopes slightly up from below the withers to the muscular hindquarters. Everything about this breed indicates great strength as well as stamina. Suited for hunting in all climates and on all terrain. Its coat protects it from the water and freezing temperatures of the swamp. It goes nonchalantly into cold, deep water - being an excellent swimmer and a model retriever.

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.

With its short to medium length coat, the Spinone Italiano is not a difficult dog to care for in terms of grooming. Shedding little, you may find that a trip to a professional groomer is the easiest way to deal with your pet's coat, but regular brushing with a coarse brush will help to maintain the coat's health. A weekly brushing is usually sufficient for this breed, as they tend to be more self-grooming, like a cat.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
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. Cerebellar Ataxia, also known as CA, is a hereditary condition. It is a deadly disorder that affects Spinone Italiano puppies. In order for the puppy to have this condition, the gene must be passed on from both the mother and the father, as it is a recessive gene. Most puppies with this disorder will not live more than a year and many are euthanized at 10 to 11 months of age.

Activity Level
An active breed, the Spinone Italiano is a dog that wants to roam around as often as it can. As a hunting dog, this is a dog breed that is perfectly suited to retrieving, pointing, and hunting, if trained to do so. You may want to create a regular routine for this dog that will allow them to get outside and stay active for about an hour a day. This will help them release any pent up energy as well as help to keep them healthy.


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Spinone Italiano profile on dog encyclopedia
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