Spinone Italiano
Brown roan
Other names
  • Spinone
  • Bracco Spinoso[1]: 250 
  • Italian Spinone
  • Italian Griffon
  • Italian Wire-haired Pointer
  • Italian Coarse-haired Pointer
Height Males 60–70 cm[2]
Females 58–65 cm[2]
Weight Males 32–37 kg[2]
Females 28–30 kg[2]
Coat rough, thick and flat
Colour solid white, white with brown or orange markings, or brown or orange roan
Kennel club standards
Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Spinone Italiano[a] is an Italian breed of hunting dog, traditionally used for tracking, for pointing and for retrieving game.[1][3][4][5]


Detail of a fresco by Andrea Mantegna in the Camera degli Sposi of the Palazzo Ducale of Mantua, circa 1470

The origins of the Spinone are unknown.[1]: 250  Rough-haired dogs of pointer type have been present in the Italian peninsula at least since the Renaissance. In a fresco painted by Andrea Mantegna in about 1470 in the Camera degli Sposi of the Ducal Palace of Mantua, in Lombardy, in northern Italy, a dog of this kind is shown lying under the chair of the duke, Ludovico III Gonzaga.[1]: 250  Jacques Espée de Sélincourt, in his Le Parfait Chasseur of 1683, says of griffon dogs that "the best come from Italy and from Piedmont".[6][7]: xxviii 

The modern Spinone originated in Piedmont, in north-western Italy, in the nineteenth century and was for some time the most important hunting breed of that region.[1]: 250  During the Second World War it was much used by the partisans, both to track enemies and to carry food.[1]: 250  After the War, breed numbers were much reduced; a breed society, the Famiglia dello Spinone, was formed in 1949,[8] and the breed was reconstituted from about 1950 onwards.[9] The Spinone was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1955.[10] A second breed society, the Club Italiano Spinoni, was established in 1973.[8]

In the period from 2010 to 2018, new registrations in Italy varied from about 400 to about 650 per year; in every year, the orange-and-white colouring represented slightly over half of the total.[3]


The Spinone is roughly square in outline when seen from the side – the length of the body is approximately equal to the height at the withers. It is a strong, well-muscled and solidly-built dog suitable for hunting over any kind of ground. It swims well and enters cold or deep water without hesitation.[9]

The coat is rough, thick and flat, with little undercoat; it is about 4 to 6 cm (1.5 to 2.5 in) long, rather shorter on the head, feet and front of the legs. Hair on the eyebrows and lips is longer and stiffer, thus forming a thick moustache and beard.[6] It may be: solid white; white with orange speckling or markings; white with chestnut brown markings; or brown or orange roan.[6]

A 2024 UK study found a life expectancy of 11.9 years for the breed compared to an average of 12.7 for purebreeds and 12 for crossbreeds.[11] Neurological disorders that have been identified in the breed include cerebellar abiotrophy[12]: 308  and idiopathic epilepsy.[13]


  1. ^ Italian pronunciation: [spiˈnoːne itaˈljaːno]; plural Spinoni Italiani, pronounced [spiˈnoːni itaˈljaːni]


  1. ^ a b c d e f [Bruce Fogle] (2013). The Dog Encyclopedia. London; New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 9781465408440.
  2. ^ a b c d FCI Standard N° 165: Spinone Italiano (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Accessed July 2020.
  3. ^ a b Spinone Italiano (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Accessed July 2020.
  4. ^ Tamsin Pickeral (2014). Dogs Unleashed. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 9781626860681.
  5. ^ Spinone (in Italian). Enciclopedie online. Roma: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed July 2020.
  6. ^ a b c FCI-Standard N° 165: Spinone Italiano (Italian Spinone). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed July 2020.
  7. ^ Jacques Espée de Selincourt (1683). Le Parfait Chasseur, pour l'instruction des personnes de qualité ou autres qui aiment la Chasse, pour se rendre capables de cét Exercice, apprendre aux Veneurs, Picqueurs, Fauconniers, & Valets de Chiens à servir dans les grands Equipages (in French). Paris: Gabriel Quinet. "... les meilleurs viennent d'Italie & de Piemont".
  8. ^ a b Fondazione (in Italian). Club Italiano Spinoni. Accessed July 2020.
  9. ^ a b Descrizione: Spinone Italiano (in Italian). Ente Nazionale della Cinofilia Italiana. Archived 6 June 2013.
  10. ^ FCI breeds nomenclature: Spinone Italiano. Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed July 2020.
  11. ^ McMillan, Kirsten M.; Bielby, Jon; Williams, Carys L.; Upjohn, Melissa M.; Casey, Rachel A.; Christley, Robert M. (2024-02-01). "Longevity of companion dog breeds: those at risk from early death". Scientific Reports. 14 (1). Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-50458-w. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 10834484.
  12. ^ Ronaldo C. Da Costa, Curtis W. Dewey (2015). Practical Guide to Canine and Feline Neurology, third edition, ebook. Ames, Iowa: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781119062042.
  13. ^ L. De Risio, R. Newton, J. Freeman, A. Shea (2015). Idiopathic Epilepsy in the Italian Spinone in the United Kingdom: Prevalence, Clinical Characteristics, and Predictors of Survival and Seizure Remission. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 29: 917–924. doi:10.1111/jvim.12599

Further reading