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Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Spinone Club of America, Inc.

Native Country

Other Names
Spinone, Italian Pointer, Italian Griffon, Spinone Italiano, Italian Coarsehaired Pointer

Life Expectancy
Approximately 8-10 Years

Litter Size
Average 4-8 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

The Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog has a square build, the length of the body is approximately equal to the height at the withers. It is a strong-boned, solidly built dog with a well-muscled body and limbs that are suited to almost any kind of terrain. The long head and pronounced occipital are unique to the breed. He has an expression that shows intelligence and understanding and is often described as having human-like eyes. The tail of the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog is customarily docked at half its length (approx 5.5 to 8 inches from the base of the tail), Even as adults, Spinone retain disproportionate, puppy-like, webbed paws which make them powerful swimmers.

Breed Standard

Head: Strong, heavy. Viewed from the front, the skull is shaped like a double-eaved roof and has a very prominent occipital peak. Barely pronounced stop. Straight or slightly curved nosebridge. Muzzle equal in length to skull. Powerful jaws. Enormous nose, flesh-pink in the white-coated variety and brown in the roan brown variety. Bushy mustache and beard.
Ears: Long, triangular, pendulous. Front edge lying against the cheek, not twisted.
Eyes: Large, round, a shade of ocher. Long, stiff eyebrows.
Body: Square build. Powerful, muscular neck. Slight dewlap. Broad, deep chest. Well-sprung ribs. Slightly domed loin. Straight back. Broad, long, well-muscled, sloping croup.
Tail: Thick at the base, carried level to the ground or hanging down. No feathering. Docked to a length of 15 to 25 cm.
Hair: 4 to 6 cm long, stiff, hard, dense. No undercoat. Shorter on the head, ears, and fronts of the legs. Feathering on the backs of the legs.
Coat: Pure white, white with orange spots, white flecked with orange, white with brown, roan, or roan brown spots. Tricolor coat, tan markings, and any shade or combination of black markings not allowed.
Size: Dog: 60 to 70 cm. (23.5-27.5 in).Bitch: 58 to 65 cm. (23-25.5 in).
Weight: Dog: 32 to 37 kg. (70.5-82 lb).Bitch: 28 to 30 kg. (62-66 lb).


The breed is believed to have been developed in the Piedmont region of Italy. As the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog is a very ancient breed (it is believed to be one of the oldest gun dogs in existence), it is not known exactly what the origins of the breed are; there are many different theories. Some of these claim that the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog could have originated in Italy, France, Spain, Russia, Greece, or Celtic Ireland. Some people familiar with the history of the breed claim that the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog descended from the now-extinct Spanish Pointer, whilst others claim that it was the ancient Russian Setter that is responsible for the breed we know today. An even more popular theory is that Greek traders brought coarse-haired setters to Italy during the height of the Roman empire, where the dogs were then crossed with various others and the modern Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog eventually emerged. The French claim that the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog has descended from crosses of several French pointing breeds, whilst the Italians believe the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog is the ancestor of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the German Wirehaired Pointer, and the Pudelpointer. Any one of these claims could be true; perhaps several of them are correct.

During the Second World War, the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog became close to extinct. Both the war and the fact that Italian hunters had begun using other breeds (such as setters, pointers, and spaniels) in the hunt, whereas before it was primarily the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog. Many breeders had to resort to crossing the Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog with other wire-haired breeds, such as the Boulet, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and German Wirehaired Pointer. The breed was not officially known as "Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog" until the early 19th century. Before then, some areas knew the breed as the "Spinoso". The breed may have been named after an Italian thorn bush, the spino, which was a favorite hiding place for small game because for larger animals it was practically impenetrable. Only thick-skinned, coarse-haired animals could fight through the branches unharmed to locate the game. The Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog was the breed most capable of doing so, and, perhaps, therefore the name was formed.


This tough, very hardy, vigorous dog can hunt on all types of terrain in any weather. He fears neither water nor brambles (Italian Wirehaired Pointing Dog means "thorn"). With his fairly short muzzle, he searches methodically and is an excellent retriever with hound-like tendencies. Calm, friendly, and affectionate, he makes a good pet. He needs firm training.

He needs wide open spaces and lots of exercise, as well as regular brushing and attention to the ears.


Hunting Dog, Companion Dog.


Hip dysplasia does exist, as in other comparably sized dogs. Sometimes bloating does occur, though it is not a huge problem. Some are prone to an inherited disease, which manifests itself as a Cerebellar Ataxia, or abnormal gait originating from a problem in a part of the brain. Careful breeding is helping the situation.

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