Living with a Spinone

So, what is it like allowing an Italian Spinone into the family?

Well, of course, it is tremendous fun, and very rewarding.  But then we would say that, wouldn’t we? But a Spinone is certainly not for everyone. Here are some points to keep in mind if you are considering being owned by one.

1. An Italian Spinone is big. (#1)
A Spinone is a large and powerful dog. Ozzie weighs more than 40 kilos, stands almost two feet tall, and occupies a lot of space. There is a lot of muscle and bone, and a stubborn and determined mind driving it. Very little is out of reach – If we were to allow it, Ozzie could rest his head on the dining table or kitchen worksurfaces.  Standing on his hind legs, Ozzie is eye-to-eye with adults.  He has cleared 5-foot high breakwaters from a standing start, can race up steps and tiptoe head-first down steep riverbanks. He handles eight miles cross-country with ease. He can also develop considerable torque when on the lead.
All of this means that it is vital you have control. A wilful Spinone could, if it put its mind to it, wreak absolute havoc. Obviously, this applies to any dog, and in particular to any large dog, and the answer is of course good training.  Whilst we haven’t spent time teaching Ozzie party tricks, we have worked hard to teach him our rules, and rewarded him for living by them. We went to puppy training and then to ‘senior’ dog training, which was fun for everyone.  Ozzie is not perfect nor perfectly obedient, and we will always be having ad hoc ‘refresher’ sessions with him. We try to make sure that he knows his place within our ‘pack’, and deal with him firmly when he attempts to change the pecking order in his favour. Any prospective owner should be prepared to do the necessary work, or face the consequences!

2. An Italian Spinone is big. (#2)
We have had to change our car to accommodate Ozzie comfortably on longer trips, we had to rearrange the downstairs area of our house, too. A Spinone that is not going to work as a gundog will not have a docked tail, and that tail is long, expressive – and clumsy. Anything valuable/breakable needs to be out of range, which is not as easy to achieve as you might think.
We live in a relatively small cottage-style house with lots of narrow places.  These turn out to be ideal sleeping spots for Ozzie, and there is an obscure law of Spinone physics which means he will always be asleep across the doorway/directly in front of wherever you need to be.

3. An Italian Spinone is hairy.
Dog hairs. Everywhere. We cleaned the back of the car recently and could probably have made a persian rug out of the results. However, whilst that is true, it is probably because we don’t clean the car often enough. Although Ozzie does shed, it is nothing in comparison to the Rough Collie we grew up with, and most of the hair is quite short. It is also partly our fault because we do not keep his coat short, but prefer him shaggy.  This means we have more hair, more washing and more grooming than would be the case if we kept it shorter.

4. Smells.
All dogs smell.  We were warned that some Spinone can have a particularly strong ‘doggy’ smell, and that is probably true of Ozzie. Most likely we have got used to it now, but it must certainly be noticeable to other people, and no doubt we must smell ‘doggy’ to others! And then there are the ‘standard’ dog smells – wet, hairy dog is never good, and neither are the more choice smells that result from the blending of Spinone and the output of cows, foxes, badgers etc. If you are a dog owner in the country, you know what we mean. As we are all polite company, I will only allude to the interesting gastric effects that result from a Spinone eating the variety of unsuitable rubbish which they contrive to find.

5. That beard.
In common with most bearded breeds, an Italian Spinone can collect a fantastic range of dirt and debris in its beard, and then deposit it in your lap, or on furniture, or best of all on the Sunday Best of your maiden aunt when she visits. It also tries, but fails, to hold a considerable quantity of water after a drink, resulting in messy puddles, or more wet laps in the unwary. After vigorous exercise or a good game, there is also the question of saliva (or OzzieSpit, as we affectionately know it). Guessing when he is about to shake and redistribute it onto us, innocent passers-by, or surrounding walls etc. is an important ownership skill to develop early.

