Let’s Talk Breed Education!
A FORUM ON THE SPINONE ITALIANO with MICHELE IVALDI, DOUG JOHNSON & ANNETTE WINJNSOUW
MICHELE IVALDI I spend my time between Sardinia, Pavia (Italy) and Ireland. I’m a freelance writer. We always had working Setters in our family country houses and my father had a Spinone, too. I started showing in 1990 and judging in 2003. 1. Describe the breed in three words. Rustic, friendly and square. 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? Hair rough and single, divergent cranial axes, correct top lines, strong bones, square body, deep and broad chest and easy, loose steps with a good rhythm of trot. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? I have seen exaggerated grooming on dogs with wrong and soft coats. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? In the US, the breed has improved a lot in the last 15 years. In Italy, the UK and Europe, the average qual- ity level was higher 15 years ago and there were some monumental dogs. In the US, there are some spectacular Spinoni that would win anywhere in the world and some wrong Spinoni that are champions and do some win- nings, beating the right ones! 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? Well, I’ve seen many well educated new judges doing much better than old judges. A new judge can improve more than an old one! The main misunderstanding is about the toplines that are a peculiar and distinctive mechanical attribute of this trotting breed. They are mis- taken with sway back. Then the coat, any good groomer can make harsh a soft coat, but the Spinone coat must be single and naturally harsh on very thick skin. Also heads and head planes: a head with correct length and little divergence of the cranial axes is preferable to a short head with more evident divergence. Some judges believe that the more divergent the cranial axis are, the better the head, forgetting about proportions. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. 1) The two segments of the topline are very important. The withers should be a little higher than the croup. The first segment slopes from the withers to the 11th vertebra and the second joins with the loin. This helps to improve the shoulder action providing more reach, extension and
recycling of energy on a long distance trot. Dogs with high croup and low withers can only fall on the shoulders, they can’t have a correct head carriage and can’t perform an enduring trot. 2) The Spinone is named like this because of his harsh coat. The word Spinone means “big thorn”, a soft coated Spinone is not a Spinone. 3) Broad chest and wide rump suggests that the Spinone must have a good third dimension and narrow bodies are not acceptable. 4) Hindquarters must be strong, wide croup, strongly muscled upper thigh and short, thick hocks that when seen from behind are parallel. The rump is wide, so the Spinone can’t move narrow in the rear. 7. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? On a Best in Show of an all breeds, the BIS judge decides his placements and he tells to the speaker, “Third place to the German Wirehaired Pointer!” Nobody moves. There was a brown roan Italian Spinone on the Best in Show and the judge was convinced it was a GWP and gave him a 3rd on the BIS! DOUG JOHNSON care business. We employ 500 people and provide care to about 700 senior clients. I started in dogs in 1984 and started judging in 2000. 1. Describe the breed in three words. Unique, solidly built and divergent 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? This is a breed I truly enjoy judging. For me, this breed must have large bone and body, a harsh coat, divergent head plane and the proper topline and tail set. All of these are breed defining. This breed is unique from all others in our AKC family and shares no common traits. I love the expression and large nose, ample neck and sol- idly built body. They have unique lines which make them fun to judge and exciting when you find them. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? The only thing that I am fearful of is trying to make them into a generic show dog which tends to happen in dog breeds in America. This breed is different and should be. I hate to see them with level head planes, a level back and a high tail set. Also slight in substance. You get a great deal of them that are not broad and substantial. I live in Bloomington, Indiana. Outside of dogs I run and co-own a skilled care medical agency and a non-medical home
