The Spinone Italiano breed of dogs, or better known as Espinone, are dogs that bear the country of origin in their name. These beautiful dogs were used to hunt thanks to their intelligence and docility skills, however, they later took a turn. It is also a very patient, loyal and gentle breed. In this article you will find everything about the ancient Spinone Italiano breed; a summary of its origins, physical characteristics and temperament. But also the essential care for this breed and what they were used for.
History of the Italian Spinone
The origin of the Spinone Italiano occurred several millennia ago and it is considered one of the oldest breeds of dogs that exist today. The Spinone Italiano, descends from the wire-haired pointers that a few millennia ago were brought to Italy by various vendors from Greece to be marketed in the largest city of that time, ancient Rome. Those dogs were crossed with some dogs that were already in Italy, the Italian white molosser dogs. There are writings by Seneca and Aristotle where features of a but that fit perfectly with these dogs are described.
There are several bibliographic descriptions that mention rough-haired dogs of Italian origin that could well be the Spinone Italiano or the ancestor of these. For example, Sélincourt, in his book Le paraíto chaspear, whose meaning in Spanish means "The perfect hunter", a text from 1683, talks about a "Griffon" whose origin was Italian and Piedmont. In this book he characterizes a dog that could easily be associated with the Spinone. Also, another curious fact about the breed is that in the Middle Ages, these pets were often represented in various types of works, even by famous artists. Paintings, portraits and even sculptures of this breed abound throughout the planet. The best-known painting related to this breed is a fresco by Andrea Mantegna that is placed in the ducal palace of Mantua, from the 15th century.
Physical characteristics of the Spinone Italiano
These dogs, like many others that began as hunting dogs, turned to elegance and competition. That is why the FCI classifies it within Group 7: Pointing dogs. Section 1.3: Continental Pointing Dogs “Griffon Type”. In addition, this beautiful dog, exceeding 25 Kilograms is considered a breed of big dogs.
Spinone Italiano body
The body of the Spinone Italiano has a square build. Its height or stature is almost equal to the length of the body. The withers are slightly protruding and the upper line is almost aligned with the withers, forming a smooth upward curve towards the rump that is wide, solid and in turn descends gently. Loins very muscular and a little curved. The tail is inserted in the line of the rump and is kept low or horizontal. In countries where it is allowed, some owners often dock the tail to a length of 15-25 cm. Belly slightly tucked up. Deep, broad and well rounded chest with developed pectoral muscles. Well sprung ribs. The legs are powerful, with rounded and compact feet, although the front ones are usually more oval than the rear ones. The neck has a very small dewlap.
Head of the Italian Spinone
The head of the Spinone Italiano is made up of a muzzle and a skull that are the same length, separated in turn by a soft stop. The skull of these dogs is oval; It should not be wider than half the total length of your head, and a little shorter is preferable. The occiput is pronounced and the central median sulcus, visible. The muzzle can be straight or slightly curved, and the nose is always broad and round at the top. The ears are carried low and turned inwards. At the same time they are triangular and extend over the neckline by up to 5 centimeters. The eyes of the Espinone are large and almost come to have a round shape: the lower eyelids should not be hanging. Always scissor bite.
How tall is an Italian Spinone?
The Spinone Italiano has a height that ranges from 58 centimeters to 70 centimeters if we take into account all the specimens of the breed. If we are guided by the sex of each specimen, the average height of adult males is between 60 centimeters and 70 centimeters. On the side of adult females, their height at the withers is between 58 and 65 centimeters.
How much does an Italian Spinone weigh?
The weight of the Spinone Italiano breed ranges from 28 kilograms to 37 kilograms. In the adult male their weight ranges between 32 kilograms and 37 kilograms, while the females have a weight that ranges from 28 kilograms to 32 kilograms.
Fur of the Italian Spinone
The Italian Spinone has a coat that is made up of a coarse, thick type of hair. In turn, the hair of these dogs is shaggy and more or less close to the body, where its length tends to be about 4 centimeters to 6 centimeters long. The coat is shorter in the areas of the nasal bridge, the ears, the head, the legs and the feet. It has quite bushy eyebrows. Long, soft hair grows on the cheeks, chin and upper lip.