6. Basics.
There are a certain number of basics to consider, too. A Spinone is a large gundog from an uncommon breed. Rescue dogs are hard to come by (thank heavens) and quality puppies are sought-after. If you really want a Spinone, you may have to wait and/or be prepared to travel. Good quality puppies are not cheap, either. As a big dog, they have a healthy appetite, and deserve good quality food, as well as a supplement of fresh veg. And finally, don’t forget the £10 or so to have your dog microchipped.

7. Medicines and vets.
Most importantly, you would be barmy to own a Spinone without good quality pet insurance.  Vets bills can be breathtaking!
As we live in the countryside and by a river, where Ozzie comes into frequent contact with different livestock and all kinds of rubbish on the river banks, we follow a (mostly) regular regime of skin and stomach treatments.  You can read about this, and Ozzie’s minor allergy issues, in this post.

Be Sociable, Share!

25 Responses to Living with a Spinone

  1. Barbara AtkInson says:

    I will be a proud owner of a roan spin one puppy in October 2011. I can’t wait and appreciate reading your advice. Now will rearrange objects that are not wagging tail proof! Lol 🙂

    • Cleiton says:

      Good morning. I wdnoer if you may be able to helpme? I’m looking for a spinone pup which can be equally suited in the field as a working dog during shooting season and family pet for the rest of the year. Unfortunately we recently lost our German pointer who had become a first class gun dog and best mate! So we understand the demands of training and living with HPR dogs. Many of the breeders we have researched tend to have show’ parents, which is beautiful however I worry that their natural hunting instinct may be watered down through breeding. Is this something that you are aware of? And do you or anyone you are associated with have any litters available? I would prefer the KC registered approach if poss or at least a good idea of pedigree/hip scores/breeding conditions etc if poss. Your help would be much appreciated!RegardsDan Morris

  2. Lynn Breeuwer says:

    I don’t usually write in blogs, but I understand this one.
    Our Dea (female 3 1/2 years old) is a character.
    Her breeder, in Germany, said that a Spinone will do anything for you, . . . .
    as long as he thinks it is a good idea.
    I would like to add, . . . and after he thinks about it a bit.

    bye

    • Ozadmin says:

      Hi Lynn
      Yes, that is a Spinone down to the last detail!
      At puppy training, Ozzie watched other dogs fetching balls with bewilderment. When we threw one for him, he would look at it, look back to us, and seem to shrug. “If you want it, why did you throw it away? Go fetch it yourselves!” And then he would continue sniffing around.
      If he feels like playing, however, he will trot off to find his knotted rope, and return with it in his mouth, making a loud play growl. He drops it in your lap or on your feet, whatever you are doing. He rarely takes ‘No’ for an answer!

  3. pat lemin says:

    All the comments are completely correct l had to wait 18months for my spinone he is now 9months old he goes everywhere with us attracts alot of attention which he loves, he is brown roam and growing fast the only thing he took a fancy to was a old rug which when he got the chance he nibbled and he rearranged my garden for me but that is not a problem at least it was not the house we put up with all the dribble and slober because we adore him as he does us his name is luka .

  4. Ellie smith says:

    Hi there. As you said you have to travel to get a good quality spin which we did. 10-11hour round trip from west coast of Scotland to Stafford. We picked up our angel with horns, murrin in oct last year. She is without doubt the gentlest, calmest, most persistent assassin of our garden. and we love her to bits. We have 2 beardie collies whom “she” rounds up whilst out playing or walking. We think they just tolerate her because she is young but certainly keep her in her place. Your website describes perfectly a spinone. Our biggest problem is her pulling on lead. We have tried various collars harnesses etc and numerous ways of training and yet she pulls. And you know how strong they can be. Any sugg would be helpful. Thanx again for ur site. It was fun.
    Ellie

    • Ellie smith says:

      Have recently discovered halti harnesses. They are a godsend for a strong wilful spin. What a difference with her walking. More of a pleasure now. And less strained shoulders and wrists. Ellie Smith

    • Annie says:

      Just reading this for the first time so apologies. We have an 11 month old spin called Bruna. We walk her on a harness called “easy walk”. It has a D ring at the front which lies horizontal on her chest. It works a treat. We have several friends with different breeds who have tried out Bruna’s harness and have bought one after trying it. It certainly does the job!!