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Breeders should safeguard the bone and substance which the breed is known for throughout the world. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? When they were first approved there were plenty of dogs coming into our AKC system that were bred overseas. These dogs had the depth, bone and mass which I iden- tify as correct for the breed. The breed has gone away from some of this as new breeders have started to pro- duce puppies. Retaining these characteristics is not easy to do in a breeding program for even the most seasoned breeder. There was also a color issue in the breed for some time. The liver dogs were not as well received as the orange originally. Today there seems to be less color prejudice in the breed. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? I sound like a broken record, but size and substance are not understood my most judges. This is a breed like many others in the Sporting group that you need to see in for- eign countries to really understand. To see a large entry of Spinone will help train your eye to the size, bulk and bone of this breed. Determining the proper type of this breed is paramount. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. There is a challenge in this bred in construction of their rears. They are not the soundest breed to judge but again reward type overall. ANNETTE WINJNSOUW
coming in line with the back, by bringing the neck between the shoulders to give him the possibility to trot. He can see forward and also what is happening by his muzzle. He has also a very typical outline, with the light raising loins that made the trot with a level topline possible. To describe the breed in three words is not easy, but I think sturdy, strong and stubborn. The Spinone is stubborn in his own way. He is intelligent, but will use it for his own favor. When they have to do something, you can see them think, ‘Have I ever heard this word?’ If he has heard it, he will think if he will do it. If he decides to do it, he will do it slowly with the expression of, ‘Okay, I will do it, but I think it is useless.’ If you don’t see the humor, you should never take a Spinone home. Every Spinoni should be able to work, look for and point out game. If they lose this trait, they will lose all their traits. Being able to, doesn’t mean he has to hunt. But breeders should test in the litter for the best hunters. Hunters should understand that the Spinone is a pointing breed and you can teach them to retrieve, but pointing is their passion. There- fore, they like man trailing too, they like to use their noses without pressure. The more pressure on the Spinone, the less they will show their will to please. The most important thing is to find the way to learn and have fun. When working with the Spinoni you need a lot of endurance, inventiveness and humor. They are very easily bored and need new games. I hope we will not lose his hunting traits. The Spinone was the hunting dog for the farmers that hunted by foot. So the typi- cal movement is the trot. I taught my Spinone to go typical as a good mover with the head high. Many are too fast, which is what a lot of judges like. I prefer the typical mover in every breed, that is functional to me. The breed can be stubborn and sometimes very naughty. You can always see when they will be naughty, because they start to think about it—whether it will bring them something or won’t. Working with them is fun; when they do something for you, they will do it for their whole life. Showing a Spinone is also hard work, because to let them think is a way of doing and it takes time. At every show they have to be convinced that it is necessary. The roan/brown Spinone has more personality and is sometimes easier to convince that it is necessary to do some- thing. The roan/brown bitches are boyish and the white/ orange bitches often have the diva behavior. Any black col- oration is a disqualifier for the Spinoni. Every Italian judge will look at the nails of the roan/brown Spinone, because they should have brown nails. In Italy, they will disqualify the dog. Outside of Italy, they don’t do it, but that Spinone will never win. For me, it is hard to see that in some countries the quality of the Spinoni is going down by not breeding them carefully, but just increasing their numbers. They are losing everything you want to see, they are not sturdy, rustic or strong anymore and has less bone and an atypical outline. I think it is most important for every judge to understand the breed. Understanding is very different than knowing the breed. Understanding means you can read the conformation and movement in the function of the breed.
First I would like to thank the maga- zine for the invitation to give my vision and tell something about this wonderful breed. I live with my husband and our 13 Spinoni in the Netherlands. The caring of our dogs takes a big part of the day, but I find time to give show training and help breeders who are starting to breed.
