Spinone Italiano

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© iStock.com/Motionshooter

They're one of the oldest hunting breeds on Earth.


Spinone Italiano Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Spinone Italiano Locations

Spinone Italiano Locations

Spinone Italiano Facts

Fun Fact
They're one of the oldest hunting breeds on Earth.
Good-natured, hard-working, and playful

Spinone Italiano Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • White
  • Orange
Skin Type
12 – 14 years
64-81 lbs

Spinone Italiano as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1,200 - $2,000
Dog group
Male weight
70-81 lbs
Female weight
62-66 lbs

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The Spinone Italiano breed has been called many names over the years, but the current designation is derived from Bracco Spinoso, an earlier name. It means “prickly pointer,” referencing their rough coats, which protect them from thorny shrubs.

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With their bushy eyebrows, exaggerated beards, and soulful eyes, Spinoni Italiani have the appearance of a serious old man—and it’s true that they’re serious workers that are also some of the most competent and versatile hunting dogs on earth. In fact, they’re one of the oldest hunting dog breeds in existence. Their origin is unknown but there is evidence of their existence already in the 1400s.

They’re capable of functioning as pointers, retrievers, and hunters as the situation warrants. They’re also a playful breed with a serious goofy side and a huge sense of affection for their caregivers.

Their gregarious personalities and easy-going natures make the Spinoni Italiani a great choice for families, but they also need a lot of love and attention—as well as a decent amount of physical exercise—to thrive in a household.

3 Pros and Cons of Ownership

Let these facts help you decide if this breed is the right fit for your home.

Athletic and playful, the Spinone Italiano is the perfect companion for active families and individuals.A Spinone Italiano becomes anxious when left alone for long periods and destructive when it doesn’t have a purpose to pursue.
The dog’s easygoing personality makes it a great choice for families of any size, and it gets along capably with other dogs as well.This dog can be easily distracted, and its vigorous nature means that chasing it can be exhausting.
Intelligent working dogs, the breed is capable of working as pointers, hunters, and retrievers.This dog is prone to slobbering, a trait that is exacerbated in the presence of water or food.
Running and playing Spinone Italiano dog.

The Spinone Italiano dog is athletic and capable of working as a pointer, hunter, or retriever.

Health and Entertainment for your Spinone Italiano

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Size and Weight

Muscular and stocky, the Spinone Italiano has been bred to run down its prey until the prey is tired rather than overcome it with raw acceleration. Females are roughly two feet long, on average, and can weigh up to 75 pounds. Males tend to have a few extra pounds and an extra inch or two on their female counterparts.

Height (Male) 23 – 27 inches
Height (Female) 22 – 25 inches
Weight (Male) 70 – 81 lbs
Weight (Female) 64 – 75 lbs

Common Health Issues

Spinoni Italiani are among the healthiest hunting dogs around, but that doesn’t mean that they’re immune to health issues. Hip or elbow dysplasia—an issue where the bone grows abnormally—is a relatively common physical issue but not necessarily a serious one. This breed has also known for hypothyroidism and an eye condition known as entropion. Most recurring health issues in a Spinone Italiano are treatable and not life-threatening.

The main issues to look for with a Spinone Italiano are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Entropion
  • Hypothyroidism


Just as the Italians have a passion for life, so does the Spinone Italiano. This dog combines a muscular and well-formed body with a very sharp mind, and it really excels when given a purpose to channel those energies. But while a Spinone Italiano needs a decent amount of physical exertion, it is gentle, good-natured, and a bit goofy. The Spinone Italiano rarely meets anyone it doesn’t instantly consider a friend, and that extends to dogs as well as people. Just take care that it is properly socialized before introducing it to cats. This is a hunting dog through and through, and it possesses a relatively strong prey instinct. The Spinone Italiano isn’t especially known for barking, so excessive barking can be a sign of stress or boredom.


Spinoni Italiani dogs and puppies are rather unique in terms of their looks and their personalities, and that means that there are some considerations to keep in mind when caring for one. From grooming its coarse coat to keeping its bright mind occupied, here’s everything a new pet parent needs to know about raising a Spinone Italiano.

Best Dog Food

There is nothing in particular about the Spinone Italiano that requires you to create a specialized dietary regimen. But there are some factors that can affect its appetite. Be sure that the dog has a diet suitable to its age and that it’s eating and drinking fresh water at regular intervals.

Spinoni Italiani can be picky eaters, and they’re also somewhat prone to letting their stress affect their dietary habits. Being left alone or being in a stressful environment can lead to over-or under-eating. Providing a quiet place to eat will ensure that they don’t deal with discomfort or bloating.

The Spinone Italiano tends to be impressively healthy, but owners naturally want the best for their companions.

So, A-Z Animals says the best dog food for the Spinone Italiano is Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Cod Formula Dry Dog Food.

Here’s a high protein recipe with glucosamine, EPA, and Omega-3s for long-lasting joint mobility. The precise balance of fat and protein is designed to nourish active dogs and transform their exercise into lean muscle.

You can find Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance Dog Food on Chewy and Amazon.

Best Fish Recipe
Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Cod Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Purina Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Cod Recipe
  • High protein dog food contains 30% protein and 20% fat for lean muscle and metabolism needs
  • Glucosamine and EPA for joint health and mobility

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Maintenance And Grooming

The thick and bristly coat of the Spinone Italiano requires significantly less care than you might imagine. You’ll need to use a combination of brushing and stripping to ensure that the dead hair is stripped away and the coat is left healthy and comfortable. This can be handled by a salon, but it’s also easy for a pet parent to learn. Remember that the coat serves to protect this breed from the elements, so there’s no need to preen too much. They should rarely need to be bathed, but you should have its nails trimmed, teeth brushed, and ears cleaned with normal regularity.