  5. Kay says:

    I had my Jaffa for 11 wonderful and challenging years. He developed bone cancer which floored our strong wonderful boy, we had him put to sleep at home and we scattered his ashes across the road from us on the downs where he took great delight in ignoring me when it was time to come home,many a time my children made their own way home from school as I was waiting for Jaffa to decide to come home.We had a touring caravan Jaffa was always laid out comfortably while the rest of us struggled to get comfortable.The tele by the back door where he came in and out was always covered in slobber ,as I would be many times during our walks.He ate the dining room chairs pulled the chair rail off of the wall pulled up the Lino in the kitchen.He was never left for more than 5 hours in the mornings after having had a good walk.He was an absolute thug but the best friend ever and with a wonderful sence of humour.We all loved him and still really miss him after 7years.Didnt feel that we had the stamina for another Spinone,so we have two Old English Sheepdogs sisters who we love very much and who we needed at this time ,but oh are they boring ,they are so good.If it was up to my husband we would have another spinone now.When my two girls have gone then we shall defintly have another one or probably two .Enjoy your wonderful Spinones x.

  6. Dan says:

    Good morning. I wonder if you may be able to helpme? I’m looking for a spinone pup which can be equally suited in the field as a working dog during shooting season and family pet for the rest of the year. Unfortunately we recently lost our German pointer who had become a first class gun dog and best mate! So we understand the demands of training and living with HPR dogs. Many of the breeders we have researched tend to have ‘show’ parents, which is beautiful however I worry that their natural hunting instinct may be watered down through breeding.

    Is this something that you are aware of? And do you or anyone you are associated with have any litters available? I would prefer the KC registered approach if poss or at least a good idea of pedigree/hip scores/breeding conditions etc if poss.

    Your help would be much appreciated!

    Regards

    Dan Morris

    • Wavyridho says:

      I had my Jaffa for 11 wonderful and chilaenglng years. He developed bone cancer which floored our strong wonderful boy, we had him put to sleep at home and we scattered his ashes across the road from us on the downs where he took great delight in ignoring me when it was time to come home,many a time my children made their own way home from school as I was waiting for Jaffa to decide to come home.We had a touring caravan Jaffa was always laid out comfortably while the rest of us struggled to get comfortable.The tele by the back door where he came in and out was always covered in slobber ,as I would be many times during our walks.He ate the dining room chairs pulled the chair rail off of the wall pulled up the Lino in the kitchen.He was never left for more than 5 hours in the mornings after having had a good walk.He was an absolute thug but the best friend ever and with a wonderful sence of humour.We all loved him and still really miss him after 7years.Didnt feel that we had the stamina for another Spinone,so we have two Old English Sheepdogs sisters who we love very much and who we needed at this time ,but oh are they boring ,they are so good.If it was up to my husband we would have another spinone now.When my two girls have gone then we shall defintly have another one or probably two .Enjoy your wonderful Spinones x.

  7. Ley Towers says:

    We are the proud owners of a 3 year old Spinone called Bumble. He is typical of the breed slobbery, very stubborn but wonderful with people, dogs & cats. He is an absolute joy. We keep his coat fairly short as his coat can tend to be long, he has been mistaken for an Otterhound, and on occassions a Labradoodle. I am not a big fan of the Halti but I do understand big heavy dogs can be bullish and pull. I use a gentle Leader on Bumble and that puts you in total control. My husband walks him on a slip lead but I feel more in control with the Gentle Leader – it is all a matter of choice. We have been fortunate that Bumble has not had the itchy skin but he is prone to getting stung he only needs to see a wasp and he is trying to stamp on ot so I carry around anti histamine all the time in the warmer weather it seems to stop the itch rub syndrome within the hour. Bumble was docked as my husband intended to use him on shoots but he really does not like the gun – and we felt after a couple of trys it really was not Bumble’s bag so he just rambles. We take him everywhere but it is only very recent that he will jump into the car previously he put his front paws up and waited for you to lift him in – they are late developers.
    We feel very fortunate to have such an friendly lovely chap in our lives. I would not hesitate to recommend the breed but would always point out the pit falls – if you do not mind the drool, the wet feet and dirt you could not ask for a better companion.

