Italian Spinone
Italia FCI 165 . Griffon type.

Italian Spinone

In some countries, the Italian Spinone does not enjoy the dissemination it deserves, because faster breeds of dogs with more olfactory capacity are preferred.



As the name suggests, the Italian Spinone -or “Italian Griffon” – is originally from Italy, more specifically from the Piedmont region, in the north of the country. It is a very old breed of dog, and whoever looks for its exact origins will find more questions than answers. However, it is generally accepted that it is the result of various crosses over the centuries between Italian Setters, Griffons from France, White Mastiffs and Dogs of Greece.

There is evidence that their ancestors already hunted in the Alps and Apennines more than 2000 years. However, the first clear reference to the breed dates back to the Middle Ages, more specifically to the fifteenth century, in the form of a fresco by Andrea Montegna (1431-1506) inside the Ducal Palace of Mantua (Italy), which represents an Italian Spinone. Two centuries later, Jacques Espée of Sélincourt, evoca en su manual The Perfect Hunter (1683) an Italian Griffon from Piedmont.

Popular for centuries in Italy, the Spinone suffered greatly during WWII. The end of hostilities did not mean a notable improvement in their situation, as Italian hunters began to prefer breeds imported from abroad.

In 1949, Dr. Paolo Branzi and Dr.. Ezio Caraffini founded La Famiglia dello Spinone -which has since become the Italian Spinoni Club- and they had 59 representatives of the breed throughout Italy. They chose 10 of them to start a breeding program aimed at rebuilding the population and stabilizing its characteristics. They drew up a first standard and contacted the Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana (ENCI), reference body of the country, to initiate the necessary procedures for the recognition of the breed.

His work paid off, so that in 1955 the Spinone Italiano was recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Then it began to spread internationally, although it took a while, especially in North America. For this reason, until 1995 el United Kennel Club (UKC) American did not grant him his recognition. The other reference organization in the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC), did the same in 2000. The Canadian Kennel Club did the same in 2006.

In fact, although it is quite common in its country of origin and is the second most popular hunting dog in that country, its international distribution remains limited. However, is quite successful in Britain, where the Kennel Club registers between 400 and 500 births every year. This is far from the case in France.: with less than ten annual entries in the French Book of Origins (LOF), it is clear that he is far from having conquered the hearts of French hunters.

In United States, AKC statistics put her around the position 110 (of 195) in the ranking of the most popular breeds in the country.

Photo: I came across this adorable dog while walking around Dorset. Took a photo and then got really scared of the camera. by Caroline Granycome, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Physical characteristics

The Italian Spinone it's well built, with well developed muscles and strong bones.

Her body, as high as long, is square in shape and ends in a thick bushy tail. The tail hangs at rest and is horizontal when in action. The legs are solid and end in compact round legs.

The head is egg-shaped, with a curved skull and a muzzle the same length as the skull. The color of the nose varies between the pink of the white dogs and the brown of the roan dogs. The eyes are round, big and far apart. They are of a more or less dark ocher color. Triangular shape, the ears are rather long and fall along the cheeks.

The body of the Spinone is entirely covered in stiff, dense fur, about 4 - 6 cm long, that protects it when it slides through the undergrowth, but also when thrown into cold water. It is shorter at the top of the head and at the front of the legs. In the face, a dense coat of thick eyebrows and a full beard, typical of the breed, which also protects it from brambles and bushes. Beneath this top layer is the dog's fur, which has the peculiarity of not having undercoat.

The coat can be plain white, white with orange spots, chestnut or brown, or roan with orange spots, chestnut or brown. Tricolor or black-haired dogs are not accepted by the breed standard.

Last but not least, sexual dimorphism is marked: the male is larger and above all significantly more massive than the female.

Size and weight

    Male size: Of 60 - 70 cm.
    Female size: Of 58 - 65 cm.
    Male weight: Of 32 - 37 kg
    Female weight: Of 28 - 30 kg

Character and skills

Generally easier to live with than other pointers, the Spinone Italianos they are affectionate and close to their family, they love to play and spend most of the time with them. Although they are hunters, They are not the kind that jump into the open sea and disappear as soon as potential prey catches their eye: they never stray too far from their master, preferring to always have it in sight.

Your affection, patience and playful character make them an ideal breed for a child. He loves children and is an excellent playmate for those old enough to have learned to behave in the presence of a dog. Less recommended for younger children, as it is large enough to inadvertently push them down. In any case, regardless of race, interactions between a dog and a young child should always take place in the presence of an adult.

The Italian griffon also it is sociable with other dogs Griffon, those who are often willingly adopted as playmates. Small animals, as cats, rabbits and other rodents, have more to worry about and are more likely to be hunted as potential prey. However, they may live with a cat if they have been raised with them, but the latter is likely to still be haunted in the garden from time to time.

