The Spinone Italiano has a long history as a hunting and companion dog. In the hunt, he scores with diligence and a keen sense of smell. His typical look, his composure, his intelligence, and his courage as well as a particularly close relationship with people have opened the door to the breed as a family member of sporty people.
Easygoing family dog - clever and loyal
The Spinone Italiano breed combines the excellent characteristics of many hunting dogs – so it is rather unknown which ancestors contributed their genes. Both the French Griffon and the German Bloodhound, Pointer, and Foxhound are on their “wavelength”. Already 500 BC Records speak of a wire-haired hunting dog in the Italian region. The friendly Italian appears in the famous fresco by Andrea Mantegna in the Ducal Palace of Mantua in the 15th century. The first specific mention of this “rough-haired, perfect hunter” can be found in the 17th century. In 1893 the first breed standards were established. Always close to the hunter at work, the Spinone Italiano is sociable and balanced at home. His look is extraordinary. Hardly any other breed shows the white of the eye like the Spinone Italiano. Experts speak of “human eyes” here, which comes very close to optics.
Nature of Spinone Italiano
He is by no means the racehorse of hounds and tackles it at a trot rather than a canter. This breed is brave and calm at the same time. The hunters appreciate his silent work and are happy to use him for tracking. At home, the neighbors enjoy the peace. Even though increasingly faster hunting dogs have become popular, the Spinone Italiano has lost none of its popularity as a pure companion and family dog. He shows his stoic calm, his patient and friendly nature towards strangers, and only barks when there is a real danger. Thorny undergrowth, ice-cold water, swampy terrain – the Spinone Italiano doesn’t utter a word about it. Its off-road mobility is legendary: it goes its way without fear.
The basis of all these pleasant qualities is a loving, people-oriented upbringing. In the USA, this intelligent breed is very popular as a guide dog, therapy dog, and companion dog for the disabled. The consistent training required for this is an example of the species-appropriate requirements: clear commands, empathetic interaction, and mental capacity.
Upbringing and attitude
Even the puppies of this breed show a good willingness to learn and to submit to you. However, they remain suspicious of strangers. This sensitive behavior subsides with a loving upbringing. Include extensive socialization in the little Italians’ “kindergarten program.” It starts with the vacuum cleaner at home, goes through the screaming children in the neighborhood to walk through the busy city center. Thanks to the high level of intelligence and natural curiosity of young dogs, this bears fruit quite quickly. Nonetheless, like all large dogs, this breed will grow “internally and externally” for at least two to three years. Laying the foundation for a stable character may take a little longer. But your work pays off. The Spinone Italiano likes to grow into his family and stay close to them. A kennel attitude does not suit his nature.
The best parenting is based on praise and love. In the case of undesirable behavior, a resolute “no” is almost always sufficient. The loyal four-legged friend will become your loyal partner with a strong sense of family if the load is typical of the breed. Speaking of workload: The Spinone Italiano likes to work hard. The apparent calm and serenity should not fool you about his alert mind and intelligence. His characteristic sense of smell and his concentrated, tireless way of working stand him in good stead when hunting. In the private sector, it is up to you to offer an adequate replacement. Sporty people and activities such as tracking, retrieving, mantrailing, or dog diving form the right habitat for the Spinone Italiano.
Care of the Spinone Italiano
Another advantage of the weatherproof Italian is its rough, shaggy coat with no undercoat. A weekly brushing action is generally sufficient. With occasional trimming, you support the change of coat. Pay attention to the longer hair around the eyes and lips: An extra brush stroke every two days may be useful here because dirt and saliva collect. Also, pay attention to the very hairy feet. Wheat grains can burrow into the skin there unnoticed and lead to painful inflammation.
Peculiarities and health of the Spinone Italianos
Long breeding into a weatherproof, powerful companion has bestowed the Spinone Italiano with strong health. Only the shortcoming of hip dysplasia (HD) lies in its nature. Therefore choose a reputable breeder.
Good to know: Unlike in Italy, the country of origin, animals in Austrian breeding lines are only approved for breeding after a hip dysplasia X-ray. This risk can be largely decimated in this way.