  8. Richard says:

    He sounds a tremendous boy!
    We weighed our little Spinone Maximus at the vets last weekend 48 kilos he’s almost 3….. indeed he is a bg fella. Yes we have lots of spit, flying debris from those slobbery chops dripping from the ceiling, walls…. wouldnt change him.
    He’s a star.

  9. Ann Bellamy says:

    Daisy is our 6 year old Spinone. We became totally besotted the moment we saw her. Our brief to the breeder was a confident dog. Daisy makes us laugh every day. She is pro-active; if we are late feeding her she tells us off, woofing and taking us to her food. If we are late walking her, she tells us off, finding her lead and flinging it at us, or whirling it around in the air and shaking her head. She squeezes herself onto a poang and refuses to budge. Her legs, head and ears hang out and through it but it is hers and when she is on it she thinks she is our equal (which of course she is). Daisy hides other dogs balls under her paw and teases them, lifting her paw up to show where it is then covering it up again. This is a thinking dog. Sometimes she is sloth like, but her brain is always active. There is no hope for us now, there will never be another dog for us but a Spinone.

  10. Chris says:

    It’s 7 years since our last Spinone passed and this article brought so many happy memories back. Oh, how true it all is, especially the saliva stalactites, hanging from the ceiling following a shake.

  11. Brenda Norcross says:

    My Spinone is 8 months old, Her name is Willow. She is brilliant. She masters everything with only two or three tries. She walks at a heal, sits when I stop, drops when told. She rings a bell at the door to go out. I love her dearly. But, she is a handful.
    I could make a new Soinone with the hair she looses each week, and I brush her every day. She loves to nibble my ears.I found out about her love of Blueberries at 6 months old, when she removed them from the counter. I have never owned a more gentle dog. She nibbles food from your hand, she never gobbles. She gives gentle kissesand loves for you to kiss her big pink heart-shaped nose. She never sn=omes down stairs in the morning without a sock in her mouth. She always greats you with excitement. I know I have not experienced the drool as of yet but it’s too late for me to care about that She is a Big part of the family. She thinks she is a lap dog at 8 mo 67lb lapdog. She loves to watch TV. She loves to learn new skills.

  12. Emma says:

    Hello, we are the proud owner of a Spinone, the beautiful Margarita. She’s gentle, intelligent, fun and a major family member already however at 6 months she is still not house trained which is starting to drive me mad. I’ve owned loads of different breeds throughout my life but never experienced this laziness for want of a better word.

    We can leave the wide open but she will still pee inside. We reward her massively when she goes out and don’t overly scold her when she’s naughty. I’ve been told that doesn’t work. I’ve been told Spinone’s aren’t the brightest but I don’t agree, I think she’s too bright.

    Any recommendations before I buy shares in kitchen roll and dettol wipes?

    Emma

  13. Chris CADMAN says:

    Does anybody know of anything that can remove SPINONE hair from car seats? I am using a “CarPet” which helps, and a Dyson hand vac, but there might be something better.The hair seems to stick to everything,including the gaps between seats and also including seat covers!
    CBC

    • Peter says:

      I use a ‘dehairer’ from Autosmart…..like a stippled rubber tube that drags the hair up , you can then just vacuum…….

  14. Evie says:

    We have just had to have our Spinone put to sleep; Frodo, He would have been 12 years old on Saturday. Our family now has an immense hole in it. He was everywhere…hair slobber, everywhere you walked he would lie across for you to step over him. He would follow you from room to room always wanting and enjoying company . He would follow me around the garden and lie by the flower beds as I tended them. Sometimes he would enjoy walking right through them and I had to create a walkway for him to travel through one , but invariably he still preferred the plant option, He hated the tumble drier washing machine hoover.–anything loud, one particular visitor to the house that was pretty loud he used to bark at and hid under the kitchen table, or at least try to, he was rather too big to make a good job of it. He was incredibly sensitive and he made it very difficult to tell him off because he would look so sad if you did. We discovered more recently that he had an absolute passion for bananas and would nudge my arm whilst I was chopping it ready for him to have at breakfast time. He was a complete character ;you would look into his eyes and feel that he was trying to communicate with you. He was regal in his stance and used to look rather like a proud lion when lying on our top lawn. He was his own ‘person’ and would choose to ignore you if he did not want to do something, but having raised three sons I would rather he had that strength of character and determination that they have all developed.

