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As you can tell from the name, the Spinone Italiano is from Italy. Let’s get the name straight right away. Singular is Spinone Italiano (pronounced spin-no-nay). Plural is Spinoni Italiani (spin-no-nee). Never pronounced like the frozen treat Spumoni! The breed’s origins are not perfectly clear as is the case with many breeds. Evidence of similar type ancesters can be found as far back as 500 B.C. Paintings of the fifteeth century depict the Spinone-like dogs. Details of the breed’s history can be found in Carolyn Fry’s book “The Italian Spinone.” Per the AKC website, the breed 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.
Whatever their history, they are without question an old Italian versatile hunting dog. Being a versatile hunting dog means they do it it all from pointing to retrieving. As such they are eligible for registration and participation in NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association). They are used for upland game as well as water fowl. We even have one that hunts with falcons. Visit Sophie’s page to see her and her falcons. Spinoni are considered to be a slower, close-working dog; but make no mistake, they can hold their own with the best field dogs.
They are a large, muscular dog with powerful bone, having a coarse/wiry, single coat. They have long, low-set ears and round, almost human eyes. They are tireless hunters and gentle family companions that get along well with children and other pets. 😉 They are not guard dogs. They will alert, but then go wake up the Mastiff to take over the job of guardian. Spinoni come in solid white, orange roan or brown roan, all with or without solid markings.
They do shed. Some drool. They have beards that get wet and messy.
Spinoni (fondly referred to by many of us as “Spins”) are still fairly low in numbers in the United States. They were recognized by the AKC in 2001. Expect to be on a waiting list for a puppy. It will be well worth the wait.