The Spinone Italiano was bred to be one of the few all-around hunting dogs, and it is smart enough to know what that’s worth. Housetraining and the basics of obedience will usually be easy, but you can expect the dog to try to negotiate or withdraw its interest once training becomes too rigorous.

With the right training, this dog can excel as a sporting or agility dog, but it requires walking a careful line between holding it accountable and pushing it too hard. For the most part, expect a dog that will capably fulfill your commands but occasionally push back depending on its mood.


A Spinone Italiano doesn’t require the amount of physical exertion that a Jack Russell Terrier, German Shepherd, or Golden Retriever demands, but that doesn’t mean that it can just laze around. This breed needs up to an hour a day of activity to stay healthy and happy, and it is the type of dog that can really benefit from having access to a full yard. Just keep in mind that a big yard isn’t a replacement for social activity.

A Spinone Italiano craves human affection, and play is as much about exercising as it is wearing out the dog. Being as friendly as they are, this breed can really enjoy visits to the dog park as well. These easy-going dogs often like to lounge around, but don’t let that dissuade you from keeping them to their regular exercise routines. These dogs are prone to overeating when bored and gaining weight steadily when not kept on an active exercise regimen.


Two beautiful Spinone Italiano puppies playing in the grass.

Two beautiful Spinone Italiano puppies

of two different color types, and both eager for activity



The normal facts for raising a puppy apply to Spinone Italiano puppies, and you shouldn’t have to make any changes to accommodate their unique personalities. As active dogs, you can expect them to be doubly active puppies. Fortunately, they acclimate well to people and other dogs naturally, but you may want to socialize them to better interact with cats and smaller dogs. While these puppies are smart enough to distinguish between hunting and playtime, they do have an innate inclination to chase after smaller pets. Properly socializing your Spinone Italiano puppy can help reduce the risk of it developing social anxiety or overeating problems as it grows older.


The gregarious disposition Spinoni Italiani extend to adults and other dogs is extended to children as well. Thanks to the fact that they enjoy playing and snuggling in equal measure, they can adapt well to the mood of a child, and their easy-going nature and sturdy build mean that they’re pretty mellow about the antics of children. Kids six years or older and trained in the responsible handling of pets get along dazzlingly with Spinoni Italiani.

This is a rare breed, so you’re not likely to find a rescue dedicated to Spinoni Italiani. Fortunately, they aren’t so rare that they can’t be found at shelters or more general-purpose rescues. With a little diligence, puppies can be found without going to breeders directly. If you do decide to work with breeders, be sure to seek out conscientious ones who can provide you with the paperwork and medical assurances you need before paying for them.

Similar Dogs

The Spinone Italiano is a truly unique breed and extends from one of the oldest lineages around. Despite that, these dogs have some similarities with other breeds, notably the English Setter, Australian Shepherd, and the Bernese Mountain Dog.

  • The English Setter is another playful and gentle hunting dog with a lot of personality, albeit not one quite as versatile at hunting as its Italian counterpart. Despite having a slightly shorter lifespan, their temperament and purpose is quite similar.
  • The Australian Shepherd is significantly more active than the Spinone Italiano, but they still have quite a bit in common. They’re active but sociable dogs that really shine in a house where they get lots of attention.
  • The Bernese Mountain Dog shares both its work ethic and its easy-going nature with the Spinone Italiano—traits that make them perfect breeds for family pets. Unfortunately, they also share a tendency to drool.

Enough with the hard facts! Popular names for Spinoni Italiani include:

  • Dante
  • Amando
  • Fabian
  • Oria
  • Alma
  • Contessa

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


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All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
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Spinone Italiano FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does a Spinone Italiano shed?

Spinone Italianos don’t need a lot of grooming, but they are apt to shedding throughout the entire year. Fur should be stripped and brushed daily during the heavy shedding season and weekly otherwise.

What does Spinone mean in Italian?

Spinone is derived from the Italian for “thorny”, and it refers to their wiry coat that allows them to chase their prey into thorny bushes.

What is a Spinone Italiano used for?

Breeders created the Spinoni Italiani as a hunting dog — but while they’re still quite capable at that task, most of these dogs today spend their whole lifespan as family dogs. Their friendly personalities make them popular pets.

How big is a Spinone Italiano?

Females will stand between 22 and 25 inches in height. Males have a height of 23 to 27 inches.

How much does a spinone italiano weigh?

Males of the breed weigh 70 to 81 pounds, while females are slightly slimmer with an average weight of 64 to 75 pounds.

How much is a spinone italiano?

The price of a Spinone Italiano can vary, and the price can fluctuate significantly because this is a relatively rare breed. The price from breeders averages $1,200 to $2,000, but you may be able to find them cheaper at a rescue.

How do you pronounce spinone italiano?

The phonetic pronunciation of Spinone Italiano is “spi·now·nee i·taa·lee·aa·now”.

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  3. Dogtime / Accessed October 2, 2021
  4. American Kennel Club / Accessed October 2, 2021
  5. Animals Network / Accessed October 2, 2021
  6. Your Pure Bred Puppy / Accessed October 2, 2021