Does A Spinone Italiano Shed?

Written by Mark Dalley

We have been proud Spinone owners for the past eight years. From puppies to adults, we've learned a lot about this wonderful breed. They just might be the best-kept secret in the dog world. Whether you already own a Spinone or are thinking of getting one, we're happy to share what we've learned about this amazing dog and hope you find it useful.

I was curious if other Spinone owners have the same experience as we do with our two dogs when it comes to shedding. I also thought anyone considering getting a Spinone might find the information helpful. So, I did some research to find out more about the Spinone Italiano and shedding.

All Spinone Italianos shed to some extent. Depending on the environment, the dog’s health, and their genetic background, the amount of shedding will vary from one dog to another.

The short answer is that all Spinoni shed. But, after researching it, I’ve found there is more to it than that. Keep reading to learn about how much Spinone shed and why.

Shedding is a natural cycle in dogs where they get rid of dead hair and make room for new hair to grow. Shedding can depend on the season, the dog’s health, and genetic background. To understand the shedding of the Spinone Italiano, it’s helpful to understand more about their coat.

All dogs have either a double coat or a single coat. When a dog has a double coat, it means he has an undercoat that is typically shorter than his outer coat, and his hair has a dense, woolly texture. Single coated dogs have only one coat, without this undercoat.

Spinoni have a coarse, dense, and wiry single coat that is 1½ to 2½ inches on their body. Even though they have a single coat, their shedding characteristics may be a little different from other single-coated dogs.

Dogs with single coats are not usually subject to seasonal shedding like their double-coated counterparts. Instead, they tend to shed year-round. Because of this, people may think that these dogs shed less. That’s not always the case. The shedding is more of a gradual and steady process and is often less noticeable, which may be why many think they shed less.

Although there are some commonalities with regards to shedding within the breed, there can be a wide variance from one dog to another. Some Spinoni shed a lot once or twice a year (spring and fall) like a typical double-coated dog. Others, shed a little bit all year round like most single-coated dogs. And some don’t shed much at all.

Probably the most common shedding situation for a Spinone is where they shed a little bit, all year round. This is what we see in both of our Spinoni. Our mild climate is probably a contributing factor.

Much of the old documentation on the breed indicates that they do not shed. However, the vast majority of Spinoni do shed. One theory to explain these differences is that other wire-haired breeds were introduced in the effort to bring the Spinoni back from near extinction after World War II. These other breeds may have altered the original shedding characteristics of the Spinone Italiano.

Is Your Spinone Shedding Too Much?

It’s important to know what is baseline shedding for your Spinone, so you’ll notice any changes in hair loss. Pay attention to how much your adult dog sheds. Do they shed a little bit all year round? Do they shed seasonally, or not at all? Once you know what is normal for them, you’ll be better able to identify when there is a sudden hair loss change.

Watch for excessive chewing or scratching that may be the result of some sort of skin condition or parasite.

Here are several symptoms to keep an eye out for that may indicate an underlying medical condition in your Spinone:

  • Skin irritation (redness, bumps, rashes, and/or scabs)
  • Bald spots
  • Severely thinning coat
  • Open sores
  • Excessive itching or face rubbing
  • Higher than average licking

What Medical Conditions Can Cause Excessive Shedding In A Spinone

If your Spinone is exhibiting symptoms such as irritated skin, sores, or excessive itching, they may have an underlying medical condition that needs attention. These conditions can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet and can go from bad to worse quickly, so it’s best to start treatment with your veterinarian’s advice as quickly as possible.

Here are some Medical conditions that can cause abnormal shedding:

  • Infections (fungal or bacterial)
  • Parasites (fleas, lice, or mites)
  • Allergies (inhalant, food-related, or topical)
  • Kidney, liver, thyroid, or adrenal disease (including Cushing’s Disease)
  • Medications
  • Cancer
  • Immune disease
  • Sunburn
  • Skin contact with irritating substances

Can Stress Cause Excessive Shedding?

Stress is another factor that contributes to hair loss. An anxious dog may lose more than a care-free dog. Stress shedding may occur in situations where your dog is uncomfortable, like during fireworks or thunderstorms. It might also occur in new situations like a training class or when there are unfamiliar people or animals in your home.

Identify any stressors in your dog’s environment, remove them, and see if that slows hair loss. If your dog becomes consistently stressed, see your veterinarian. After ensuring that your dog’s behavior does not have a medical basis, your dog’s doctor may refer you to a trainer or veterinary behaviorist to evaluate stress-related issues.

Does Proper Nutrition Help Reduce Shedding?

Excessive shedding can sometimes be prevented through proper nutrition. Your Spinone’s skin and coat are a direct reflection of the essential nutrients they are taking in from their dog food.

Protein plays a big role in maintaining the health of a dog’s coat and skin. Fur consists of around 95 percent protein. Studies have shown that 25-30 percent of the protein that a dog takes in goes to support his skin and fur.

A poor diet of cheap dog food or improperly balanced homemade diets may allow your Spinone to meet the bare minimum nutritional requirements they need, but it may prevent them from getting enough nutrients or protein to support their skin and coat health.

This doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money per pound for your dog’s food either. You can buy protein-rich dog food that is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for a relatively low cost.

Also, make your Spinone has access to plenty of fresh drinking water. Seeing to it your dog drinks enough water will help prevent dehydration-related shedding.

How Can You Manage Your Spinone’s Shedding?

You can’t stop a healthy dog from shedding. But, you can minimize the amount of hair in your home by brushing hand-stripping your Spinone’s coat. Hand stripping is a grooming process that involves removing dead hairs from the coat by hand instead of clipping to keep the coat correct, tidy, and healthy. It’s usually done twice a year in spring and fall. It speeds up the natural process of growth and shedding.

Hand stripping targets the older hairs that are in the exogen phase of growth. Exogen is the period where hair reaches the end of its lifespan and is shed. These older dull hairs are easy to pull out and by doing so they leave room for new stronger hairs to grow through.

For Spinone and a lot of wire-haired dogs, hand stripping is recommended instead of using clippers or scissors. Rather than removing old hairs these methods simply cut the old dull hairs. If the old hairs are not pulled out, the fresh new hairs don’t have the room to grow through. More importantly, clipping your Spinone’s wiry coat can prevent the coat from growing properly and it may not be possible to hand strip in the future.

In addition to brushing and hand stripping, consider a professional groomer. While bathing at home is fine, skin conditions can occur when a dog is not rinsed or dried properly. Professional groomers have experience with dogs of all sizes, and they have the proper tools and cleansers to match your pet’s needs. Certain shampoos for wire-haired dogs are good for their dog’s skin and coat, which can make them healthier and result in less shedding.

Final Thoughts

Does A Spinone Italiano Shed? Even though there is ancient documentation that may indicate otherwise, Spinoni do shed. The amount of shedding from one dog to the next will vary. Factors such as environment, health, diet, and genetic background will all contribute to differences in the amount that each dog sheds.

Since Spinoni shedding is a given, it really comes down to managing it. Brush and hand-strip your Spinone regularly and make sure you are providing proper nutrition with high-quality dog food. You’ll have so much fun with your Spinone you won’t even notice a little bit of hair on your clothes and furniture.