Our experience of having two Spinoni as part of our family for the past several years has given us first-hand insight into what makes this wonderful breed such a good family pet. We have found them to be faithful companions, tireless hiking buddies, and patient, fun-loving playmates for our grandchildren.
The Spinone Italiano makes an excellent family pet. They are gentle, friendly, and patient with children and other dogs. A Spinone is a strong, affectionate, loyal, and devoted breed of dog that loves spending time with their family.
The Spinone Italiano possesses characteristics that make them an excellent choice as a family pet. While they may not be a perfect fit for everyone, we hope the information here will help you learn more and understand why we think they make great family pets.
The Spinone Italiano Is Strong And Gentle
Most people agree that a family dog should be a loyal, affectionate, and gentle companion. If you have kids, they should also be sturdy and patient enough to put up with any rough handling by the little ones. And, they need to have an energy level that keeps up or slows down along with your family. The Spinone Italiano fits this profile perfectly.
Despite their energetic nature, Spinoni are docile and patient when interacting with their family. Their easy-going nature and physical strength make them both tolerant and resilient to rough handling by children. They can take heavy-handed petting, or the occasional ear pulling in stride. Regardless of the activity, they are affectionate, playful, and even comical, when around children.
Our grandchildren have grown up with our Spinoni and come to love them as much as we do. We’ve made it a point to teach our kids how to properly approach and interact with all dogs, not just ours. The kids and the dogs all love their time together whether it’s a game of tug or just sitting on the couch and watching TV.
If you have small children remember that, even though in many people’s view (including ours) the Spinone Italiano is the best family pet ever, they are large dogs. Due to their size, a Spinone could knock a little person over if he bumps into them accidentally. Though we’ve never had a problem, parents should always supervise their children when in the presence of any dog.
This video clip is a great example of the tremendous amount of patience Spinoni have for little people.
The Spinone is happiest when he is doing something with his family, whether it is hunting, hiking, jogging, or just lying on the couch and watching TV. Although their wiry, dense coat is made to stand up to the weather, they are a sensitive, people-oriented breed, and are meant to live inside with the family. They’re ready to go when you are, but know when to take advantage of a bit of downtime and will curl up on the couch for a nap.
Spinoni are ideal pets for the family that enjoys the outdoors. Originally bred for hunting, they love the outdoors and are considered excellent hiking dogs. The Spinone was bred to cover large distances in various terrains and as a result, has tremendous stamina. They are slow, methodical, and sure-footed on the trail and will often keep their owners in view or double-back to ensure everyone is safe and continuing on the trail.
Though the Spinone Italiano may bark at the approach of a stranger, mail carrier, or Amazon delivery, they do not possess a strong guarding instinct. However, affectionate dogs like Spinoni are extremely loyal and can develop a protectiveness over their families. This is a great trait to have in a dog. You can never have too many people or animals watching over your family.
Spinoni Are Dog Friendly
When it comes to other dogs, the Spinone has a sweet, playful attitude and loves the interaction. Our dogs regularly interact and play with other dogs at parks, hiking, and at the beach. Even though our dogs are often larger than those they come across, they consistently maintain their gentle playful nature with no sign of aggression.
Our dogs often particpate in local Spinone Italiano events where there can be as many as twenty-five other dogs present, all off-leash. The dogs have a great time playing and hanging out with other dogs that look like they do. Despite being off-leash and excited about being with their dog buddies, the Spinoni are well behaved towards one another. Again, there is no sign of aggression. It’s really fun to see.
Smaller animals, like cats, rabbits, and gerbils may bring out the hunter and tracker in this breed. The Spinone can live in peace with cats but may play-stalk. Even if he is just playing and jumping around, his paws could do damage to small household pets without meaning to.
Spinoni Have Minimal Grooming Needs
As a family pet, the Spinone Italiano doesn’t have extensive grooming needs. They are the ultimate wash and wear breed. Despite its long and coarse hair, the Spinone requires minimal grooming. They have a wiry, single-coat and they do shed moderately. Experts usually recommend a weekly brushing, bi-weekly bathing, and hand stripping to keep their coat and skin in top condition.
They do have the standard grooming needs consistent with other large dogs. Their nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Spinoni Are Generally Healthy
The Spinone Italiano is generally a healthy breed but can be predisposed to some health conditions that affect other large dog breeds, which include:
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – often known as ‘bloat’, this is a condition where the stomach twists, trapping the contents and gases. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. It’s often seen in large, deep-chested breeds.
- Hip dysplasia – hip joint laxity as a result of poor development, which will eventually lead to arthritis.
- Entropion – inward turning eyelids.
- Otitis externa – ear infections
- Cerebellar ataxia (CA) a rare, serious neurological puppy condition
A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in their lines. They will screen their dogs for genetic health conditions such as cerebellar ataxia, hip and elbow dysplasia, and eye anomalies. If not, find a breeder who does.
Spinone Exercise Needs
Though Spinoni are bred for hunting, their exercise needs are not as extensive as other breeds in the Sporting Group. Still, Spinone Italiano exercise will need to include walks and activities that stimulate these dogs mentally as well as physically.
The typical adult Spinone Italiano will need about an hour of physical activity per day, which you can accomplish with walks, jogs, swimming or bike rides, and a play period. Consistent exercise will be great for your Spinone’s peace of mind as well as your own.
Here are a few exercise ideas that our Spinoni love:
- Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 30-minute walks (or 20-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
- Fetch: A Spinone will chase a ball or stick for hours
- Tug-of-War: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; use a rope or old towel (our grandkids love this game!)
- Dog Park: Spinoni are very social and enjoy the company of other dogs
- Canine Sports: These dogs excel at obedience, agility, and scent work, flyball, and other competitions
- Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; bonus if you can find a remote area where the dog can be off-leash
Spinoni Learn Quickly: Sometimes Stubborn
With consistent training using positive reinforcement techniques, Spinoni learn quickly. They may have a bit of a stubborn streak and may be easily distracted, but they’re generally an eager-to-please, easy-to-train breed. Keeping the learning fun and interesting during everyday activities is the best way to earn a well-behaved Spinone. The less it feels like training, the more the Spinone will cooperate. Use positive reinforcement techniques for best results with this sensitive dog, and give him plenty of praise and encouragement.
Both of our dogs went through a series of obedience classes once they received their puppy vaccines. The early puppy classes helped them not only socialize with other dogs, people, and public places but also gave us more time to spend together.
Are Spinoni Italiani the Best Family Pet Ever? We Think So!
The Spinone Italiano is a remarkable dog breed that is renowned for its devotion, affectionate demeanor, and companionship towards owners. Although this breed can sometimes be a little stubborn and slobbery, you would be hard-pressed to find another dog that is as loving and caring as the Spinone. For us, they really are the perfect combination of a well-behaved, playful family dog around the home and a loyal, sometimes goofy hiking buddy.