About the Spinone


You will find the Breed Standard on the Spinone Club of America website. I encourage those interested in the breed to visit the site…it’s loaded with information on breed health, temperament, hunt ability, and much more. There is also a Breeder Listing by State with contact information. If you are interested in pursuing a show career for your dog, I recommend you read and study the Breed Standard, also found on the SCOA website. If you study the Breed Standard, and train your eye to recognize the correct lines and angles, movement and expression, the planes of the head, set of the ears, and texture of the coat…you will recognize the attributes and conformation that make up the correct structure and type of the Spinone.

For those considering the breed as a new addition to their home/family, I can share my experience with the breed in the following areas:


The Spinone is an intelligent dog, generally eager to please and train. I have not found them to have the highly biddable, unquestioning desire to please as say, a Border Collie or Aussie. Spinone can absolutely compete in Obedience with great success, and in my experience, they are a “soft” breed, responding well to Positive Reinforcement Training as opposed to corrective methods. I have found Spinoni to be very food motivated, so clicker/treat training is very successful.


In general, Spinone make excellent therapy dogs. Their gentle, soulful nature, soft expression, and love of people make them well suited for therapy work in hospitals, senior homes, and school reading programs, to name a few.


One of the many things to consider when choosing a breed that’s a good fit for you is their maintenance and upkeep. The correct coat on a Spinone has no undercoat, and is coarse or textured, so it doesn’t matt as easily as some breed coats. I find I need to keep an eye on the hair between the toes, and at the elbows, as some matting can occur there. The correct Spinone coat can vary…some have shorter hair than others, with more or less furnishings…and shedding can vary among individuals. My girls shed lightly year-round, perhaps a little heavier in late winter, early spring.

Spinone grooming

The infamous Spinone beard can be a challenge for some…of course it gets wet and full of water when drinking, and drips all over your floor for several feet in any direction. It just comes with the territory. What I have found works for me is a good weekly brushing to remove loose coat, and a light stripping to keep the face/head tidy. I bathe my girls very rarely…loose dirt is easily brushed out once dry…baths are pretty much reserved for pre-show prep, and even then, this breed is able to go from field to show ring with very little grooming. I do bathe the girls’ beards if they are especially dirty more frequently.


Exercise requirements can vary widely by individual. You may have read or heard people say that Spinoni are happy to be “couch potatoes”, but will go all day in the field. Generally, age has a big effect on exercise requirements…puppies have lots of energy for short periods, young dogs/adolescents have more sustained energy that requires more exercise to satisfy…and mature or senior dogs are happy with a regular walk or run.

I like my dogs to get LOTS of exercise…I have found that “a tired dog is a good dog” is a good motto, and I’m a firm believer that exercise plays a big role in the overall health and well-being of your dog…not just in terms of the physical benefits, but mentally as well.

Before you consider adding a puppy/dog to your family, think about how you will provide exercise for your dog. Spinoni are great running/walking partners, but I believe that off-leash runs are important…off leash runs allow your dog to use their nose/minds in a way that leashed runs do not…I’m fortunate to live in an area when I can run my girls off leash safely. If you are able to run your Spinone from an early age, you can take advantage of their natural tendency to range close to you, and work on a reliable recall command with treats/praise. There are hunt clubs you can join for an annual fee, even if you’re not a hunter…some dog parks can be a safe alternative. It takes a little time, but I believe regular exercise is well worth the effort..both for you and your dog. A reliable fenced yard makes exercise, containment…and your life…much easier, and since the breed is a natural retriever, a game of fetch is always good exercise.


This is different than maintenance/grooming…The Spinone is a relatively easy breed in terms of grooming and upkeep. What I mean by TIME DEMAND is just that..they are demanding of your time and company. All dogs are social, pack animals, and they are most happy when they are with you. This is true of dogs in general, but some breeds are a little more independent than others, and can thrive with more time away from their family…in my experience, the Spinone is NOT an independent breed, and appreciate the company of their family.

Obviously, most of us have commitments that take us away from home and our dogs. It would be unreasonable to think that we can all spend 24/7 with our dogs…HOWEVER, if you are considering a puppy, you must consider practical arrangements in terms of a puppy’s time demands, and how it will fit into your work/commitment schedule.


So many attributes make the Spinone special, but their character and temperament combine to make them an ideal family companion. By nature, they are generally affectionate, gentle and patient. The Spinone can also be a cautious dog, so early and extensive socialization is recommended. A good socialization/enrichment program will provide puppies with the best start, and ensure they are outgoing and confident adults.

Spinone puppies