Before you buy, why not consider Spinone rescue centres? Here we tell Ellie's story - a tale of successful animal adoption.
We've always chosen animal adoption rather than buying a dog. There are so many unwanted dogs in the world that it seems right to give one of them a home if we can.
So when we decided we'd like a Spinone Italiano dog in our life, having seen and loved them in Italy, it was natural to find a Spinone rescue dog.
To make sure this was the perfect dog breed for our family we did a lot of research first.
We looked at the facts and figures of the Spinone as one of the large Italian dog breeds, we read about the Spinone's personality, the Spinone as Italian hunting dog and what more that told us about the Spin personality, and similarly as family pet.
We researched the difficulties of cerebellar degeneration, and with that information to hand we weighed up the pros and cons of being owned by a Spinone - and we'd advise you to do the same.
You're very unlikely to find Spinoni in need of re-homing at dog adoption centres. Breeders are very careful about who they sell dogs to, and not many are in need of re-homing. Those that are tend to be re-homed by the Spinone Clubs in each country.
We contacted them by e-mail, spoke to some extremely friendly people on the phone, filled some very simple forms in, had our house checked for suitability - and waited.
Within a few weeks we got a phone call telling us about a twelve-year old bitch called Ellie. Her owners had sadly split up and neither could keep her. So at the grand old age of 62 ( in people years!) Ellie needed a home.
She had been matched with us by the Spinone rescue re-homing manager : Ellie needed a home with another dog (and we have Nero, our greyhound) and a family where there was someone round all day.
As an older dog she would not need a massive amount of exercise, but given her age we needed to be aware of potential veterinary bills.
We have given a home to older dogs before. We were lucky enough to be able to afford any bills. We wanted a Spinone.
What could we say but - yes please!
So one sunny Saturday, Cath met Ellie and her owner in a service station on the M6 motorway. It was an emotional time for Ellie's owner, but she knew she was doing the right thing in re-homing her and Cath reassured her about the life Ellie would have and the care she would be given in her old age.
As for Ellie - a typical Spinone Italiano dog, she's not phased by anything. She hopped out of one car into another, and Ellie was ours!
Does this dog looked stressed to you?.
Having been through animal adoption from dog rescue centres before, we were expecting some initial settling-in problems : some crying perhaps (the dog, not us!), not eating, perhaps weeing in the house.
What did we get? Not a thing! No whining, no anxiety - and she ate like a horse!
Not at all. It was simple, friendly and quite quick. Are we glad we did it?
Would you be equally glad you did it?
If you have patience (you won't have a dog tomorrow, you will have to wait till the right match comes along);
If you don't want a puppy (Spinone puppies don't normally need re-homing);
If you don't mind dealing with some potential initial problems (although the Spinone Italiano dog is very adaptable) then
Absolutely definitely - YES!
Sadly, in early 2014, Ellie went to the rainbow bridge. We were heartbroken. She had a form of liver cancer which, despite our best efforts and those of our vet, could not be cured, nor even managed.
She was in no pain. She died peacefully, with her head in my lap. I cried buckets, but not until she was gone. She was always sensitive to my feelings, and I didn't want her to worry.
During her time with us Ellie went from strength to strength - and so did we. She added such a lot to our lives. She was a typical Italian Spinone dog : lots of stamina, loved flushing birds out on the nearby sand dunes, ate anything she could get her paws on, loved the sun and sleeping on the couch, got on superbly well with all the other animals in our lives, and had a wonderful sense of humour.
I miss her to this day.
Ellie's favourite pastime.