The Calm, Gentle Spinone Italiano
Italian Griffon

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Spinone Italiano
Italian Spinone / Italian Griffon
Weight Male 71 — 82 lbs
Weight Female 62 — 71 lbs
Height:Male 23” — 27”
Height Female 22” — 25”
AKC Rank 2008 #112
Lifespan 12—14 yrs
Group Sporting

Dog Breed Info - The Spinone Italiano

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Breed Overview

Origin Italy. Original function: Pointing, retrieving. Today: Pointing, retrieving. Colors: All white or white with orange or chestnut markings.

The Spinone is one of the earliest pointer breeds, dating back possibly to 500 b.c. The exact origin is unknown, as many records no longer exist, although, some believe it came from Celtic wirehaired stock. Others place the origin with Greek traders who may have brought the dogs to Italy during the time of the Roman Empire. Present day Spinone go back mainly to Italy's Piedmont region The dogs are very good at penetrating difficult, thorny ground cover with their thick coat to flush out game hiding in the underbrush. During WWII, the Spinone was used to track German troops. This breed has an excellent nose for scents and works closely with the hunter in a diagonal fashion to locate the game and is known as a versatile hunting breed. This is a popular dog in Italy and some other European countries but not America. The Spinone Italiano was registered by the AKC in 2000.

Italian Spinone puppy
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The Spinone Italiano is usually fairly easy to train. They are intelligent, patient and ready to learn. However, some have a stubborn streak. The best method is by clicker training and positive reinforcement. Dogs like this method and do well with it. Pick up an inexpensive click at a pet store.

This breed needs to be heavily socialized starting at a very young age of 4 or 5 weeks. That will help shape the adult personality.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Spinone puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Spinone Italiano puppy is generally easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Spinone Italiano is a devoted, calm and gentle breed that is an easy-going companion, excellent house pet, and friend to children, other dogs and pets. She is also a superb gundog, pointer and retriever for the sporting enthusiast. The Spinone is affectionate, playful, loves to run and jog, is enthusiastic about everything and enjoys life. Some have a stubborn streak. The Spinone needs to be kept under control and subordinated in the family so she doesn't get the idea she’s an alpha pack leader, but once you have established her as the submissive member, all will be fine. This dog is not a guard dog. She’s too friendly, A great family pet.

If you happen to get a Spinone with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Spinone puppy face closeup
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Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Generally likes other dogs and likes to have one other dog as a “buddy” to play with. This is not an aggressive breed.


Friendly Toward Other Pets

.Ok. Gets along well with other house pets.

Friendly Toward Strangers

People friendly.


Quite playful, especially with older, responsible kids.


Very affectionate, loving, friendly breed.

Good with children?

Yes. Good with children. Spinone Italiano's get along well with and is tolerant with kids. Seems to enjoy their company and likes to run and romp with them. Very small children such as toddlers need close sui0pervision as this dog is quite heavy.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes, the Spinone Italiano is a good match for seniors. They are loyal, affectionate, a bit playful, love to walk and are friendly with kids (grandchildren) so this would work well for the senior.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, farm or ranch living is all okay for the Italian Spinone.
The apartment if fine as long as the Spinone Italiano gets out for daily exercise and mind-stimulating walks.
This is a family dog and needs to spend time indoors with her family of humans. She should not be tied up in the back yard.


Energy level

Moderate energy. Rate her 5 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. A long walk and maybe some jogging or a game of fetch will keep the dog healthy. The jogging alone would do it, except dogs need to WALK for mental stimulation so we need some of both.


Good watchdog. Will usually alert to strange activities around the house.

Guard dog

Not a guard dog. Too friendly . Likes robbers.


Very little.



Use a stiff bristle brush from the pet store and brush weekly to remove dead hair. Hand stripping is done now and then to shape around the face and feet.

Dog Health Issues For The Spinone Italiano
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems as listed for the Spinone Italiano by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, hind/back leg acts lame, can't move, weak legs. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing the Spinone Italiano great pain, weakness and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Ectropion—A hereditary medical problem. The lower eyelid grows outward leaving a gap between the eye and the eyelid. Excessive tearing and conjunctivitis are common signs of the disease but some dogs will have no symptoms. Blunt trauma and/or nerve damage can also cause the problem. If the cornea becomes damaged or if the conjunctivitis becomes chronic, surgery will be necessary.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem.
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Pyometra - Female uterine infection problem. A life threatening infection of the uterus and may even require emergency surgery. During the heat cycle the cervix relaxes and opens slightly, allowing harmful bacteria to enter which causes the infection. Dogs are usually middle-aged or older and this occurs within 2 months of the heat cycle. Symptoms include smelly vaginal discharge, enlarged abdomen, excessive drinking and urinating, lethargy, poor appetite and vomiting. If there is to be a cure, it will be to spay the dog and then treat with antibiotics for the infection and IV fluids for the dehydration. The "if" is because the dog may have died by this time.

  • Otitis externa—Ear infections—Inflammation and infection of the outer ear, especially dogs with long, floppy ear flaps. Dirt and moisture collect and breed yeast and bacteria. Ear hair and wax contribute to the infection environment. If left untreated it can become a serious infection. If at home treatments with cleaning and meds don't work and the problem worsens, surgery might be the last resort.

  • Cataracts—Eye Problem. Hazy or cloudy vision which if not treated can lead to total blindness.

    Cerebellar ataxia—An hereditary problem of cell degeneration in the cerebellum of the brain. This is called hereditary ataxia when just one cell type degenerates and the dog can still walk and she can live with the disability. More severe cases will totally incapacitate the dog. I can not find any evidence of a cure for this.

  • Elbow Dysplasia—Dislocated elbow joint. This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the dog is born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Epilepsy—A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up at around the age of 2 to 4 or 5 years in dogs. See your vet to help control the diocese.

  • Allergies - The books are not clear and there are so many different kinds of allergies - probably refers to skin. Any excessive itching or redness or scaling should be checked by a vet.

Other health problems could occur with your Spinone Italiano. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide


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