Just The Facts Ma’am


Does the Spinone have an odor?

Contrary to what you may have read or been told, the Spinone does not typically have an oily skin accompanied by an offensive body odor.  Though they are quite happy to go play in the mud, they “self clean” very nicely.  Given the opportunity to remain so, other than the beard which does need attention, the Spinone is a very clean dog.


Do all Spinone drool?

Most dogs will drool to some degree when nervous or they have been playing hard.  However, as a general rule, the Spinone are not all wet bearded, slimy faced dogs that continuously sling slime.


Do Spinone shed?

Certainly they do shed some though not nearly as much as many other breeds.  A thorough brushing weekly will keep the loose hair deposited in your home to a minimum.


Does a Spinone have to hunt to be fulfilled?

Absolutely not!  Though serious breeders are working hard to keep the hunting instincts intact, not every Spinone even wants to hunt.   However, because of their strong pointing instincts, your Spinone will very likely point birds and small game in your back yard or on your walks through the woods.


Are Spinone really supposed to be shy and retiring?

No!  The Spinone is a docile, non-confrontational breed.  This is not a breed that typically goes charging up to strangers.  Instead, it will back off for a few minutes to make sure that the person does not pose a physical threat then approach the stranger.  Almost never over exuberant around strangers, the Spinone could be termed “sensibly cautious”. 


What about socializing a Spinone?

This is a must for this breed.  Without proper socialization, a Spinone, like many other breeds, can become shy and fearful of the unknown. 


Will shipping a puppy cause shyness?

Handled correctly, a properly socialized Spinone puppy should not be adversely affected by shipment.  We would not recommend shipping during the first fear period of 10 to 12 weeks.  Always check with your breeder before assuming that they will ship your puppy.  Many breeders like me require the new owners to pick up their puppies at the breeder’s home.


I have allergies to dogs.  Would a Spinone work for me?

Probably not...we do not recommend the Spinone for folks with allergies to pets.


Is a Spinone stubborn?

A Spinone is one of the easiest of breeds to train.  In terms of stubbornness, they are very low on the scale since they are so willing to do whatever their owner wishes.  However, being extremely intelligent, the Spinone can be very creative and will make their desires quite clear, which leads some people to think they are stubborn.  Unlike some other breeds, a Spinone will not do endless repetitions.  After a couple of times, they “get it” and are ready to move on to something new.


Would the Spinone make a good protection dog?

If you mean sounding the alarm, the Spinone is outstanding.  However, if you require more protection than that, you would be better served to look at a different breed.


Is it true that a Spinone has never bitten a person?

Unfortunately, it is not.  A Spinone is a very non-aggressive breed of dog and will avoid confrontations whenever possible.  However, there have been a few reports where Spinone have bitten, usually when an owner got in the way of an altercation between dogs or when protecting its young.


Regarding health issues, I have been told that all Spinone that come from England have hip dysplasia.  Is that true?

Absolutely not.  Hip dysplasia continues to be the primary health issue in this breed as it is in many others.  However, a dog with English background is no more likely to be affected with hip dysplasia that one with an Italian background.  Responsible breeders are certifying their breeding stock clear of hip dysplasia by either OFA or PennHip.


What about Cerebellar Ataxia in the Spinone?

A central nervous system disease that is lethal to those affected by the age of one year, it has been traced to one dog who was imported from Italy to England.  There have been only 23 documented cases of CA in the world, none in the US except for a test litter that was bred for research.  Despite rumors and scare tactics, the likelihood of obtaining a puppy born in the US that could succumb to CA is so slim as to be nearly non-existent.

In 2008, a test was developed to determine if a dog is a carrier of CA.  No longer do we have to worry about whether a dog is a carrier because we have the test and can know for certain.


Are there other health issues we should be concerned about?

Responsible breeders of Spinone are being pro-active in regard to health issues so you will find many are testing for potential problems so we can head them off.  Among the other tests that are being done are elbows, CERF (eyes) and cardiac certifications.

Among health concerns that are not inheritable, we will find ear infections high on the list.  A regular schedule of cleaning will usually keep this problem in check.  As in most deep chested breeds, the Spinone can be susceptible to bloat. 


                                                Pat Fendley

                                                2005  (updated 2009)


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