My first breed and breed to judge was the long-haired St. Ber- nard in 1985. Now I judge 18 breeds in FCI Group 2 and in FCI group 7, I judge Spinone and the Bracco Italiano. I have judged the specialty for the Dogue de Bordeaux in France and a specialty for the Spinone Club of America. The head of the Spinone is important; the head must have divergent planes just before the eyes. The lines are from the top of the head and cross the line of the muzzle. If not, the skull or muzzle is not good—the skull is too flat or the muzzle is too short. Then the eyes, laterally placed, almond-shaped and in a nice color, gives them the almost human-like expres- sion. You can read in their eyes, what they want and think. The Spinone has no stop and the eyes are placed light laterally. They diverge because when they hunt, the head is
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THE SPINONE ITALIANO Toplines, Croups & TailseTs—is There more? A s the Spinone Club of America’s Judges Educa- tion committee is trying its best to step up with important points to your attention, to help broaden your understanding. created by incorrect eye color, shape or set (deemed typical in the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and German Wire- haired Pointer) must be severely penal- ized in the Spinone Italiano. by Carolyn Fry & The spinone Club oF ameriCa
The almost-human expression, which is considered to be an essential trait of the Spinone, is created from widely-placed, almost round, large and expressive eyes set on the frontal plane of the head, which is unusual and special to this breed. The definition of the stop, together with both the sub and supra orbital structure (brow and cheek chiseling) are minimally defined. The above, together with the unusual warm ochre color (in white/orange dogs) contribute to the human expres- sion. Equally, in brown roan dogs the shade of brown for the eyes is warm and soft. A sharp or intense expression
an education program and a new “era”, with the committee members making themselves more available to judges and breeders, we often ask Spinone judges some basic questions. The answers we get regularly revolve around toplines, croups and tailsets of the Spinone and these are the areas that the judge is bas- ing his/her decisions upon. In addition, most judges are checking for divergent head planes. It is good to hear that the judges have these basics within their grasp, but we would like to draw the following very
The head is long, lean and divergent. The Spinone head length is propor- tionally long compared with any other Sporting breed, approximately four- tenths of the dog’s height. The skull is roof shaped, with a marked occiput, well-defined interpa- rietal crest (backskull/nape of neck) and gently sloping lateral walls. Par- ticularly, in profile, this area helps to define breed type for the Spinone. From the front, the refinement of skull adds to the long, lean and divergent
“THE HEAD IS LONG, LEAN AND DIVERGENT. The spinone head lengTh is proporTionally long Compared wiTh any oTher sporTing breed, approximaTely Four-TenThs oF The dog’s heighT.”
This is the correct profile movement for the spinone. please note that the head could be a little longer in proportion on this outline. The head length is 40% of the height at the withers.
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“THE SPINONE IS A ROBUSTLY-BONED HUNT/POINT/ RETRIEVER (I.E. VERSATILE BREED) AND ITS BODY SHAPE FITS ALMOST INTO A SQUARE.”
Nonetheless, the word “robust” indi- cates more substance than most of the other Sporting breeds. In profile its out- line is also unique among the Sporting breeds, with a gently broken topline and nearly level underline. An under- line with more than a minimal rise into the loin, i.e., tuckup like that of a GSP or setter, is a fault. Spinone movement is unusual in that it is relaxed and energy-conserving, as is normal with the trotting breeds that are built for stamina. There is flex in the wrist joint and with the widely-placed scapulae; the large, round front feet will rise and fall without exaggeration. The unique profile outline should be held in shape when gaiting. The backline will remain gently broken in Spinoni that are correctly constructed, i.e. have sym- metrical angles. An imbalance of angles will create level, sloping, or, the highly undesirable downhill movement. Any exaggeration or imbalance between the front and hind assembly will clear- ly affect the profile when gaiting. A Spinone that is lacking in length of upper arm, depth and breadth of chest and/or excessive length to the tibia (generally coupled with an overly-short
“TIP: please Take The Time To liFT
The head oF eaCh exhibiT
shape. Never Griffon-like (e.g. blocky, square, wide, well-defined stop and intense expression). The divergent planes can also be clearly viewed from the front, where the wide-open nostrils of this breed will obscure a clear viewing of the dog’s eyes in those dogs that have the incor- rect parallel or convergent (Pointer- like) planes. TIP: Please take the time to lift the head of each exhibit and check for a soft, human expression and the divergence of planes. A clear view up the nostrils = incorrect planes! Convergence of planes of the skull and muzzle or a dish-faced muzzle is to be faulted so severely as to eliminate from further competition.
Ears are long, framing the face in an unobtrusive manner, with mini- mal erectile power, and are set on low, i.e. level with the eye line. TIP: A tight lead will obscure your view of correct ear placement, the roof-shaped skull, the divided dewlap and the marked backskull, all desirable traits that contribute to the correct silhouette for the Spinone. The Spinone is a robustly-boned hunt/point/retriever (i.e. versatile breed) and its body shape fits almost into a square. Its bone is described in the Standard as ”oval”, which indi- cates a more refined impression when viewed from the frontal position, in keeping with the long, lean head type.
and CheCk For a soFT, human expression and The divergenCe oF planes. a Clear view up
The nosTrils = inCorreCT planes!”
