Italian Spinone

Also known as the Italian Pointer, the Italian Spinone is a large, stocky gundog with a harsh wiry coat and distinctive facial hair on the muzzle. The Italian Spinone forms part of the popular gundog group of dogs.

Italian Spinone Breed Group


Size of the Italian Spinone

Large. A well-muscled, robust and athletic gundog.

Country of Origin


Time of original development

The exact background and origin of the Italian Spinone is unclear. However, it’s thought to be a very old breed that was probably produced by mixing native Italian hounds with perhaps the French Griffon. The breed is a relative newcomer to the UK, not being recorded in championship shows until 1944.

The Italian Spinone through history

A competent and intelligent working dog used for hunting, pointing and retrieving. Today it is kept mostly as a companion dog and rising rapidly in popularity as an excellent family pet.The Spinone is also used today as an assistance dog because of its intelligence and trainability.

Italian Spinone introduction and overview

The Italian Spinone or Italian Pointer is a large, robust working dog in the gundog group. It is a well-muscled, slightly stocky dog with a thick wiry coat that grows to a length of 4-6cms. The Spinone has longer coarse hair on the backs of the legs called brushes. The Spinone also has distinctive muzzle hair including eyebrows, a beard and a moustache. The rims of the eyes, lips and large almost bulbous nose take on the pigmentation of the colour of the dog's coat, giving the dog an uncanny human-like appearance. White Spinones tend to have a pinkish pigmentation. The nails and pads of the Spinone also follow this pigmentation.

The Spinone has been described as loving, loyal, friendly and laid-back. The Spinone tends to love the water, and is a proficient swimmer.

The protective wiry coat makes the Spinone the ideal all-weather walking dog, as mud and water do not tend to stick to or clog the coat like so many breeds.

Italian Spinone temperament

The Italian Spinone is proving itself as a great family pet, due to its kind, affable and loyal disposition. The breed tends to mix well with other dogs, and is generally good with other pets provided proper socialisation and training is introduced from an early age. The Spinone is a large dog, so may not be suitable for families with very small children.

The Spinone is one of the more bolder pointers in the gundog group, making it a good guard dog around the home.

The Spinone is also known to snore, salivate or slobber.

Colour Varieties of the Italian Spinone

The Spinone comes in various colour variations and markings including:

  • Brown
  • Brown and White
  • Brown Roan
  • Orange and White
  • Orange Roan
  • Roan
  • White
  • White and Brown
  • White and Orange
  • White and Orange Roan

Size and weight of the Italian Spinone

Height bitch 58-65cms

Height dog 60-70cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 29-34kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 34-39kgs

Exercise requirements of the Italian Spinone

High. The Spinone requires at least 2 hours of exercise, preferably off the lead. Lack of exercise or mental stimualtion can quickly result in unwanted and destructive behaviour including separation anxiety. Prospective owners should give careful thought to the time commitment and exercise requirements of this sporty, athletic breed.

Is the Italian Spinone a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes. The breed is intelligent, easy to train and a quick learner. But any new owner must be aware of the high levels of physical exercise this breed needs and also the space it can provide for this large dog.

Italian Spinone coat length

Medium. The wiry coat grows around 4-6cms in length and provides protection from bad weather and injuries from brambles and thorns. The muzzle hair comprises of eyebrows, beard and a moustache. Meal times can be a little messy, and the muzzle hair should be checked for food deposits and foreign bodies regularly.

Grooming requirements of the Italian Spinone

Low. One of the good aspects of owning this breed is that the coarse wiry coat requires virtually no grooming apart from the muzzle hair. Spinones have almost mystical powers of repelling mud, water and mess even in foul weather!

Owners of Italian Spinones have commented that the breed does have a musky scent which is quite natural and usually not unpleasant.You may want to have your  Spinone bathed once or twice a year by a professional dog groomer. The sheer size and weight of the Spinone makes bathing at home impractical.

Ears should be check on a regular basis for foreign bodies such as thorns, brambles and ticks.


No. Despite having a short coarse coat the Italian Spinone sheds fur throughout the year, making it an unsuitable choice of dog for allergy sufferers.

Health Issues in the Italian Spinone

The Italian Spinone is generally a hardy and  healthy dog and has a lengthy expected lifespan for such  a large breed of dog. But all new owners should consult their breeder about the following known health issues that have been found in the breed including:

  • Cerebellar Ataxia - a condition affecting the nervous system, meaning the coordination of movement is not regulated.
  • As with all large breeds, vigorous exercise and jumping up and down in puppies should be avoided in the first 12-18 months to protect vulnerable joints and cartilage.

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Italian Spinone

A healthy Italian Spinone should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 10-13 years.

Approximate Italian Spinone puppy price

Expect to pay around £900 for a pedigree Spinone puppy. There are usually between 4-10 puppies in a litter. There were 516 puppies registered with the Kennel Club in 2015.

Insuring a Italian Spinone

The Spinone is a large dog with quite a high cost value, so expect to pay a higher premium than an average sized dog. Remember that whatever your dog’s premium starts out at, dog insurance will always rise with your pet’sage after about four years old and any on-going illnesses or conditions that the animal develops will also affect your annual insurance premiums from then on.

Estimating how much an Italian Spinone would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 30kgs requires 365gms of complete dry food per day. A dog weighing 35kgs requires 402gms of complete dry food per day.

The weekly cost of feeding a 30kgs bitch is around £8.90.

The weekly cost of feeding a 35kgs dog is around £9.90.

Other necessary costs to consider when owning any dog

Don’t forget to budget for routine and prevenative treatments that are not covered by pet insurance:

  • Worming treatments
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Dental treatment
  • Neutering or spaying