Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Italian Spinoni: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Italian Spinone temperament, personality, and behavior.

spinone italiano topics

Italian Spinone dog breed

Italian Spinone Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2016

The Italian Spinone Club says: "Everything about this breed suggests great strength."

Kind and patient in the home, the Italian Spinone is a serious, tireless hunting machine in the field.

Though he looks gruff, rather like a wise old grandfather, the Italian Spinone is happy and playful, even clownish.

Youngsters can be restless and require lots of attention, but adults are calm and laid-back, as long as they are given sufficient daily exercise, including swimming if possible. Remember that this is a hunting breed, not an apartment decoration.

This sweet-natured dog needs lots of early exposure to people and strange sights and sounds. When well socialized, he may turn out quite friendly or remain a bit cautious, yet poised.

Most Spinoni get along well with other animals, especially other dogs. Some individuals have a higher prey drive and will pester cats.

The Italian Spinone has an independent mind and can be stubborn, but this is not a dominant dog who needs (or who can withstand) strong-arm training methods.

He can be a jumper and digger, so make sure fences are secure. Some individuals drool, especially around food and water.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is large and sturdy, a tireless hunting machine, methodical and efficient rather than fast or flashy
  • Loves the great outdoors and thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
  • Is steady-tempered and dependable with everyone -- a decent watchdog, but not a guard dog
  • Gets along well with other dogs

A Italian Spinone may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough or left alone too much
  • A distractable mind of his own -- tends to ignore calls and commands when an interesting sight or scent catches his attention
  • "Shaggy dog syndrome," i.e. debris clinging to the coat, water soaking into the beard and dripping on your floors
  • Slobbering and drooling, especially around food and water
  • Slowness to housebreak
  • Waiting lists (hard to find)

A Italian Spinone may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Italian Spinone

If I was considering an Italian Spinone, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Spinoni Italiano MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. This breed was never intended to be a casual pet. You should be willing to take him hiking or biking or swimming, or to get involved in hunting, or tracking, or agility (obstacle course), or some other canine activity that provides an outlet for his "hardwired" desire to run and work. If you don't provide enough physical and mental exercise AND a good deal of companionship, the Italian Spinone will express his unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking.

  2. Prey drive toward smaller animals that run or fly. The Spinone Italiano is usually fine with other dogs, but as hunting dogs, some have strong instincts to chase cats, squirrels, birds, and other fleeing creatures, especially when outdoors.

  3. Mind of their own. Spinoni Italiano have an independent mind of their own, can be stubborn, and are easily distracted by exciting sights, scents, and sounds. You must show them, through absolute consistency and great patience, that you mean what you say and that they must pay attention to you.

    To teach your Spinone to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Italian Spinone Training Page discusses the program you need.

  4. "Shaggy dog syndrome." Like all shaggy dogs, the Spinone Italiano is a messy dog. Leaves, mud, snow, fecal matter, and other debris cling to his rough coat and end up deposited through your house. When he drinks, his beard absorbs water, which drips on your floors when he walks away. When he eats, his beard absorbs food so that when he sniffs your face or presses his head against your leg, YOU end up dirty, too. Big shaggy dogs are not suited to fastidious housekeepers. The Spinone sheds, too, just so you know.

  5. Slobbering. Some Spinoni tend to slobber or drool, especially after eating and drinking.

  6. Housebreaking. The pointing breeds can be a bit slow to pick this up. Expect several months of consistent crate training.

book cover To learn more about training Italian Spinoni to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Italian Spinone the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Italian Spinone. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Italian Spinone might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Italian Spinone home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Italian Spinone...

When you're acquiring an Italian Spinone PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Italian Spinoni who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter