The Italian Spinone is, of course, a Hunting/Pointing/Retrieve (HPR) breed. Spinone are still used for hunting in Italy, and also in North America, Northern Europe and Great Britain.
Our Spinone was bought as a family pet, and so we are not really able to comment on his abilities as a working dog. But we can tell that he has a very keen sense of smell, and exhibits the Spinone’s distinctive lateral criss-crossing when he is following a scent. He is also more than happy to be at a distance from us, as long as he can see what we are up to and where we are going. This contrasts with the German Shepherds and Rough Collie we had when growing up (back when Rough Collies were working dogs) which were always close around us.
Ozzie also has the classic ‘soft mouth’ of a HPR, as was demonstrated at Christmas when he picked up and brought us a balloon without popping it. We wouldn’t recommend trying this again as if the balloon did pop it would be sure to frighten a dog, but Ozzie did this under his own steam and we certainly enjoyed the moment.
We have never felt like joining the enduring titanic struggle between heavily-armed men and tiny-brained birds, but understand that the Spinone is somewhat looked down upon in British hunting circles, presumably in favour of more traditional english breeds, although we are told they are in fact very able and willing dogs. We don’t find it hard to imagine the contrast between the steady, thoughtful and purposeful progress of a Spinone and the frantic, unguided-missile progress of Springers. Perhaps if you do have experience of working with Spinone, you could add some comments here that would provide a more balanced and informed picture?