The Spinone Italiano is intelligent, easy going, and usually friendly. As former hunters, they need lots of physical and mental activities, and enjoy dog sports such as tracking, hunting, field trials, agility and obedience as sport which also help them bond with their families. The Spinone Italiano tends to have a moderate steady trotting gait which makes it a good companion for people who like to jog with their dogs. They also have excellent swimming and retrieving abilities. The Spinone Italiano can also bond with people as service or animal-assisted therapy dogs. The Spinone Italiano can be both sensitive and stubborn, but they respond to motivational tools such as treats and favorite toys in reward-based obedience training. Their gentle nature and reputation as a good family dog means they can be around children; however, as with all dogs, extremely close supervision is needed to prevent accidental injury to the child or dog and avoid the dog's subsequently developing fear-based defensive aggression.
The Spinone Italiano was bred in Italy during the fifteenth century to be a pointer, hunter, and retriever. The exact origin of the breed is still open for speculation and there are several popular theories. Most believe the breed was descended from the Spanish Pointer, while others insist that the Russian Pointer was the catalyst. Still others think the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the German Wirehaired Pointer or the Pudelpointer all played a role. The Spinone Italiano is considered to be one of the first gundogs. Like many breeds, the Spinone Italiano almost fell into extinction due to lack of breeding during World War II, but the breed was saved by crossbreeding with other wirehaired breeds. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2000 and, though very popular in Europe, it has yet to gain much of a foothold in the United States.