1) Ancient breed
This is very very old dog breed and is believed to be one of the oldest gun dog in existence. It is believed that the Spinone Italiano was developed in Italian region Piedmont more than 2000 years ago. Just like with most of the ancient breeds, we can not be certainly sure about the breeds ancestors, but different theories suggest French pointing breeds, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, Pudelpointers and German Wirehaired Pointers.
2) Versatile hunters
Many canine experts in history marked the Spinone Italiano as one of the best hunting breed in the world. And i am not surprised by that, this is extremely versatile and tough hunter. They are amazing at both – pointing and retrieving. A pointer uses his muzzle to point toward the game, while a retriever will jump in the water to retrieve birds that a hunter has shot.
Have you ever wondered what the breeds name – Spinone Italiano means? Well the second name – italiano is easy, it means Italian. And the word Spinone? It is derived from the Italian word for spine or thorn and refers to both - the coarseness of the hair as well as Spinones ability to penetrate thorny brush.
4) Almost extinct
Even though, this was very popular breed choice for many hunters in Italy, the Spinone Italiano we during the World War II the breeds numbers declined a lot. Before the war, many other gundogs were imported to Italy which also causes the Spinone Italiano loose some of its popularity. Luckily, after the war, few breeders began work to restore and reestablished this awesome breed, and they were succesfull.
5) Family companions
This is extraordinary family companions which is extremely good with kids. They are very loyal, docile, playful, affectionate and they are big attention seekers. Of course, you should not leave a young kid with any dog alone, if the child does not know how to act gently towards dogs. By the way, this is not the best guard dog, because they are just too friendly and they would probably invite the burglar into your home.
This dog was bred as a hunter and they were able to hunt for all day long, so you should not be surprised, that they need a lot of daily exercise. They are always ready for any outdoor adventure, including long walk, jog, hike or they can even make good bycicle partners. Make sure they get at least an hour a day of exercise.
Great fact about the Spinone Italiano is, that it is quite low maintenance breed. You should left their coat natural and coarse and they should not be brushed very often. Soft or silky coat is undesired and it is a sign of overgrooming. The only part of their body you should keep eye on is their mouth and beard. The beard can get wet and smelly, so you can wash it more often. And you should brush their teeth often, since they are prone to dental issues.
Italian Renaissance era is well known as the best time for all sorts of artists, painter included. And many painters used the Spinone Italiano for their artwork. We can mention Andrea Mantegna who incorporated this breed into his frescoes which you can see on the walls of the Ducal Palace in Mantua.
9) Other names
The Spinone Italiano is known under some other names, for example just Spinone, Italian Spinone, Italian Griffon, Italian Coarsehaired Pointer or Italian Wire-haired pointer. BTW, the correct plural form of Spinone italiano is Spinone Italiani.
This is generally healthy dog breed with average lifespan between 12-14 years, which is great for a dog with average height around 60 cm which is 23 inch. Of course, they do suffer from some health issues, commonly from hip dysplasia, Cerebellar ataxia, bloating, hypothyroidism and cataracts.