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“TIP: loose-lead gaiTing aT a naTural plaCe will illusTraTe so muCh more Than FooT plaCemenT in This breed. CheCk For a deep underline in addiTion To The lighTly broken Topline and The CorreCT proporTions (i.e. long head, almosT-square body-shape, equal leg/ ChesT depTh and symmeTry oF Fore/hind angles).”
metatarsus) will produce an atypical, and therefore undesirable, gait that may be highly regarded or acceptable in the more elegant Sporting breeds. The shoulder should mirror the equally-proportioned rear assembly in this breed, with clear definition of a prosternum and a deep and broad chest. The correctly-constructed Spinone will carry its head just above the backline, with the nose pointing slightly down- wards, and is therefore unable to move in the extreme style of a German Wire- haired Pointer. The GWPs are consid- ered to be “gallopers” and will carry the stamp of a breed built for hunting at a faster pace in wide, open countryside. The desired gait for a Spinone in the field is an extended trot, with intermit- tent galloping strides. Therefore, the anatomy of this breed is designed to function at its optimum at the trot. TIP: Loose-lead gaiting at a natural place will
illustrate so much more than foot place- ment in this breed. Check for a deep underline in addition to the lightly bro- ken topline and the correct proportions (i.e. long head, almost-square body- shape, equal leg/chest depth and sym- metry of fore/hind angles). High head- carriage is undesirable and may be an indication of poor shoulder placement and an upright front assembly. Last, but not least, is the essential wiry, close-fitting coat of the Spinone. Judges are recommended to exam- ine the texture and lay of the coat, in addition to the length, at the mid-line in the center of the ribcage, rather than at the wither, or along the backline. The correct, close-fitting jacket may appear from a distance to be too short, which is our reason for asking judges to take the time to evaluate the coat/skin very carefully. Coat that is soft, with an undercoat, may well stand away from
the body. This type of coat is incorrect for the Spinone! Please take the time to grasp the skin as you examine the coat. It must be thick and leathery. Thin skin will often be attached to an incorrect coat in the Spinone. The recommended length of coat on the body is between 1 ½ " and 2 ½ ". Texture, lay and length are ALL important when evaluating coat type. The skin is of equal importance. Judges should note that shorter hair on the head is desirable—i.e. it may be hand-stripped in order to present some of the most important qualities of the Spinone. Stripping dead hair or tidying of the body coat to present the unique outline of the breed should not be con- sidered as sculpting or molding, but the use of scissors is contrary to the breed standard. Dogs with the correct wiry texture and lay of coat will require only a small amount of hand-stripping. Poor quality coats may not strip at all and
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SUMMARY OF ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE SPINONE head: Long, lean, divergent planes, minimal stop, roof-shaped skull, marked backskull, almost-human expression subsTanCe and ouTline: Nearly square, robust, balanced, gently broken topline, minimal tuckup, tail carried horizontal or down CoaT and skin: Close-fitting, wiry, 1½ to 2½ inches in length on body, no undercoat, thick, leathery skin gaiT: Relaxed trot, without exaggeration, profile holds while moving, head carried just above backline
excessive, soft leg hair, or the evidence of scissor marks in the case where shap- ing may have taken place, will all be helpful hints at the pre-groomed tex- ture and quality. Please take the time to carefully evaluate this very important characteristic of the breed. And back to the three areas that are unique but nonetheless only a portion of the whole Spinone: The topline is broken but not extreme (or saddle) and rises into the loin, but remains on a horizontal plane with the wither (i.e. the rump is not raised). The underline of the Spi- none carries equal importance, with minimal tuck-up. The croup falls only at an angle of between 30-35 degrees from the hori- zontal plane, i.e. a gentle roundness over the rump, taking the line of the tail just below the horizontal plane. A short croup may raise the tail above the back (this is incorrect), while an excessive length of croup will incline beyond the desirable 35 degrees. The latter will seriously restrict the hind movement and must be considered to be a serious fault. The tailset is a continuation of the croup line, with minimal break in the flow of the backline and with the tail
carried horizontally or lower. A poor tailset will essentially affect the unique Spinone silhouette, whereas a tail that is set on correctly, but still carried a lit- tle high (which is incorrect in a mature dog or bitch) may be just a temporary stage of development. Consideration must be given to separate tailset from tail carriage.
