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Guide to Italian Spinone Gundogs

The Italian Spinone is an Italian gundog breed, bred to be versatile in the field. The breed is a capable dog and traditionally used as a hunt, point and retrieve gundog. The Spinone is also known to be loyal and friendly, which makes it a great family pet too.

 Italian Spinone stood in grass

Why An Italian Spinone?

The Italian Spinone is an easy going and affectionate breed, with people and other dogs. It also displays a patient nature and is not known for showing much aggression. These factors make the Italian Spinone an excellent family pet, and when it comes to being a working gundog, it also has many benefits. It is happy to work in a variety of terrains; it excels at hunting in dense cover and also has an affinity for retrieving in water. As it has been bred for generations to be an HPR gundog, they also show exceptional stamina and are happy to work with their owners for long periods.


The Italian Spinone is an old gundog breed, dating back to the 15th century. There were many wirehaired pointers throughout Europe from which many hunt point retrieve (HPR) breeds such as the Spinone emerged from. It was in the 19th century when the breed standards were determined by the Italian Kennel Club, that the Spinone was named. The name means “very prickly” referring to the texture of the dog’s coat.

In Italy, the Spinone is a popular hunting dog, and they have been around in the UK since the 1950s. In the 1980s they began to be bred in the UK, and in 1994 the Kennel Club granted the Spinone Championship status, meaning it was no longer a rare breed.


The Italian Spinone is intelligent, easy going and patient, which means training can come easy to them. Some dogs can be a little stubborn, so when training with gundog accessories, encouragement and motivation work best. Being docile dogs, it is important not to be too harsh or overwork them, as they can react negatively. Like many HPR breeds, the Spinone is an active breed and has been said to be the ideal dog for going on runs and long walks with. It will also not run off, preferring a slower pace.

Italian Spinone


The Spinone has a square build, with a well-muscled body and legs suitable for any type of terrain. Their coats are tough and slightly wiry, with a preferred length of 3.8 to 6.4 cm. Long, soft or silky coats are undesired, especially for a working dog. Acceptable colour variants of the breed are solid white, white with orange, brown markings, or brown roan with or without brown markings.


The Italian Spinone coats need regular attention to keep them tangle and dirt free and special attention is needed for their face. Spinone’s can collect a lot of dirt in their beard, as well as water when they drink. They also shed a fair bit, but the hair is short. Spinones are also big dogs, and when a bit wilful they can be hard to deal with. As such, keeping up with obedient training may be needed throughout their life.

Like all purebred breeds, the Italian Spinone has some common health problems, but careful breeding has helped to reduce them. Some medical issues include cerebellar ataxia, a hereditary condition that affects puppies, and hip dysplasia that is common in larger dog breeds. Cerebellar ataxia is a neurological disease affecting the motor movements. DNA tests can be done to see if a puppy has it.

The Italian Spinone is a solid choice for a gundog if you want a versatile breed that can also be a good family pet. Be sure to take a look at our other gundog breed guides, from the popular spaniels to vizlas

Image credit: Caroline Granycome, Camera Eye Photography