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As the name suggests, the Italian Spinone originated in Italy, and is one of the world’s most ancient breeds. It is a rare breed outside its hometown and has only arrived in the UK in the 90s. This large gundog weighs 64 to 86 pounds and stands 58 to 70 centimetres at the withers. Because of its placid and calm nature, it is a good choice for new dog owners.
Are you thinking of getting an Italian Spinone? Here is a brief background of this large ancient Italian dog.
The exact origins of the Italian Spinone are unclear except for the fact that it originated in Italy and is one of the most ancient breeds in the world. Some believe that it was developed from Italian hounds that were crossed with the Barbet and the French Griffon. Others claim that it descended from the Segugio Italiano, a hound that was around since the Middle Ages.
The main purpose of Italian Spinones was to accompany hunters as they excelled at pointing and retrieving. The breed flourished in its home country because of its great working abilities and personable and fun-loving characteristics. It only found its way to the UK in the 1990s, gaining a champion status in 1994. Albeit gradually gaining popularity outside Italy, the breed remains rare. It is recognised by The Kennel Club under the Gundog group.
The Italian Spinone was developed as a hardy and robust gundog that could adapt well to any terrain. With an average weight of 64 to 86 pounds and height of 58 to 70 centimetres, it is squarely built dog of solid construction. It may be a large dog but it has an endearing look due to its humanlike expressions. It has an oval-shaped head with a pronounced occiput and well-defined median furrow. It has large roundish eyes that are set well apart on its face, which can be in different shades to match its coat. It has pendulous triangular ears that are slightly rounded at the tips and are covered in dense hair. It has a large and spongy-looking nose that boasts wide-open nostrils.
Spinones have a thick and leathery close-fitting skin covered with a coarse, dense and flat coat. Completing its charming appearance are thicker and longer hair in its eyebrows, as well as its moustache and beard. In addition, the hair on the backs of their legs is a rough brush but without fringes. According to KC standards, the accepted colours are white, white and brown, brown roan, white and orange, and orange roan.
Italian Spinones have moderately high grooming needs. They do need to be hand stripped twice a year by a professional groomer to keep the coat in top condition and easier to maintain. In between visits, keeping their coats clean and tidy is quite easy as it only takes brushing twice or thrice a week. Brushing becomes frequent during spring and autumn when they shed more. They can be bathed as needed, about four times a year because they are relatively clean dogs although they have a musky smell, which isn’t necessarily unpleasant. Moreover, moustaches and beards need to be washed and dried or wiped with a damp cloth daily after eating to ensure they are kept clean. Hair on its toes and pads also need to be trimmed regularly.
Apart from its coat, also check your Spinone’s ears as too much wax build-up can cause painful infections that are challenging to clear up. Its nails should also be trimmed regularly since overgrowth can be painful and annoying for your dog. Lastly, promote healthy oral hygiene by brushing its teeth twice a week and giving it dental chews regularly.
The Italian Spinone is a large dog that is placid, laid-back and eager to please, great characteristics that big dogs should possess to lessen the chances of accidental physical harm. This reason also makes the breed a good choice for first-time dog owners and families with children as long as it is given enough exercise considering its high energy. However, as with any breed, interactions with children should always be supervised and young ones must be taught how to approach dogs.
It is worth knowing that Italian Spinones are dogs known to slobber and snore. They thrive in the countryside with big areas they can freely run in. That being said, this breed should live indoors with its family and should not be left alone or it will be destructive. It needs to be in a home where one person is always left behind when everyone else is out because it suffers from separation anxiety. Well-socialised Spinones get on well with other pets especially those they grew up with.
This highly intelligent breed can be trained easily as it is generally biddable. Training should start early so rules and boundaries are set especially that it takes time for Spinones to mature. Being an energetic breed, training must always be interesting because it needs mentally stimulating activities to be truly happy.
A typical serving for an adult Italian Spinone is 2.5 to 4 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. However, it is worth mentioning that the amount of food depends on its age, size, build, exercise needs, and metabolism. While understanding the basic nutritional needs of breeds is important, there is no one-size-fits-all approach in dog nutrition. Feel free to consult your veterinarian regarding its nutritional needs.
Typical calorie needs of adult Italian Spinones per day:
The large Italian Spinone, having bred as a gundog, requires more protein and less carbs in order to support their high energy requirements. Protein from beef, lamb, chicken, and eggs is a key nutrient in building muscles. Also provide supplements that would take care of your dog’s joints as it is prone to Hip Dysplasia.
The Italian Spinone is known to have a longer lifespan compared to other breeds of the same size. If properly cared for, it can live up to 13 years. It is also predisposed to only a number of hereditary health conditions such as Cerebellar Ataxia and Hip Dysplasia.
Spinones may be laid-back at home but they need to be given plenty of physical and mental stimulations to be truly happy and healthy. Not being able to let off steam may lead to unwanted behaviours. It needs at least 2 hours’ worth of exercise spread throughout the day in the form of walks, games and free time at a securely fenced yard. If your lifestyle does not allow you to provide for its exercise needs, this breed may not be the best choice for you.
Buying a well-bred Italian Spinone pedigree puppy may cost you at least £900 and since only a few puppies are bred and registered each year, you will need to go on a waiting list. To ensure it stays healthy, be ready to spend £50-£60 a month on high-quality dog food. You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment such as food bowls, leads, collars, and beds, which will likely be about £200 depending on the brand.
When it comes to healthcare, you need to be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. You can offset some medical bills if you get a pet insurance, which can range from £20 for a time-limited cover up to £30 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, size and weight, the type of cover you choose, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.
Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £1000 annually. Roughly, you will be setting aside £80-£100 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose. This estimate is also exclusive of walking or grooming services that you might want to use at times.
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