    It is only this last year that we have ever had health problems with him. His legs did become a problem and the worst final thing that happened was that he started to have fits. This was devastating and horrific so we hope now that that he is roaming around around in doggy heaven with all the over beautiful spinones….enjoy every minute that you have with your spinones as much as we did. Will love you for ever our beautiful Frodo…

  15. Lorenzo says:

    Hello everyone,

    I’m thinking to get a bird dog. I had a Brittany spaniel for 14 years. We loved her but could do without the hyper activity. When she was in my suv, I learned quickly, I had to put her in a cage. I also learned quickly the only way to shut het up from all the noise she was making due to her over excitement, was to play Loud, very loud Pavarotti. I don’t want a hyper dog again and I believe German Short Haired pointers as well as the Korthals Griffon are all super Hyper. Would the Spinone be a better option? We will be moving into a house with a large open field behind us so there will be no shortage of space to run.

    What about the Spinone drooling, will shaving their beard help when they drink water?

    Thanks for your help?

  16. Andrew says:

    Well I would just like to say that owning a Spinone is a delight, no a privilege. Now my wife and I have a brown roan called Raffles, but have had a Spinone before. This powerful breed of gundog is fun to be around, and the dogs love being around humans. Working or not a Spinone is up for an all day outings, or just a short ( well not that short ) walk in the park.
    Almost daily you will be stopped, and asked what breed is your dog. at time I now have a print off about the breed, in my coat. As you get ” I have never herd of that breed ” I have had people cross a bussy road to come and see Raffles.

  17. Michael says:

    Hi I am in the process of hopefully finding my wife and I a spinone puppy would be grateful for any leads as to the best way of going about this thanks.

  18. Clare says:

    We have the greatest of pleasure to have 2 Spinones in our lives, now both of maturing years. Maddi is 11yrs and Lily is 9yrs old, every single day they bring immense joy to us plus a lot of gobber (that’s our given name to the dribble). We find it deposited in the strangest of places and do wonder how on Earth it reached up there (when found on the ceiling).
    Maddi is a brown roan and Lily is apricot
    Love your Spinone like the day is their last, I’m constantly telling them I love them and they just look back at me with their big brown eyes as if to say ‘what not again’
    I couldn’t imagine my days and nights without them…..
    I cherish them

  19. Julie Mullen says:

    We have two spinone puppies called HERO & RALPH. We travelled to Lincolnshire to collect them (we live in Totnes, Devon). We had no idea of what was to come. They are absolutely beautiful and of course TWO PUPPIES FROM THE SAME LITTER, massively hard work. One is roan Ralph and Hero is white and orange. We realised they would need full on training if we were to handle them properly. Ralph really pulled for ages but he has got ‘heal’ straight now. We bought them two harnesses Hero is much broader so he has a K9 harness which is incredible and Ralph is more typical roan gun dog and slimmer so he has a Ruffwear All Day Adventure Harness. We find them very comical and so different to each other. Hero is the loveable giant and Ralph very focused swimming in freezing cold River Dart water. Oh yes they have eaten half of our house …well part of the wall, our antique dresser has a war wound, smashed a vase, destroyed the garden (no grass now just a lake where the rain lands). We are looking into a new car to house them properly. Life changing. Life affirming. Beautiful. Their eyes are so human pale green and hazel in the roan. I love their hound calls. Their play fighting. I love their Spinone hearts. It really is not advisable to have two pups from a litter, we knew this. We have 4 dogs in our house (two sets of brothers). Our cavaliers are old now 13 so the Spinone Mafia have brought a new lease of life to them. Our old cat is very befuddled by them but loves them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *