The Italian Spinone is an uncommon breed to see around – it is still an event for us to meet another Spinone out and about, even though there is a breeder in our area. When we meet interested human beans, they generally like to have a guess at Ozzie’s breed, and these conversations usually start
“it is/is it a labradoodle…”.
Ozzie has also been mistaken for an Otterhound, various pointers and even a Vizla. On one memorable day out to Symonds Yat we rather wished we had brought a sandwich board I could wear saying
“No I’m an Italian Spinone, a kind of gundog”
as coincidence dictated that just about every second person we met wanted to know what Ozzie was. Generally we try to be patient and enjoy these conversations with these interested strangers, but on that occasion it became difficult to get about!
It is easy to see why people might guess Ozzie is a labradoodle. It is a breed with a jolly name [although it can’t beat the wonderful Cockapoo we met at dog training in that respect] that has been in the news, and also some variants of the labradoodle do look quite like a Spinone. Of course as a new ‘breed’ the Labradoodle is not yet entirely fixed and is still quite variable. In general the Labradoodles we have met have been slightly smaller than a Spinone, less solidly built, and usually with more tightly curled coats. However, the primary distinguishing feature is the nose: Spinones have that distinctive liver-coloured hooter, whilst Labradoodles have the black Lab/Poodle nose.
A note about dog allergies:
The Labradoodle was originally created in Australia as an attempt to develop an intelligent, reliable house pet that triggered as little allergic response as possible. Interestingly, although we were brought up with long-haired dogs, one of us discovered as an adult that they had an allergic reaction to most dogs, which was a concern when we were deciding to add a Spinone to our family. We adopted a ‘damn the torpedos’ approach, but in fact it hasn’t been a problem at all – thank heavens.