commissioned by the Our Dogs Canine Journal in 2004 to headline their Spinone Breed Feature:
"There are many theories about the derivation of the breed and whilst
there are too many to recount in this article, it is safe to say that the Spinone is undeniably a breed of long-standing origins. In addition to the written records of ancient historians who have recounted harsh-coated hunting dogs reminiscent of the
breed as we know it today, pictorial evidence also depicts the Spinone in art works dating back to the 15th century, probably the most well known of which is the dog painted by Mantegna in a fresco at the Ducal Palace at Mantua.
The existence of Spinoni in the UK as we now know them was initially due to the efforts of Mrs Mary Moore and the late Dr Ruth Tattersall, who in the early eighties re-introduced the breed with authority. Prior to this,
there had been numerous mentions of the Spinone living in Britain but it’s true fruition could not be marked until this time.
We know for sure, for instance, that in the 1950’s Spinoni had been seen
in England with the arrival of a male, Argo and female, Gina in the custody of Audrey Nicholls (famed for the Darelyn Curly Coated Retrievers) and her father. The pianist Semprini had fallen in love with the retrievers and struck an exchange
which resulted in the pair’s appearance in the UK. Mrs Nicholls trained them for the showring and in 1955 they were exhibited at the Birmingham City Championship Show. The duo were later returned to Semprini and so it was nearly thirty
years later that the story of Spinoni in the UK continues.
Mary Moore, well known for her Odivane Schnauzer kennel and Ruth Tattersall, of the Westoy affix became responsible for the breed’s present-day revival
when in September 1980 came the importation of one male and three females, all white and orange in colour, Friz del Odivane, Megana and Clara dei Marchesi dei Galpiott from Odivane and Lidia dei Marchesi dei Galpiott. It was these dogs and their
early progeny that forged the way for an increasingly growing interest in this ancient Italian hunting dog.
Shortly afterwards, in 1985 Dr Tattersall extended the gene pool with the introduction
of the country’s first Brown Roan Spinoni in male, Gek di Morghengo del Westoy and female, Urania del Benaco del Westoy from the famous Italian kennel of Signor Valentino Vignola. Dr Tattersall went on to judge the first breed classes at Crufts
in 1987 and continued to support Spinoni and it’s founder breed club for many years. By this time the breed club The Italian Spinone Club of Great Britain was already in it’s infancy and thanks to a dedicated band of enthusiasts
the Spinone was well on it’s way to gaining countrywide recognition. Many of the founders, some of whom are still very active in the breed today, invested personal time and expense taking their dogs to events such as game fairs and shows the length
and breadth of the UK to allow the public the opportunity to see Spinoni and also extend the invitation to judges to get hands on experience of the breed in ‘the flesh’. From day one, the breed club was also instrumental in hosting gatherings
to cater for owners, breed enthusiasts and interested onlookers, from seminars to fun days that included events for everyone whether their interest be show, working or purely the joys of spinone companionship. One great example of this was as early as
1986 when the Club invited breed expert, the late Dr Antonio Storace to give an appraisal of the emerging early generations of Spinone on which occasions he assessed, critiqued and graded every single dog. This was an invaluable insight into the dogs
of the time and I am sure everyone returned home that day feeling that they had gained a great deal of knowledge through his generous conversation via his translator. His love of Spinoni shone through his body language around the dogs and their response
to him in spite of the language barrier was likewise. The breed exudes a passion from its owners that can be seen amongst any gathering of Spinone enthusiasts with their dogs none more so than in their native country and it is on this premise that it
is easy to understand the true provenance of the quote from Francesco Saverio Gianotti "Lo Spinone....Un cane per me, per voi, non per tutti" simply translated to "The Spinone....A dog for me, for you, not for everyone”.
The breed continued to go from strength to strength and in 1994 The Kennel Club granted the Spinone Championship
status at which point it was able to cast off it’s rare breed mantle. Throughout the early days to the present day there have been many more imports to the UK and indeed exports to numerous countries around the world including Italy.
Spinoni are to be found in quantity in the United States, Germany and the Netherlands with a dedicated nucleus of enthusiasts growing in countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Hungary,
and also in Australiaand New Zealand where the breed has had representation for some time now.
The breed in this country continues to benefit from ties with Italy, whether it be from breeders and owners regularly visiting the homeland show and working specialities of the ‘Club Italiano Spinoni’ or from the appointment of Italian
breed specialist Judges here in the UK, to complement the band of homegrown breed specialist judges who have worked hard over the last couple of decades since the breed’s re-introduction to develop and extend their knowledge alongside that of both
their Italian and growing band of worldwide counterparts."