Spinone Working Standard

Translated from the 1937 Pastrone Standard (Italy)


The Spinone's gait is a long, tidy trot, alternating occasionally with something of the rhythm of a gallop (back legs only), so that he is a little swifter than the Italian Bracco, but the required gait when engaged in the act of sniffing is the trot. 

It is a lively and economical gait which works in diagonals which are nearly always straight, a hundred metres long and sometimes more, well spaced out and determined by the excellent sense of smell which this great pointer always shows provided he does not overdo it in gaits which are contrary to his nature. 

Clearly for him, as for all other trotters, concentration on the smelling job is of foremost importance and finding a solution to the various problems, which comes almost by instinct in a lightning flash to the gallopers, demands of the Spinone a complex mental process which can easily be read in his lovely facial expression as a "thinker". 



The search is carried out most diligently and is made jolly by an almost continuous wagging of the tail, and his carriage is very erect with the neck not stretched out very far, so as to keep the head well up with the bridge of the nose firmly angled from the horizontal towards the ground. 

When he gets on to a slight scent he slows down his pace by degrees and traces the scent with great caution towards the supposed source, head high as described above, with no other outward sign apart from the ears priced to their full height and the tail still and a little dropped. Having recognised a false alarm he immediately carries on resuming his usual carriage and gait. 

If, on the other hand, he sees that the scent leads to game, he slows down even more gradually so that the last steps are taken extremely slowly, often testing the ground with his paw before putting it down. This he does as if afraid of making any sound, and when he stops he stiffens his tail, raising it again. The tail, both when stopped and on the trail, is carried at the horizontal or just a little above or below it. 
Bannonbrig Ginger Nutt 'Carlo'


Altogether the Spinone's bearing is noble and imposing, watchful but calm, nicely erect and gently forward reaching, the neck, a little raised, the head well erect with the bridge of the nose pointing firmly downwards about 30 degrees from the horizontal. 

If, during the search, he singles out an area of scent which makes him certain of the presence of game, he slows immediately to a walking pace and assumes the same attitude he has when he is immobile except that the neck is a little further forward and the tail a little lowered, and he follows the trail whilst gradually slowing down to follow the straight line of scent which links him to the game. 

Sometimes tracking is preceded by a short halt but this is not desirable. When he feels himself suddenly close to the game, and only in that case, he stops dead in his tracks, most times staying upright, or with the legs a little flexed, the head turned downwards towards the smell of the game. 

In exceptional circumstances, he will crouch in a twisted position. When the quarry tries to get away the Spinone steer is downwind mastering the direct emanation of the scent and moving off only very gradually. In this manner he moves forward with extreme caution avoiding as far as possible dry branches or crackling leaves, holding himself in the alert position of the stop. He repeats the action of the trail very carefully but purposefully without any dithering and any further stops he makes are preceded by gradual decelerations.

Show Champion Bannonbrig Buick 'Jaffa'


Clearly mastering the direct emanation of the scent and keeping himself as far as possible at a constant distance from the quarry, he modifies his advance to match the progress of the quarry, and if the quarry takes advantage of favourable ground conditions to make a sudden flight the Spinone is well capable of showing that being very clever can go hand in hand with being a swift, tenacious chaser. In these circumstances he can find himself having to come to a sudden stop by virtue of having sensed himself unexpectedly on top of the fugitive which has stopped either to let itself be jumped on or to get around some obstacle, or something similar. 

Amongst the characteristic features of the Spinone, and of other Continental Breeds, there is in particular that of a close bond with the trainer whom he must absolutely never leave. Moreover his calm reflective nature lends itself to adapting its work to suit widely varying conditions so that he can cut down on the actions described, which apply to the most favourable surroundings possible, into a much narrower area of activity which may be forced upon him by the needs of any given moment. 

Bannonbrig Badly Drawn Boy 'Rocco'