We are hoping the above informa- tion will assist judges to get closer to the whole picture and expand and refine their understanding of this unique Sporting dog. We appreciate the time you have taken to read this information. Please feel free to con- tact us with any queries or comments at SCOAJudgesEd@gmail.com.
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spinone italiano: A BREED Q & A
SUZANNE HUDSON 1. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. I approach the dogs with only the silhouette in mind. I specifically remind myself that I am NOT (at the first moment) looking for faults, I am looking for the Spinone silhouette which includes the Proportions (head is 4 ⁄ 10 the height at the withers, the leg/body proportions are 50/50, the hock is a third of the height of the withers, the lower thigh is just SLIGHTLY longer than the upper thigh which is VERY different than most other sporting breeds, the more open angles of the Spinone in both front and rear, but not straight front or rear, etc.) and I am looking of course for divergent planes, a two piece top line and a slightly sloping croup. I take a close look at the head from the profile and try to decide then what I might see when I get my hands on that head! 2. Have you seen or used Spinones in the field? How has this influenced what you look for? Yes, I have hunted almost all of my Spinone. This makes me keenly aware of the proper coat (not long or soft) and normal, balanced proportions. A Spinone that stands and/ or moves croup high is incorrect and will cause great dif- ficulty for a dog that works for a living! 3. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? I am willing to forgive a dog that is a tad shy in the show ring; I am willing to forgive slight cow hocks because this is so common in our breed. I believe the emphasize and focus on the perfect rear has created an extreme problem with type in our breed over the years. Of course all dogs need to be sound, the hind assembly of a Spinone is very different than most Sporting breeds and the best rear is not always the best Spinone. I am willing to forgive a lot of faults (except soundness) if the dog has fantastic type. We have become used to a long, soft-coat- ed dog that moves and looks more like the other sporting dogs. This is not a proper Spinone. The correct Spinone is a wide dog. There is a good depth of chest and deep underline with very slight tuck up. Dogs lacking in depth of chest and depth of underline over all should not be top winning dogs. As far as faults, I find it hard to overlook
“slim”, slight bodied dogs. I find it hard to over look short muzzles and broad skulls with high set ears. I find it hard to over look a very light eye and an expression like a WPG or a GWP. I find long, soft coats hard to overlook. I find it very hard to overlook excessive tuck up. Dogs lack- ing in overall type should not be rewarded. 4. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? Which traits are going in the wrong direction or becoming exaggerated? Since I have become involved our club (the Spinone Club of America) has worked very hard to raise awareness of proper breed type for both judges and breeders. The Spinone Club of America has worked very hard to focus on training judges and breeders so that our breed can continue to be the old, rustic type of dog that has been so highly valued for hundred of years. Moving the breed toward a more generic and general Sporting dog is the wrong direction. Rewarding (award- ing!) dogs that lack breed type is the wrong direction. Divergent planes, broken top line and sloping croups are essential, but this is only the beginning of understanding the breed. Those specific traits must be there, but understanding that is only the beginning of understand- ing the breed. I do not think we have any exaggerated traits yet, but the fear of that holds many breeders back and keeps them from producing good type. Focusing just on the rears has produced dogs with great rears and no type. We need to focus on the dog as a whole. 5. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard
that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important?
Our standard does a very good job of explaining; how- ever, it is very difficult for judges and breeders to under- stand the breed. Most judges consider it one of the more complicated dogs they must learn about. 6. Describe the Spinone topline and its difference from other Sporting dogs. The Spinone top line is a two-piece top line. The break at the 11th vertebrae is slight. There is a gentle rise in the loin. The croup should never be above the withers. The dog is not to be built “down hill” or “up hill”. The withers is slightly above the croup—slightly. It is not the same top line as a Chesapeake or an IRW. It is a very unique top line.