As for humans who are unknown to him, the Spinone is generally cozy with them, especially if he's been well socialized from his early months. In fact, used to living with humans for centuries, is more of the type that actively seeks your company. Also easily suffers from loneliness: although you can spend a few hours alone at home without difficulty, it is not advisable to leave it all for a weekend. Adopting one more dog can be a good way of offering companionship to help you avoid loneliness when your family is away..

He is as active in the early years as he is calm and collected afterward.. This can be seen in his hunting style, that is calm and methodical.

Having said that, if you like to rest on the living room rug, this does not mean that you do not need to exercise. So that you feel comfortable and calm when you get home, your daily walks should total at least one hour. Although they are slower than other signaling breeds, they are very resistant and can adapt to many types of terrain. For this reason, if the opportunity arises to take a long walk of several hours, he is delighted. During the latter, does not tend to stray far from his master, so it can be walked without a leash. You can live in an apartment as long as you go out two or three times a day, but its size makes it unsuitable for a small studio.

He prefers a house with a garden that he can frolic in and gladly dispose of any unwanted critters.. However, it is not convenient for you to live abroad: you need to be in contact with your family and should be able to spend as much time as possible with them.

On the other hand, It is an intelligent breed of dog that likes to be mentally stimulated. Rather stubborn and showing little interest in activities that seem useless, you need a leader who offers motivational exercises. Obedience exercises, agility or hunting are a great way to get his attention and stimulate him. The rapport is also something instinctive in him, and you will not be asked to carry the ball or bat thrown by your master. He does not hesitate to do the same with the toys scattered around the house when he wants to show him that he wants to have fun.

It is also important to know that your beautiful beard gets wet every time you drink. He tends to pour water all over the house whenever he quenches his thirst, so it may be a good idea to put your bowl outside and not inside the house.

Last but not least, although don't hesitate to bark when you see fit, the Italian Spinone it's not overly vocal.


The Italian Spinone, like all dogs, must be socialized from an early age. It is important that you can meet all the people who are part of your close or distant environment (friends, neighbors, family…). You must also face all kinds of situations (walk through different places, meet other dogs or other animals, travel in different means of transport) not to be scared once an adult.

It shouldn't be long before they start to learn to tame, which can be longer and more complicated than for most other breeds.

Given its size once adult, It is also helpful to get him used to being handled without flinching from an early age, so that the grooming sessions are a moment of shared pleasure and not torture for both protagonists.

The Italian griffon he's smart and has a strong personality. You need a firm master who knows how to earn your respect, but even if I do, does not like to do tasks that seem trivial. It's a working dog, who likes to be useful and prefers to learn, for example, to recover the game before turning around. In fact, if your master knows how to do it and has all the necessary patience, this dog can do wonders, even in obedience and agility competitions. The trick is to motivate you, above all making him understand the interest of the command.

Not surprisingly, it responds much better to positive reinforcement-based dog training methods than traditional dog training.. Know that the fulfillment of what is asked allows you to receive caresses, encouragement and treats is in his eyes a legitimate reason to excel and give the best of himself.


The Italian Spinone is generally quite robust. Apart from the health problems common to all large dogs and a serious genetic disease, but fortunately in the process of disappearance thanks to the work of the breeders, the risks are low.

Like this, the conditions to which you are especially exposed are :

  • La ataxia cerebelosa, a genetic disease that attacks the cerebellum and is the most critical health problem in this breed. Puppies that have received a carrier gene from both parents die before their first birthday. However, nowadays it is extremely rare, since carrier individuals are eliminated from breeding programs. A breeder of Spinone worthy of the name must be able to show that parents are not carriers, based on test results;
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia, joint problems that make movement difficult;
    gastric dilation-torsion, often related to too fast a food intake, which can be fatal without prompt veterinary intervention;
  • Entropion and ectropion, malformations of the eyelid that can be surgically corrected if problematic;
    Hypothyroidism, a hormonal deficiency that causes a slowdown in bodily functions;
  • Cancer (bone, liver, base…), which according to a joint study by the British Kennel Club and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association is, with difference, the main cause of mortality in this breed, with a 45% of deaths.

In addition, the floppy, hairy ears of the Spinone they get dirty easily. They can become infected quickly if they are not cleaned every week and after each bath.

Despite its lack of undercoat and its Italian origins, adapts quite well to different climates and is resistant to both heat and cold, but extreme temperatures are hard to bear. A shelter is necessary so that it can be in the shade when the thermometer exceeds 30 °, and doesn't particularly appreciate spending the night outside when it's -10 °.

Last but not least, the Italian griffon not very prone to obesity, especially if you have enough opportunity to exercise. However, a responsible handler should regularly make sure that everything is in order by taking the time to weigh your dog.