Colors of the Italian Spinone
The colors that are allowed in the Spinone Italiano are pure white, white with spots or cinnamon specks, white with brown spots and roan with or without spots that can be of different sizes and brown in color. The color of the eyes of the Spinone Italiano varies from ocher to dark yellow, depending on the type of coat each dog has.
Temperament of the Italian Spinone
The Spinone Italiano dog was always characterized by his docility, patience and gentleness. But also because of their extreme affection and loyalty to their owners. In this section we will detail how is the Espinone's temperament ?; starting with how the character is and then how it behaves.
Character of the Italian Spinone
The Spinone Italiano is a friendly, balanced and personable dog. It can also be described as a sociable and affectionate dog indoors, but very active and lively when outdoors. Although he tends to be a reasonably obedient dog, he can be a bit stubborn at times. He has a great nose and loves water and swimming. If you live with pets of other species such as cats or rabbits, it is very necessary that a socialization process be carried out from an early age so that living with them is good. With other dogs of various breeds he usually gets along quite well.
Behavior of the Spinone Italiano
The Spinone Italiano gets along very well with other dogs and, if it is well socialized, it does not have problems with other household animals either. He also has an excellent relationship with children. He warmly welcomes family friends and intruders alike, making him a worthless watchdog. Enjoy the warmth of the home, something to take into account to understand that it is not a dog that should sleep in a kennel.
General care of the Spinone Italiano
Espinones are canines that do not require much care in addition to a correct diet and frequent exercise. However, brushing is an important one, and more thorough and frequent cleaning is recommended. In this section we will detail the basic care for this docile and affectionate breed. Starting from brushing, training and exercising; but also food and health issues.
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Brushing in the Spinone Italiano
In general, the coat does not need much care. The fur can be combed once a week with a thick comb, although the hair on the muzzle does require more attention. Regularly clean the ear canals so they do not accumulate dirt and trim excess hair that may grow between the pads.
How to train a Spinone Italiano?
It is a very sociable animal And, although a bit stubborn, it likes to please the owner, if it is not demanded too much. Training must be firm and loving to bring out the best in this breed. It is also a dog that always liked to please its owner, so it will be very easy to train or educate these dogs. They will always give their best, to learn everything that their master shows them. So it is a fairly trainable dog.
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Recommended exercise for a Spinone Italiano
The Spinone Italiano needs a lot of exercise, as it is by nature a space-hungry hunting dog that does not usually adapt well to life in a small apartment or home. He likes to run with other dogs or with his master, but should only do so when he is in adulthood. We must bear in mind that you can get carried away by your nose if you find a good trail. For this reason, if we go out to walk the dog it should always be on a leash and never without having it under control. Another recommendation is that we must have our garden fenced to prevent it from escaping due to its characteristics. The recommended amount of exercise should be two hours or more per day.
Spinone Italiano diet
The most recommended thing for these dogs is that they follow a balanced diet, but well balanced between vitamins and nutrients. This is important, since many times, these dogs tend to have some stomach problems due to poor diet. To avoid this, you can give him dry feed or dog food 2 or 3 times a day, but in less quantity if it is the last option. For example: in the morning, mid-afternoon and at night. In any case, the amount and proportion of food will be determined by the veterinarian based on the weight, age and physical activity of your puppy.
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Health and diseases of Spinone Italiano
Espinones are dogs that have excellent health. However, it has the typical diseases of a large breed dog for its size. Hip dysplasia is one of them and complicates the mobility of the dog with increasingly frequent and stronger pain. It is important to have frequent medical check-ups to avoid or relieve pain. On the other hand, the Italian Spinone tends to have a characteristic health problem of this breed because it is hereditary: cerebellar ataxia. This disease can seriously affect the health of the dog, causing problems walking, tremors or breathing problems. However, today there are treatments for this health problem; but it is important to catch it in time. It is best to visit the vet every 1 year.
How long does an Italian Spinone live?
These beautiful show dogs are in excellent health, and it is reflected in their lifespan. The Spinone Italiano can reach up to 14 years of age approximately, however, it is important to know the essential care for this breed and consult your veterinarian about its health status at least every 1 year.
Uses of Spinone Italiano
The Spinone Italiano is a dog that loves to attend hunting classes or accompany his master to hunt. It is a very constant dog and excels at collecting game in swampy or wooded terrain. He is not a dog from which excellent results can be expected in terms of dog sports.