An animal fact file about the most family friendly of all Italian dog breeds : the Spinone Italiano. Size, character, temperament and cost - and what they mean for you as potential owner.
So you're thinking of having a Spinone Italiano dog in your home? Great idea!
But before you commit, we've put together an animal fact file for you so you know exactly what you're getting.
Each section gives facts about this loveliest of Italian dog breeds together with our comments about what this might mean for you and your family if you're lucky enough to be adopted by a Spinone.
Often the first question we're asked. The Spinone is still classed in the U.S. as one of the rare Italian dog breeds, so buying one can be an expensive business.
An Italian Spinone pup will cost somewhere between £500 and £700 (roughly €565 to €700 or US$766 US$1,000)to buy.
There is a condition in this breed known as 'Cerebellar Degeneration' or 'Cerebellar Ataxia' which can affect pups up to the age of twelve months. Should your Spinone puppies be unlucky enough to inherit this, you will have the additional cost of vet's bills to take into account.
Apart from this condition - which is becoming more and more rare - the Spinone is one of the most healthy of all the Italian dog breeds, so your bills for vet's fees will be at the lower end of the scale.
However, because their life expectancy is on average ten to twelve years (our Spinone is thirteen!) the cost of food and vet's bills in their older years must not be overlooked.
It means you need to be sure before you consider buying a puppy that you will be able to afford not just the initial cost, but ongoing expenses.
You may also want to consider looking into adopting a dog from Spinone Rescue - but remember, you will still have day-to-day costs to consider.
|The adult Italian Spinone.|
The Spinone is classed as a large to medium sized of the Italian dog breeds.
The male stands anything between 58 and 68 centimetres (23" to 27") tall, the bitch slightly less.
A strong, square, solidly rugged dog, the Sinone's muscular build makes him quite heavy. A full-grown adult male will weigh between 34 and 39 kilos (75 to 86 lbs), the bitch between 29 and 34 kilos (64 to 75 lbs).
This is not a small dog. If you live in an apartment be aware of how much space you have.
If you have small children remember that, even though in many people's view (including ours) the Spinone Italiano dog is the best family pet ever, his weight can mean he will knock a little person over if he bumps into them by accident.
The Spin has the distinctive long, floppy ears of a scent-hound (lovely to stroke!) and a rough, wiry coat which makes him the ideal Italian hunting dog and is also very easy to maintain.
He is not a heavy shedder but does moult a little for most of the year.
Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the Spinone is his long eyebrows and beard. They give him a kindly look, which is actually very true to his nature and makes him a great hit with families.
He's very low maintenance. You won't have much problem with seasonal shedding, and the Spin's coat doesn't need much looking after - a brush once or twice a week is plenty.
His ears will need looking after, just to make sure he doesn't pick up seeds or dirt that can irritate. Cleaning once a week is all it takes.
But that long beard so distinctive of the breed will pick up mud, water, sand, the occasional bit of dinner - anything he puts his head near! A Spinone who shakes after drinking will shower you, whether you want it or not!
Eager to please and very good-natured, the Italian Spinone is the most easy-going and loving of all the Italian dog breeds who, although he likes exercise and being outdoors, also loves being a couch potato.
|The Italian Spinone loves company.|
He will enjoy being part of a family but he's not a dominant dog so feels safer when he's low down in the pecking order. He needs to feel like an additional child in your home rather than an adult.
A dog who loves attention, he will give affection and adores receiving it - so be prepared to spend a lot of your time and energy giving lots of hugs.
It means the Spinone makes a lovely, affectionate, family pet and is ideal in a household with children. He will be incredibly patient and kind, and will also provide hours of entertainment in the role he loves most - family clown!
And finally, it does mean that you need to have a sense of humour. Have a look at this story of Italian Spinone puppies and you'll see why!
How easily trained is the Spinone?
Very. The Spin is an intelligent, optimistic dog, laid back, happy and easily satisfied, naturally obedient and absolutely loves to please. All those things make him very easy to train and an excellent agility dog.
Training the Spinone will also help to use some of his natural energy and stamina. As an Italian hunting dog his natural stance is to want to be occupied. Training him helps occupy his mind.
Don't get a Spinone if you're going to be out of the house all day. If he's left alone, like any dog (or child for that matter!) he can become withdrawn, bored and destructive.
You need to make sure your Spinone has plenty to occupy him. He has enormous stamina and will need at least two hour-long walks each day.
It would help if his home has an enclosed space for him to run in - make sure it's fenced as the Spinone can jump and loves to dig - but it's not essential.
Training should be fair but firm : this dog needs to have rules set for him, otherwise the lovable clown may turn into an adolescent delinquent!
If you follow those simple rules, your Spinone Italiano will want to do all in his power to please you.