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scissoring should exist. Since the Spinone expression is so important, the judges need to be able to SEE it! 10. During examination, what can judges do differently? How can this breed’s Judges Education be improved? I wish they would understand and look for the roof- shaped skull. This simply means the lateral walls of the skull slope gently down. The top of the skull should be oval; never triangular (wide back skull) or rectangular. 11. What previously campaigned B&Ts come close to your ideal? Please explain. Ch. Couchfields Puccini Del Mucrone. 12. How do Spinones in the US compare to those around the world? We have some of the best dogs in the world here in the US; however, they rarely show at AKC shows because regular AKC judges do NOT (usually) understand the breed at all. These dogs usually only show at the National under breed specialists who understand type. A breed specialist is not going to put up a generic, showy, fancy looking Spinone because this is an old rustic breed that should not be flying around the ring. The dogs should be wide and substantial. DEBBIE PERROTT 1. Please tell us about your background with the Spinone Italiano. I am Debbie Perrott of Hootwire Kennel. I have bred GWP, PBGV, GBGV and Spinoni Italiani. I was fortunate to show the first Spinone Breed Winner at Westminister in 2001. This was Ch. Cerebella del Caos at Hootwire, the first AKC bitch Champion. I also imported a Spinone from Scotland, BISS Silver Grand Ch, Javal I’m Movin’ On To Hootwire, RN, BN, CGCA. His call name was DiOGi. He won two consecutive National Specialties under judges Mike Billings and Cindy Vogel. DiOGi was the #1 Spinone in the US twice, Westminster Breed Winner, Eukanuba Breed Winner twice and Eukanuba Best Bred By Spinone in 2014. 2. In order, name the most important traits you look for in the ring.
Most sporting dogs have level or sloping toplines and most Sporting dogs move uphill with high head carriage. 7. Describe ideal Spinone movement. A Spinone should have a loose, easy relaxed gait. He should always move on a loose lead and while he does have reach and drive it is not the same reach and drive that many of the other Sporting breeds should have. The extended trot on a Spinone is not the same extended trot that you would want to see in most other breeds. It is a very different dog altogether. 8. What are the misconceptions by judges unfamiliar with the breed? Judges unfamiliar with the breed get caught up in the top line and divergent planes and never learn more about the breed. They miss things like the deep underline, the powerful bone and substantial body. They miss the importance and knowledge of Spinone expression and head type beyond the divergent planes. They miss the importance of proportions (the head is 4 ⁄ 10 the height at the withers, the neck is ² ⁄ ³ the length of the head, etc.). 9. Describe the Spinone coat and the importance of grooming. The coat is harsh and there is no under coat. It is a single coat. Hand stripping is important. The head should be stripped on the skull and top of the ears. Excessive coat should be removed with a stripping knife, but no pattern or
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Head plains, profile (topline), movement, sweet, human- istic expression, coat, bone. 3. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? Shortcomings: none. Faults hard to overlook: lack of substance, bone, too much tuck-up, temperament and soft coat. 4. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? Which traits are going in the wrong direc- tion or becoming exaggerated? I have seen improved temperament and more consistent
breed! Judges should feel free to question things not clear to them. The more they know this breed, the happier our breeders will be. Do attend any JE seminars. 9. Describe the Spinone coat and the importance of grooming. Coat can vary—anywhere from inch and a half to two and a half. It should be close fitting with no under coat. Texture is course and wirey, never soft. Correct coat requires little grooming. Some grooming is done around feet, head, tail fringe. Dead coat is dead coat and should be removed. Little grooming should not mean dirty.
