FAQ re the Spinone Italiano
Frequently Asked Questions about Spinoni
First, let me say that there are exceptions to every usually. So don’t assume that every dog will match what I describe as the typical Spionone.
Q: Is it Spinone, Spinoni, or Spumoni?
A: One Spinone Italiano, two or more Spinoni Italiani and zero Spumoni.
Q: How big do they get?
A: In my experience, they range from 60 pounds to 110 pounds. The breed standard states that males can range from 23” to 27” and females range from 22” to 25”. So you can see there can be quite a range of size in this breed.
Q: Do they get along well with other pets?
Y: Yes. They are generally agreeable creatures that are rarely the ones to start an argument and equally unlikely to engage with another dog that does start an argument. Basically, I find them to be lovers, not fighters. They do have a relatively strong instinct to chase things, so if a cat runs…the Spinone is likely to chase it. At one time I would have said they may have issues living in a home with pet birds, but I have to revise that belief. A Spinone I bred hunts with falcons and shares her home with them. She even rides with them in a vehicle where they sit quietly on a perch and she could easily reach them if she wanted to.
Q: Are they good with children?
A: In my experience they are exceptional with children.
Q: Are they good watch dogs?
Y: Not really. Yes, they are good at watching! They will alert you to a stranger at the door. But don’t expect them to protect you. This is simply not in their job description.
Q: Do they need a fenced yard?
Y: All dogs need a fenced yard. I don’t think it is ever safe to have any dog outside unattended unless they are in a securely fenced yard. Most dogs will either chase something that runs, like a squirrel or rabbit or cat, or go to investigate something out of their yard that sounds, smells or looks intriguing. Also, even if YOUR dog has been trained to dependably stay on your property, without a fence your dog is vulnerable to attack or exposure to stray dogs or wildlife (or naughty neighbors or dog nappers).
Q: Are they difficult to train?
A: I personally find them very eager to please and easy to train. They are naturally easy to house-break if the environment in their early months has been clean and they have had the opportunity to have designated potty area away from where they eat/sleep. Like all dogs they need some discipline, but respond best to positive reinforcement.
When it comes to hunt training, there are entire books written about that. Very briefly, in my experience and from reports of those who have trained dogs I’ve bred to hunt, this breed has incredible natural instincts. I personally took a completely untrained dog for an AKC hunt test and she passed her first leg on the first try. They very naturally seek, find and point. It may not be the point hunters are used to seeing from other pointing breeds, but you will quickly learn when your dog stops moving and is looking at a spot with intensity, they have birds. I think the most training is required to have them “wait” when the bird is flushed before chasing to retrieve. For most, retrieving is also very natural and is best nurtured very early on by making retrieving toys etc. a game played daily, inside and out.
Q: Can they be used for water fowl?
Q: Do they require a lot of exercise?
A: Pups are a mixture of activity and lots of sleep and no pup should be forced to exercise, but all should be allowed plenty of opportunity to run and play. No you don’t need to take the dog for miles of walks. A romp in the yard when they go out to potty works well. Playing fetch is a great way for the dog to get more activity with little effort on your part. One long bone growth is complete, the dog can be asked to work harder, hunt longer, go jogging with you etc. If you do plan to do hard exercise with your dog (agility, jogging, long days of hunting, etc.) your vet can help determine if his growth plates are closed and it is safe.
I find Spins to be tireless outdoors, happy and willing to work and play for long periods of time, but perfectly happy to be calm and quiet in the house.
Q: How much grooming is necessary?
A: Well that depends… Just like a range of size, there is a range of coat length and type. Some have a shorter coat; some a longer coat. Coat should be coarse and not quick to mat. Some have a softer coat on feet/legs/face/ears that might mat. If you are showing or hunting, you might want to strip some excess coat (your breeder or a groomer can explain that). Some people like the shaggy look of a dog with lots of coat and a simple metal comb or pin brush is really all you need. You really shouldn’t have to take your dog to a groomer. Unlike poodles for example, Spinone coats don’t keep growing and growing so they never need to be shaved or clipped. You will have to keep the long, hanging ears clean inside and keep nails trimmed.
Q: Do they drool?
A: I’ve seen some that do drool a bit when excited, nervous or anticipating treats or food. But most that I’ve seen are not droolers.
Q: What is their life expectancy?
A: I think the average is 10-12-ish. Do not tell that to my girl who is 13-1/2. Our first girl, Candy, didn’t quite make it to 14.