Life expectancy

Of 12 - 13 years


The maintenance of Italian Spinone is simple, but it requires some discipline, as it can be difficult and time consuming if not done regularly.

The absence of undercoat means that you only lose a small amount of hair. A weekly brushing is enough to remove dirt, remove dead hairs and untangle knots from their fur. The most frequent molt is not necessarily necessary during the fall and spring, since the lack of undercoat makes the shedding not very pronounced. On the other hand, if “forget” one or two grooming sessions, the situation is complicated: debris accumulates and knots form that can no longer be untangled with the brush. Then there is no choice but to undo them manually or even cut them with a chisel. Depending on the state of the coat, this can sometimes take more than an hour.

In any case, rarely need a bath, unless it is especially dirty or smelly after a trip. Except for exceptions, two or three bathrooms a year are more than enough, and every time a mild dog shampoo should be used.

Weekly grooming sessions are also an opportunity to clean your dog's eyes and brush his teeth.. Neither should you neglect the care of the ears: hanging and furry ears tend to catch dirt, so the risk of infection is high. Can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

In addition, beard tends to trap moisture and becomes smelly. For this reason, should be towel dried often and cleaned from time to time.

Last but not least, if you spend a lot of time outdoors, wear and tear is usually enough to file the claws of the Italian Spinone, that grow faster than most other dogs. If they become too long and may bother or hurt you, must be trimmed with a special nail clipper.


The Italian Spinone it is above all a hunting dog, a mission that has been fulfilling for centuries and in which it stands out. Your ability to point methodically, making game disappear and recover makes them very versatile hunting dogs. This is all the more true since, how your name illustrates, derived from the Italian word for bramble, are able to sneak into the thorniest thickets in search of small game. It is also very resistant.

When not used for hunting, can be used to show off their qualities in various dog sports, like agility or obedience. They are also good watchdogs, but their lack of aggressiveness and the fact that they bark very little disqualifies them as guardians. Having said that, it's awesome enough that most malicious people get past it.

Last but not least, the Italian griffon he is also a wonderful companion dog, loving and totally devoted to his family. It can be the ideal companion for an active owner who wants to always have his dog by his side when going for a walk or hiking.


The price of a puppy Italian Spinone is of some 800 - 1000 euros in Europe. In Canada and the United States, is usually between 1500 and 1800 $.

In all cases, there is no noticeable price difference between males and females.

Characteristics "Italian Spinone"

Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a dog of the breed "Italian Spinone" you know certain factors. Not all breeds of dogs are apt to live in an apartment, You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, your care and if you have young children, their level of tolerance towards them.

Adaptation ⓘ

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Dog friendly ⓘ

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Hair loss ⓘ

Rated 2 out of 5
2 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Affection Level ⓘ

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Need to exercise ⓘ

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Social Needs ⓘ

Rated 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Apartment ⓘ

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Grooming ⓘ

Rated 2 out of 5
2 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Stranger Friendly ⓘ

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Barking Tendencies ⓘ

Rated 2 out of 5
2 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Health Issues ⓘ

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Territorial ⓘ

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Cat Friendly ⓘ

Rated 2 out of 5
2 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

intelligence ⓘ

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

versatility ⓘ

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Child Friendly ⓘ

Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Watchdog Ability ⓘ

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Playfulness ⓘ

Rated 3 out of 5
3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

Images "Italian Spinone"


1 – Solid white Spinone italiano. by Alephalpha, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
2 – A brown roan Spinone Italiano by Alephalpha, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
3 – Spinoni italiani by francesco napoli
4 – Spinoni italiani by francesco napoli
5 – Brown roan spinone italiano. Risky Business Oliver Di La Ros by Timberdoodle Kennels, Ron & Pat Rosinski (User:Rrosinski), CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons
6 – This is a Spinone, an italian pointing dog. Coatcolor is white-orange by Alephalpha, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Videos "Italian Spinone"

Type and recognitions:

  • Group 7: Pointing Dogs
  • Section 1: Continental Pointing Dogs. 1.3 Griffon type. With proof of work..


  • FCI – Group 7: Pointing Dogs. – Section 1: Continental Pointing Dogs. 1.3: Griffon type
  • AKCHound
  • CKCMiscellaneous
  • ​KC – Hunting dog
  • UKCGun Dog

FCI breed standard "Italian Spinone"

FCIFCI - Italian Spinone

Alternative names:

    1. Spinone, Bracco Spinoso, Italian Spinone, Italian Griffon, Italian Wire-haired Pointer, Italian Coarse-haired Pointer (English).
    2. Spinone italien (French).
    3. Italienischer Griffon, Spinone, Rauhaariger italienischer Vorstehhund, Italian Griffon, italienischer Spinone (German).
    4. Spinone (Portuguese).
    5. Espinone, Grifón italiano, Italiano de pelo duro (Spanish).
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