“the spinone should NOT HAVE A LEVEL TOPLINE.”
structure. Definitely the rears have improved. The dog should not be sway backed. Some are too long. 5. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important? I feel the standard pretty much covers the breed. 6. Describe the Spinone topline and its difference from other Sporting dogs. The Spinone should not have a level topline. On the other hand, the dip should not be exaggerated. The topline is geared to the function of the breed. 7. Describe ideal Spinone movement. The Spinone was bred to be an individual’s personal hunting companion. It does not hunt like a Shorthair and it should be able to move in a ring without trying to break speed records. It has an easy, balanced gait, light on its feet. Should move effortlessly on a loose lead. 8. What are the misconceptions by judges unfamiliar with the breed? Movement and topline. Tails should be carried out, nei- ther tucked under or over the back. Not all Sporting dogs carry their tails high. Spinones are unique hunting dogs. 10. During examination, what can judges do differ- ently? How can this breed’s Judges Education be improved? The standard calls for a scissor or level bite. The bite does not need to be examined as one would check a Working
Spinone should be clean when presented to a judge. 11. What previously campaigned B&Ts come close to your ideal? Please explain. Ch. Cerebella del Caos, JH and SGC Javal I’m Movin On To Hootwire, BN, RN, CGCA I did not breed either of these dogs, but I was most for- tunate to have been able to own and handle them. I was extremely lucky. LINDSAY STANTON 1. Please tell us about your background with the Spinone Italiano. I have been involved in Spinone since 2000. I started researching the breed in 1999. I was looking for a calm, even-tempered dog that would be active outside, running and hiking, but low energy in the house. This research led me to my heart dog. My first Spinone, Dante, came from the Grouse Rouster lines which was one of the very early kennels in the US. Grouse Rouster’s kennel bred beautiful dogs with wonderful temperaments that were great in the field. It was love at first sight. Dante was a gorgeous brown roan boy that provided some of the lineage to Spinone today.
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2. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. I am not a judge, but for me it is about correct size—an important part of our standard is that they fit into a square, correct divergent head planes, correct coat and movement. Those, to me, are the pillars of our standard. 3. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? Given the fact that our breed is meant to be a muscular hunter, gait and movement as related to structure are incredibly important. 4. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? Which traits are going in the wrong direction or becoming exaggerated? We need to be cautious to stay within the height and length of the standard, bigger is not always better. We ultimately want sound, healthy dogs. In addition, the head is the centerpiece and should be taken in strong consideration for breeding. 5. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard
The fact that a Spinone’s topline is actually two segments is unique. The fact that a Spinone’s topline is actually two segments is unique. Their topline should not be flat or too excessive of curving. 7. Describe ideal Spinone movement. The movement of the Spinone can be such a beautiful thing to watch, absolute poetry in motion. The Spinone trot is so unique in Sporting dogs and really shows the special characteristics of their movement, allowing them to glide or fly around the ring at a moderate pace. 8. What are the misconceptions by judges unfamiliar with the breed? I think the biggest challenge is our standard is very detailed and has quite a few nuances that are not as common. Continued education and openness to hearing about details of the standard is so important. We have only been AKC recognized for 15 years, so it is important to expose and educate more and more judges. 9. Describe the Spinone coat and the importance of grooming. The Spinone coat is a wiry single coat. Long or soft coats are faults. The topic of grooming is very important since Spinone coats are to be shown in their natural state. This means they are not supposed to be cut or scissored since their coat is not to be altered in this way. The upside is easy grooming! Brushing them out and maybe a quick drying of the beard before going in the ring is all they need. Many handlers love this, they will certainly be their lowest maintenance client! 10. During examination, what can judges do differently? I think one challenge is less around the judges per say but more around ring size at certain shows. Since move- ment and the trot are important, judges negotiating the ring to the exhibitors best advantage makes a difference. 11. Do you have anything else to share? I feel blessed to have gotten to know and love this breed. They are truly special and so different than any other breed I have experienced. They have a distinct ability to connect with their people and have an unmatched intuitiveness. They truly own a piece of your heart. You will find yourself with an unmatched soulful connection to Spinone. I am passionate about their physical and emotional beauty and I am thrilled to be part of this amazing breed.
that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important?
It is actually listed in our standard but expression is so, so important to get at the heart of this breed. Their eyes should look into you, human eyes with the females look- ing feminine and males masculine. 6. Describe the Spinone topline and its difference from other Sporting dogs. “they have a distinct ability to connect with their people and have an unmatched intuitiveness. THEY TRULY OWN A PIECE OF YOUR HEART.”
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