Spinone Italiano, or Italian Griffon, is one of the oldest griffon (wire coated) breeds, with ancestors known to be in existence more than 2,500 years ago. The breed originated in the Piedmont region of Italy. These dogs are very capable gun dogs, pointers, and enthusiastic retrievers.
Spinone Italiano dogs stand 22 to 27 inches tall and weigh between 65 and 90 pounds. The head is long, the eyes are large, and the ears are hanging. The dog has a square build with a deep chest and a docked tail. The coat is weather-resistant, wire-haired, dense, stiff, and flat or slightly wavy. The face has eyebrows, a beard, and a mustache. Some of the acceptable colors include white, orange and white, and brown and white. The coat needs to be brushed weekly, and once in a while will need hand-stripping to remove dead coat. Potential Spinone Italiano owners should discuss coat care with a Spinone Italiano breeder. The beard can be messy and may need daily care.
Spinone Italiano is an active dog breed. These dogs enjoy walks but should also have a chance to run. Many Spinone Italiano dogs have excelled in canine sports, including agility, flyball, tracking, search and rescue, and even carting. The Spinone Italiano is also an excellent swimmer. Early socialization is very important for these dogs. Unsocialized dogs may be timid or fearful. A puppy class is a great idea, but socialization should continue into young adulthood.
Happy, upbeat, and playful, the Spinone Italiano dogs thrive on training that is fun and not too repetitive. They can have a stubborn streak, though, and sometimes need additional motivation to perform a given task or exercise. These dogs crave interaction with their people and need a situation where they are not alone for too many hours each day. When alone and bored, these dogs have been known to become escape artists, jumping fences or tunneling under them. Spinone Italiano dogs are great with children and are also good with other dogs. Primary health concerns include hip dysplasia and cerebellar ataxia.